So I went ahead and ordered Richard Carrier’s new book, but I’m pretty damn apprehensive about it. A lot of this is from having seen his exchange with Bart Ehrman, but there’s also Carrier’s curious tendency to call people who disagree with him insane.
I was reminded of this when he posted his list of responses to defenders of the historical Jesus, where he calls two such people “insane,” and accuses another two (including Erhman) of lying. So I thought it might be worth compiling a list of people Carrier has called insane:
- Maurice Casey
- Stephanie Fisher
- R. Joseph Hoffman (also here
- Robert Eisenman
- Various people in this thread (to be fair, Carrier seems to have been dealing with some genuine cranks there)
Carrier does not seem to be using “insane” merely as a colloquial insult; when pressed he’s indicated he means it literally (for example: “have long tried to resist using terms such as crazy, insane, mad, nuts, loony, etc., of people, unless I really mean to hypothesize that someone is in some sense off their rocker to some degree.”)
I’m reasonably certain there are more examples out there, and if people can find them I’m happy to add them to the list. Note that I’m not assuming here that it’s never right to infer someone is insane—but when someone sees insanity all around them, you have to wonder if they’re the crazy one.
In Carrier’s case, he seems to have an exceptional tendency towards black-and-white thinking, which you can also see in e.g. his declaring people who make fun of the “Atheism Plus” brand are “our enemies.”
Edited to add: In the comments, someone pointed out that calling Thunderf00t a psychopath probably belongs on this list.