Affordable One-Month Course on the Science & Philosophy of Free Will…and a whole lot of other things going on!

If you haven’t already, do consider taking my online course next month on the science & philosophy of free will—or recommend it to anyone you think might be interested! It starts in just two days. You can get in within its first six.

Meanwhile, a brief update and foreshadow:

  • I’ve been spending the last week starting a new relationship, so I’ve been AFK a lot. She’s a noted polyamory activist and all-around kickass, known by her handle Joreth Innkeeper. And I confess I’m very smitten. I am now meeting someone else in the next few days who might smite me as well. She practically already has. And all the while staying with a girlfriend who already smote me. So I’ll be AFK a bit more.
  • Further consuming my time is all the work I’ve been engaging in planning several upcoming tours (Southern California in April and Florida in May), two major debates, and one big move. Yes, by this summer I shall no longer be living in California. Stay tuned for that news. Because I’m going to do something fun with it.
  • Of course I consumed a lot of time prepping and engaging in the Carrier-Bass debate a week ago. The video is now up. IMO, that went badly for him. He’s a very competent presenter. He did well on all the skills of debate. Except for what gives you a technical win. So given his confident and charismatic presentation, you might not have noticed that he didn’t really rebut most of my arguments; and those he even properly took on, he ended up relying on argument by assertion. Assertions any fact-checker will be able tell aren’t all that credible. I’ll blog more on that in coming weeks. But that’s even more time to task!
  • Now I have the Kennesaw debate with Craig Evans coming up, on the historicity of Jesus. Don’t forget that! If you can make it, you may want to. It will be an important one. And of course, prepping for that, is also consuming my time.
  • In SoCal I’ll be speaking on why they invented Jesus and what’s up with feminism. There may be even more. Stay tuned.
  • In Florida I have two events of considerable interest going. I’ve announced one. Stay tuned for the other! [To be announced here.]
  • I’ll also be at Frolicon in Atlanta, Georgia. Just FYI. Not as a presenter. Just among the invisible happy masses attending, with my new paramour. But if you happen to see me, do say hi! And don’t worry, I won’t out you. Not without your enthusiastic consent.
  • I’m near to completing my first of two books on ancient science. Yep. If all goes to plan, Science Education in the Early Roman Empire will be released before the end of this year. I’ll announce that, and what it’s about, as soon as it can be pre-ordered. But needless to say, this is also consuming a lot of my time! Since I finished my fan-funded Jesus project (which resulted in three books, Proving History, On the Historicity of Jesus, and Hitler Homer Bible Christ), I’ve been able to blow the dust off of my dissertation and start turning it into some books. It just needs updating (since much has been published in the last six years I’ve been spending on the funded project). So I’m on that now.
  • I also have contracts for at least two other books to come (and am working on a fourth). More on that later. But I’m eager to get to them.
  • And on top of all that I have more things I want to blog than I’ll have time for! Including two new important articles on Jesus mythicism, one in a major Canadian magazine (Macleans), another in a major academic journal (Think).

So I’m a very busy man. Now taking a brief break. With his CostCo Jameson.

Photo of Richard Carrier's Apple computer screen, keyboard, and mouse, mostly out of frame, but more centered is a giant Costco style bottle of Jameson Irish Whiskey, and a whiskey glass with a shot of Jameson in it, all by the soft light of evening lamp, on a blond wooden desk.

 

 

Speaking in Riverside on Whether Feminism Is Evil!

Stylized graphic showing the Rosie the Riveter image, woman factory worker bearing her strong arm, next to the stylized question in white letters, Is feminism evil?I will be speaking on the subject of feminism, and why the atheism movement needs more of it, in Riverside, California this April 23rd (2016), Saturday, in room 302 South of the Highlander Union Building on the UC Riverside campus, at 1pm (900 University Avenue). Details here.

This is a joint event of the UCR SSA (Secular Student Alliance) and RAFT (Riverside Atheists and Free Thinkers). There will be Q&A and I will be selling and signing books after. Admission is $10; free for students.

  • “Is Feminism Evil? What Feminism Really Is & Why Movement Atheism Needs More of It”

The internet has spread a mythology of sexism and misogyny that is now predominantly embraced by atheists, impeding understanding, and progress towards women’s equality. Like racism in the South, anti-feminism is now spread not always explicitly, but often through code words, fake concerns, and subtle bigotry. And its effects are being felt within movement atheism.

Feminism is about understanding and fighting this, and finishing what the Enlightenment started. Resistance to this is not rational, as we can see by the illogical and ill informed ways atheists attempt to claim they do not harbor outmoded sexist ideas, and thus end up perpetuating the very sexism they claim doesn’t exist. Personal stories, documented facts, and published science verify all of the ways women are still being treated unequally, and what to do about it.

Needless to say, this announcement raised a hullabaloo from atheist anti-feminists. I think the anti-feminist comments have all been expunged since…too bad, some of them were amusing, like one guy who said he was going to show up wearing a Thunderf00t shirt in protest. Or the one who complained that atheists should only talk about creationism (read that sentence a couple of times until you get how weird it is for an atheist to say that). Or that one should only call themselves a humanist. Or that this talk will surely be attended by all the “bad” feminists (because they only like the “good ones” I guess).

Thanks for proving my talk’s point, guys.

Poly Family, Poly World…and Poly Among the Poor

Still frame from the ABC News video segment on Polyamory: The End of Marriage?, showing a woman with her two men all cuddling and reading a book to their baby.Polyamory solves more problems than it causes. And all the problems it causes aren’t really unique to poly.

All the reasons people might think monogamy is better (and not just for them, but for everyone), turn out not to be true, or lack evidence. And like Christian apologetics, monogamy apologetics will leave out data regarding the benefits of alternatives, in order to oversell the benefit of compliance with antiquated norms. Monogamy, after all, was invented for men to control women as property, and like a kluge, it has since been clunkily tinkered with to align more with our modern egalitarian values. But the two don’t really fit. You can’t value freedom, consent, diversity, equality, and autonomy, and insist monogamy remain the norm. Monogamy is an option. And for many, not the best.

Even when people are not specifically trying to defend monogamy as “better,” monogamy assumptions blind even well-meaning intersectional feminist efforts to make the world better. As in one example in particular: a recent debate over whether poor women need to “get married” for their own good. Which even some secular (?) feminists have argued. For good but still flawed reasons. Good, because they are calling attention to the class privilege of feminists who advocate for women’s liberation from the necessity of marriage. But flawed, because they assume selling sex for childcare resources (aka “getting married for the good of the children”) is the only option poor women have. And in this case, polyamory isn’t even the only other option being overlooked. But it, too, is being overlooked.

Today I’m going to talk about all of that. [Read more…]

The Never Sinking Ship: How Thunderf00t Sucks at Science (or Else He’s a Liar; Probably He’s Just a Liar)

Revised. Something really funny happened yesterday. And then something funny happened today. Thunderf00t tried to lie, and got caught. And embarrassed, he threw out a bunch of insults and blather, and ran away. The event was amusing. It was so easy to catch him out. And his response to having been caught was so pathetic and bizarre. And then after publishing this post today his fans caught me in a mistake! Which is amusing for a completely different reason. And I’ll be correcting that mistake below. But it all reminded me, not only would Thunderf00t make a lousy sailor (for reasons I’ll explain), but so much has happened since I last exposed him (not even just this), that it’s high time I aggregated the new material exposing him. So here is your complete update on the horror show that is Thunderf00t. [Read more…]

Guth Documentary on How Women Are Fighting Online Harassment

Photo of Amy Guth from her Kickstarter bio, with her name and location, Chicago, Illinois.Amy Guth is a filmmaker and an experienced industry insider on women’s issues, who wants to develop a documentary series on the online harassment problem and the people who have been fighting it, who will no doubt include every fascinating case from the woman who found and called a harasser’s mother to the woman who hunted down one of her harassers and asked them why they did it (there have actually been more than one of those; links courtesy of Miri Mogilevsky). And so many more.

She needs funding.

So I am hereby asking any of my fans who share my interest in this to throw some dosh into her kickstarter for this project. Because I want to see this movie! There are also different perks for your support level. Spread this around as well! The more who contribute any amount they can, the more likely she can make her budget and proceed with this much-needed journalism project. She needs a little more than three hundred people to give a hundred dollars each. Or six hundred people, fifty dollars. Or bigger backers even. But if you tell everyone you can about this, surely she can pull a few hundred of us smaller supporters in.

You can read her whole pitch on her kickstarter page. But one paragraph that especially caught my eye:

While focusing on women’s stories in the modern, digital world and online spaces, I’m also including glimpses into historic examples of backlash against women’s voices (Think anti-Suffragist pamphlets and tactics, trolling letters to female literary greats and scientists, even corporate propaganda to get women out of post-war factories and back into the home). How did these previous attempts at silencing affect the way women conveyed information and organized for social change? By connecting past and present, I aim to find out how the conflict around who gets to have a public voice has (or, perhaps has not) changed over time, regardless of medium.

The historian in me is giddy at the prospect. Others have made this comparison before. There actually are a lot of similarities between the harassment of feminists a century ago and feminists online today. It’s not new. I’d love to see this elegantly laid out. But I have also heard so many fascinating stories of women combating harassers (such as the ones I linked above), and it’s clear Guth intends to collect and investigate those as well, and her followup on that is something I also want to see.

Opening credits to the pitch video for the project at Kickstarter, which has the production company's name, Strangewaze Films.In fact, on these questions she intends to ask in particular, I want to see what she finds:

Who harasses people online and why? Who thinks it’s perfectly ok and defends the practice? Who is doing work to change it? And, what’s actually working?

Yes. That!

I’ve pledged $50. But I’m poor. And she is still far from her target. So do what you can. Let’s see her make her budget!

Catching Up 2: Ophelia Benson & Advocating Trans Person Rights

I’ve been too busy to blog about all the things I wanted to this month. From the Black Lives Matter protest to the Ophelia Benson departure to a weird John Loftus flameout currently going on. So here I’m quickly trying to catch up. Second on deck: the Benson departure…

[Read more…]

What Dawkins Is Proposing Is the Suppression of Free Speech and the Acceptance of Sexism in Science

Hyperbolic whining when criticized is the male analog to the trope of women crying when criticized. So it’s ironic to see Richard Dawkings “crying” (over and over again) about a male peer being criticized for saying maybe women should be segregated from men in labs because they cry too much when criticized. Sure, Dawkins thinks Sir Tim Hunt saying that was deplorable. But he thinks nothing should come of it. We should just laugh off a Muslim scientist saying it would be better if labs were gender segregated (and not meaning it sarcastically). Because of sexist false generalizations about women, and how “women” can’t handle criticism and relationships.

[Read more…]

How To Do Wrong Right

Picture of a traffic sign in green with white lettering and border against a cloudy sky, which has arrows pointing both right and left, one labeled Right Way, the other labeled Wrong Way.After my post last month asking for a date the following week, many very positive and some slightly negative things transpired in result. The date went well. I chose a very lovely person who replied to my advertisement awesomely. We hit it off very well and are now in a relationship (mutually open). Others asked me out on future dates that have happened or will. Still others were inspired by my post to strike up an exploratory correspondence from afar, and some of those encounters might become future relationships. The hostility that was generated came mostly from sexists or anti-feminists with weird hangups. Some feminists had problems with it but weren’t hostile. I also received a lot of wonderful support.

This post won’t be about that.

Today I’m going to bring up one particular issue that has come up many times before in my discussions with movement insiders across the spectrum. The meta-question is, how do we draw the line, or even tell the difference, between honest, open, consensual, sex-positive behavior, and behavior that should be criticized and disapproved. But within that umbrella is one particular aspect: everyone screws up from time to time; and we can’t pillory the whole world. So what is a positive and constructive way to deal with correctable error, and what distinguishes that from behavior beyond the pale?

Of course, the Slymepit won’t care about that distinction. Even though they insist they do, they just horribly attack and harass anyone and everyone who ever defends any standard or policy whatever. And regardless of what those of the Slymepit profess, in actual practice they are the scary, amoral nihilists of this movement. They are also beyond facts, reality, or reason. So this post is not intended to educate them. They are uneducable.

Who I’m writing for now, is everyone else. [Read more…]

Help Miri Mogilevsky Keep Writing for a Living

Snapshot from a corner of Miri Mogilevsy's Patreon page, showing you can give a dollar amount per blog post to become a patron of her writing, and that she has at writing eleven patrons contributing a total of sixty-seven dollars a month so far.I have long been a fan of Miri Mogilevsky’s excellent writing on society, science, and sexuality, among many other topics, including feminism and other aspects of social justice. As well as her speaking and teaching. I’ve also been considering launching my own Patreon account later this year. But I’d like to see a colleague get it functional in action in the way I see Mogilevsky doing it now. And really, I’d just love to see her supported as a writer.

Her Patreon launch is really great. It’s inspiring me to develop my own someday and she’s given me great ideas for it. Check it out. You can become a patron of her work for just a dollar a month even. Or more. There are also some special goals she’ll meet for greater investments.

It’s worth it. I’ve cited and used her work many times (e.g. [1] and [2]). And I would value getting to do that more often. She nails certain subjects I want to find good articles on far better than I ever could. Including topics in Polyamory (e.g. [1] and [2]). She writes well, clearly, completely, and thoughtfully. I have enjoyed countless of her articles here at FtB as well as for Daily Dot, xoJane, Everyday Feminism, Friendly Atheist, Salon, and other venues. To get a feel for her contributions, just skim her blog archive for the month of this April alone.

-:-

I’ve posted about this not only because I’m a big fan of Miri’s and support her work and think some readers of mine might share both sentiments, but also because I’m becoming more interested in the anarchic Patreon model of employment for authors and artists. I think more authors I like might do this in future. As perhaps will I. So stay tuned!

A Primer on Fourth Wave Feminism

Photo from whoneedsfeminism.tumblr.com, showing a young attractive Asian girl standing before her wall of feminine art and holding up a handwritten sign that says I need feminism because society teaches us don't get raped rather than don't rape.Peter Boghossian often claims feminists today don’t care about the third world. That’s bullshit. In fact, almost everything he ever says about feminism today is bullshit. This article is a corrective. It’s time to clean the Augean stables.

Feminism is often badly understood by people who don’t study it well or don’t read widely among contemporary feminist authors. This is because the feminism culturally communicated to people is largely a mythical creation of feminism’s enemies, rather than what is really going on among feminists themselves. Much as the atheism communicated culturally to a large percentage of people (in the US, maybe as much as half the population) is largely a mythical creation of Christians, rather than what is really going on among atheists themselves. Jews and people of color face similar obstacles to understanding, as what “other people” know about them is often the promulgated stereotypes of racists and anti-semites, rather than reality. And when people just repeat what they’ve absorbed from their culture, they often have no idea how inaccurate that cultural knowledge is.

That’s why it’s important to check.

Cultural knowledge is often wrong. Religion itself, for example, is the most prominent example of cultural knowledge. That’s why Christian apologists struggle so hard to fabricate and disseminate false claims about history (from faked quotes of the Founding Fathers to a fictional history of science). For an analogy, comedian David Cross once joked about his experience with “cultural knowledge” of Jews in the South as a young man… [Read more…]