Proving History Now an Audiobook!

My 2012 book Proving History: Bayes’s Theorem and the Quest for the Historical Jesus is now available as an audio book. Much faster than we expected! As I did for all my other audiobooks, I voiced the text for Pitchstone Publishing. You can buy the audio edition of Proving History now through Audible.com or Amazon.com and (eventually if not already) iTunes.

As usual, this is a somewhat “abridged” version, in the sense that it contains none of the chapter endnotes (and thus the sources are not there, nor any of the note anchors in the text itself). This time, all significant commentary in the endnotes (and even the appendix) I actually read out as a special section of the audiobook, so you don’t miss out on that. But all sources and scholarship are excluded. So for the visually impaired I have assembled the latter as a single HTML bibliography which you can run through a text-to-speech reader if needed (although you’ll have to guess where the notes refer to in the main text; the linked page only segregates them by chapter). I’ve created comparable pages for all my other audiobooks. There are also kindle and nook editions of Proving History that you can run text-to-speech on, and they contain the note anchors and complete notes, so you can identify what goes where.

Note that putting that bibliography page together was a long and complicated project, so it may contain coding errors. I believe I’ve cleaned them all up. But if you find any, do report them here and I’ll fix them.

For those curious to know, I’ll be in studio next week recording the audio for Hitler Homer Bible Christ. So that audiobook will be out in a few months (in anticipation of which I’ve already loaded its bibliography; meanwhile, important commentary in its footnotes I will be incorporating into the spoken text of each chapter).

What I’ll Be Up to During FtBCon 2

Lousy Cannuck had a great idea. He listed all the events this weekend he will be facilitating (and thus introducing and helping to run behind the scenes), “Okay,” he wrote, “I’ll admit it, I made this post mostly as a to-do list for my own purposes. Why do something that only has one purpose, when it can have two by simply posting it at my blog as well?” Well said. So here is my equivalent.

Of course, the whole weekend I plan on watching as many panels and talks as I can. Like last year, probably with a glass of scotch. That’s how I like to kick back and enjoy stuff. And I’ll be enjoying this! I may occasionally pop into the chatroom so you might see me in there (when it’s during an event I’m facilitating, I’ll be there in an official capacity, to cull the best questions from viewers who will submit their questions there and pass them on to the speakers or panelists).

But in addition to all that, these are the talks and panels I will be introducing or participating in (with their Lanyrd and [G+] links). Remember all times listed on Lanyrd for these events are Central Time (GMT-6).

Friday

Intersectionality and Allies: Exiting the Secular Bubble

(featuring Gordon Maples and Kelley Freeman) [G+]

Saturday

Social Justice and Young Women of Color

(featuring Kim Veal, Raina Rhoades, noa e jones, Georgina Capetillo and Heina Dadabhoy) [G+]

Secular Woman: Trends in 2013

(featuring Kim Rippere and Julia Burke) [G+]

Child’s Play: Camp Quest and the Future of Secularism

(featuring David Diskin) [G+]

Fighting for Freethought in the Philippines (Meet the Filipino Freethinkers)

(featuring Red Tani, Kristine Chan, Kenneth Keng, Marguerite de Leon, Pepe Bawagan, Jojie Tiongco and Pecier Decierdo) [G+]

Sunday

Philosophy for Everyone

(featuring Dan Fincke, Julia Galef, Jess Whittlestone and myself) [G+]

Bible Study (or Taking the Bible Seriously as Fiction: A Read-Along)

(featuring me) [G+]

Another Update for FtBCon 2 This Weekend!

I’ll be introducing yet another panel this weekend, featuring Kim Rippere and Julia Burke Secular Woman, who will discuss the trends and developments in 2013 at the intersection of social justice, feminism, and equality in the secular movement and beyond. Check it out.

Remember that all the times listed on the Lanyrd schedule are US Central Time (GMT-6).

Update for FtBCon 2 This Weekend!

The calendar for this weekend’s free online conference is available for perusal. It has undergone several additions and scheduling changes over the past few days, with even more speakers and panelists being added to the list (now counting over 93). Among which, I’ll be introducing another talk this weekend, by David Diskin, President of Camp Quest West, on the value and importance of supporting and promoting Camp Quest and what sorts of things this secular summer camp for children and teens does for education and fun. Check it out.

Remember that all the times listed on the Lanyrd schedule are US Central Time (GMT-6).

FtBCon2: Free Online Conference Next Weekend!

Remember when we had this amazing free online conference one weekend last year, with dozens of talks, panels, and speakers, that people all over the world could watch live? And ask questions in real time. And watch the recorded events ever after on YouTube. Well, get ready. Because we’re doing it again–in precisely one week.

Our complete calendar for the weekend of January 31 to February 2 (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) will be finalized and go live over this weekend. As will our complete list of speakers and panelists (and its huge! and spans the globe!). For both speakers and schedule, bookmark our page on Lanyrd and check it tomorrow night (as a backstage planner, I can tell you that we’ve scheduled over 30 talks and panels throughout the conference, featuring over 80 speakers and panelists altogether). For everything else, bookmark FtBCon.org and also check that Saturday night.

(We will also have a YouTube collection of everything that you can view if you miss the live events, facilitated by our own Miri Mogilevsky; right now over there you can view all of last year’s talks and panels–you can also read up on last year’s event here and peruse its Lanyrd page here. This year will be organized similarly, and have a similar diversity of topics.)

Last year I attended many of the talks and panels as a viewer and it was awesome. I gave one talk myself, on “What the Military Taught Me about Feminism.” This year I’m doing one talk and one panel, and helping facilitate and introduce a few more (including panels featuring members of the Secular Student Alliance, The Black Freethinkers Network, and the Filipino Freethinkers…who will actually be streaming in live from the Philippines!). [Read more…]

Hitler Homer Bible Christ: A Surprise New Book by Richard Carrier

While waiting for Sheffield to finish and release On the Historicity of Jesus (the book everyone is waiting for, presently projected for late March or early April), I decided to produce my own anthology of all my published papers on history. That volume, Hitler Homer Bible Christ: The Historical Papers of Richard Carrier 1995-2013, is now available, in print and kindle.

The publication description reads as follows (emphasis added):

Richard Carrier, Ph.D., philosopher, historian, blogger, has published a number of papers in the field of ancient history and biblical studies. He has also written several books and chapters on diverse subjects, and has been blogging and speaking since 2006. He is known the world over for all the above. But here, together for the first time, are all of Dr. Carrier’s peer reviewed academic journal articles in history through the year 2013, collected with his best magazine articles, research papers and blog posts on the same subjects. Many have been uniquely revised for this publication. Others are inaccessible except through libraries or paywalls. Twenty chapters include his seminal papers on the scandal of Hitler’s Table Talk, the Jerry Vardaman microletter farce, and the testimonies to Christ in Josephus, Tacitus, and Thallus, as well as Carrier’s journalistic foray into ancient pyramid quackery, his work on the historical & textual errancy of the bible, and more.

Cover of Hitler Homer Bible Christ. Olive or brown with dark greek falling leaves is the only graphic. The rest is just the title, subtitle at the top, and author at the bottom all in white lettering.The biggest attraction will be the fact that my peer reviewed paper showing that the reference to Christ in Tacitus is an interpolation, which is slated to appear in the academic journal Vigiliae Christianae later this year, is included in this volume, as well as my two other peer reviewed, academically published papers on the historicity question, the one on Thallus not having mentioned Jesus, and the other on the two references to Jesus in Josephus being interpolations (the one deliberate, the other accidental), published in the Journal of Greco-Roman Christianity and Judaism and the Journal of Early Christian Studies, respectively.

Also included is my brief but now hard-to-find article for The History Teacher published years ago, and all the articles I published in The Skeptical Inquirer (on the FOX special promoting pyramidiocy, and the two articles on the Jerry Vardaman microletters debacle), and most interestingly for some, my game-changing, peer-reviewed article in the academic journal German Studies Review, exposing the dubious nature of the still-only English translation of Hitler’s Table Talk, largely bogus quotes from which make Hitler look more atheistic than he was. Of particular value to anyone who keeps seeing those quotes repeated and wants ready access to the definitive take-down. I have also included a new afterword on the impact that paper had on Hitler studies, and expanding the analysis to include all the passages you’ll find cited from the Table Talk (and even some quotations elsewhere) to argue Hitler was godless.

All of the above are hard to find or get. I only have the rights to publish them in an anthology of my own works. So I did.

I have also included several online articles, from my blog and elsewhere, many revised for this volume, to produce a handy collection of my best and most useful work in the field of history. The table of contents reads as follows:

– Doing History –

1 :: The Function of the Historian in Society

2 :: History Before 1950

3 :: Experimental History

4 :: B.C.A.D.C.E.B.C.E.

– History Done –

5 :: Heroic Values in Classical Literary Depictions of the Soul: Heroes and Ghosts in Virgil, Homer, and Tso Ch’iu-ming

6 :: Herod the Procurator and Christian Apologetics

7 :: Herod the Procurator: Was Herod the Great a Roman Governor of Syria?

8 :: On the Dual Office of Procurator and Prefect

– Debunking the Bogus –

9 :: Flash! Fox News Reports that Aliens May Have Built the Pyramids of Egypt!

10 :: Pseudohistory in Jerry Vardaman’s Magic Coins: The Nonsense of Micrographic Letters

11 :: More on Vardaman’s Microletters

12 :: Hitler’s Table Talk: Troubling Finds

– The Vexed Bible –

13 :: Ignatian Vexation

14 :: Pauline Interpolations

15 :: Luke vs. Matthew on the Year of Christ’s Birth

16 :: Mark 16:9-20 as Forgery or Fabrication

– The Troublesome Evidence for Jesus –

17 :: The Nazareth Inscription

18 :: Thallus and the Darkness at Christ’s Death

19 :: Origen, Eusebius, and the Accidental Interpolation in Josephus, Jewish Antiquities 20.200

20 :: The Prospect of a Christian Interpolation in Tacitus, Annals 15.44

In all, Hitler Homer clocks in at 395 pages.

I already have a contract to produce an audio version of Hitler Homer. Recording will likely begin in a month or so. The audiobook will thus be available probably mid-year. (Meanwhile, I spent most of last week in the studio finishing the recording of Proving History, which you can expect to be released on audio in just a few months. Sheffield wants to do an audio edition of On the Historicity of Jesus but so far hasn’t discussed arrangements with me, so alas, I have no idea when that will be available.)

Consider the Poor

Alex Gabriel has produced an excellent summary of “10 things atheist groups can do to take on class exclusion,” available at Alternet as “10 Ways to Make Sure the Atheist Movement Is Not Just for the Wealthy,” tagline, “Life without God shouldn’t have to be a luxury.”

Anyone involved in decision-making for any atheist group, local or national (even if just as a voting or outspoken member) should bookmark that article, read it, and discuss it with their group’s leadership. That link is an excellent thing to have on hand and pass on to future leadership, too. I think it should be part of any org’s permanent toolkit.

Alex discusses the reasoning behind it on his blog here at FTB: [Read more…]

A New Bayesian Calculator

Bill Seymour has developed a new, more advanced Bayesian calculator for public use, and he would like people to beta test it and offer advice, or even develop it further.

For this open-source Bayes’ Theorem calculator, Seymour writes:

My intent was to find the middle way between, on the one hand, highly technical (and expensive) commercial software used in the sciences and statistics, and on the other hand, the toy Bayes’ Theorem calculators that abound on the Web. Some features of my calculator are:

  • Hypotheses can be saved in permanent storage so that users can work on several at once as part of a larger project.
  • Complete hypotheses can have any number of alternates.
  • Priors and consequents can be almost any arithmetic expression that evaluates to a probability between 0 and 1.
  • Prior and consequent expressions can contain terms that refer to other hypotheses.
  • Probabilities can be entered, and displayed, as decimal numbers, percentages, or odds.
  • The program happily works with what Carrier calls a fortiori probabilities: ranges of values like “20% to 40%”.

If you’re interested, here are some links:

I’ve given the code the open-source Boost Software License which isn’t viral like the GPL and others are said to be; so if you’d like to use some of my ideas in a program of your own, the open-sourceness (if that’s a word) of my code won’t infect yours.

And I explicitly invite others to help with this project. In particular, I think it really should be a downloadable executable that can be run off-line. Unfortunately, writing GUIs isn’t in my wheelhouse (my failing, not GUIs’).

If anyone would like to create a Windows or OS X version; have at it. I’ll even host your source code on my Web site if it’s open-source and high-quality. (But be warned that I’m a professional programmer, and also an old fart, with some curmudgeonly ideas about how quality code should be written.) You’ll find my e-mail address at the end of the documentation.

So if you are interested, check that out. I have also added a link to these materials on my old calculator page so users have the option of both.

Get Hug an Atheist to a Film Festival!

Hug an Atheist is a great movie. If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s worth buying. Check out the Amazon customer reviews. Now it needs to get wider attention. The film’s director is running a crowdfunding campaign to get enough money to present it at film festivals, which will get more people to see it, especially people outside of atheism, who most need it, and whom it’s most for. Here is where you can donate some bucks to help them make that happen. And this is something your local atheist group can get together to help with. They have perks just for that. And this is their appeal:

For this film to make a real difference, it’s important to get it in front of as big an audience as possible. It’s very nice that we already have a supportive audience here, but you all already knew that we atheists aren’t demons. Now it’s essential to get that message out to an audience that really needs to hear the message this film has to offer. And the best way for an independent film like Hug an Atheist to do this, is to get into film festivals. Unfortunately, this costs money, and the funds that we raised to make Hug an Atheist have long run out (and then some!). So we have started a new campaign to raise the funds to get the word out about the film, with a modest goal of $2500 that we have to reach by 3 February. One of the perks this time is a DRM free high definition download of the film for only $10. We also have perks specifically aimed at groups and organisations, so you might want to encourage your local group to organise a screening of Hug an Atheist.

On Illness and the Eternal Wheel of Law & Order

On Christmas I fell deathly ill and have been incapacitated (destroyed would be the better word) ever since. Only just today have I had the energy and wherewithal to go back on the internet since. Sadly my disease infected my dinner guests, too. (Sorry about that.) One of the only things my wife and I could do this whole week (so incapacitated we were by coughing, nausea, and fatigue) was watch TV and lie desperately still while experimenting with meds to get the coughing fits to stop (Benadryl eventually did it for me, i.e. diphenhydramine, but it leaves me dizzy, floaty, and dead inside, so it’s almost as bad as the disease…but dead inside at least works for sleeping).

Today is the first day since Christmas that I’ve had any energy or ability to get online again. So I’m clearing my much-delayed comments queue today, most without reply.

I rarely get ill. But when I do, it’s usually bad. It has literally been years since the last time I was so ill, though, that I couldn’t even do anything. Even for a day. Much less over a week. So this is the first time in years I discovered that you can watch episodes of Law & Order: This or That literally 24-7 if you have a large enough channel array on your cable service. An endless wheel of Law & Order. Anytime. Whether it’s Law & Order “Classic” or SVU or CI. When one marathon or syndication block ends, it’ll be starting up again on some other channel, rest assured.

Jen and I like the show so it was a tolerable thing to watch endlessly, especially as it’s mostly sad or serious and mostly not comedy (laughing is the worst thing when you are trying to suppress your horrible fits of coughing…as I found out when Jen and I started sharing jokes about the commercials and it didn’t go well for either of us, which became a joke between us all on its own…”oh no, don’t start that again…!”).

Though I did notice Sam Waterston’s character is apparently so beloved now that no one shows the eps before his tenure anymore, back when Michael Moriarty played the ADA. And yet I miss those. Channels kept shilling the Waterston eps in commercials as the “first” Law & Order and I felt that was kind of rude. As if the original series didn’t even exist. You know. Back when they had a black man as the assistant prosecutor? Golly, remember that? I liked Richard Brooks’s character. And does anyone even remember Chris Noth’s first partner was played by George Dzundza? Then Paul Sorvino? Before Orbach stepped in and became the mainstay wisecracking partner for ages and ages? (Far outlasting Noth.)

Not that there weren’t great characters and episodes all the way through L&O’s 20 season run, SVU’s (now) 15 seasons, and CI’s ten. But sometimes I get nostalgic for when it all began. And being stuck at home in the middle of a workday staring at a thousand channels and an endless wheel of Law & Order, it just seemed strange not to get a chance to see them again. As if they are now forgotten.