Speaking in Melbourne! (The One in Florida, Near the Spaceships)

Section of map showing central Florida, Orlando, and the "Space Coast" region east of it that includes MeBourne and also, of course, Cape Canaveral.I’ll be speaking on why we know the Gospels are myths—with many amusing and entertaining examples, and a smattering of literary theory–in Melbourne, Florida, on Friday, May 13 (2016), at 6:30pm, for the Humanist Community of the Space Coast, the Brevard Area Atheists, and the Secular Student Alliance of the Florida Insitute of Technology. I’ll be selling and signing my books after. Come join us! It will be at the Florida Insitute of Technology, Room 118 (Auditorium) in the Olin Engineering Building. Mark it on your calendar!

(And remember I’ll also be speaking on ancient science and Christian fascism two days after in Orlando!)

More details on FaceBook, and on Meetup…

Dr. Richard Carrier “How We Know the Gospels are Myths.”

Friday, May 13, 2016, 6:30 PM

Olin Engineering Building, room 118, Auditorium
FIT Melbourne, FL

14 Members Attending

Humanist Community of the Space Coast, our Sister Group Brevard Area Atheists and the Secular Student Alliance of Florida Institute of Technology is proud to present an Evening with Dr. Richard Carrier. Dr. Carrier will be discussing  “How We Know the Gospels are Myths,” followed by an audience Q&A and book signing.  Lets make sure we give Dr. Carr…

Check out this Meetup →

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 on Ancient Science & Christian Fascism in Florida This May!

Ad for the event, with pictures of David Silverman and Richard Carrier, and the details described in the post.An amazing double bill event with David Silverman and myself is going down in central Florida this coming May (2016). Hosted by the Central Florida Freethought Community. Silverman is headlining with a survey of his case for firebrand-style atheist activism in his excellent new book Fighting God. I’ll be speaking on “Ancient Science & Christian Fascism.” 

The more elaborate title of my talk could be “The Wonders of Ancient Science, and Why Christianity Blocked Scientific Progress for a Thousand Years (and Could Do It Again).” I’ll be drawing on my chapters on this subject in The Christian Delusion (on ancient science) and Christianity Is Not Great (on the Dark Ages and on democracy). The fullest description of my Florida talk:

Conservative Christians are fond of rewriting history to make Christianity the hero, from claiming America was founded as a Christian nation, to claiming the KKK was founded by godless liberals. They also claim Christianity gave us science, that our pagan ancestors were too clueless to accomplish it; the Scientific Revolution becoming like their idea of the American Revolution: something that could never happen without Christianity. This whitewashing of the truth, which was quite the contrary, is nefarious, because it sets the stage for letting conservative Christians control and limit democratic and scientific progress. They don’t want you to remember that it was going against dominant Christian values that made democracy and modern science possible.

In this illustrated talk, Dr. Richard Carrier (with a Ph.D. in ancient history from Columbia University) lays out what the ancient pagans actually accomplished in the sciences, and why they failed to reach their own scientific revolution, which ultimately had to do with Christian opposition to it. The arguments Christian leaders then used to stifle scientific progress for a thousand years, are being used by many Christian leaders today. If we are not vigilant, the same political and economic circumstances could arise that would empower a Renaissance of Christian fascism that would stifle democracy and scientific progress for another thousand years.

Sunday, May 15th, from 1 to 4pm, at the University Club of Winter Park (841 N Park Ave., Winter Park, Florida 32789). Details here. There is a $10 suggested donation at the door to help fund the event. We’ll be selling and signing our books of course!

There may be a VIP fundraising dinner as well. And I may speak on other topics at other times in the same region. Stay tuned.

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.

Appearing in Los Angeles & Costa Mesa

I will be speaking on Jesus mythicism in Southern California this April.

  • “If Jesus Didn’t Exist, Why Did They Invent One?”

The theory that there was no actual Jesus at the dawn of Christianity is starting to impact academia. But if there was no Galilean minister from Nazareth riling up the Jerusalem elite and getting himself crucified by Pontius Pilate, why did Christians invent such a character? How did his existence then become a central dogma of the Church?

That will be the focus of my talk this time. Not so much why we might believe that’s what happened (I’ve spoken on that, too, of course, and will again on other occasions), but the meta-theory: what was going on in the minds of the people responsible for creating the historical character, and then those who later started selling that character as the truth?

Photo banner of the CFI Los Angeles venue against a blue sky, with the words in white outlined in black Los Angeles.I will be speaking on this (and taking Q&A and selling and signing books) on Sunday April 17th (2016) at the CFI Los Angeles venue at 4773 Hollywood Blvd. (Los Angeles, CA 90027) at 11am. Small door fee for non-members (discounts for students with ID). Details here. I will then do the same again down in Costa Mesa, in the Costa Mesa Community Center at 1845 Park Ave. (hosted there by the CFI Community of Orange County) at 4:30pm (ditto).

The Science of Free Will as a Gateway to Philosophy & Social Justice: Join My Online Course Next Month!

Cover of Sam Harris's Book Free Will, which is the course text we will be using next month, red puppet theatre box showing the letters of the title hanging from puppet stringsNext month (April 2016) I will be teaching my online course on the science & philosophy of free will, my favorite class! Spread the word. Or take the class yourself. Or both!

There is also a special discount this year. If you are on the staff or an active member of any nonprofit organization, you can receive a coupon code for $10 off the registration. All I need is an email from an officer of the organization (also CC’ing you) confirming you are an active member and would like to receive the discount. I’ll then send you the discount code to use during registration.

So let everyone you know who is working for or participating in a nonprofit org about this discount! (You can also let them know there is also a course you can get the same discount for that is running concurrently with mine: Why Create Humanist Community, and How To Do It, with Jen Hancock and Ann Fuller.)

Even without the discount, each course is very affordable, only $59. Register at The Secular Academy.

Why take a class on the science and philosophy of free will?

Anyone who joins in will find in it a fascinating way to introduce yourself to the whole of philosophy, as it touches on everything from semantics to metaphysics to epistemology to political and moral reasoning, even aesthetics (such as through analyzing the lived experience of feeling free or trapped). It even leads you to a better understanding of consent, justice, and responsibility, and the social role and value of personal autonomy, and the substantial reality of what it means to increase your own self actualization, and what it actually takes to do that (and what it actually means to fall short of it), and how social systems can get in our way.

I think these are really good reasons to tell people they might be interested in taking my course, especially if exploring these things with an experienced expert interests them.

You’ll also need to have or get a copy (print or electronic) of Sam Harris’s Free Will. We will engage a close reading of that throughout the course, alongside a number of documents and research articles illustrating applications of free will concepts in the real world, and other philosophical and scientific perspectives. Those other reading materials will all be provided to students for free. Only the one book by Harris you need purchase.

The course officially starts this April 1st.

For a full course description (from the topics studied to how the course works) see here.

Mythicist Milwaukee Interview with Carrier & Lataster

A podcast interview of Raphael Lataster and myself has just gone up in advance of the Bass-Carrier debate happening this weekend, also sponsored by Mythicist Milwaukee, the same organization as runs the podcast in question.

The episode is “The Jesus Myth Theory w/ Richard Carrier and Raphael Lataster” (also available on iTunes). The official description:

Richard Carrier and Raphael Lataster join us for a discussion that covers the arguments for and against the mythicist position. We touch on many topics that relate to why we believe Jesus is purely a myth and was not an historical figure. If you are interested in the information that surrounds the Jesus myth theory, make sure to listen to this interview!

Cover of Raphael Lataster's book Jesus Did Not Exist, A Debate Among Atheists, with Richard Carrier. Shows an annular solar eclipse.We discuss Lataster’s book Jesus Did Not Exist: A Debate among Atheists, which analytically compares the cases for historicity made in the only two books so far defending it (by Bart Ehrman and Maurice Casey), with my case to the contrary in On the Historicity of Jesus (which appears to be the only one of the three that was actually peer reviewed and published by a university-based biblical studies academic press, which is ironic considering how much Ehrman and Casey winge about mythicism not being peer reviewed). I discussed the reception of Lataster’s book before. And a similar question comes up in the interview as came up there: why there is so much resistance to the theory that Christianity really began with belief in a heavenly demigod who was mystically revealed, and not an earthly Rabbi worshipped after his death.

All Kinds of Awesome Is Happening!

We are growing and multiplying!

We have split into two blog networks with a common cause. And both are adding many new bloggers. The new independent network The Orbit will focus even more on feminism and social justice (as well as activism). Though we will still do a lot of that here too, we also will cover many other interests, and will bring in and showcase more new bloggers from diverse backgrounds. I highly recommend you bookmark or draw feeds for both!

In fact I have a particular recommendation for you. For over a year now, nearly every day I have gone to the FtB front page, which organizes the latest posts on all the blogs on our network by subject category, and I read everything that catches my interest. This has exposed me to more bloggers and more perspectives than if I just read specific blogs everyday. I learn a great deal more, and I have a much more exciting experience! So you might like doing this, too.

Especially because at FtB we have just onboarded over a dozen new bloggers! And we have even more coming over the rest of the year. If you follow our front page, you’ll discover more of them you might like, as well as occasional posts you’ll want to read even from yet others you wouldn’t read regularly. Of course, you should still follow the specific blogs you are most keen on (as I do), since their entries might only appear on the front page briefly, since so many posts are cycling in and out. But following the FtB front page will add to your experience tremendously.

The Orbit, meanwhile, has a fantastic array of bloggers, too, gathered up from Freethought Blogs, Skepchick, and Patheos (and beyond). Currently the blogs that will be located there include those of: Alex Gabriel, Alix Jules, Alyssa Gonzalez, Ani, Ania Bula, Aoife O’Riordan, Ashley F. Miller, Benny Vimes, Brianne Bilyeu, Chris Hall, Dana Hunter, Dori Mooneyham, Greta Christina, Heina Dadabhoy, Jason Thibeault, Luxander Pond, Miri Mogilevsky, Niki M., Sincere Kirabo, Stephanie Zvan, Tony Thompson, and Zinnia Jones. If you want to follow any of them specifically, you can find their blog in the lineup page here. And for their whole network’s daily latest (where you can see all the latest posts from any and all) is here (just not organized by subject).

Freethought Blogs, meanwhile, has onboarded a bunch of really awesome new bloggers. You definitely will want to check a bunch of them out! I’m already loving many of their feeds. Reading them I’ve been getting that warm fuzzy feeling like the cat that got love-touched in Earth Girls Are Easy. The new blogs so far include:

Check them out. There is stuff for every interest and taste. Enjoy!

Typos List for Sense and Goodness without God

Cover of Sense and Goodness without God, showing a spaceman in a red space suit descending from a dodecahedron shaped white landing ship onto a strange grasland under blue sky, image on a black background, author name Richard Carrier in white against red on top and title below in blue over black for Sense & Goodness and White over red for Without God and then subtitle white over black A Defense of Metaphysical Naturalism. The image is Richard Carrier's One and Only Oil painting, so titled and mentioned in the book. More about that at http://www.richardcarrier.info/coverart.htmlMy first book, Sense and Goodness without God, was completed in 2003 and published in 2005. Since then I have collected a long list of corrections (mostly typos, a few clarifications or improved wording, and updates to all the bibliographies) that I would certainly make if I ever do a second edition. I likely won’t, because I’m planning a new, shorter, popular market version—which will simply reference this one. And further updates will likely be separate volumes by subject (epistemology, ethics, etc.).

Nevertheless, Sense and Goodness still holds up as a really good and solid worldview survey. Nothing like it exists (by me or anyone). It’s still the place to start if you want to examine and build a complete worldview. After twelve years, none of it is relevantly incorrect, and even though its bibliographies could be updated, those updates (all the new science that has happened since 2003) simply confirm further the conclusions already reached in the book. The only thing it lacks is more attention to feminism and social justice as an integral part of moral and political philosophy, and the integration of Bayesian epistemology. But there are many minor corrections worth making.

In this post I will survey the substantive ones, then list all the known typos I and others have caught. I will also update this article as I get further notions or discover more typos. [Read more…]

Mythicist Milwaukee Podcast Live Next Week!

Raphael Lataster and I will be on the Mythicist Milwaukee Show next week to talk about many things to do with the mythology of Jesus, including my upcoming debate with Justin Bass in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the following week (that debate will be this March 19th, and it’s already selling out; details here). We will also discuss Lataster’s recent book, Jesus Did Not Exist, which I recently reviewed.

Tune in this Saturday, March 12th, at 10am PST (a departure from their usual Sunday afternoon slot, since Lataster will be joining us from Australia). Details here. Live feed airs here. It will be archived at their site as well.