Richard Carrier is my new favorite Bible scholar.

For a very long time, I had considered Bart Ehrman to be the foremost Bible scholar, especially as pertains the question of an historical Jesus. I thought Ehrman’s position, that it’s impossible to separate the historical man from the mythological parts, and therefore completely unnecessary, to be the most nuanced and all-encompassing position to take. His disdain for mythicists like the guys behind the terrible movie Zeitgeist (the one perpetuating the amythological myth, to coin a phrase, that Mithras was a virgin birth who was killed and resurrected) was well founded, and therefore he was the first guy I would turn to, if ever anyone asked me about the existence of Jesus as a real person.

Not any more. Richard Carrier, fellow FtBer, just tore apart Ehrman’s latest book Did Jesus Exist? for being a sloppily researched and off-the-cuff rebuttal of the “Jesus is nothing but myth” crowd, with such a poor understanding of the original texts, that I’m almost embarassed for Ehrman.

But I cannot recommend books that are so full of errors that they will badly mislead and miseducate the reader, and that commit so many mistakes that I have to substantially and extensively correct them. Did Jesus Exist? ultimately misinforms more than it informs, and that actually makes it worse than bad. Like the worst of mythicist literature, you will come away after reading it with more false information in your head than true, and that makes my job as a historian harder, because now I have to fix everything he screwed up. This is why I don’t recommend anyone ever read bad mythicist literature, because it will only fill your head with nonsense that I will have to work harder to correct. Ehrman’s book ironically does much the same thing. Therefore, it officially sucks.

This makes me want to read Proving History quite a bit. I realize that this is essentially a pissing contest between two Bible scholars, and that as someone only slightly interested in Bible history I don’t have a lot of skin in the game, so I might find the book dry or otherwise difficult to get through. But when I see someone for whom I had held such a high opinion get royally and rightly smacked down for terrible research, I can’t help but rethink my personal pantheon of atheist scholars.

Einstein’s complete archives go online

Via The CBC, that cesspool of liberal bias, comes the news that one of the greatest thinkers of our time — who believed in peace and didn’t believe in God — has been enshrined on the internet. And the Hebrew University of Jerusalem isn’t even mad about this false idol worship! In fact, they’re complicit!

Albert Einstein’s complete archives — from personal correspondence with half a dozen lovers to notebooks scribbled with his groundbreaking scientific research — are going online for the first time.

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, which owns the German Jewish physicist’s papers, is pulling never-before seen items from its climate-controlled safe, photographing them in high resolution and posting them on the internet — offering the public a nuanced and fuller portrait of the man behind the scientific genius.

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Think of the children!! (Donors Choose – Last Big Push)

Folks, the Donors Choose campaign is almost over, and while your generous contributions are flowing freely, there’s a lot of projects that are still as yet unfunded. Like this one that caught my eye early on and I’d really love to see happen even though it’s less science or mathy than my usual picks. It involves getting kids active, teaching them an important part of Native American history, and all the benefits that come from learning to work together as a team:

We are requesting the equipment needed to run Native Games. Teaching traditional sports such as Lacrosse will not only allow the students to build upon their teamwork and communication skills, but also to be given a chance to recognize the historical and cultural aspect of the sport itself. Another example of Native games that will be played is the traditional Eskimo Olympic games which will be not only challenging, but will teach the students about patience, following directions, and leadership qualities. With a curriculum that provides a full year’s worth of diversity in Native games, and with enthusiastic staff and students, all that we need is equipment.

Having the equipment to run our Native Games curriculum can be life changing. Most of our students are still trying to find their place in the world, and the Native games curriculum will focus on the development of our students’ identity and community building skills through the incorporation of a long history and culture that has much to share.

The Native Games project needs $236 still. Can you help make it happen?

Or this one, for the less sports-inclined, unless you’re into full contact chess: a project called Checkmate.

I have played chess for several years and I am excited to play chess with students in middle school. They love games and competition. Chess is an awesome way to challenge students to maximize their critical thinking and encourage a more active participation in math and science.

My students are in a high poverty inner city area. Chess sets are a luxury that their parents would not be able to provide for them. My students are enthusiastic learners and are challenged by hands on activities. Self discipline and structure needs to be encouraged through their active participation in this strategic game.

Dip into your chess tournament winnings and sponsor this project, they have $178 to go.

Or this one, which looks like it will have high impact in a needy area. Give to Scientific Fun Is Scientastic:

Have you ever wondered why about things? Science opens up a whole new window of whys.

My students are inquisitive, bright third graders. They attend their neighborhood school. They love their school, and they have great school spirit. Our school is a Title I school and 97% of the students are impoverish, but the students are eager to learn.

Hands-on activities make learning fun. Students will engage in experiments using science activities, magnets, eyedroppers, magnifiers, thermometers, and writing journals. These tools will help students discover the answers to their questions in a “scientastic” fun way.

And this project would be an awful shame if it doesn’t get the $129 it needs in the next two days — yes, they’re time limited!

If you can give, please do so. These kids deserve it. If you can’t give, direct this page to someone who can. If the idea of giving kids in impoverished areas the tools needed to learn to work in a team, learn to use logic and math, and discover the scientific method isn’t enough, I’ll tell you what. Anyone who donates from now onward to these three projects can officially claim the title of Honorary Canadian.

(This title grants you nothing but the ability to make certain classes of people in the United States want to beat you up. But it’s yours!)