Another reason 2016 sucks

Because we’re victims of a lawsuit intended to harass us. As you’ve probably heard earlier this year, Skepticon, Amy Frank-Skiba, Stephanie Zvan, The Orbit, Freethought Blogs, and I are the target of a ridiculous $2 million lawsuit by Richard Carrier, and the legal bills are coming due (actually, I’ve already coughed up a good chunk of change). I don’t believe there’s any way we can lose, short of doing something stupid like not hiring competent legal representation, which costs money.

Skepticon is already asking for donations to help cover the legal costs, the rest of us will be tagging along shortly with a separate fundraiser. We’re all in this together, and the only reason Skepticon is doing their bit separately is because they’re a 501(c)(3) organization, so donations there are tax deductible, while the rest of us are just lowly ordinary citizens. Please do help us out by donating to Skepticon, but you might also save a few pennies to throw at the rest of us.

Oy, I can’t believe we have to do this.


  1. Morgan!? ♥ ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ says

    Oh, the irony. Doesn’t the “brilliant” Dr. Richard Carrier know that the worst defamation being inflicted on him is being done by himself and this very unethical lawsuit?

  2. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    Donation: fait accompli
    don;t spend it where I would, errr wouldn’t, err neither, ummm spend it well.

  3. stevewatson says

    Can’t help echoing #1 et al: If I’d only heard about the harassment charges I would probably have shrugged and ignored the whole thing, as I really don’t keep up with movement skepticism these days. But suing for $2M? Christ, what an asshole.

  4. millssg99 says

    Didn’t Carrier himself say that people shouldn’t have to pay for their own legal expenses in regards to lawsuits? Is he paying for his? Or is his lawyer getting paid only if he wins? I guess I’m just curious and more or less flabbergasted to see Carrier on the side of the fence he currently is on. So without a settlement, dismissal, or a withdrawal by Carrier I guess this is actually going before a jury.

    don’t believe there’s any way we can lose, short of doing something stupid

    I find it hard to believe that Carrier is simply intending to harass, although I guess that is possible. That seems like a tactic for people with a lot deeper pockets than Carrier. Did Carrier all of a sudden come into a lot of money? I think for him to go into this where everyone’s evidence is going to be laid on the very public table, he has to actually believe he has a chance to win. Because otherwise this seems like the actions of a very deluded individual. I guess I never thought he was delusional.

  5. Brian E says

    This is self-damaging to Carrier. I liked his blog, and his gung ho style.

    But it did get a bit tiresome, the total confidence that his views were impeachable. I remember he declared that his views on objective morality were deductively proven, and all it would take was someone to show on of the statements was false, which Massimo Piglucci did. Carrier didn’t retract or rephrase his arguments as far as I know, he just kept insisting they were proven. Of course, I think Carrier might be using objective in a different sense than others and just talking past his opponents.

    The point of this digression is he doesn’t do humility and admitting fault well. I think even his doing wrong right (which was sited in a legal document I saw about this case) was about how right he was……….

  6. whheydt says

    For Carrier…your personal introduction to the Streisand Effect. Enjoy…so to speak.

    For those defending themselves…does your state have a strong anti-SLAPP law?

  7. Rob Grigjanis says

    Brian Pansky @9: Gosh, this took all of 10 seconds to google. You know how that works, right?

    This certainly resonated with me;

    The guy writes too much, is too long winded, far too obnoxious for me to be able to withstand reading him for more than a few minutes at a time, and frankly my interest in the subject matter just isn’t strong enough to overcome all of the above.

  8. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Looks like I managed to finish the year with a little left in the account I use for donations.
    I looked at Carrier’s blog a couple of times. Couldn’t stand his arrogance.

  9. A Masked Avenger says

    I’m not qualified to diagnose NPD, but as an adult child of a narcissist, let’s just say I was less than zero surprised at the allegations of abuse and his reaction to their being made known. I wasn’t waiting for this precise outcome, but I’ve been waiting for something along these lines for years.

    Money sent.

  10. raven says

    I’m in for a few bucks when the time comes.
    I’ve donated to these sorts of lawsuits before and haven’t lost one yet.
    I really don’t like bullies.

  11. says

    I agree that Carrier is a bully, and I find his deductive argument re ethics as preposterous as his “proof” that Jesus didn’t exist. It’s not a good time financially for me, but l’ll see what I can do.

  12. says

    @12, Rob Grigjanis

    It’s hard to know where to start with that article. It seems wrong in nearly every statement. Even the followup, Part 2. I won’t go into the details, but if someone wants me to address something specific and relevant, I’ll consider it.

    For now I’ll only mention the a more general problem with it:

    Pigliucci limits himself to the version of the syllogism that Carrier himself criticized (for being ambiguous and such) right there under Pigliucci’s nose. Pigliucci basically ignores the superior syllogism, which is clearly the one that should be addressed.

    Why would Pigliucci go and do that? Very bizarre. He’s just setting himself up to fail by misunderstanding and such. And that seems to be partly to blame for the failure of his reply.

    What a waste of all of our time.

  13. Brian E says

    @brian pansky

    What a waste of all of our time.

    I’ll concede then that Pigliucci didn’t show one of Carrier’s statements was false, and his argument unsound. It doesn’t really affect my point, and my philosophical learning, which wasn’t much, has atrophied over the years. Besides, it’s a distraction on this thread. I will try and see if I understand the link you provided for Carrier’s terminology.

  14. Brian E says

    OK, I read most of it, and though I shouldn’t, I’ll just say I think this is smuggling in values, per Hume:

    It can be objectively true that you ought to value certain things, when your valuing other things instead is self-defeating—because valuing things causes you to pursue them, and pursuing them might undermine things you value more.

    But why value things that aren’t self-defeating? Why value these other things more?
    I think he hasn’t shown this:

    So that you ought to value certain things is also an objectively true fact about you.

    That ought seems smuggled in.

  15. Holms says

    I think for him to go into this where everyone’s evidence is going to be laid on the very public table, he has to actually believe he has a chance to win. Because otherwise this seems like the actions of a very deluded individual.

    I would suggest that his belief that he can win this is actually the evidence that he is deluded.

    A question for the legal beagles: if this is determined to be an frivolous lawsuit, can he be made to pay defendant legal costs?

  16. davidc1 says

    Hi ,i can only afford to give $10 ,i am what in GB is called a benefits scrounger ,although i save the govt thousands by caring for my twin brother .

  17. raven says

    A question for the legal beagles: if this is determined to be an frivolous lawsuit, can he be made to pay defendant legal costs?

    IANAL, but in some cases the answer is yes.

    This is a SLAPP suit. Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation.

    A lot of states have anti-SLAPP laws meaning that the loser has to pay court costs and your lawyers.

    This suit was filed in federal court because most defendants didn’t live in Ohio. In states where the parties don’t live in the same state, which state laws apply is determined by rules and the judge.
    Carrier wants Ohio where the suit was filed and which isn’t an anti-SLAPP state. The defendants want their states laws, some of which are.

    Because otherwise this seems like the actions of a very deluded individual.

    Individuals with delusions of competence are common. Just look at the next president of the USA, D. Trump.

  18. says

    I hardly ever wish anybody ill, but damn do I hope he ends up pennyless and miserable.
    Will donate.

    Really, do you always need to rehash whether Carrier’s other arguments have any value? Could you maybe try some self evaluation on why they always need to discuss something other than a guy trying to make people shut up about how he harassed women?

  19. says

    Brian Pansky:

    Why do you think it’s appropriate to go on about your Carrier love in a thread about him being a massive asshole, engaging in a frivolous lawsuit because he harassed women, and that frivolous lawsuit is costing a lot of people some serious money?

    It takes a fuck load of oblivious nerve to maunder on about Carrier, then write this:

    What a waste of all of our time.

    How about you shut the fuck up, and stop wasting time talking about crap that doesn’t matter?

  20. says

    Brian E@#21:
    I’ll just say I think this is smuggling in values, per Hume

    That’s a general critique of “virtue ethics” which the virtue ethicists haven’t overcome. Basically, they sneak in values under the cover of “virtues” and then say that our understanding of virtue and vice are what allows us to be moral. There are plenty of critiques of virtue ethics including Philippa Foot’s own admission at the end of “Natural Goodness” (which Carrier leans heavily on) that she’s mostly providing a framework for moral disputes – i.e.: that she acknowledges that people’s opinions about right and wrong (virtues) are going to be specific to them, and there’s no resolution as to what virtues and vices might be universal. She does a great big dance around a burning straw-man of Nietzsche’s attack on christian morality, ignoring Humean skepticism and Sextus Empiricus entirely. At least she refrains from doing as Carrier does: following that muddle by declaring victory.

    Carrier leans a lot on Foote, and his argument amounts (as far as I can tell) to a heavily padded version of virtue ethics, defended by insisting that anyone critiquing his views should buy and read his book and Foote’s. That’d be OK if either book was a model of clear writing, but when you’re claiming, as Carrier does, that it’s easy to prove objective facts about morals, then it ought to be, uh, easy, and not require 2 books of overwrought puffery. You can ignore Carrier and just read Foote, in other words. Foote isn’t any more convincing (to me) than Carrier, but she uses less space to not make her case.

  21. Jessie Harban says

    On that note, see his recent blog post on precisely that bit of terminology.

    That was rather a lot of words to express the idea: “There is no such thing as morality. Anyone can do whatever they want, but it would behoove them to make sure they really want to do something before they do it.”

    Richard Carrier owes me a refund on the spoons I spent wading through that tripe.

  22. Raucous Indignation says

    I renewed my subscription. You could have higher levels of subscriptions that cost more? A GoFundMe might be better?