The "independent scholar" Dr. Richard Carrier PhD

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The "independent scholar" Dr. Richard Carrier PhD

#1

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On the Historicity of Jesus
Why We Might Have Reason to Doubt That It Was Actually Peer Reviewed

Dr. Richard Carrier PhD, an unemployed historian...oops, I mean, an independent scholar, claims that his book On the Historicity of Jesus; Why We Might Have Reason for Doubt was peer reviewed. He advertises it on his blog as "A Comprehensive, Peer Reviewed Case against a Historical Jesus."

What is peer review? Dr. Carrier clearly knows the meaning of the term. He described the process as follows:
It works the same way in history as in science. An academic press will often even ask you, as standard procedure, whom you think would be best suited to peer review your submission (they will ask for as many names as possible, because being unpaid, most when asked will decline). They might not go with names you recommend, but they will consider them. And the process after that is usually triple-blind (not just the public but even you won’t know who the actual peer reviewers end up being, while the reviewers won’t be told who the author is, either, although in practice that can sometimes be guessed).

There are almost always revisions required in their reports, and often they will list a lot of non-required suggestions as well. Generally you do your best to satisfy all requirements, even if it requires some sort of compromise. If some requirement is truly unreasonable, you can appeal to your editor, you might consult the other peer reviewer as to the merits of the first reviewers’ demands. If both reviewers say you must do it, you must do it. If one says you must and the other says you don’t, it’s the editor’s call.
The most important elements of a peer review are: (1) An editor acts as intermediary between author and reviewers; (2) The editor decides who will be asked to do the review; (3) The author doesn't know who the reviewers are, unless the latter volunteer to have their names disclosed; (4) The editor communicates the reviewers' reports to the author and will decide if the author responds adequately to requests for revisions (there almost always are).

All these elements are present in Dr. Carrier's description, so there can be no doubt that he is aware of the proper procedure. How then was his own book peer reviewed?
I sought four peer review reports from major professors of New Testament or Early Christianity, and two have returned their reports, approving with revisions, and those revisions have been made. Since two peers is the standard number for academic publications, we can proceed. Two others missed the assigned deadline, but I’m still hoping to get their reports and I’ll do my best to meet any revisions they require as well. (...)

My own effort to line up formal peer reviewers (which I started before I got a publisher in order to speed up the pipeline to publication) was to find peers who held diverse opinions of the thesis but whose work in the field is exemplary and whose judgment I highly respected (and who held ranking professorships in the field). Before reading the manuscript, one was sympathetic to the thesis, one was undecided as to its merits, and two others were actively opposed to the thesis (but not irrationally).
Wait, what? Dr. Carrier selected and approached the reviewers himself? That's a fucking travesty. The peer review process goes right out the window here. There was no editor to select the reviewers; there was no editor to gauge the adequacy of Dr. Carrier's response to the requests for revisions.

Two of the four "major professors" declined to do the review. How about the ones who accepted? Dr. Carrier says that they approved, with revisions. Let's get this straight: Two "major professors" in New Testament studies or Early Christianity approved a book that defends a thesis that in academic circles is generally regarded as a crackpot theory. Hmmm, interesting. Why doesn't Dr. Carrier divulge which two "major professors" helped him review his deliberate tour de force?

Wait for it. Dr. Carrier cannot tell us who they are, because they would have to fear for their career if their names became public knowledge. Yes, really. We have deeply penetrated crackpot territory now. To quote Dr. Carrier:
The reason peer review is kept anonymous to the public (and as much as possible to the authors as well) is to ensure academic freedom, since peer reviewers must be free to give honest judgments without fearing attacks on their career or reputation (as for example Ehrman and others have threatened to do, and has actually happened before: see my discussion of this here and here). For that very reason I won’t be naming my reviewers unless they give me permission (and I’m not inclined to put them on the spot by asking).
Are we to believe that two "major professors" have to be afraid of what Bart Ehrman can do to their career? Really? You got to be kidding.

Let's drop the pretence, and tell you what I think. Dr. Carrier never had his book reviewed by two "major professors". At best, he asked two of his sympathizers to have a peek at the manuscript. This persecution theory of his, to cover up the identity of his reviewers, is just too transparent. They are the reddest of red flags to any skeptic.

And that's why there is reason to doubt that On the Historicity of Jesus was actually peer reviewed. It certainly was not peer reviewed by any proper academic standard. And, most likely, it was not reviewed by two "major professors". Not even by two minor professors.

All quotes from: http://web.archive.org/web/201508201108 ... hives/4090

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Re: The "independent scholar" Dr. Richard Carrier PhD

#2

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Book review – Proving History: Bayes's Theorem and the Quest for the Historical Jesus, by Richard Carrier. Prometheus Books, Amherst, 2012. ISBN 978–1–61614–560–6 (ebook)

This author, Dr. Richard Carrier PhD, is nothing if not ambitious: his aim is "to explore and establish the formal logic of all historical argument." Proving History is the first of two volumes in which Carrier attempts to make the case that Jesus did not exist as an actual person. This first volume does not present that case but instead sets out to establish a methodology that can be applied in settling historical questions in general.

In the first chapter Carrier scoffs at the plethora of Jesuses, often wildly different from each other, that have been reconstructed by scholars on the basis of the same few historical sources. He considers the lack of consensus to be evidence that historians have been and are doing it wrong. Instead, writes Carrier, "[h]istorians must work together to develop a method that, when applied to the same facts, always gives the same result; a result all historians can agree must be correct." In an aside he then clarifies that to him "correct" means "the most probable result." It is somewhat unfortunate that the explicit statement of what is the central thesis of this book is tucked away between parentheses. In Carrier's view, historians should, when faced with alternative explanations, calculate their probabilities and pick the one with the highest outcome. If they do this properly, they will all get the same result.

The bulk of the book is, not unexpectedly in light of the above, concerned with probabilities, and in particular with a basic identity in probability theory known as Bayes's Theorem. More about this later. But what exactly is a probability when referring to a historical event? It is fairly easy to grasp the meaning of "the probability of throwing 3 with an unbiased die is one sixth," because it concerns events that can be repeated at will. It is far less clear what is meant by "the probability that Jesus existed is 0.273," because we can't repeat history (Nietzsche notwithstanding). Unfortunately, Carrier is not particularly clear on his definition of probability. He makes the following half-hearted attempt in Chapter 2:
by “probability” here I mean “epistemic probability,” which is the probability that we are correct when affirming a claim is true. Setting aside for now what this means or how they're related, philosophers have recognized two different kinds of probabilities: physical and epistemic. A physical probability is the probability that an event x happened. An epistemic probability is the probability that our belief that x happened is true. For example, the probability that someone's uncle invented the global positioning system is certainly very small (since only a very few people out of the billions living on earth can honestly make that claim). But the probability that your belief “my uncle invented the global positioning system” is true can still be very high. All it takes is enough evidence. The former is a physical probability, the latter an epistemic one.
This is hopelessly confused. First of all, there is no difference between "the probability that an event x happened" and "the probability that our belief that x happened is true." To see this, suppose that x is the statement "the outcome of a throw with a die is 3." The probability of our belief that a 3 was thrown being true is the same as the probability that a 3 was thrown. Considering that Carrier deals throughout with epistemic probabilities, it is especially frustrating that he is unable to provide an accurate definition.

Then there is the problem that "epistemic probability" is here defined as the "probability that etc.", which presumes that we already know what "probability" means (for the record, an epistemic probability is a degree of belief that event x occurred. It can be quite different from what Carrier calls the physical probability of that event. For example, if I suspect that the die has been tampered with, my epistemic probability that the outcome of a throw with a die is 3 can be different from one sixth).

In addition, the example given is a poor one, because in the first instance the event x is "someone's uncle invented the global positioning system," while in the second instance it morphed into "my uncle invented the global positioning system." These events are clearly not the same, as they should have been in a useful example.

In the final chapter Carrier reveals what is perhaps the source of his confusion, where he brazenly states that "[p]robability is obviously a measure of frequency." He then declares, "But what about epistemic probabilities? As it happens, those are physical probabilities, too. They just measure something else: the frequency with which beliefs are true." But this is plainly nonsensical. If I suspect that the tampered-with die will come up 3 with epistemic probability 0.21, then this does not necessarily measure the frequency with which the die will actually come up 3. At best it is a reasonable approximation.

At this point in Chapter 2 I considered throwing the book in the farthest corner, but realized just in time that I was reading an e-book on my laptop. The main substance of the chapter is not about probabilities anyway, but deals with twelve Axioms and an equal number of Rules which, in Carrier's opinion, should be accepted by all historians. The Axioms represent nothing less than "the epistemological foundation of rational-empirical history." To this reviewer, the axioms sound very much like something you would find on the website Less Wrong – in fact, the whole book with its gospel-like presentation sounds like something derived from the writings of that website's founder Eliezer Yudkowsky and his circle.

Axiom 1 states: "The basic principle of rational-empirical history is that all conclusions must logically follow from the evidence available to all observers." This is poorly worded ("the" evidence is almost never available to all observers, because some observers may have access to evidence that others do not), but otherwise uncontroversial. But Axiom 2 is already cringe-worthy: "The correct procedure in historical argument is to seek a consensus among all qualified experts who agree with the basic principle of rational-empirical history (and who practice what they preach)." Why should there be a consensus on topics where different, but about equally valid interpretations are possible? Is "agreeing to disagree" some kind of consensus too? Who are these qualified experts?

Other Axioms are merely redundant, such as Axiom 3: "Overconfidence is fallacious; admitting ignorance or uncertainty is not." In Axiom 1 we had agreed only to draw conclusions that logically follow from the evidence. That already excludes the kind of fallacious reasoning that Axiom 3 (again with heavy Less Wrong overtones to me) warns against. I could go on: each of the other axioms is either a platitude, poorly worded, or redundant. How on earth can this random collection of admonishments be considered to be "the epistemological foundation of rational-empirical history"?

The twelve Rules, which Carrier "would like to see all historians consistently follow, in order to make their work more credible and worthwhile, and to make progress possible," are cut from the same cloth as the Axioms. Rule 6, for example, which basically tells us to keep Axioms 7 & 8 in mind, is implied by Rule 1, which states: "Obey [sic] the Twelve Axioms (given above) and Bayes's Theorem (articulated in the remainder of this book)." It all seems ad hoc and not properly thought through. Are these Axioms and Rules an exhaustive set? I doubt it.

In Chapter 3, Carrier introduces Bayes's Theorem. Those who have been taught Bayes's Theorem (BT) during an introductory course in probability theory will be surprised to learn what BT is.
In simple terms, Bayes's Theorem is a logical formula that deals with cases of empirical ambiguity, calculating how confident we can be in any particular conclusion, given what we know at the time.
Described in these, which I wouldn't call simple terms, BT appears to be potent stuff, sounding almost like a magical rather than a logical formula. This is strange, because all it really is is an elementary identity, relating a bunch of probabilities to each other. In its simplest form it can be derived from the axioms of probability theory in one or two lines of basic algebra.

Still, from this humble origin an impressive body of mathematical theory has arisen, which, under the proper conditions, provides a powerful set of tools for making inferences under uncertainty. The question is, can these tools be employed in the science of History to help settle questions such as "Did Jesus exist?" Carrier emphatically answers "yes", and in Chapter 4 even attempts to prove that all valid methods of History are "fully modelled and described by BT (and are thereby reducible to BT)." What he actually proves is that all methods that use probabilities in any way must be consistent with BT. Well, yes, that's because it is a theorem in probability theory. You can't work with probabilities while contradicting BT. This is trivially true. Nothing to prove here, people. Move on.

Much of the book goes into great, and frankly tedious, detail in treating some examples of calculating probabilities using BT. But what can BT actually do for historians?

All that BT does is to spit out a certain probability (let's call this P) when we feed it with a number of other probabilities ("priors"). This is often useful when it is difficult to calculate P directly, while we know how to calculate the priors. Now, suppose P is the probability that Jesus existed. In this case it should be clear that we are not dealing with ordinary (physical) probabilities, as in throwing a die. We are concerned with epistemic probability, degree of belief or uncertainty, whatever you want to call it. This implies that all the inputs into the formula, the priors, are also epistemic probabilities. So, where do they come from? It turns out, unfortunately, that they are often just as difficult to calculate as the probability of interest, P. Which is where the saying "Garbage In - Garbage Out" kicks in.

For all his bluster and pomposity, Carrier fails to show that the priors he needs to evaluate in order to answer a question like "Did Jesus exist?" can be calculated to any useful degree of accuracy. He basically pulls numbers from his posterior (what he calls a forteriori reasoning). And this is where his programme fails. How can there ever be consensus among experts about the priors? He seems overly optimistic, as in waving the problem away, when he suggests that sharing of information and discussing the evidence will in the end necessarily lead to a consensus.

But we are not done yet. Carrier does not only believe he can transform the way historians should do their job. He even thinks he can do significant work in fundamental probability theory, for which he has no qualifications whatsoever. In his sixth and final chapter, Carrier claims that there is no essential difference between Bayesian and frequentist approaches to probability. He even believes that he has proved this assertion, thereby solving a longstanding problem that has baffled some of the finest mathematical minds. In the above I have already touched upon this topic, which in essence is about the difference between physical and epistemic probabilities. It is also a subject that has been treated thoroughly by another reviewer (Tim Hendrix), who has shown that Carrier almost certainly did not understand what he was talking about (my paraphrase). This whole chapter smacks of someone seriously afflicted with a case of Dunning-Kruger expounding on subjects far above his grasp.

In summary, Bayesian methods may well have their use in Historical research. But this is not a book that is going to convince many historians, as it is evidently written by an incompetent amateur dabbling in topics way beyond his expertise. This is not taking into account that the author is known for being a lying sack of shit with delusions of grandeur.

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Re: The "independent scholar" Dr. Richard Carrier PhD

#3

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A field-changing publication?
Richard Carrier. (2003). Hitler's table talk: Troubling finds. German Studies Review 26(3): 561

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Re: The "independent scholar" Dr. Richard Carrier PhD

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This site is having problems with unicode characters, and as a result my previous post has suddenly all but disappeared. Below it is restored in full, with a few spelling mistakes corrected.

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Re: The "independent scholar" Dr. Richard Carrier PhD

#5

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A field-changing publication?
Richard Carrier. (2003). Hitler's table talk: Troubling finds. German Studies Review 26(3): 561 - 576.


Published in various versions and translations, what has become known as Hitler's table talk is the semi-official record of Hitler's off the cuff ramblings during the war (but mainly 1941/2), compiled on the initiative of Hitler's secretary, Martin Bormann. Dr. Richard Carrier PhD claims that he has done "field-changing" work about Hitler's table talk. With characteristic modesty, he announces a talk he is going to give on the subject:
First, on Monday, September 21, I'll be discussing my field-changing work on the fabricated and distorted Hitler quotes from the English edition of the infamous Table Talk.
He gives the following description of his talk:
Hitler Was No Atheist: From Dr. Carrier's peer reviewed article in German Studies Review exposing the only existing English translation of the infamous Table Talk as largely a fraud which resulted in this alleged eyewitness source to the statements of Adolf Hitler, often used by Christians to prove Hitler is an atheist, to be used with greater caution. And now this article has inspired a professor in Sweden to go on a quest for the truth behind the whole document that is starting to sound like a fiction novel. Learn about all of this, and the distortions in the Christian quotes you find everywhere on the Internet that make Hitler seem like the atheist he was not, in this exciting talk!
This is quite something: the intrepid Dr. Carrier has uncovered a fraud committed by the famous English historian Hugh Trevor-Roper! What's this about? The following paragraph from Dr. Carrier's peer-reviewed paper may serve as a summary of the case:
From the isolated comparisons I made, Trevor-Roper's English appears to be an almost verbatim translation of Genoud's French. Yet the title "Hitler's Table Talk" is a direct English translation of Picker's title, not Genoud's, and Trevor-Roper's preface claims the translation was made from the German original of Martin Bormann. Genoud's version ends in 1942 (his preface declares an intent to publish the rest in a second volume, which never transpired), as does Picker's (who did not have any material beyond 1942), while Trevor-Roper and Jochmann continue with entries up to 1944.
Apparently, Trevor-Roper presented an English translation (not his own) that was based on the French translation by the Swiss Hitler admirer François Genoud. I have only seen Trevor-Roper's preface to the third edition, which appeared in 2000, three years before Carrier's article. In this preface, Trevor-Roper writes the following about the sources he used:
To German historians, eager to read the original text, and to read it whole, it was frustrating to have to rely either on a foreign translation [the French version by Genoud, J.S.] or on Dr Picker's devout and partial anthology. But between M. Genoud, resolutely refusing access to what his competitors termed his 'plunder', and Dr Picker, stoutly defending his legalised monopoly, any collation of texts was impossible.
Trevor-Roper here makes it fairly clear that he had to use the French translation for the previous editions of the English translation because the published German version (Picker's) was incomplete, while the owner of a more substantial German manuscript, Genoud, refused direct access to the documents. Unfortunately, Carrier doesn't cite the preface in which Trevor-Roper allegedly claimed that the translation was done directly from the German. At any rate, in the Third Edition there is certainly no claim that the translation was entirely based on the German originals. Besides, part of the book contains material translated from Picker's version, which includes entries not found in Genoud. Therefore, Trevor-Roper's version was at least partly translated from the German.

Why is this important anyway? It is because Carrier shows a number of discrepancies between the German text (first published in 1980 by Werner Jochmann) on which Genoud based his translation and the English version by Trevor-Roper. Carrier claims that these discrepancies (which are indeed there) depict Hitler as being more hostile to religion than he really was, thus allowing Christians to cite the spurious parts as support for the assertion that Hitler was an atheist.

Well, that is bollocks. Firstly, the original texts already contain enough statements that can easily be quote-mined by Christians for their purpose. Consider this rant from 11/12 July 1941:
The heaviest blow that ever struck humanity was the coming of Christianity. Bolshevism is Christianity's illegitimate child. Both are inventions of the Jew. The deliberate lie in the matter of religion was introduced into the world by Christianity. Bolshevism practises a lie of the same nature, when it claims to bring liberty to men, whereas in reality it seeks only to enslave them.

In the ancient world, the relations between men and gods were founded on an instinctive respect. It was a world enlightened by the idea of tolerance. Christianity was the first creed in the world to exterminate its adversaries in the name of love. Its key-note is intolerance.

Without Christianity, we should not have had Islam. The Roman Empire, under Germanic influence, would have developed in the direction of world-domination, and humanity would not have extinguished fifteen centuries of civilisation at a single stroke.
(The German reads:
Der schwerste Schlag, der die Menschheit getroffen hat, ist das Christentum; der Bolschewismus ist der uneheliche Sohn des Christentums; beide sind eine Ausgeburt des Juden. Durch das Christentum ist in die Welt gekommen die bewußte Lüge in den Fragen der Religion; in gleicher Weise lügt der Bolschewismus, wenn er behauptet, die Freiheit zu bringen, während er nur Sklaven sehen will.

In der antiken Welt lag über dem Verhältnis des Menschen zur Gottheit der Schimmer ahnender Ehrfurcht; sein Kennzeichen war Duldsamkeit. Dem Christentum war es vorbehalten, Ungezählte im Namen der Liebe grausam zu töten; sein Kennzeichen: Unduldsamkeit.

Ohne das Christentum würde es keinen Mohammedanismus gegeben haben; das römische Reich hätte sich unter germanischer Führung zur Weltherrschaft entwickelt und geweitet: Die Menschheit würde nicht um fünfzehnhundert Jahre in der Entwicklung zurückgeworfen worden sein.

The English translation is not verbatim, but doesn't distort the meaning.)

Secondly, the English version still contains enough amunition against the suggestion that Hitler was an atheist. Such as this:
An uneducated man, on the other hand, runs the risk of going over to atheism (which is a return to the state of the animal) as soon as he perceives that the State, in sheer opportunism, is making use of false ideas in the matter of religion, whilst in other fields it bases everything on pure science.
How about those parts of the English version that were translated directly from the German of Picker? It has to be said that the translation is not very good. For example, this passage:
Ich kümmere mich nicht um Glaubenssätze, aber ich dulde auch nicht, daß ein Pfaffe sich um irdische Sachen kümmert. Die organisierte Lüge muß derart gebrochen werden, daß der Staat absoluter Herr ist. In der Jugend stand ich auf dem Standpunkt: Dynamit. Erst später sah ich ein, daß man das nicht übers Knie brechen kann. Es muß abfaulen wie ein brandiges Glied. So weit müßte man es bringen, daß auf der Kanzel nur lauter Deppen stehen und vor ihnen nur alte Weiblein sitzen.
is translated as follows:
I don't interfere in matters of belief. Therefore I can't allow churchmen to interfere with temporal affairs. The organised lie must be smashed. The State must remain the absolute master. When I was younger, I thought it was necessary to set about matters with dynamite. I've since realised that there's room for a little subtlety. The rotten branch falls of itself. The final state must be: in St. Peter's Chair, a senile officiant; facing him, a few sinister old women, as gaga and as poor in spirit as anyone could wish.
This is a pretty poor translation throughout, but worst where Hitler's "alte Weiblein" (little old ladies) are transformed into "a few sinister old women, as gaga and as poor in spirit as anyone could wish."

It can be concluded that Trevor-Roper's version of the table talk, although not worthless as Carrier claims it is, let alone a fraud, is not accurate and reliable enough to be used as a source by serious historians. They should only rely upon the German originals. But you know what? That is what every historian already knows. Translations are never as reliable as the original texts. If that is a "field-changing" insight, then the standards for field-changing work are absurdly low.

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Re: The "independent scholar" Dr. Richard Carrier PhD

#6

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Richard Carrier caught lying and strawmanning again.

It is well known that Dr. Richard Carrier PhD is a totally dishonest scumbag when he rides his high horse as Social Justice Warrior. Some people believe nonetheless that he is to be considered a man of integrity when he argues within his field of expertise, ancient history. They are wrong. When he engages his critics in biblical studies, Carrier is exactly the same lying and strawmanning sack of shit that he is when he talks about Atheism Plus or about alleged misogyny and racism in the atheist/skeptic community. His most recent piece about a review by James McGrath of Carrier's On the Historicity of Jesus contains a particularly flagrant example of Carrier's habitual lying and strawmanning .

Carrier writes:
Neil Godfrey has already exposed how incompetently McGrath ignores what I actually wrote in the sections McGrath is talking about. My favorite example: McGrath complains that when I define three criteria that are markers of myth writing, I’m making a big mistake because no one of them is sufficient to entail a text is a myth…completely ignoring that I say exactly that, in the text he claims to be reading.

As Godfrey sums it up:
Ignoring Carrier’s point that “no one of these criteria is sufficient to identify a narrative as mythical but the presence of all three is conclusive” McGrath proceeds to “protest” that “no one of these criteria is sufficient to identify a narrative as mythical”.
I find this to be disrespectful and insulting. McGrath is pretending I didn’t say exactly what he is saying, and pretending that therefore he has a legitimate critique of what I said. McGrath therefore has no actual rebuttal to what I said.
The "fans" of Dr. Carrier PhD are probably too lazy to check what McGrath wrote, most likely just taking Carrier's word for it. Which is always a mistake when the word of Dr. Carrier is involved. Let's check what McGrath actually wrote, shall we?
Carrier helpfully recognizes that identifying the genre of the work will not answer questions of historicity, “For in fact, a great deal of ancient biography, even of real people, was constructed of myth and fiction.”[4] His treatment of myth, and how to determine whether a work is largely or entirely myth, is less satisfactory. Carrier writes,[5]
Characteristics of myth are (1) strong and meaningful emulation of prior myths (or even of real events); (2) the presence of historical improbabilities (which are not limited to ‘miracles’ but can include natural events that are very improbable, like amazing coincidences or unrealistic behavior); and (3) the absence of external corroboration of key (rather than peripheral) elements (because a myth can incorporate real people and places, but the central character or event will still be fictional). No one of these criteria is sufficient to identify a narrative as mythical. But the presence of all three is conclusive. And the presence of one or two can also be sufficient, when sufficiently telling.
Since similarity between real events and other real events is not at all unlikely, and on the contrary well-documented, the first alleged characteristic of myth simply doesn’t work. The third point is equally problematic, not only because it is unclear what “external corroboration” entails (external to one literary work and confirmed in another, or external to the entire tradition in question?), but also because a great many figures in the Judaism of this time, such as John the Baptist and Hillel, might be deemed unhistorical by this criterion. The second also fails to do justice to the presence of the allegedly miraculous in a range of sources about verifiably historical people and events.
First of all, although Godfrey, parroted by Carrier, claims that McGrath protested that “no one of these criteria is sufficient to identify a narrative as mythical,” McGrath in fact does not use these words at all. Secondly, McGrath actually cites these very words of Carrier's. So Carrier is lying when he writes that "McGrath is pretending I didn’t say exactly what he is saying." How the fuck can McGrath pretend that Carrier didn't say that, when he cites the very words that Carrier wrote? And McGrath himself did not use these words.

McGrath's own words are not even a paraphrase of what Carrier stated. McGrath does not say in other words that "no one of these criteria is sufficient to identify a narrative as mythical." Instead, McGrath claims that the criteria are faulty as such. They just don't work, whether in isolation or when taken together. So, not only are Godfrey and Carrier blatantly lying about what McGrath wrote, they are also misrepresenting him, and therefore are attacking a strawman.

Note that I am not claiming that McGrath is correct in his own assertions. I am just demonstrating that Carrier is lying about him and strawmanning him.

And then Carrier has the nerve to accuse McGrath of "Ignoring My Book," when McGrath is one of the few scholars who has taken the trouble to write about the bloated tome, more than once. The little creep even has the audacity to write that McGrath is "disrespectful and insulting." No, McGrath's main failing is that he is not disrespectful and insulting towards Dr. Richard Carrier PhD.

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Re: The "independent scholar" Dr. Richard Carrier PhD

#7

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I made the following comment on Dr. James F. McGrath's blog (without the hyperlinks).

Caught with his pants down, Carrier with habitual dishonestly now tries to weasel himself out. He has added the following note:
Edit: Possibly McGrath didn’t realize the logic of his argument entailed this. See comment. Some mistook Godfrey’s description as a direct quote, despite the fact that it is literally verbatim, which should have clued them in. Godfrey and I are describing the logic of McGrath’s argument, and pointing out the fact that it ignores the actual argument is disrespectful and insulting. Not a lie. Only in subsequent sections do I catalog McGrath’s lies.
We are now to believe that text between quotation marks is not a direct quote, even though Carrier himself had added: "McGrath is pretending I didn’t say exactly what he is saying."

Besides, Carrier doesn't do logic at all well.

Describing three criteria that supposedly indicate that an event as described might be a myth, Carrier had claimed: "No one of these criteria is sufficient to identify a narrative as mythical but the presence of all three is conclusive." This can only mean that the presence of only one or two of these criteria is not sufficient, but the presence of all three is conclusive. What it does not say is that the criteria themselves can be faulty. It is only their conjunction that matters.

On the other hand, McGrath finds fault with each of the criteria, so that they might also fail when all three of them are present. McGrath, therefore, is absolutely not saying exactly the same thing as Carrier. Only a moron can claim that he did. Or a liar who wants to paint McGrath as dishonest. Carrier was hoping that his avid readers would take his word as gospel. It is always a mistake to believe a word he says without double checking it.

The only one who is disrespectful and insulting here is Dr. Richard Carrier PhD himself. He is a liar, and a stupidly transparent one at that. His only purpose is character assassination of a professional scholar who has what he couldn't get and now will never have: an academic position.

What an all-round disgrace and failure our Dr. Carrier is. A classical crackpot.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringo ... 2257078322

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Re: The "independent scholar" Dr. Richard Carrier PhD

#8

Post by Jan Steen »

Richard Carrier's favourite paper for a peer-reviewed philosophy journal

Richard Carrier's habitual chest thumping would make a silverback gorilla look ridiculous, let alone an anaemic wanker like him. Although Carrier has a PhD in ancient history from Columbia University (as he never ceases to point out), he also considers himself to be a peer-reviewed philosopher.

I had never read any philosophy paper of his, so when the opportunity arose to do so I considered myself incredibly privileged. (You didn't believe that last bit, did you? Right you are.) Here's how Carrier describes what this paper is about:
Several years ago (though it entered print only a couple years ago) I published a paper in the philosophy journal Philo, responding to Christian fundamentalist Matthew Flannagan on behalf of noted atheist philosopher Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, whom Flannagan had written an article against, defending William Lane Craig’s Divine Command Theory against Sinnott-Armstrong’s rather scathing destruction of it. Sinnott-Armstrong was probably bored at this point. I was recruited to write the rebuttal. The result is Richard Carrier, “On the Facts as We Know Them, Ethical Naturalism Is All There Is: A Reply to Matthew Flannagan,” Philo 15.2 (Fall-Winter 2012), pp. 200-11, I think so far my favorite paper for a peer reviewed philosophy journal.
So, his "favorite paper for a peer reviewed philosophy journal" is a reply to a reply to a paper about some apologetic drivel by the odious William Lane Craig. You know what, I believe unseen that any argument that presupposes the existence of a theistic god can be thrashed by a bright high school student. Shooting fish in a barrel is a challenge compared to that. So I am not going to expose you to the tedium of actually discussing this "philosophy" paper. I am just going to amuse myself a bit with observing the alpha-male behaviour of its author.

"I was recruited to write the rebuttal."

Recruited by whom? Who on earth would "recruit" Richard Carrier to write a rebuttal to a reply to someone else's paper? He doesn't tell us. It's chest thumping.

"The result is Richard Carrier"

Trumpets. Chest thumping. Who would have guessed that the result was written by Dr. Richard Carrier PhD?

"I think so far my favorite paper for a peer reviewed philosophy journal."

More chest thumping. Whose favourite? Carrier's? Or that of his avid, globe-spanning readership? Carrier is such a shitty writer that we never find out.

Talking about shitty writing, it can hardly get any shittier than this:
Below I will summarize my paper in Philo, which summary already refutes most of what Flannagan now says--since what he now says pretty much ignores what I said, so restating what I said is a more than adequate rebuttal.
A literate gorilla would have done a better job.

The incessant hammering on the (alleged) peer-reviewed status of his prolix products is another exponent of Carrier's chest thumping. It is true that Philo is a peer-reviewed journal (published by the Center for Inquiry), although it is hardly a prominent publication, as it last appeared two years ago, and has no citation index. Even then, there is (again) reason to doubt that Carrier's paper was peer-reviewed.

If we look at the table of contents of Philo 15 issue 2, we notice that it contains 7 papers. Of these, six are labelled as 'articles', and one as 'discussion'. Guess which one is the exception? You guessed right.

If we now check out the editorial policies of the journal, we notice that only 'articles' are explicitly peer-reviewed. I can't find anywhere what the policy on 'discussions' is. However, in the author guidelines we read: "If submitting to a peer-reviewed section of the journal, the instructions in Ensuring a Blind Review [goes to a dead link, JS] have been followed."

http://i.imgur.com/8MDubTs.jpg

There are apparently peer-reviewed and non peer-reviewed sections in the journal Philo. In the editorial policies we noticed that only 'articles' fall under a section that is explicitly peer-reviewed. So it is not a stretch to suspect that 'discussion' papers, such as Carrier's tour de force, are not even peer-reviewed.

All the chest thumping sounds remarkably hollow. Maybe that's why it's such a racket.

Guest_c2b2d78d

Re: The "independent scholar" Dr. Richard Carrier PhD

#9

Post by Guest_c2b2d78d »

His Philo article isn't the only questionable paper he's put out either: “Whence Christianity? A Meta-Theory for the Origins of Christianity” was published in the Spring 2005 issue of the Journal of Higher Criticism according to his CV, but the journal shut down in Fall 2003 (Google Scholar also comes up empty, even if one goes back to 2000).

By the same token, his paper “Bayes’ Theorem for Beginners: Formal Logic and Its Relevance to Historical Method.” may not exist: he's given talks with this or a similar title, but nothing in the published literature AFAICT. The journal in which it was published doesn't have a website or even a web presence outside of a worldcat.org page confirming its existence. Once again, Google Scholar comes up empty.

I honestly can't think of an explanation other than fraud for the first one, and the second one is sketchy at best.

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Re: The "independent scholar" Dr. Richard Carrier PhD

#10

Post by Skep tickle »

Guest_c2b2d78d wrote:His Philo article isn't the only questionable paper he's put out either: “Whence Christianity? A Meta-Theory for the Origins of Christianity” was published in the Spring 2005 issue of the Journal of Higher Criticism according to his CV, but the journal shut down in Fall 2003 (Google Scholar also comes up empty, even if one goes back to 2000).

<snip>
"The final issue of the Journal (Volume 10, No. 2) appeared in fall, 2003." http://www.depts.drew.edu/jhc/

Someone else asked whether Carrier's 2005 citation was real, & received evidence that it was:
http://ravingsandranting.blogspot.com/2 ... chard.html

This photo is from that page - see 2nd entry on table of contents:
http://i.imgur.com/3KhMpie.png?1

Looks like the journal folded in 2003 then was revived for at least one issue in 2005 edition under another editor & at another web page: http://michaelturton2.blogspot.com/2005 ... igher.html (the link to new-in-2005 JHC website at that page is 404)

Guest_c2b2d78d

Re: The "independent scholar" Dr. Richard Carrier PhD

#11

Post by Guest_c2b2d78d »

Thanks for the update, did not know they had resumed operations. My bad.

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Re: The "independent scholar" Dr. Richard Carrier PhD

#12

Post by Skep tickle »

Guest_c2b2d78d wrote:Thanks for the update, did not know they had resumed operations. My bad.
No prob, I only poked around to see if there was some explanation for the discrepancy. The fact that the journal ceased publication in 2003 would usually be the end of it, but in this case it seems to have had one last gasp.
Guest_c2b2d78d wrote:<snip>

By the same token, his paper “Bayes’ Theorem for Beginners: Formal Logic and Its Relevance to Historical Method.” may not exist: he's given talks with this or a similar title, but nothing in the published literature AFAICT. The journal in which it was published doesn't have a website or even a web presence outside of a worldcat.org page confirming its existence. Once again, Google Scholar comes up empty.

<snip>
Maybe this has already been mentioned, I haven't been paying attention, but it was published as a chapter starting on p 81 in this book: Sources of the Jesus Tradition: Separating History from Myth, ed. R. Joseph Hoffmann.

Hoffmann was apparently the editor of the journal "Caesar: A Journal for the Critical Study of Religion and Human Values". Carrier's paper was reportedly in that journal at 3.1 (2009): 26-35, but like you I'm not coming up with any solid evidence online of the journal or his article in it.

Do journals in this topic area tend to have short lives? Otherwise it looks like a certain author publishing in them may not be a sign of health for the journal. :?

Guest_c2b2d78d

Re: The "independent scholar" Dr. Richard Carrier PhD

#13

Post by Guest_c2b2d78d »

Hoffmann was apparently the editor of the journal "Caesar: A Journal for the Critical Study of Religion and Human Values". Carrier's paper was reportedly in that journal at 3.1 (2009): 26-35, but like you I'm not coming up with any solid evidence online of the journal or his article in it.
Wow. If Hoffman edited the journal & book, then there's no-one who can independently verify the paper's existence. Very sketchy, to say the least.
]Do journals in this topic area tend to have short lives?
Not necessarily. There are plenty of long-lived Biblical history/studies journals out there. U of Chicago's has been published continuously since the 1880s.
Otherwise it looks like a certain author publishing in them may not be a sign of health for the journal. :?
I think you have correlation and causation backwards: Carrier's theories are not ready for primetime by any stretch of the imagination, so he publishes in the most credulous journals out there. Those journals tend to have short lifespans because low editorial standards scare away authors(articles attract readers/subscribers) and subscribers (main source of income).

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Re: The "independent scholar" Dr. Richard Carrier PhD

#14

Post by Jan Steen »

Interesting discussion. Thanks, guest.

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Re: The "independent scholar" Dr. Richard Carrier PhD

#15

Post by Jan Steen »

Dr. Richard Carrier PhD: A Case Study in the Dunning-Kruger Effect

In a famous paper published in 1999, psychologists Justin Kruger and David Dunning described a phenomenon that has since become widely known as the Dunning-Kruger effect. These authors were not the first to be aware of this phenomenon. They cite Charles Darwin, who had observed more than a century earlier that "ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge."

As Kruger and Dunning describe it, the effect can be summarized as follows:
We argue that when people are incompetent in the strategies they adopt to achieve success and satisfaction, they suffer a dual burden: Not only do they reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices, but their incompetence robs them of the ability to realize it. Instead, like Mr. Wheeler, they are left with the mistaken impression that they are doing just fine.
In other words, the effect describes the situation where someone who is incompetent and insufficiently educated in a particular field believes that their judgement within that field trumps that of real experts. One sees this quite often, but perhaps nowhere more so than in the collected works of Dr. Richard Carrier PhD, the independent scholar.

Is there no limit to this person's delusional self-aggrandizement? Richard Carrier, who holds a Ph.D. in ancient history, ceaselessly makes authoritative-sounding pronouncements on such diverse topics as mathematics, artificial intelligence, physics, zoology, art, music and psychology.

Consider his assertions a propos the question "Is the brain a computer [that is, a piece of hardware that runs a programme]?" This question was answered in the negative by philosopher John R. Searle in an article in which he described the well-known Chinese Room argument. There is an extensive literature on this question and Searle's controversial thought experiment. It is not my intention to delve into this controversy here; I would just like to show how a comically incompetent dilettante like Dr. Carrier demonstrates the Dunning-Kruger effect.

If we are to believe Dr. Carrier, this John R. Searle, professor at the University of California, Berkeley, is some kind of ignoramus, who "does not seem to know what he is talking about", who "doesn’t know what a computer is," who is "ignoring science, and ignorantly sitting in the armchair doing pseudoscience, " and who is "a terrible philosopher who doesn’t know jack about brain science."

On the other hand, the thinker who has settled this matter once and for all is no less a person than Dr. Carrier himself:
My argument against his is already in Sense and Goodness without God. That is, I there refute his claim that the mind cannot be a computer. My argument is conclusive on that point. There is nothing more to be said.
"There is nothing more to be said." Hahahahahaha.

Granted, it is not a priori impossible that an unemployed blogger who was trained in papyrology, ancient languages, and Roman history knows more about the theory of mind and artificial intelligence than a world famous philosopher who has made it his life's work to think and write about these things. It is possible that such a philosopher enjoys tenure at one of the most prestigious universities in the world, and yet doesn't know shit about computers and neuroscience. Possible, but not likely.

Instead, it is far more likely that it is Dr. Richard Carrier PhD who is the bullshitting ignoramus who doesn't know what he is talking about. No, this is not an appeal to authority. That would be the case if I had written, "Dr. Searle must be correct, because he is a famous philosopher who works at a top tier university." I'm not saying that Searle is correct. I'm saying it is extremely unlikely that Carrier is better educated in this subject than a professional.

Carrier's book Sense and Goodness without God is best described as an attempt to do philosophy by someone who lacks the competence to do so. It is a litany of ill-defined concepts and apodictic statements. Someone who knows a bit about the subjects touched upon could read it to have a good laugh, but otherwise it is a worthless abomination. It's cargo-cult philosophy: Philosophy by an incompetent who believes he is more competent than the experts in the field. A textbook case of the Dunning-Kruger effect.

I could give many examples of laughably wrong statements in this book. Consider the following:
Many animals have unique personalities, memories, and mental abilities, and can be “conscious” of their surroundings, even to a certain extent themselves. But to be able to fully perceive themselves—as a mind, as a person—requires a special organ capable of such a computation, and an organ capable of perceiving a whole pattern of such a size and complexity would have to be vastly complex itself, far more than any other sensory organ like, say, the human eye.
It just so happens that we have one of these: a cerebral cortex, the most complex biological organ in the world—in fact, as far as we know, the most complex thing in the whole universe. Animal brains are simpler, lacking this organ.
So much wrong and so little time. Of course, all mammals have a cerebral cortex; this is not some kind of unique, independently evolved organ that is only found in humans, as Carrier seems to believe. Mice have a cerebral cortex. Chimps have one. There are dolphins with more neurons in their cerebral cortex than Richard Carrier.

What we see here are the over-confident statements of the person who lacks the knowledge to realize that he is spouting nonsense. A deluded sufferer from the Dunning-Kruger effect.

To return to the Searle controversy, in response to a comment by one of his readers,Carrier writes:
I don’t understand what you think you are arguing. You asked me to demonstrate Searle was wrong. I demonstrated Searle was wrong. That’s the end of that.
Of course, Carrier did not "demonstrate" that Searle was wrong; he just demonstrated his own ignorance. One final citation of Carrier's bullshit should make this apparent:
1. “A hurricane can be simulated on a computer. That does not imply that a hurricane is a computer.” Yes, it is. Computation theory entails that the most efficient computer for calculating the behavior of a system is the system itself (see Labyrinths of Reason). All systems are information processing computers. The only question is what the input and output are, i.e. what is being computed. In weather’s case, what is being computed is where atoms go. Given the inputs, you get the outputs. The laws of physics are just the software code, implemented in the hardware of the shape of spacetime (and perhaps particles moving in it, although even they might just be knots of spacetime). Searle does not know information theory (all thermodynamics analogs to information theory, for example…in other words, all of physics is just information theory played out on a computer made of spacetime and particles). He does not know computation theory (he does not know that analog computers are a thing, for example, or that a Turing computer is just one type of computer, and indeed just one type of digital computer, which is also in turn just one type of computer).
Again, there is so much wrong here that it would take far more words than I care to devote on the ramblings of Dr. Carrier PhD to show all the mistakes and misconceptions. Let me just point out that it is not true that a "Turing computer" (the proper term is Turing Machine) is "just one type of digital computer." Anyone who knows anything about computer science knows that this is not even wrong. Even more egregious is Carrier's shifting of the goal posts in his attempted refutation of Searle. Where Searle had explicitly defined a computer as a piece of hardware that carries out a certain specified programme, Carrier argues that in some very general sense [i[everything[/i] is a computer. So Searle was wrong, because if everything is a computer, than the brain is a computer. QED.

This is like "winning" a game of chess by vomiting over the pieces, so that your opponent gives up in disgust. It doesn't make Dr. Carrier PhD a brilliant chess player. Just a sad, deluded figure.

Returning to the original paper by Kruger and Dunning, it may be insightful to compare their predictions about incompetent people with an actual incompetent, Dr. Richard Carrier PhD.

They write:
These shards of empirical evidence suggest that incompetent individuals have more difficulty recognizing their true level of ability than do more competent individuals and that a lack of metacognitive skills may underlie this deficiency. Thus, we made four specific predictions about the links between competence, metacognitive ability, and inflated self-assessment.
Prediction 1. Incompetent individuals, compared with their more competent peers, will dramatically overestimate their ability and performance relative to objective criteria. [Carrier: Check.]
Prediction 2. Incompetent individuals will suffer from deficient metacognitive skills, in that they will be less able than their more competent peers to recognize competence when they see it-be it their own or anyone else's. [Carrier: Check.]
Prediction 3. Incompetent individuals will be less able than their more competent peers to gain insight into their true level of performance by means of social comparison information. In particular, because of their difficulty recognizing competence in others, incompetent individuals will be unable to use information about the choices and performances of others to form more accurate impressions of their own ability. [Carrier: Check.]
Prediction 4. The incompetent can gain insight about their shortcomings, but this comes (paradoxically) by making them more competent, thus providing them the metacognitive skills necessary to be able to realize that they have performed poorly. [See my comments below, JS.]
I am not so sure about their Prediction 4. It seems to me that one of the character flaws that makes a person incompetent and yet willing to pretend to be competent outside their field of expertise is an unwillingness to confront reality. Educating themselves may be a painful confrontation with their incompetence. We see in Dr. Carrier that attempts by his commenters to correct him are simply dismissed in the rudest possible way. Like this:
Searle ignored the science then. And continued to do so, as I just showed here again, with your own ignorant example (you evidently don’t know the science either, as otherwise you’d have never imagined the article you sent me was any good).
That’s fundamentally bad philosophy.
End of story.
Instead of Kruger and Dunning's Prediction 4, I'd predict the following:
Prediction 5. The incompetent who are bold enough to make authoritative-sounding statements in subjects outside their area of competence will resist attempts to educate them.
Dr. Richard Carrier PhD is a case in point.

Reference

Kruger, J. & Dunning, D. 1999. Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One's Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 77(6): 1121--1134 (PDF available here).

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Re: The "independent scholar" Dr. Richard Carrier PhD

#16

Post by Guest_c2b2d78d »

Interesting discussion. Thanks, guest.
You're very welcome, glad you enjoyed it!
The only question is what the input and output are, i.e. what is being computed.

......[Searle] does not know computation theory (he does not know that analog computers are a thing, for example, or that a Turing computer is just one type of computer, and indeed just one type of digital computer, which is also in turn just one type of computer).
Does "Turing Machine" necessarily describe a digital computer? I have limited background in CS, but my understanding is that digital computers would be a subset of Turing machines, rather than the other way around, making his claim nonsensical.

Again feel free to correct me, but wouldn't Carrier's argument & definition of computer also imply that human behavior is deterministic (i.e. free will does not exist)? I've read Carrier's quote several times and keep coming to that conclusion: If a computer is defined as something that consistently produces the same outputs for a given set of inputs AND the brain is a computer, then free will cannot exist.
Computation theory entails that the most efficient computer for calculating the behavior of a system is the system itself
Is this true even from a theoretical standpoint? My background is in engineering, and certain test facilities are on their way out because they're orders of magnitude (days/weeks vs years) slower & pricier than modeling codes.

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Re: The "independent scholar" Dr. Richard Carrier PhD

#17

Post by Jan Steen »

@Guest_c2b2d78d,

It is safe to assume that outside his own field of ancient history Carrier doesn't know what he is talking about, that his knowledge all comes from half-digested and misunderstood popular sources, and that he is bluffing and bullshitting most of the time. He really is the poster child for the Dunning-Kruger effect.

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Re: The "independent scholar" Dr. Richard Carrier PhD

#18

Post by Jan Steen »

Who wants to be Dr. Richard Carrier's Huxley?

Dr. Richard Carrier PhD is so totally ignored by the academic establishment, that he has to resort to responding to Amazon reviews. A pseudonymous review of a book by his buddy Raphael Lataster has upset the good doctor so much that he has written a whole blogpost worth of outrage.

I won't bother to fisk this mess. It's the usual self-serving drivel that we have come to expect from this narcissist. You know, stuff like this:
(...) he surveys the merits of those two books anyway. And compares them with mine, On the Historicity of Jesus, which was published by an academic press and did pass formal academic peer review.
neither can Ehrman have discussed my peer reviewed journal article on it
So this critic doesn’t seem to realize that the most recent peer reviewed work on this passage has refuted its authenticity. [Referring to a paper by Dr. Carrier, which of course did not "refute" anything, JS]
(...)not only have fully qualified peer reviewers passed, and a well-respected academic biblical-studies press published, a book arguing for the conclusion (my book was published by the University of Sheffield), a major milestone of increased “affording of credibility,”(...)
Price’s books are fine for their purpose. But none of them do what Lataster’s book does. Nor was any of them published by an academic press under peer review, as mine was.
Why don't you just shut the fuck up about your "peer-reviewed" shit? Who do you think you can fool with this nonsense?

This is funnier:
This critic also, of course, says my book he read and “found of no real value,” so those of you who have read my book, I am pretty sure, will right away have a good idea of the amount of shit this critic is filled with.
What kind of grammar is this?

And this:
(...)Lataster’s is the only book in existence doing that. I will add, in fact, that one of the merits of this book is that his survey in it of my book, accomplished in under a hundred pages, is the best short summary of my book’s contents and argument you will find anywhere.
Yeah, that makes Lataster's book a real must-have.

But what really made me laugh out loud was this:
This [section of Lataster's book] includes various kinds of criticisms of my own book and style. Lataster is not my Huxley. He just finds that so far, no book compares with mine in quality, thoroughness, and seriousness. Obviously I agree.
"Lataster is not my Huxley."

Bwahahahaha. Carrier is actually comparing himself to Charles Darwin, who had a contemporary champion in the person of Thomas Henry Huxley. Even for a delusional narcissist this is pretty extreme. And now I have to excuse myself. I think I had a little accident while laughing.

http://web.archive.org/web/201512040032 ... hives/9085

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That is the function of my writing. It ends all rational deb

#19

Post by Aneris »

Needs to recorded somewhere...
Dr. Richard Carrier, Phd. wrote:In depth and thorough treatments of subjects, that become the best and most accurate treatments of those subjects on the blogosphere, is my area. That is what I am good at, and contributing to the movement. And I’m doing well at it. So I have no financial incentive either. I am more like a Wikipedia writer, composing authoritative essays on subjects, than a journalist just briefly commenting on things.

There is in fact no way to cut these articles, without removing evidence and arguments, and it is precisely such “missing evidence” and “missing arguments” that critics then pounce on to claim an article failed to make its point. Thus necessitating that no evidence and arguments be left out. Precisely to stymie the critics. That is the function of my writing. It ends all rational debate. Thus all continuing debate becomes demonstrably irrational (note how many times I catch people making arguments in response to an article, that the article already rebutted, thus exposing that they didn’t read the article, and have no actual arguments against what it actually said).
http://i.imgur.com/ZtGuoWE.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/uoF6pUy.jpg

https://archive.is/UORZm

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Re: The "independent scholar" Dr. Richard Carrier PhD

#20

Post by Matt Cavanaugh »

Skep tickle wrote:
Guest_c2b2d78d wrote:His Philo article isn't the only questionable paper he's put out either: “Whence Christianity? A Meta-Theory for the Origins of Christianity” was published in the Spring 2005 issue of the Journal of Higher Criticism according to his CV, but the journal shut down in Fall 2003 (Google Scholar also comes up empty, even if one goes back to 2000).

<snip>
"The final issue of the Journal (Volume 10, No. 2) appeared in fall, 2003." http://www.depts.drew.edu/jhc/

Someone else asked whether Carrier's 2005 citation was real, & received evidence that it was:
http://ravingsandranting.blogspot.com/2 ... chard.html

This photo is from that page - see 2nd entry on table of contents:
http://i.imgur.com/3KhMpie.png?1

Looks like the journal folded in 2003 then was revived for at least one issue in 2005 edition under another editor & at another web page: http://michaelturton2.blogspot.com/2005 ... igher.html (the link to new-in-2005 JHC website at that page is 404)
Neusner, Detering & Eisenman? Average Dick sure was boxing above his weight class back then.

Guest_c2b2d78d

Re: The "independent scholar" Dr. Richard Carrier PhD

#21

Post by Guest_c2b2d78d »

@Jan Steen:

I realize Carrier's a moron, the questions were for my own curiosity since you have a solid grasp on the topics involved. Any explanation would be appreciated.

As an aside, Carrier reminds me of the creationist William Dembski: Both men invoke topics they don't understand in the slightest, and even butcher their own areas of specialization, to push their pet theories.

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Re: The "independent scholar" Dr. Richard Carrier PhD

#22

Post by Jan Steen »

Guest_c2b2d78d wrote:@Jan Steen:

I realize Carrier's a moron, the questions were for my own curiosity since you have a solid grasp on the topics involved. Any explanation would be appreciated.

As an aside, Carrier reminds me of the creationist William Dembski: Both men invoke topics they don't understand in the slightest, and even butcher their own areas of specialization, to push their pet theories.
Okay, I'll give it a try.

1. A Turing Machine is a purely theoretical contruct, having access to unlimited storage (a "tape") and no time constraints. To claim that it is just a kind of digital computer is completely misunderstanding what a Turing Machine is.

2. Free will is an illusion, in my opinion, even if you take quantum indeterminism into account.

3. A simulation can be much more efficient for predicting the outcome of a process in a system than the system itself. But this depends on the amount of detail you need. If you want to have the outcome in terms of the individual atoms making up the system, then there is no more efficient way to calculate a future state then just observing the actual system. But usually a good approximation is all you need, and then a simulation can be far superior in terms of efficiency.

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Re: The "independent scholar" Dr. Richard Carrier PhD

#23

Post by Kirbmarc »

Jan Steen wrote:
Guest_c2b2d78d wrote:@Jan Steen:

I realize Carrier's a moron, the questions were for my own curiosity since you have a solid grasp on the topics involved. Any explanation would be appreciated.

As an aside, Carrier reminds me of the creationist William Dembski: Both men invoke topics they don't understand in the slightest, and even butcher their own areas of specialization, to push their pet theories.
Okay, I'll give it a try.

1. A Turing Machine is a purely theoretical contruct, having access to unlimited storage (a "tape") and no time constraints. To claim that it is just a kind of digital computer is completely misunderstanding what a Turing Machine is.

2. Free will is an illusion, in my opinion, even if you take quantum indeterminism into account.

3. A simulation can be much more efficient for predicting the outcome of a process in a system than the system itself. But this depends on the amount of detail you need. If you want to have the outcome in terms of the individual atoms making up the system, then there is no more efficient way to calculate a future state then just observing the actual system. But usually a good approximation is all you need, and then a simulation can be far superior in terms of efficiency.
Incidentally I think that 3 is, indirectly, one of the reasons why we think that free will exists. We're able to simulate and predict human behavior in a rather efficient way when we're talking about social systems, or about the general behavior of an individual. But when it comes down to a single decision of an individual there are far too many variables at play for us to predict its outcome efficiently. Hence why we believe that the decision is made through "free" will.

The same thing is true for people when they think about themselves. Our ability to analyse our own thought process is limited, and sometimes we make some decisions that surprise even us. Hence why we think that we possess free will.

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Re: The "independent scholar" Dr. Richard Carrier PhD

#24

Post by Matt Cavanaugh »

Kirbmarc wrote: But when it comes down to a single decision of an individual there are far too many variables at play for us to predict its outcome efficiently.
I knew you were gonna say that.

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Re: The "independent scholar" Dr. Richard Carrier PhD

#25

Post by Jan Steen »

Dr. Richard Carrier PhD: The Lies Continue

Commenter CTimeline, commenting on a post by James McGrath, claims that Carrier lied about the publisher of his Jesus book.
CTimeline wrote:Carrier also lies when he says that his book was published by the University of Sheffield. Sheffield Phoenix Press has no formal association with the University.
Surely, a mistake? Would Carrier lie about something as easily verified as this? Let's find out.

Carrier wrote:
My new book, On the Historicity of Jesus, has passed peer review and is now under contract to be published by a major academic press specializing in biblical studies: Sheffield-Phoenix, the publishing house of the University of Sheffield (UK). (...) I believe this will be the first comprehensive pro-Jesus myth book ever published by a respected academic press (...) I think this will be the first pro-Jesus myth book of any kind published by a university press in the last fifty years. (...) I had some other publishers interested, but they were smaller and not academic presses. My donors and I have all wanted academic publication if possible.
It is not limited to this one blog post. In other pieces he keeps repeating the assertion that his book was published by a university press. For example here:
Ehrman has refused to even address my peer reviewed, Sheffield university press book On the Historicity of Jesus.
And here:
(...) given that my Historicity book was published by Sheffield University
And here:
Richard Carrier (Ph.D. in ancient history, Columbia University) will discuss evidence in his book On the Historicity of Jesus (published by Sheffield University)
Oh, and here:
I have documented it all in my book On the Historicity of Jesus, published by Sheffield-Phoenix, the publishing arm of the University of Sheffield.
There's more, but you get the idea. These quotations range from 2013 to October 2015. We are hardly dealing with a one-off slip of the pen. Carrier systematically claims that his book was published by a real university press.

So, is or isn't Sheffield Phoenix Press "the publishing arm/house of Phoenix University"? Is it also known as "Sheffield University Press"? Is it even an academic press?

Let's see what Sheffield Phoenix tell us about themselves.
January 2004 saw the inauguration of a new publishing house for biblical studies and related fields: Sheffield Phoenix Press. Continuing the best traditions of publishing from Sheffield, it makes its aim to support scholarship with high quality academic books and journals. Phoenix has developed a distinctive presence among publishers serving the field of biblical studies. It undertakes

• to be an independent company (not part of a conglomerate)
• (...)
Note that it self-describes as an independent company.

The only link with Sheffield University is as follows:
Sheffield Phoenix Press is located in the Department of Biblical Studies of the University of Sheffield. It is directed by its Publishers, David J.A. Clines (Editor of the Dictionary of Classical Hebrew) and J. Cheryl Exum (formerly Editor of Biblical Interpretation), both members of the Department.
In other words, Sheffield Phoenix is a private company directed by two staff members of Sheffield University. That does not make it a university press, let alone "the" publishing arm of Sheffield University.

Carrier has indeed been caught lying. Again.

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Re: The "independent scholar" Dr. Richard Carrier PhD

#26

Post by Jan Steen »

More reason to doubt that Carrier's Jesus book was peer-reviewed

In a previous post I showed that Dr. Carrier PhD plays fast and loose with the term 'peer review', in order to give the false impression that other scholars have validated his work. He claimed that his book was peer-reviewed by two 'major professors' prior to his finding a publisher, with the aim of speeding up the publishing process. However, to this day he refuses to disclose who these professors were.

I feel entitled to doubt that these professors actually exist, the more so since it has recently been established that Carrier lied about the affiliation of his publisher, as I had already surmised. Sheffield Phoenix is not, as Carrier, sorry, Dr. Carrier, repeatedly stated, a university press, but an independent publishing company. This has been confirmed by Sheffield Phoenix itself. Dr. Carrier also lied only a few days ago about the number of page hits of FreethoughtBlogs, providing instead what he now claims are the figures for his own blog. He wants us to believe that this was all just a mistake, caused by him pushing the wrong buttons or whatever (a weaker excuse than "the dog ate my homework"). Just like he wants us to believe that his misrepresenting his publisher is just a matter of nuance. Sure, Sticky Dicky. Let me know if anyone buys this. In that case I have some seaside property on Mars for sale.

Carrier is a proven liar. And what do liars do when they are caught out? They do one or more of three things. (1). They will claim they just made a mistake. (2). They will claim it doesn't matter. (3). They will make up more lies, which they believe will defuse or cover up the earlier lies. Carrier did all three. Tactics (1) and (2) are on display in the preceding paragraph. Tactic (3) is the topic of this post.

Here is what he wrote in July 2013 about the way he found peer-reviewers for his Jesus book:
I sought four peer review reports from major professors of New Testament or Early Christianity, and two have returned their reports, approving with revisions, and those revisions have been made. Since two peers is the standard number for academic publications, we can proceed. Two others missed the assigned deadline, but I'm still hoping to get their reports and I'll do my best to meet any revisions they require as well.
After a recent Twitter exchange with Brive1987, who questioned him about these peer reviews, Dr. Carrier revisited his blog post. He added this comment:
Richard Carrier says
January 6, 2016 at 6:57 pm
Update: Due to outsiders who weren’t receiving the private donor progress reports might be confused by the text of this post, I have added a line (signified in bold here):
Sheffield-Phoenix, the publishing house of the University of Sheffield (UK). I sought four peer review reports from major professors of New Testament or Early Christianity, and two have returned their reports, approving with revisions, and those revisions have been made. Since two peers is the standard number for academic publications, we can proceed. Sheffield’s own peer reviewers have also approved the text and their revision requests have been satisfied. Two others missed the assigned deadline, but I’m still hoping to get their reports and I’ll do my best to meet any revisions they require as well.
He has added the sentence "Sheffield’s own peer reviewers have also approved the text and their revision requests have been satisfied". I don't believe a word of it. Sheffield doesn't have peer reviewers. It has editors and readers; people who will (ideally) catch grammatical and spelling mistakes; who will smoothen a clunky style; who will perhaps check for internal consistency and try to improve clarity; who will ensure that the printed product conforms to the in-house rules for spelling and formatting.

What they will not do is checking the accuracy of the author's arguments and paraphrases. Do you have any idea what it would cost to have an expert fact-check a 700+ page brontosaur of a manuscript? We can safely rule out that Sheffield can afford to pay people to peer review such book-length manuscripts. We can also rule out that there exist academics (busy, university-based scholars) willing to offer their time for free (as they would do when reviewing manuscripts of journal articles) to review a stillborn monstrosity of a nobody like Carrier.

What's more, I find it impossible to believe that Dr. Carrier PhD would not have mentioned these Sheffield Phoenix peer reviewers right from the start, if they had existed. "Hey folks, my deliberate tour de force has been vetted by two major professors whom I hand picked myself, plus two independent peer reviewers provided by my publisher, Sheffield Phoenix, the highly esteemed publishing house of Sheffield University."

Liars be lyin'.

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Re: The "independent scholar" Dr. Richard Carrier PhD

#27

Post by ffs »

Jan Steen wrote:Dr. Carrier also lied only a few days ago about the number of page hits of FreethoughtBlogs, providing instead what he now claims are the figures for his own blog. He wants us to believe that this was all just a mistake, caused by him pushing the wrong buttons or whatever (a weaker excuse than "the dog ate my homework").
Probably not a lie, Carrier's ego and all. It's impossible for him at first impression to not assume his blog is the only important one and that it has always amounted to 99% of FTB's traffic.

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Re: The "independent scholar" Dr. Richard Carrier PhD

#28

Post by Jan Steen »

ffs wrote:
Jan Steen wrote:Dr. Carrier also lied only a few days ago about the number of page hits of FreethoughtBlogs, providing instead what he now claims are the figures for his own blog. He wants us to believe that this was all just a mistake, caused by him pushing the wrong buttons or whatever (a weaker excuse than "the dog ate my homework").
Probably not a lie, Carrier's ego and all. It's impossible for him at first impression to not assume his blog is the only important one and that it has always amounted to 99% of FTB's traffic.
Even someone as deluded as Carrier must have seen that the page stats referred to his own blog and were not to those of FfTB as a whole. Does he even have access to network-wide data? You must also assume that he is innumerate for believing that the whole network only attracted in the order of 150K page views each quarter. No, not buying it, sorry.

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Re: The "independent scholar" Dr. Richard Carrier PhD

#29

Post by Jan Steen »

The incredibly morphing paragraph: How Dr. Richard Carrier PhD is rewriting history

Carrier is getting more and more entrapped in his own web of lies, like a particularly inept kind of spider.

First he wrote:
My new book, On the Historicity of Jesus, has passed peer review and is now under contract to be published by a major academic press specializing in biblical studies: Sheffield-Phoenix, the publishing house of the University of Sheffield (UK). I sought four peer review reports from major professors of New Testament or Early Christianity, and two have returned their reports, approving with revisions, and those revisions have been made. Since two peers is the standard number for academic publications, we can proceed. Two others missed the assigned deadline, but I’m still hoping to get their reports and I’ll do my best to meet any revisions they require as well.
When he was questioned on Twitter about the dodgy state of these alleged peer reviews, he went back to his two-and-a-half year old blog post, and modified this paragraph as follows:
My new book, On the Historicity of Jesus, has passed peer review and is now under contract to be published by a major academic press specializing in biblical studies: Sheffield-Phoenix, the publishing house of the University of Sheffield (UK). I sought four peer review reports from major professors of New Testament or Early Christianity, and two have returned their reports, approving with revisions, and those revisions have been made. Since two peers is the standard number for academic publications, we can proceed. Sheffield’s own peer reviewers have also approved the text and their revision requests have been satisfied. Two others missed the assigned deadline, but I’m still hoping to get their reports and I’ll do my best to meet any revisions they require as well. [changed bits in red+bold, JS]
But adding this one twist did nothing to erase the other lie, namely that Sheffield Phoenix (not Sheffield-Phoenix, as Carrier consistently misspells it) is "the publishing house of the University of Sheffield." More retconning was needed. The final (?) revision now reads:
My new book, On the Historicity of Jesus, has passed peer review and is now under contract to be published by a major academic press specializing in biblical studies: Sheffield-Phoenix, a publishing house at the University of Sheffield (UK). I sought four peer review reports from major professors of New Testament or Early Christianity, and two have returned their reports, approving with revisions, and those revisions have been made. Since two peers is the standard number for academic publications, we can proceed. And Sheffield’s own peer reviewers have approved the text. Two others missed the assigned deadline, but I’m still hoping to get their reports and I’ll do my best to meet any revisions they require as well.
In my opinion, it is still somewhat misleading to call the independent company Sheffield Phoenix "a publishing house at the University of Sheffield". But I'll let this pass (for now). More interesting is the change in wording from this:
Sheffield’s own peer reviewers have also approved the text and their revision requests have been satisfied.
to this:
And Sheffield’s own peer reviewers have approved the text.
What happened to their "revision requests"?

In a comment added at the same time as the latest revision, Carrier explains:
Update: I have revised “Sheffield’s own peer reviewers have also approved the text and their revision requests have been satisfied” to simply “And Sheffield’s own peer reviewers have approved the text” because checking my records I realize the only peer reviewer they had been working with whom I know by name (others remain anonymous) also happened by chance to be one of the professors I had chosen myself (as I discovered later); and though all reviewer revision requests I received were satisfied, not all peer reviewers sent revision requests.
It's getting curiouser and curiouser. We are now to believe that Sheffield's "own" peer reviewers did not ask for revisions, because one of them happened to be one of the professors whom Carrier had already asked on his own initiative to do a peer review of his Jesus book. This "major professor" presumably told Sheffield Phoenix that he had already reviewed the bloody tome and that he wouldn't do it again. Which is reasonable, isn't it? Except that it is strange that Sheffield Phoenix would have approached this professor in the first place, because they would have seen his review, presented to them by the pro-active Dr. Carrier himself. He knew who this professor was and would proudly have conveyed the famous scholar's identity to Sheffield Phoenix. This whole tale stinks. To me it looks as if Sheffield Phoenix have asked Carrier to cut out his BS, as they will also have asked him to stop misrepresenting their company as being a branch of Sheffield University.

What about the other peer reviewer, who found nothing to revise in a 700+ page manuscript written by Richard Carrier? That too beggars belief. Anybody who has read even one blog post ejaculated by Carrier will know that such a lack of revision requests is just impossible. Unless, that is, the poor reviewer simply collapsed under the thankless task and was admitted to a mental hospital for recuperation.

In any case, it was rather irresponsible of Sheffield Phoenix not to find a reviewer who would have come up with something, anything at all, to revise. But probably they never really tried in the first place. This cock-and-bull story about Sheffield Phoenix's own peer reviewers who ended up not reviewing anything looks like yet another lie by the desperate Dr. Carrier.

Poor little spider, trapped in his own web of deception. Waiting to be sucked up by a vacuum cleaner.

It should come as no surprise that Dr. Carrier now characterizes the attention he receives from the Slymepit as "harassment". It's what SJWs do when their lies are exposed.
Richard Carrier says

January 12, 2016 at 5:35 pm

I’m aware. And yes, this is part of continuing Slymepit harassment. To head off any chance of their continued confusion, I have revised all my references to being published “by” Sheffield University to being published “at” Sheffield University, since the matter concerns the triviality of bylaws and administrative control. Sheffield-Phoenix Press is located in Sheffield University campus facilities and run by members of the Sheffield University faculty. And is of course a fully peer reviewed academic press. It just isn’t under the control of the non-faculty administration. All of which is obvious. And of course has no bearing on anything of relevance.
What a tool. What a stupid, lying tool.

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Re: The "independent scholar" Dr. Richard Carrier PhD

#30

Post by ffs »

Jan Steen wrote:
ffs wrote:
Jan Steen wrote:Dr. Carrier also lied only a few days ago about the number of page hits of FreethoughtBlogs, providing instead what he now claims are the figures for his own blog. He wants us to believe that this was all just a mistake, caused by him pushing the wrong buttons or whatever (a weaker excuse than "the dog ate my homework").
Probably not a lie, Carrier's ego and all. It's impossible for him at first impression to not assume his blog is the only important one and that it has always amounted to 99% of FTB's traffic.
Even someone as deluded as Carrier must have seen that the page stats referred to his own blog and were not to those of FfTB as a whole. Does he even have access to network-wide data? You must also assume that he is innumerate for believing that the whole network only attracted in the order of 150K page views each quarter. No, not buying it, sorry.
I know I just find it funny to think him so self-deluded that it wouldn't even occur to him :P

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Re: The "independent scholar" Dr. Richard Carrier PhD

#31

Post by Jan Steen »

(cross-posted from the Undead Thread)
HunnyBunny wrote:
Skep tickle wrote:
SM12 wrote:A review of Carrier's Proving History by a real historian

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1 ... 1/issuetoc
No paywall! Link to the full paper: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1 ... 10791/full

THE REVEREND BAYES VS. JESUS CHRIST by Aviezer Tucker

Carrier is wetting himself over at his blog.
As I recently mentioned, a Harvard University philosopher, Aviezer Tucker, just published a review of my book Proving History for the academic journal History and Theory (Vol. 55, February 2016, pp. 129-140), titled, The Reverend Bayes vs. Jesus Christ. Tucker is an expert in the methods and philosophy of history, so his review carries some weight. It’s significant, therefore, that he endorses the program of my book—that historians need to start using Bayes’ Theorem, as effectively as they can, to resolve questions in their field—and that in fact even when he criticizes my book, he does so by suggesting improvements that are either already in that book (and he merely overlooked them) or in my subsequent application of its program in its sequel, On the Historicity of Jesus. This is almost the best assessment one could expect. It lacks merely noticing that much of what he suggests, I already did. What I provide below is an analysis of his review that helps understand his points, and relates them to what I’ve already written.
...
So I have to count this review as a uniform win for my project. Tucker says nothing that contravenes anything argued in Proving History or On the Historicity of Jesus. Everything he says actually in fact verifies them. In all he voiced only one genuine criticism, which is that I could have added a section assisting historians with cases where multiple independent testimonies actually do exist (and even how to identify them). And with that I agree.
I expect Carrier now has the review printed out & pinned to the wall with a fresh supply of kleenex boxes on hand. The ladies will be going without for some time.

:cdc:
From the review:
Aviezer Tucker wrote:I should disclose that I published a book where I developed a Bayesian philosophy of historiography. Unfortunately, Carrier had not read this book before he published his book. Though my philosophy of historiography has evolved, I am still committed to a Bayesian framework, so this critical review is of one Bayesian approach to historiography from the perspective of another Bayesian philosophy of historiography.
This professor Tucker was applying Bayesian techniques to historiography before Carrier did. So it is hardly surprising that Tucker would endorse "the program of my book," as Carrier calls it. The spunky monkey even goes one step further when he claims: "So I have to count this review as a uniform win for my project." My project?

No, Carrier, it is not your project. Professor Tucker was there first, and I may hope that he has done so more competently than you have.

The review is actually not all that positive. Damning with faint praise is a fair description, I'd say.
Aviezer Tucker wrote:Oddly, Carrier seems to accept the literalist perception that their hypotheses are identical with the propositional content of evidence, rather than an anachronistic, decontextualized, and historically insensitive misinterpretation of it. This results in a confusion between hypotheses and evidence. Carrier assigns to evidence (the Gospels) a prior probability, rather than likelihood or expectedness, as the Bayesian theorem requires (161). Carrier then poses a bivalent dilemma: the texts are literally true or not, which he interprets as whether their authors were writing history or myth. But evidence preserves information to different degrees; it is true or not; it does not have a posterior probability; it has likelihoods given competing hypotheses.
Carrier does not analyze in Bayesian terms what is in my opinion the main method for Bayesian determination of posterior probabilities in historiography: inference from multiple independent sources.
Carrier's zeal to reject any method that attempts to squeeze some historical knowledge from the Gospels leads him to throw Darwin out with the baptism water.


Besides, for the most part it is not so much a review as a lecture inspired by the topics touched upon in Carrier's book. It looks to me as if Prof. Tucker is just too polite to tell us what he really thinks about Carrier's book.

But Carrier wouldn't be Carrier if he didn't respond to criticism by claiming that the reviewer's objections have already been answered in the book; Professor Tucker has just "overlooked" them. It's the classic Dunning-Kruger response.
This is almost the best assessment one could expect. It lacks merely noticing that much of what he suggests, I already did.


Sure it does, Carrier, sure it does. Keep dreaming.

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Re: The "independent scholar" Dr. Richard Carrier PhD

#32

Post by Jan Steen »

(cross-posted from the Undead Thread.)
In what follows, I’ll consider Carrier’s claims about the mathematical foundations of probability theory. What Carrier says about probability is at odds with every probability textbook (or lecture notes) I can find. He rejects the foundations of probability laid by frequentists (e.g. Kolmogorov’s axioms) and Bayesians (e.g. Cox’s theorem). He is neither, because we’re all wrong – only Carrier knows how to do probability correctly. That’s why he has consistently refused my repeated requests to provide scholarly references – they do not exist. As such, Carrier cannot borrow the results and standing of modern probability theory. Until he has completed his revolution and published a rigorous mathematical account of Carrierian probability theory, all of his claims about probability are meaningless.
https://letterstonature.wordpress.com/2 ... d-carrier/

Anticipated response by The Carrier:

"Luke Barnes either didn't read or didn't understand my peer-reviewed chapter. But if he had he would have seen that all his objections are already answered. Because they are. As I showed in PH (e.g. p. 247 and footnote 47bis). He is clearly a cook who doesn't understand probability theory and isn't worth replying to."

Followed by a 45839 word reply.

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Re: The "independent scholar" Dr. Richard Carrier PhD

#33

Post by Jan Steen »

Dr. Richard Carrier PhD, Plagiarist Extraordinaire

Back in November 2015, I wrote:
I could give many examples of laughably wrong statements in this book [Carrier's Sense and Goodness without God]. Consider the following:
Many animals have unique personalities, memories, and mental abilities, and can be “conscious” of their surroundings, even to a certain extent themselves. But to be able to fully perceive themselves—as a mind, as a person—requires a special organ capable of such a computation, and an organ capable of perceiving a whole pattern of such a size and complexity would have to be vastly complex itself, far more than any other sensory organ like, say, the human eye.

It just so happens that we have one of these: a cerebral cortex, the most complex biological organ in the world—in fact, as far as we know, the most complex thing in the whole universe. Animal brains are simpler, lacking this organ.


So much wrong and so little time. Of course, all mammals have a cerebral cortex; this is not some kind of unique, independently evolved organ that is only found in humans, as Carrier seems to believe. Mice have a cerebral cortex. Chimps have one. There are dolphins with more neurons in their cerebral cortex than Richard Carrier.

What we see here are the over-confident statements of the person who lacks the knowledge to realize that he is spouting nonsense. A deluded sufferer from the Dunning-Kruger effect.
On 7 March 2016, Carrier published a list with corrections to his lousy book, which he modestly describes 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."

Right. And what is correction number five?
(5) But the only significant overt factual error I have identified is in section III.6.1 (p. 136). There I state that animals lack a cerebral cortex. That’s incorrect. All mammals have one.
Are we to believe that Carrier himself "identified" this factual error (which is of course far from the only significant one)? Well, I don't. We know that Carrier was aware of this thread about him, because he scoffed about it:
A book review in the Slymepit? Enough said.

Plagiarism is not just copying texts without attribution; it is also presenting other people's ideas without attribution. I am convinced that Carrier has read my takedown of his stupid book, and that only then he noticed his blunder about animals lacking a cerebral cortex. That he now pretends that he "identified" this error himself makes Carrier a plagiarist.

Not that I am in the least surprised. We already knew that he is a totally dishonest scumbag and a liar.

Apart from that, this latest piece of his contains his usual posturing. This failed historian once more pretends that he is an expert in theoretical physics:
For example, in section III.3.3 (pp. 75-76). Though the coverage there remains factually correct, for various reasons I now believe Chaotic Inflation Theory (CIT) is more likely to be correct than Smolin Selection Theory (SST), although they are compatible and thus could both be true, and either remains plausible on known evidence
Always good for a laugh, our Sticky Dicky.

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Re: The "independent scholar" Dr. Richard Carrier PhD

#34

Post by Matt Cavanaugh »

....


[text deleted on Matt's request due to wrong location. JG.]


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Re: The "independent scholar" Dr. Richard Carrier PhD

#36

Post by Jan Steen »

In spite of his obsession with peer review (I would call it a fetish, were it not for the fact that he's already got a fetish), Dr. Richard Carrier PhD has actually published very few peer-reviewed papers in decent journals in his field. One of those is an article in which he tries to explain away a reference to Jesus in one of Josephus' works.

I recently came across a thorough review of this piece of Carrier's, which is worth a look if you are into this subject: http://gettingtothetruthofthings.blogsp ... rk-on.html

Another, equally critical review by Tim O'Neill is no less devastating: https://www.quora.com/What-are-some-cri ... n-Josephus

The impression left by these reviews is that the peer-review process failed to filter out a piece of crap.

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Re: The "independent scholar" Dr. Richard Carrier PhD

#37

Post by Jan Steen »

Dr. Carrier PhD: an incompetent and dishonest hack
HunnyBunny wrote:Carrier put up a new post a few days ago. On Hitler. The most important point from this is that Dick's ego appears to have bulged outward like a fetid boil waiting to burst. Peer-reviewed counts for this article: 4.

A few salient quotes:
New developments have been inspired by my exposing certain Hitler quotes as bogus!

It all started with a $50 research job for the Freedom from Religion Foundation at Dan Barker’s behest. Dan asked me to check the original German of three Hitler quotes Christians kept throwing at him. That sent me down an unexpected rabbit-hole that led me to publish my eventual findings in Hitler studies. Which made a significant impact on that field, and inspired a Swedish historian to continue the research I started.
In my book Hitler Homer Bible Christ I include my peer reviewed article published by German Studies Review in 2003,
https://web.archive.org/web/20160831115 ... ives/10978
When Dr. Nilsson began, inspired by my article to take up this research, I provided him with all my notes and correspondence,
it has also inspired further intensive research by doctor Mikael Nilsson of Uppsala University in Sweden. In the HHBC reproduction of my GSR article I add a number of editorial notes on things Dr. Nilsson had already corrected or uncovered; and I add a whole appendix on many other quotes people try to cite, besides the sample of them I discussed in GSR.
My article has also been cited in other peer reviewed works that rely on the Table Talk
it has also inspired further intensive research by doctor Mikael Nilsson of Uppsala University in Sweden. In the HHBC reproduction of my GSR article I add a number of editorial notes on things Dr. Nilsson had already corrected or uncovered; and I add a whole appendix on many other quotes people try to cite, besides the sample of them I discussed in GSR.
When I discovered that in fact the English was coming from the French, for all entries that at the time existed in French, all the leading experts I consulted were surprised by my findings: all the peer reviewers and editors at GSR; Gerhard Weinberg, author of the famous 1952 Guide to Captured German Documents (the expert I spoke to on German documents in preparing the GSR article at the advice of GSR’s editor); Richard Steigmann-Gall, historian and expert on Hitler’s religious beliefs, and author of the book that now cites me; and of course Dr. Mikael Nilsson; but even, sort of, Hugh Trevor-Roper himself.
Nilsson gives three more examples demonstrating the same conclusion, that the English translation is a direct and close translation of the French and not the German. Just as I found.
:clap: :clap:
I have already debunked the notion that Carrier's little article on Hitler's Table Talk was in any way game-changing. It now appears that Carrier is even more full of shit than I thought. But at the moment I don't have the time and inclination to go into much detail.

For now, let me just expose one little lie by Carrier. In his peer-reviewed paper he writes:
Trevor-Roper's preface claims the translation was made from the German original of
Martin Borman
I hadn't seen Trevor-Roper's preface to the first edition, so I didn't know if this was true or not. Conveniently, Carrier now quotes what Trevor-Roper actually wrote:
The text used for this edition of Hitler’s Table-Talk is the text of the original Bormann-Vermerke.
Carrier wants you to believe that Trevor-Roper was a big fat liar, because Carrier had discovered that the English translation was in fact made after a French translation. But note that Trevor-Roper does not mention the word 'German' in his quotation. And he did so for a reason. It has now become known, thanks to the research by Dr. Nilsson, that there was a contract that stipulated:
The translation into English will be made on the basis of the French version by François Genoud and it is agreed that the licensor will permit the translator appointed by the licensee to examine at any time in Switzerland the original German version insofar as this is required by the work of translation. (My bold, JS)
Carrier in his latest piece most of the time pretends that the bolded part doesn't exist.

Nilsson also unearthed a letter of a translation supervisor, who at one point wrote to Trevor-Roper:
We are now engaged in re-checking the first half of the translation, which as you know had to be made from the French, but was subsequently revised by the second translator, who worked from the original German.
I conclude from this that Trevor-Roper knew, at least in the beginning, no better than that the translation would be made from the French translation by Genoud, but checked against the German original. If that had actually been done, then his writing "The text used for this edition of Hitler’s Table-Talk is the text of the original Bormann-Vermerke" would not be a lie at all. Yet, Carrier makes a big fuss, and pretends that Trevor-Roper is a fraud, which he does by putting words in his mouth.

What apparently happened is either (1) The translators cut corners, and didn't bother to check the original German, while letting Trevor-Roper in the dark about this, or (2) Genoud had translated his French text back into German and had given this German text to the translators. If fraud was committed (apart from the apparent falsifications in the French translation that make this whole thing relevant in the first place), then it was done either by the (English) translators, or by Genoud.

So we see that a competent historian (Dr. Nilsson) brings us closer to the truth; an incompetent hack (Dr. Carrier PhD) misleads.

Guest_588acdde

Re: The "independent scholar" Dr. Richard Carrier PhD

#38

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