Dang, we’re still being sued for defamation, and the guy has acquired deeper pockets


Hey! Have you been wondering what’s going on with the Carrier lawsuit? I can’t tell you. It’s mostly secret.

I can tell you though, that he has a new friend with money.

And we still need more money.

Just for funsies, here’s the letter Carrier’s new little buddy sent our lawyer, if you like bad letters to lawyers.

Greetings.

I have reviewed evidence recently published arguing your clients have defamed Richard Carrier, and we have become very concerned that your clients may have engaged in dangerous misconduct that threatens a movement and cause we care about (vide richardcarrier.info/archives/14176).

It is my intention to fully fund Richard Carrier’s lawsuit against your clients, unless you can persuade me he has misled me as to the facts, and that your clients do have a realistic chance of prevailing at trial. So in reflecting on whether to support Dr. Carrier, I want to test the facts of the case. Accordingly, I am giving you the opportunity to dissuade me.

Are the facts as Dr. Carrier has laid them out correct, or are there facts contradicting what he has stated, and supporting your clients’ assertions against him? If so, please demonstrate that to me and I will withdraw my support from his case. I will interpret your inability to do so, as confirmation of our expectation that Dr. Carrier will prevail in this case and deserves my support.

Sincerely,

Mario Quadracci

Comments

  1. Johnny Vector says

    What, he doesn’t have access to the internet? Everything you wrote is still there. He could just read it for himself and figure out that there never was a case. Geez. Or y’know, maybe he knows that and is just being a jerk.

    I dropped a little in the hat. Hopefully you won’t have to use it; I’m sure PP can put it to good use.

  2. Pierce R. Butler says

    Don’t forget to provide your info to Mario Quadracci in Bayesian format.

  3. says

    No, of course money doesn’t affect the American justice system. The US is a democracy and it’s under the rule of law. What, what? It’s nothing to do with a thin veneer of procedure covering over a stew of patronage.

    I was afraid Carrier had gotten Peter Thiel or something.

  4. whheydt says

    Does he really think that even a half-way competent defense attorney is going to spell out hew he plans to defend his client to the plaintiff, plaintiff’s lawyer, or someone planning to fund the plantiff’s case? How stupid would that be…? Who does he think is defending this case, Larry Klayman?

  5. peasant says

    Is it ok to donate to this from outside the US or is there some rule preventing that?

  6. raven says

    I have no idea who Mario Quadracci is and already I don’t like him.
    That letter looks like it was written by an internet troll.
    Hey Mario, I just said you look like an internet troll!!!
    So sue me. Sue Me. Sue me.
    File it in federal court. I don’t, thank Cthulhu, live in Milwaukee Wisconsin.
    I do live in an anti-SLAPP suit state so bank up a lot of money to pay for my lawyers.

  7. raven says

    Lottery Hell – Milwaukee Magazine
    https :// www. milwaukeemag. om/lottery-hell/
    Mario Quadracci July 1, 2006 … account for 82 percent of lottery revenues, are disproportionately low-income minority men with less than a college education.

    I put his name in Google and didn’t come up with too much.
    1. He seems to be a writer for Milwaukee magazine.
    2. There is a rich Quadracci family in Wisconsin, who made their money printing stuff.
    All I know is he shares a last name with them and that could indicate a connection.

    I’m not interested enough right now to spend any more time on this guy. Seen one troll, seen them all.

  8. raven says

    I’m good for a few more bucks if FTB’s needs it.
    I really don’t like bullies.
    I really don’t like threats.
    I really don’t like Mario Quadracci.
    I really despise Richard Carrier.

    I’ve already donated twice and this is getting a bit old though.

    IIRC, this lawsuit was not filed in an anti-SLAPP suit state.
    I would try to get it determined to be a SLAPP suit anyway.
    And I would definitely go after your court costs and lawyer fees after FTB’s win.
    There is a silver lining to having some money behind Richard the slime mold Carrier’s SLAPP suit!!!
    Mario Quadracci can pay for FTB’s and the defendant’s lawyers after they lose.

  9. Zmidponk says

    Going to the link from that letter, Carrier is trying to say that he is the one being bullied and that it is him that is the victim of his poverty being used to deny him having a fair defense. He’s the one initiating the lawsuit. If he’s finding it too expensive to continue, he doesn’t have to. There is nothing stopping him from publishing his side of the story, as he already has, and leaving everyone to make up their own minds. It is him that is insisting on having a court decide if he has been ‘defamed’.

    I’m no psychologist, but I think that there is a case of weapons-grade projection.

  10. raven says

    Mario Quadracci:
    and we have become very concerned that your clients may have engaged in dangerous misconduct that threatens a movement and cause we care about

    I don’t believe this guy for one second.
    Richard Carrier is a failed human who is a net negative just by being Richard Carrier.
    He has certainly done the cause of Freethought and atheism a lot of harm so far.

    If Mario Quadracci really cared about those causes, he wouldn’t be paying Richard Carrier’s lawyer.
    He would be paying Freethoughtblog’s lawyers!!!
    If he is capable of reading and thinking, he could have figured this out in a few minutes using the internet.

  11. Pierre Le Fou says

    Just gave $100… except it seems I triggered the transaction twice and instead gave $200. A bug in GoFundMe I assume, given I was doing this with NoScript turned on, and during the credit card transaction I had to manually enable some javascript sites. But I’ll not cancel the second transaction, it’s $200 given to a good cause.

  12. Usernames! 🦑 says

    Facts:

    1) A letter was delivered to the lawyer, signed by someone who claims to be “Mario Quadracci”.
    2) The letter author(s) make several unverified claims

    Not Facts (assumptions):

    a) Mario Quadracci is a real person and the author of the letter
    b) Mario Quadracci is not a sockpuppet
    c) Mario Quadracci has enough money and is willing to bankroll Carrier
    d) Mario Quadracci is interested only in “testing the facts of the case.”

    Inferences

    i) Everything could be exactly as it is stated.
    ii) This could be a sockpuppet of Carrier, desperate to see “the dirt” you have on him or desperate for you to give up/in.
    iii) “Mario” could be a Carrier minion, who may or may not have money to bankroll Carrier, but is attempting a childish and flaccid scare tactic to intimidate you guys.
    iv) All of the above
    v) None of the above

    ========

    To sum, don’t get too carried away until the identify of Mario has been established. Even then, who cares? If he turns out to be stupid enough to throw cash at Carrier (what is the quid-pro-quo?), he should do so. A fool and his money, etc.

  13. DonDueed says

    What, exactly, does it mean to back someone else’s lawsuit financially? Does it mean that, if Carrier wins the suit, some of the settlement would go to this Mario fellow?

    That sounds dodgy to me. IANAL, but it seems that allowing that sort of arrangement is just begging for abuse — as if spurious lawsuits weren’t already a problem.

    If that’s not what it means, and MQ is simply considering making a donation to a legal fund without laying any claim to the settlement, no problem; that’s exactly the same as folks here donating to FtB’s defense fund. But that letter sounds a lot like somebody considering making an investment rather than a donation.

  14. wzrd1 says

    Given that one has a letter to one’s lawyer and a nickle, one really only has a nickle.
    It’s not a contract with the opposing attorney, it’s not a court filing, it’s a letter. A sheet of paper with words on it that isn’t actionable for any party. It doesn’t actually provide funding, it doesn’t actually file a motion before a court, it is just a letter.
    Time to file a counter litigation for harassment and being a general pest, seeking damages for four hundred and seventy quintillion dollars. Increasing the amount each and every time the sod initiates some form of contact.

  15. gijoel says

    Honestly P.Z I always felt Carrier’s sex advertising on his blog was sleazy and completely inappropriate. But I hadn’t seen that story of him pestering a woman to cheat on her partner before. The man is a dog, and FreeThoughts is well rid of him.

  16. rpjohnston says

    “It is my intention to fully fund Richard Carrier’s lawsuit against your clients, unless you can persuade me ” stopped right there. dude it happens to every guy, just pop a viagra and you’ll be fine

  17. says

    Guess that’s what happens when you decide to become Witchfinder General in the post enlightenment age. You even call it a whisper network for fucksake. You will likely lose the case and you deserve to lose the case. Ever wondered why your readership is less than a third of what it was in the Scienceblogs era before you turned it all to crap?

    Not sure if any of you have seen this episode of The Next Generation but if you haven’t, you should (and if you have, you should watch it again): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Drumhead (ST:TNG S04E21). If you don’t like Star Trek and prefer to read, might I suggest Animal Farm by George Orwell for a demonstration of the sort of equality the third wave feminists you seem to be in the pocket of are going for.

    You may see something uncomfortably familiar.

  18. raven says

    Guess that’s what happens when you decide to become Witchfinder General in the post enlightenment age.

    How would you know?
    You are a troll stuck back in the Dark Ages.

    Dumb Troll:
    You will likely lose the case and you deserve to lose the case.

    Trolls are always so dumb they are very predictable.
    This is an assertion without proof or data and may be dismissed without proof or data.
    You are wrong.

    Ever wondered why your readership is less than a third of what it was in the Scienceblogs era before you turned it all to crap?

    Ever wondered why people despise trolls like you and Richard Carrier?
    Of course not, if you were a decent human being, you wouldn’t be living under a bridge in the Dark Ages.

  19. HawkAtreides says

    Is it even possible for the trolls not to tip their hand and pull out their right-wing anti-SJW buzzwords? “Third wave feminist” is right up there with “virtue signalling” in most overused and misunderstood/misapplied terms that immediately identify the speaker’s agenda.

  20. wonkothesane says

    This doesn’t surprise me. Mario Quadracci is one of the organizers for Mythicist Milwaukee.

  21. vucodlak says

    @ adamcolley, #23

    You’ve seen The Drumhead, and you’ve seen how that turns out for Admiral Satie, and you still decide to align yourself with her? That’s… brave. Or it would be, if not for the fact that the malefic inquisitors tend to win in the real world. You know that, of course, which is why you’re siding with them. You’re nothing but a craven little bootlick.

    But perhaps I’m being unfair. Maybe you’re just not very bright. So remind me, which player in all this is using the weight of the legal system to attempt to destroy their critics? Why, it’s Richard Carrier! That would make him the witchfinder general, now wouldn’t it?

    Now please, stop torturing those poor metaphors, and let them go. I know they must make your head hurt something awful, but it’s not their fault that it’s two sizes too small.

    (That’s a reference to The Grinch, by the way, but don’t try to read too much into it. That might lead to a repeat of that one scene from Scanners.)

  22. KG says

    adamcolley@23,

    You’ll no doubt be delighted to learn that you persuaded me to donate $50 to the defence against Carrier’s attack on freedom of speech.

  23. chrislawson says

    adamcolley@23–

    How do you know the readership levels for PZ/Pharyngula at Scienceblogs vs. FTB? Can we see these figures? You forgot to provide a link to your data, which I’m sure as a committed skeptic was an oversight you regret and are anxious to correct.
    Is readership level the best measure of skeptical writing? And if that’s your gauge for quality, should we consider GOOP and Oprah the absolutely bestest skeptics on the planet?
    How is pushing a contributor off a blog platform the same as being a Witchfinder General? Has FTB burnt anyone at the stake?
    Does it bother you that calling people sticking up for the rights of women as witchfinders when historically witchfinders executed a lot more women than men is, shall we say, obtuse, perhaps even contemptuous?
    Could you define third-wave feminism and explain your objections to it? Can you give verifiable examples of objectionable third-wave feminist arguments?

  24. Ichthyic says

    Guess that’s what happens when you decide to become Witchfinder General in the post enlightenment age.

    Is that you Mario?

    lol. what a laughably silly nutter you are.

  25. says

    On an internet filled with millions and millions of idiots I don’t think the relative number of readers of a blog is a useful metric for determining quality. And PZ doesn’t have a cute cat to feature, just an evil one.

  26. Zmidponk says

    adamcolley:

    Guess that’s what happens when you decide to become Witchfinder General in the post enlightenment age. You even call it a whisper network for fucksake. You will likely lose the case and you deserve to lose the case. Ever wondered why your readership is less than a third of what it was in the Scienceblogs era before you turned it all to crap?

    Not sure if any of you have seen this episode of The Next Generation but if you haven’t, you should (and if you have, you should watch it again): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Drumhead (ST:TNG S04E21). If you don’t like Star Trek and prefer to read, might I suggest Animal Farm by George Orwell for a demonstration of the sort of equality the third wave feminists you seem to be in the pocket of are going for.

    You may see something uncomfortably familiar.

    Perhaps you’ve missed that it is Carrier that is initaiting the lawsuit? That being the case, it seems that, in your TNG comparison, it is Carrier that is the Admiral that is using and abusing the legal system to go after people they simply don’t like. It is Carrier that seems to think that his right to speak trumps other people’s right to speak, if those other people say something different, and he can enforce what he says as being correct via the courts, so it is him that is ‘more equal’ than everybody else.

    Maybe you’re getting confused, and thought this was Carrier’s blog?

  27. enkidu says

    How is pushing a contributor off a blog platform the same as being a Witchfinder General?

    Maybe I misremember but didn’t Carrier take his toys and go home voluntarily?

  28. says

    What’s this “post enlightenment” nonsense?

    We’re still in enlightenment and will be forever now… the religion-fueled Dark Ages isn’t ever coming back…
    .

  29. John Morales says

    Nerissa Belcher:

    According to Richard Carrier your group refuses to allow the case to go to court or to arbitration. I.e. you’re trying to break him financially to prevent a decision for or against him. Is he being honest in his comments?

    Depends how you define “honest” — it is not impossible he’s delusional.

    But no, he’s not the recipient of any legal action, he’s the instigator, and all he has to do is drop his case and carry on if he wants to stop spending more money suing.

    In his own words, from your own link:

    It may be common knowledge that I am suing several parties for defamation.

  30. raven says

    Is he being honest in his comments?

    NO!!!
    PZ Myers, the rest of the defendants, and their lawyers simply don’t have that power.
    While I’m sure that they would like to be superheroes with the the power to define reality and rule the universe, the fact is, they have the same powers as the rest of us.
    That is, they are US citizens and live here.

    I didn’t think I could think less of Richard Carrier.
    After reading that assertion in #35, I now do so.
    The person who is financially stressing Richard Carrier is…Richard Carrier.
    He is the one who initiated this lawsuit and the one who could stop it any second.
    Richard Carrier doesn’t seem to have any capacity to take individual responsibility for anything he does.
    Not impressed.

  31. marinerachel says

    I’m still so grossed out that his blog was ever hosted here and that people defended Carrier for as long as they did. Bleh.

    Not to mention, I never saw the dude say a thing I would consider interesting, profound of valuable. That’s what really made me tilt my head. I didn’t perceive him as having any redeeming qualities that would make people feel inclined to keep him around in spite of his creepishness. He was just slime. Obviously, others felt differently.

  32. KG says

    marinerachel@39,

    I think it may have been his espousal of the “Jesus was mythical” crankery (I’ll bet someone comes to this thread to defend him on that score) that got him in. Ignoring the consensus of relevant experts (including atheists, agnostics and observant Jews) in this particular case is judged to be bold, sceptical iconoclasm by all too many atheists, rather than the denialist nonsense the same people would correctly diagnose when seeing the same cluster of symptoms in the cases of “sceptics” of evolution, climate change, the Holocaust, etc. The fact that Carrier thought he could teach physicists and philosophers about the relationship between relativity and quantum mechanics should also have been a clue that here is a narcissist, even without any knowledge of his sexual creepiness. Although the first blog post of his I read happened to be a deranged rant against vegetarians – which was enough for me to decide I didn’t want to read any more of his effusions.

  33. sherlock says

    It seems to me that you have a very good attorney representing you. You do not need to be in an anti-slapp state if the plaintiff’s pleadings, from the complaint onwards, are a clear violation of Rule 11. This letter will undoubtedly be an exhibit presented by your counsel in the after-action application for costs (including attorney fees). At that point, the internal discussions among Carrier, his counsel and this interloper will be quite interesting to cast blame as to which of them is ultimately responsible for paying the sanctions costs. Additionally, barratry, champerty, and maintenance still appear to be looked upon unfavorably in the State of Ohio.

  34. says

    Whenever people like Adamcolley use terms like “third wave feminism”, I’m reminded of Deepak Chopra using !quantum physics”.
    Hey Adam, how about you giving use a definition of third wave feminism in your own words?

  35. Onamission5 says

    adamcolley @23:

    A whisper network, as referenced here, is an action that victims of abuse undertake when they lack power within a particular system in order to warn potential future victims of the harmful behavior of their abuser. They usually have to engage in the “whisper network” because saying what happened to them out loud where their abuser can hear might result in the abuser doing something like.. I dunno… trying to slap them down with frivolous lawsuits regarding defamation of character? And then the abuser’s friends will join in to impugn the character of the victims and anyone who supports them.

    Just wondering if any of this sounds at all familiar.

  36. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To marinerachel

    Not to mention, I never saw the dude say a thing I would consider interesting, profound of valuable.

    He has done a lot of great academic work, such as the work he did to discover that the English translation of Hitler’s Table Talks contains outright forgeries in order to make Hitler look like an atheist and anti-Christian. His work on the historical Jesus (e.g. probably wasn’t one) is also incredibly useful, both for its historical value, and for all of the tangential value that it has for countering religious apologetics.

    It still saddens me greatly that seemingly Carrier has gone off the deep end. As much as I used to respect him, I find it far more likely that PZ Myers and a half dozen other people acted in good faith and Carrier is deluded on this topic compared to the possibility that Carrier is actually right. I still want to like Carrier, and I still want to respect him, and I want him to be a member of our movement in good standing, but you can’t always get what you want.

    To KG:

    I think it may have been his espousal of the “Jesus was mythical” crankery (I’ll bet someone comes to this thread to defend him on that score) that got him in.

    You summoned me!?

    I don’t know why you think it’s crankery. His book “On The Historicity Of Jesus” passed peer review from one of the most respected Biblical studies universities that there is, Sheffield. It’s not crankery. There’s no reason to lie or exaggerate about Carrier’s faults – there are plenty of faults without the need to invent new ones. For example, you are entirely right regarding the crankery of the other (non peer reviewed) articles written by Carrier that you cite (quotes omited).

  37. Rob Grigjanis says

    EL @44:

    …the work he did to discover that the English translation of Hitler’s Table Talks contains outright forgeries…

    Not about Carrier necessarily, but what an odd story this seems to be. The German, French and English versions were published, respectively, in 1951, 1952 and 1953. It seems to have taken 50 years for the “controversy” to surface. In all that time, there were no German, French or English scholars who noticed the discrepancies? Maybe a historian would say “oh yeah, this sort of thing happens all the time”, but it just strikes me as very weird. There must have been a huge number of scholars who read German and at least one of English and French.

    His book “On The Historicity Of Jesus” passed peer review from one of the most respected Biblical studies universities that there is, Sheffield.

    Wonder how many of the “peers” had any background in mathematics. Folk I’ve come across with mathematics backgrounds who have looked at his work didn’t seem too impressed.

    Seems to be a pattern: A lot of non-mathematicians are impressed by his math. A lot of non-physicists are impressed by his physics. But I don’t know how anyone can have been impressed by his obnoxious responses to legitimate criticism.

  38. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    There must have been a huge number of scholars who read German and at least one of English and French.

    Yeah, but why read it in anything but your native language, and especially why would anyone read both looking for rare passages that are inconsistent? I can believe that no one ever noticed until now. I mean, I cannot read German, but everyone online I can find agrees with Carrier that changes were made, and so I’m pretty sure that it did happen.

  39. marinerachel says

    Carrier’s area of expertise seems to be so far outside any of my interests that I just never came upon anything good from him, just his obnoxious oversharing and boundary pushing.

    Anyways, it’s unfortunate this suit is ongoing. What a boob Carrier is.

  40. KG says

    Enlightenment Liberal@44,

    As expected one crank comes to defend another! I think it’s crankery because the consensus of relevant experts is that it’s crankery; because it’s “methodology” is pure crankery (there’s a reason real historians don’t use Bayesian methods – it’s because they are completely inappropriate to the task of constructing a coherent explanation of the processes and mechanisms that have produced a unique body of evidence with multiple idiosyncratic features); because it completely fails to provide a plausible alternative to the hypothesis that Jesus was a historical individual, heavily mythologised; and because Carrier routinely responds to criticism with vituperation rather than argument.

    His book “On The Historicity Of Jesus” passed peer review from one of the most respected Biblical studies universities that there is, Sheffield.

    you’re just demonstrating your ignorance. The term “peer reviewed” is very rarely applied to books at all, but only to academic journal and conference papers. Carrier – by his own account – chose his own “reviewers” and sent the book to them. But even if it was “peer reviewed”, that doesn’t stop it being tosh – and nor does the identity of the publisher.

  41. consciousness razor says

    KG:

    there’s a reason real historians don’t use Bayesian methods – it’s because they are completely inappropriate to the task of constructing a coherent explanation of the processes and mechanisms that have produced a unique body of evidence with multiple idiosyncratic features

    This looks fallacious to me. Maybe it’s only that a lot of important points are missing, and you could help me through it. There is of course a huge difference between (A) explaining mechanisms, etc., and (B) making inferences about what’s likely to be true. I don’t know how to put it very concisely; but with explanations, you want more than just some probabilities attached to a set of propositions. You want a story, a way to understand how it all came about, what things there are which cause certain effects, and so forth. A good one should usually take a complicated-looking mess and boil it down to something that’s relatively informative and simple (and true, obviously), because their purpose it to be helpful for people who need to comprehend stuff. Saying which things are more or less probable simply doesn’t provide that kind of help.

    Anyway, I had assumed his claim was more or less that Bayesianism ought to be incorporated into the field (more than it already is, whatever that amounts to), not that historians must only use this one tool in their toolbox and expect it to work wonders for them by doing things it was not designed to do (or that it can’t do). So that may be a strawman to attribute the latter to Carrier; or you could say it’s presenting a false dichotomy (which he wouldn’t need to endorse, as I assume he didn’t). Also, I’d say the claim that it’s “completely inappropriate” is simply false — it has its proper place, next to a lot of other methods that will play a lot of other roles. You might try formulating things a little differently if you like, but I definitely don’t see how to get a sound argument out of this.

    Not that it really matters, but I’m still on the fence about the historicity question. I haven’t read Carrier’s book, so I won’t try to comment on anything in it. You put it rather forcefully, but I suppose the difference between us is just that you find it very implausible that Jesus wasn’t real, despite the fact that he was heavily mythologized, whereas it doesn’t seem to me like such a big/difficult step to think that all of it was mythical. I do see a big pile of “pure crankery” in the Bible, and trying to sift through that to find a few grains of truth is certainly not easy. I don’t know if it’s the difficulty of the task or my indifference to the whole topic that’s having the bigger effect on me, but I guess it’s some combination of both. Anyway, if we just have different intuitions about what’s plausible and what’s not, that isn’t much to work with…. Maybe it’s alright that this isn’t the right thread for it anyway.

  42. Rob Grigjanis says

    cr @49:

    There is of course a huge difference between (A) explaining mechanisms, etc., and (B) making inferences about what’s likely to be true.

    You had better have a bloody comprehensive understanding of (A) to construct the priors you need for (B). And therein lies the problem with using Bayesian inference for matters of historical “truth”. Your input necessarily involves multiple subjective choices and vast areas of ignorance. A tweak here and there could radically affect the result. Garbage in, garbage out.

  43. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To KG and Rob
    I’ll try to keep it short (and fail).

    Not that should matter, but one of my college degrees is a bachelor’s in mathematics. I mention it, but I don’t think it’s really relevant because we’re dealing with simple high school math. The conversation about Bayesian methods is instead a conversation moreso about epistemology, philosophy, and practicality concerns.

    I simply don’t understand the attack on Bayesian methods for history “the priors are arbitrary; garbage in, garbage out”. This is true, but it’s no more or less true compared to the use of formal logical syllogistic arguments, and yet, I don’t think that you would complain about someone saying that historians ought to make use of proper formal logical syllogistic arguments. The point of a formal argument, whether syllogistic or Bayesian, is to try to narrow down the space of disagreement. You start by disagreeing about a broad point of contention, but with the use of formal logical argument, you can hopefully identify the deeper points of contention which will probably be simpler and easier to argue about. Even still, you might find two reasonable people who will still disagrees about the premises / priors, but at least some progress has been made, and oftentimes, by identifying the root points of disagreement, someone might actually be persuaded to change their mind. No one is claiming that Bayesian arguments is magic and removes all possible disagreements, just like no one is claiming that formal syllogistic arguments is magic and removes all possible disagreements.

    Of course historians should use proper evidential reasoning, and that is Bayesian. As Carrier says, he doesn’t expect them to use actual numbers ever, but he does expect them to be familiar with proper epistemological methods, and what it means for something to be likely or not likely, and what it means for something to be a piece of evidence in favor of a proposition, and that requires knowledge of Bayesian reasoning because that sort of reasoning is inherently Bayesian.

    Regarding the claim that his book On The Historicity Of Jesus is crankery. I still don’t get it. That doesn’t make it crankery. That’s not how academia works. You might think it’s wrong, but being wrong does not mean it’s crankery. You might think that it’s in contradiction to the established expert consensus, but that still doesn’t make it crankery. Crankery is something more than just disagreement with the consensus. Sometimes a new guy does come along and overturn the expert consensus. It happens rarely in all scientific fields, including biology, physics, history, etc. In this particular case, I am very partial to Carrier’s position that the field of Biblical studies is not worth the title of “experts”, and one only needs to look at the sordid history of the scholar who originally showed that Moses wasn’t a real person. He was accused of anti-semitism and systematically drummed out of the field with claims of incompetence and anti-semitism, but the majority of so-called experts recognize that he was right. I’m not saying that this makes Carrier right on his other idea – but please don’t say that Carrier’s particular work is crankery because it happens to disagree with a particular expert community, and especially not for this so-called expert community.

    because it completely fails to provide a plausible alternative to the hypothesis that Jesus was a historical individual, heavily mythologised;

    Do you mean to say that Carrier doesn’t attempt to provide such a hypothesis, or do you mean to say that the hypothesis that he provides in the first few chapters is not plausible? You’re being ambiguous here, and I hope you’re not doing so purposefully to make Carrier’s argument look worse than what it really is.

    To remind everyone else, loosely the hypothesis is that Jesus first existed as a fictional character up in heaven, who lived, died, and was resurrected in heaven, and this granted an eternal afterlife to his followers on Earth. It goes on to argue that the first gospel was clearly allegorical, and all of the gospels are entirely fictional and made up, and there is no other evidence for the Earthly existence of Jesus outside of the Bible, which leaves only the 7 authentic letters of Paul. Except for a very small number of passages, the 7 authentic letters of Paul never speak of a Historical Jesus – most of it never says anything that would confirm that Jesus existed on Earth. There are a few passages which may suggest that he was on Earth, but Carrier argues that there are reasonable ways to understand these passages as not meaning that, and he argues the totality of the evidence on the other side strongly suggest that Paul didn’t believe in an Earthly Jesus, i.e. it would be really hard to talk about someone without ever once dropping a random factoid about his life on Earth, like he was in such an such city, or he did such and such thing, etc. It’s also very odd that Paul is adamant that he is using only scripture and personal revelation, and never relying on eye witness testimony of what Jesus said and did on Earth – you would think that Paul in his letters about doctrinal disputes would cite something that Jesus said on Earth in order to solve a doctrinal dispute, but he never does that.

    There’s a lot more, but that my short summary of the parts of hypothesis and arguments that I believe to be most important.

  44. Rob Grigjanis says

    EL @51: Carrier is crap at physics, yet thinks he has insights that have somehow escaped real physicists for the last 100 years or so. That alone screams “crank”, as well as “narcissist”. Some people have responded to that with something like “OK, he was wrong about physics, but that doesn’t mean he’s wrong about everything”. Which completely misses the point. He wasn’t just “wrong about physics”. He was convinced, for years, that he had found deeply profound truths that the experts had somehow missed. He hadn’t. He was transparently ignorant of the subjects he was pontificating on. And his responses to attempts at correction were content-free defensive nonsense, in the vein of “you haven’t read my references”, “you don’t understand the subject”, etc. For me, that was enough to disregard anything he says.

    The responses to Carrier’s Bayesian “treatment” from mathematicians seems to mirror the above. Did you read the post I linked to in #45?

  45. Rob Grigjanis says

    EL @51:

    one only needs to look at the sordid history of the scholar who originally showed that Moses wasn’t a real person. He was accused of anti-semitism and systematically drummed out of the field with claims of incompetence and anti-semitism…

    Historical curiosity: who was this scholar?

  46. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Rob
    Yes, Carrier is a crank. He’s a crank because of his various fundamental physics assertions, and because of his almost certainly asinine and baseless defamation lawsuit. However, he’s not always a crank. I just don’t think that this justifies calling his Jesus historicity research crank. As far as I can tell, he is an excellent academic resource in his areas of specialization, but it is undoubtably true that often he goes outside of his actual areas of expertise and goes full crank.

    As for the other particular scholar, I exaggerated a bit in his academic achievements. However, I believe that he was at the forefront of the modern movement in Biblical studies regarding the Moses myth theory. Thomas L Thompson.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_L._Thompson

    In his own words:
    http://www.bibleinterp.com/opeds/critscho358014.shtml

    It seems that the accusations of anti-semitism also stem in part from his refusal to side completely with Israel in the Palestinian-Israel conflict. (Anecdote: Hell, just last week someone called me “a Nazi” online because I said (approx) “well, I have absolutely nothing against Jews, but Israel is a fascist apartheid state”.)

    I read the link:
    https://irrco.wordpress.com/2012/09/08/a-mathematical-review-of-proving-history-by-richard-carrier/

    I’m not defending any of Carrier’s slopiness in his presentation, but I will mostly side with him that all correct evidence-based reasoning must be grounded in proper epistemological principles which themselves are inextricably Bayesian. Frequentist statistics are a useful tool in many domains only because they are sufficiently close to the fundamental the Bayesian analysis and because they’re oftentimes much simpler to think about compared to the fundamental Bayesian analysis.

    I believe this is part of a deeper disagreement between us. I claimed that inductive reasoning, specifically Bayesian inductive reasoning, is the foundation of all proper evidence-based reason and scientific reasoning, and it’s also the solution to the “problem of induction”? Remind me, do I remember correctly that you disagree and that you say that scientific reasoning is instead based on something called “parsimony” which is somehow different, or maybe something like Popper’s falsification model which is somehow different? If so, I expect to be called naive, incorrect, and Dunning-Kruger, etc. I’m pretty sure that we’ve been here before, and I don’t expect to make any progress this time either. If this is the basis of your objection to Carrier, then I will have to politely but firmly disagree. If you really want to try again, I’m game, but I have a very low estimate of the odds of making any progress this time.

  47. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    [Bayesian reasoning is] also the solution to the “problem of induction”?

    Sorry, I misspoke. It is no such thing. I don’t know why I wrote that. Sorry. Rather, proper Bayesian reasoning is an inevitable refinement of naive inductive reasoning, but you still need to start with naive induction, and therefore it’s not a solution to the “problem of induction”.

  48. Rob Grigjanis says

    EL @54:

    Remind me, do I remember correctly that you disagree and that you say that scientific reasoning is instead based on something called “parsimony”

    Maybe you have me confused with someone else. I certainly like parsimony as a rough guide, so I consider it useful; a tool, or an aesthetic. Bayesian inference can be useful. Perturbation theory can be useful. A tool’s usefulness depends on context; domains of validity, or applicability.

    I certainly don’t slavishly adhere to dogmatic crap like

    all correct evidence-based reasoning must be grounded in proper epistemological principles which themselves are inextricably Bayesian.

  49. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Rob
    I don’t deny that these tools have their uses. I explicitly stated as much in the earlier post. I hope you don’t misunderstand me there.

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