List of people Richard Carrier has called insane

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:

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.

  • Steven Carr

    To be fair, I did think Maurice Casey’s illness had affected his mental state.

    Casey just made up weird stuff about me in his last book. It was just astonishing the fantasy he concocted about my (non-existent) visits to Tyndale House.

    Admittedly, he never wrote that I was monitoring his thoughts via the radio, but what he did write about me made me wonder what he was on – I mean in terms of medication.

    • jjramsey

      It was just astonishing the fantasy he concocted about my (non-existent) visits to Tyndale House.

      This was debunked before, and yet you still repeat it. FWIW, I read that bit about Tyndale House in Casey’s book, and it looked more like dry, snarky speculation about how you got your views on Christianity than something that Casey was putting much weight on.

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/hallq/ Chris Hallquist

        …dry, snarky speculation…

        Aha! <lightbulb goes off>

      • Steven Carr

        No, it wasn’t debunked before, despite you linking to something which is not a debunking.

        If you think making up fantasies about how I visitied Tyndale House and getting a respectable publisher to publish them , are the actions of somebody totally comfortable with reality…..

        Did Casey really think Tyndale House in Cambridge is some sort of brainwashing centre where all who enter come out fundamentalist Christians, even if they just visit it? Even if had visited Tyndale House the chances are I would not have been re-programmed by their operatives.

        I defy anybody to read that chapter of Casey’s book and say that it is totally different from raving and ranting. Not even Casey’s fellow academics can bring themselves to quote any of it (apart from Jim West complaining about Casey’s gross misrepresentation and slander of Emmanuel Pfoh)

        Just quote what Casey said about me going to Tyndale House, and the other wild fantasies in there about me, if you think that is the way a sane person arranges his thoughts.

        Those words of Casey were the words of somebody constructing a fantasy world so that he could live in that world rather than the world of reality.

        But, as I said, Casey was very ill at the time,and I have no idea what medication he was on,or how or if,it might have affected him.

        Perhaps I am being too charitable in assuming that it was the medication talking in that book….

        • jjramsey

          Carr:

          Did Casey really think Tyndale House in Cambridge is some sort of
          brainwashing centre where all who enter come out fundamentalist
          Christians, even if they just visit it?

          Here’s the actual quote from the book:

          … after gaining a Class 1 B.A. in Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge, he became a ‘Computer Consultant’. This goes some way to explain his unusual views. At Cambridge, he could easily have gone to Tyndale House, and picked up the ideas central to his debates, such as that ‘real’ Christianity is hopelessly conservative, and the only form of Christianity worth debating with, because it can be refuted.

          It’s telling that instead of criticizing some problems that are actually there in Casey’s text (which I’ll leave as an exercise to any readers here), you make up pseudoproblems like the idea that Casey thought that you had been brainwashed at Tyndale House, which is nowhere in Casey’s text. You really aren’t helping yourself here.

          • Steven Carr

            So you think there’s nothing wrong with Casey just making up my alleged visits to Tyndale House , where I allegedly imbibed fundamentalism.

            I see you quoted the bit about me being totally dogmatic because I had a first in sciences and worked with computers ! (What the Hell was he on?, sSeriously – he must have been taking some powerful medication at that time)

            Remind me to make up stuff about you sometime, and you will rush to claim that there is no problem in anybody doing that :-)

            Casey then goes on to slam me for claiming that the author of Matthew changed some of Mark’s wording and pastes me all over the shop for having the sheer audacity to claim that Jews thought the 10 commandments had been given to them by their god.

            None of anything Casey slams me for (such as criticising his claim that he can read Aramaic wax tablets nobody has seen better than native Aramaic speakers who allegedly could hold them in their hands) had anything to do with mythicism, which Casey was allegedly arguing against.

            They guy was a crank who comforted himself by making up fantasies about people he disliked.

          • http://patheos.com/blogs/hallq/ Chris Hallquist

            To J.J. Ramsey: thanks—yup, Carr looks a lot crazier than Casey here.

          • Steven Carr

            To quote Casey, JJ Ramsey ‘could easily have’ paid you to say that :-)

            How come none of Casey’s fellow academics can bring themselves to quote from his book,although Jim West complained about Casey misrepresenting and slandering Emmanuel Pfoh?

  • Luke Breuer

    I attended a talk by Carrier in SF on 2014-03-29, at which he called himself “the leading scholar on historicity of Jesus who argues against his existence”. He advertised his Hitler Homer Bible Christ as being an “anthology of peer-reviewed published work from 1995–2013″. My wife flipped through it and found I think a maximum of four papers relevant to the non-historicity of Jesus. Am I missing something, or is Carrier claiming a lot for not very much actual academic product?

    • http://patheos.com/blogs/hallq/ Chris Hallquist

      “the leading scholar on historicity of Jesus who argues against his existence”

      This is arguably true. There are not many scholars on the historicity of Jesus who argue against his existence.

      • Luke Breuer

        That’s fine, but until he has published more, being “the leading scholar” doesn’t mean a whole lot, in the sense he wants it to mean.

        • AdamK

          He has published more. Much more.
          Flipping through one of his books–a collection of short scholarly pieces about various subjects–is no way to assess the totality of his work. His book on the historicity of Jesus has just now been published.

        • Dante

          Did you know Tim McGrew is the leading scholar arguing for the non-existence of Carrier?

          http://www.rightreason.org/2012/does-richard-carrier-exist/

          • Luke Breuer

            Hahahaha, that’s awesome. In the talk Carrier gave on 2014-03-29 in SF, I took down this note:

            Argues in book on importance of history, that we cannot trust history done by historians earlier than 1950.

            Now, I’m sure there’s a valid way to use Bayesianism with historical claims, but you’ve gotta ensure you have a good universal prior probability, which I think is what McGrew was criticizing when I skimmed his article. I shouldn’t say too much more, though, if and until I read Carrier’s defense about “how history ought to be done”. I’ll say one more thing: he might be right in theory, but only if we had terrifically more evidence, and/or our extant evidence were much better described such that algorithms could consume it. Then one could make machine learning programs which would consume some historical facts and successfully predict others. That’d be a pretty good test that history is understood well. But even then, we wouldn’t have straight-up Bayesian inference, but the still somewhat mysterious world of machine learning.

            It turns out that human intuition is pretty awesome compared to what can be done with statistics and machine learning. Maybe the machines will catch up at some point, but they’ve got a long way to go, still! At best, Carrier seems to be jumping the gun. But that is a weak statement, given that I’ve not read his book on how Bayesian history (my term, I think) ought to be done.

          • MattB

            That is precisely the reason why historians and mathematicians have criticized his work. He wants to say we can find the prior probability of Jesus, which he claims is extremely low, but he does so by using irrelevant methods, like the Rank-Raglan scale, which is a scale that was used to measure historical figures based on their narratives, not their actual existence. History is unconditional. It would be like asking to find the prior probability of drawing a black marble, and I tell you that there are a bunch of white marbles and a few black marbles. How on earth can you determine the percentage of a black marble to a white marble? Few and bunch are vague terms. We would need to know the amount of marbles in the bag first or the ration of black to white in order to determine the prior probability.

            What’s even worse is that he seems to be jumping between mythicism and Jesus agnosticism. He wants to eat his cake and have it too.

          • Avenger

            Matt, you are spot on about the Rank-Raglan scale. The whole thing is a red herring. When you look at the Rank-Raglan criteria you see that about half of them centre on one theme: kingship. The hero is of royal descent. An attempt is made to prevent the hero from becoming king by killing him in infancy. Eventually the hero does become king. After reigning for awhile he loses his crown etc. All the aspects of the story make sense only if the hero does actually become king.

            This creates a huge problem for anyone trying to apply the criteria to Jesus. As we know, Jesus didn’t actually become king of Judaea. Many Jews were hoping for a king or messiah to overthrow the Romans, but it never happened. Consequently, the whole thing falls apart.

            You can’t have a story about a king when the king is actually missing. If someone wants to argue that Jesus was a mythic hero, ask him one question: did Jesus become king of Judaea? If the answer is no then Jesus can’t be a mythic hero.

          • MattB
          • Avenger

            Thanks for the offer, Matt, but I prefer civilised conversations, and I don’t think they are capable of that. I admire the dignity that you have shown in the face of their relentless hostility.

            It makes me laugh that mythicists think they actually have a case. They think that the Rank-Raglan nonsense counts as evidence. What they don’t realise is that the whole thing is an intellectual swindle.

          • MattB

            No problem. I find it funny that the RR scale was actually used to assess historical narratives about figures from the ancient world, most of all share similar features. It is not used to assess the existence of those figures. That would be a misuse of such methodology. Take a look at what this folklorist said about the RR scale and how other figures rank way higher than Jesus. If Carrier was correct, then that would mean all these figures couldn’t have existed either:

            “Folklorist Francis Utley argued that recent historical figures such as Abraham Lincoln [5] fit all of Lord Raglan’s 22 points and that Lincoln was a mythical figure. Another recent historical figure that fit the Hero pattern quite well was John F. Kennedy, furthermore, William Wallace from the medieval period did as well. [6] Classicist Thomas J. Sienkewicz did other rankings of numerous Heroes and among them that score quite high were historical persons like Muhammad (17), Tsar Nicholas II (14),Mithridates VI of Pontus (22), Buddha (15) and Jesus (18). Also fictional characters were scored as well, among those Harry Potter (8). [7]“

          • Avenger

            Thanks for the quote. Very good. We should also remember that the RR scale has been around for a long time. Genuine scholars have never been impressed by the mythicists’ application of it.

            Another thing to note is that actual mythic heroes inhabit an obviously fictional world in which anything can be made to happen. If you want your mythic hero to become king, then you just have him becoming king. You can give your imagination free rein. This obviously doesn’t apply to Jesus. The Gospel writers couldn’t claim that Jesus had become king of Judaea because they were constrained by the facts of history.

            Richard Carrier thinks he can just plug any old bit of evidence into his equations without considering the context.

          • MattB

            Feel free to look at most of the hostile mythicists(Except Caravelle), and what they say about me. You can also read their arguments and see the glaring amount of problems with them.

            “Another thing to note is that actual mythic heroes inhabit an obviously fictional world in which anything can be made to happen. If you want your mythic hero to become king, then you just have him becoming king. You can give your imagination free rein. This obviously doesn’t apply to Jesus. The Gospel writers couldn’t claim that Jesus had become king of Judaea because they were constrained by the facts of history.

            Richard Carrier thinks he can just plug any old bit of evidence into his equations without considering the context.”

            You are so correct. Carrier has no structured method to do his historical work. I see him use the fundamentalist approach(all or nothing) or at least bring irrelevance into his arguments(i.e. the gospels contain some legendary stories) none of this can be assessed as evidence for a mythical Jesus.

          • Avenger

            Matt, do you know whether Carrier has any good arguments? The ones I have heard about sound pretty bad. His attempt to deal with the reference to the brother of the Lord is a noteworthy example. Let’s suppose that the term is metaphorical, as Carrier argues. This is still completely consistent with a historical Jesus. The real Jesus may have called his followers brothers.

            On the other hand, people don’t usually consider themselves to be the brothers of a mythical/heavenly being. Carrier seems to think that he has made his case by arguing that the term is metaphorical, without realising that it is only the first step in the argument. Of course, all this is speculation anyway, because Paul never actually says that we are brothers of the Lord.

            I was thinking of reading the book, but I’m not sure that I can be bothered.

          • MattB

            “Matt, do you know whether Carrier has any good arguments? The ones I have heard about sound pretty bad. His attempt to deal with the reference to the brother of the Lord is a noteworthy example. Let’s suppose that the term is metaphorical, as Carrier argues. This is still completely consistent with a historical Jesus. The real Jesus may have called his followers brothers.”

            Not any to my knowledge do I find persuasive. Of course, he has argued docetism, which was a sect within mid-late 1st and early second-century that had a wide variety of beliefs about Jesus. One of them was that Jesus’ body was an illusion and that he was a spirit being. Of course, they still believed that Jesus existed on earth, just not in bodily-form. However, I don’t think this in of itself can be used as an argument for mythicism because docetists still belived that Jesus appeared on earth. Mythicists claim that Jesus never lived or appeared on earth at all.

            “On the other hand, people don’t usually consider themselves to be the brothers of a mythical/heavenly being. Carrier seems to think that he has made his case by arguing that the term is metaphorical, without realising that it is only the first step in the argument. Of course, all this is speculation anyway, because Paul never actually says that we are brothers of the Lord.”

            I’m no expert in Greek or biblical studies, but I’ve read some papers by scholars or at least posts(James McGrath for example) on how the greek that Paul uses for the relationship between James and Jesus does not mean what Carrier wants it to. The Greek used can mean brothers in the plural sense, but here it is used to refer to James as a biological brother. The way Paul uses it shows that James was considered sharing the same womb as Jesus. In order for him to share a womb with Jesus, that means that Jesus had to exist as a real flesh and blood person.

          • Avenger

            Thanks, Matt. In that case I won’t bother reading it. Life is too short, as they say.

          • MattB

            I would suggest reading it if you want to see the amount of problematic use of Carrier’s arguments. The only good thing I think Carrier did(And I’m not trying to dog him) is by giving the amount of information accessible to a lay audience. Other than that, I thought the whole book was 2/5 stars. Carrier is a smart man but his arguments seemed weak and unconvincing. If I was a an atheist, I would be very skeptical of such arguments. He combines his own culture and calls it “Judeo-Greco” however no such thing exists. Most Jews didn’t bother to mingle with greek ideas and it was only very few outside of Jerusalem or inside Jerusalem who did. Most Jews stuck to themselves and stayed apart from Greek laws and gods. On top of that, is Carrier’s overuse and misuse of BT. I am not really competent in math, and I only understand BT on a very basic level, but I think Carrier only does as well too. For one, he’s not even an expert in BT or any mathematical formulas. He may understand them better than lay people, but he is himself an amateur when it comes to mathematical formulas. I think McGrath plans on reviewing his book soon and so I will be looking forward to that.

            Mcgrath, btw, has written a little bit about it:

            http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/2014/06/review-of-two-mythicist-books.html

          • Avenger

            It’s tempting to read the book, but I think I will have to forgo that particular masochistic pleasure :-)

            When people use Jesus’ alleged membership of the mythic hero class to calculate the probability of his existence I just can’t take it seriously. Trying to disabuse people of the notion that it is something to take seriously seems to be a futile endeavour, but good luck if you decide to continue with it.

          • Caravelle

            From what I understand most of Carrier’s argument is a lot like Doherty’s ideas, and that’s on the internet:
            http://www.jesuspuzzle.humanists.net/mainarticles-1.html

            I don’t know how the articles relate to his books; it’s possible they are the older, pre-revised version of his book “Jesus: Neither God nor Man”.

          • Avenger

            Hi Caravelle

            Thanks for the reference. I will look into it. I will also be interested to see any reviews of Carrier’s book by the relevant experts. My instinct is to be sceptical, but I claim no expertise on the matter.

          • Caravelle

            I’d say your instinct to be skeptical is the right one, in the absence of all other knowledge on the subject going with the consensus is the default position. Of course once you do get some knowledge on the subject you can start having your own opinions.

            I haven’t found much in the way of reviews of OHJ for myself; Google Scholar in particular is a dead zone. So from what I can tell the best source for reviews of OHJ is still Carrier’s own page of responses.

            It’s also linked to in Chris Hallquist’s main post, and it’s a donotlink if you prefer to click there.

          • M. Solange O’Brien

            Matt, you are lying. The people on that site are not mythicists. You have been told this repeatedly. Why are you still claiming that they are?

          • M. Solange O’Brien

            Matt, you are lying. The people on that site are not mythicists. You have been told this repeatedly. Why are you being dishonest?

          • Caravelle

            Oh, so this is what the black and white balls analogy is for! I couldn’t really tell what it was in service of in the other thread. The other people’s responses to it make a lot more sense now too. I’ll answer here if I may given how overloaded the other thread is already.

            It would be like asking to find the prior probability of drawing a black marble, and I tell you that there are a bunch of white marbles and a few black marbles. How on earth can you determine the percentage of a black marble to a white marble? Few and bunch are vague terms. We would need to know the amount of marbles in the bag first or the ration of black to white in order to determine the prior probability.

            Is history the only discipline with this problem? What if I told you this:

            It would be like asking to find the prior probability of a mosquito being a carrier for the dengue fever virus, and I tell you that there are a bunch of healthy, non-carrier mosquitoes and a few mosquitoes that do carry the virus. How on earth can you determine the percentage of a carrier mosquito to a noncarrier mosquito? Few and bunch are vague terms. We would need to know the amount of mosquitoes in the region first or the ration of carrier to noncarrier mosquitoes in order to determine the prior probability.

            This situation is just like your analogy, right? Do you agree this could be a scientific problem (specifically in epidemiology or population biology), or do you think I made it up out of whole cloth? If you do think it could be legitimate scientific problem, do you think scientists just give up on it in the face of the impossibility, or do you think scientists have methods of estimating the probabilities without examining every single mosquito in the region?

          • MattB

            But we’re not talking about science here. Were talking about history.

          • Caravelle

            You made a point about history using an analogy, correct?

            Analogies work by taking the aspects of a system that are relevant to some argument about it, and showing that the argument is true of a simpler system with the same aspects; it follows that the argument is also true of the original system. It also follows that the argument is true of any system that has those aspects. If I make an argument that relies on roundness, then that argument will apply equally to Earth, oranges or ping-pong balls. If it turns out that my argument doesn’t apply to basketballs, then either my argument is wrong or my argument isn’t actually about roundness, i.e. my analogy is flawed.

            It looks to me like your analogy is there to show that you can’t find prior probabilities in history, is that so? If not, what is it this analogy shows?

          • MattB

            Scientists can calculate numbers by observation and they will have knowledge because they can predict things based on such things. Historians don’t have knowledge of events because they can’t observe them in space-time. They must use deductive reasoning to arrive at a sound conclusion.

          • Caravelle

            Scientists can calculate numbers by observation and they will have knowledge because they can predict things based on such things.

            Yes, observations including incomplete and indirect evidence. Population biologists can’t observe every mosquito in a region, physicists can’t directly observe a quark, astrophysicists can’t directly observe most exoplanets and geologists can’t directly observe the formation of the Grand Canyon.

            Historians don’t have knowledge of events because they can’t observe them in space-time.

            But they have real-time access to indirect and incomplete evidence of those events having occurred, like in any evidence-based field of study whose object of study cannot be directly perceived by the senses.

            They must use deductive reasoning to arrive at a sound conclusion.

            All evidence-based fields of study including history use both inductive and deductive reasoning.

            Matt, at this point I’m confused as to whether I’m arguing against your position or not. I don’t want another “I never said agnosticism was impossible except where I literally said that” fiasco. I am going to ask you a number of questions about the specific position I have issue with to figure out if it’s a position you actually hold or not.

            I would really appreciate it if you could answer those questions exactly as they are written. This isn’t a trap or some attempt to pin you into a position you don’t hold; if you get second thoughts about those answers later in the conversation you can revise them at any point, just tell me when you do.

            So: my issue is with the following analogy in this comment:
            http://www.patheos.com/blogs/hallq/2014/06/list-of-people-richard-carrier-has-called-insane/#comment-1630479291

            It would be like asking to find the prior probability of drawing a black marble, and I tell you that there are a bunch of white marbles and a few black marbles. How on earth can you determine the percentage of a black marble to a white marble? Few and bunch are vague terms. We would need to know the amount of marbles in the bag first or the ration of black to white in order to determine the prior probability.

            The questions:

            1) In the days since you’ve posted this, have you had second thoughts about this analogy, i.e. do you think it wasn’t phrased in the best way, or that it doesn’t reflect your position as well as you’d wish? Or do you stand by it exactly as it is in that comment?

            2) Is there a specific point you wanted to make with this analogy, or did you post it for another reason?

            3) To me it appears that the point of the analogy is the following:
            - History (or the question of the historicity of Jesus) is like the situation I’m describing in this analogy
            - In the situation the analogy describes it is impossible to find the relevant prior probability
            - Therefore, in history it is impossible to find the relevant prior probability too.

            Is this a correct description of the point you were making with that analogy? If not, could you describe the point you were actually making, and how the analogy logically relates to that point?

            Thank you in advance.

          • Caravelle

            Thank you for replying to my questions Matt. Although you replied on another blog I’ll respond here because that other thread is long enough (I hope it’s OK with Chris…)

            1) I think I phrased Brigs analogy in a good way. However, I think there are far better analogies that explain the issue of historical occurrences and BT.

            2) Just the problem with trying to predict historical occurrences.

            3) Yes, I think it is pretty accurate. I would say that however, that BT would be a stumbling block for historians trying to do historical studies, in terms of figuring out the likelihood of events and or peoples.

            1) Would you mind linking me to where Briggs uses this analogy? I tried to look on his blog but couldn’t easily find it.

            3) If that is accurate, how would it affect the analogy if, in the situation of the analogy, there were in fact a number of potential ways to estimate the proportion of black and white balls in the bag, and thus the prior probability?

            Basically that analogy could form the first paragraph in a textbook on sampling 101. And the second paragraph would be “In this book we will show you the main methods to solve this problem”.

            In all those examples you gave involving science, Scientists first use the scientific-method and then only use BT when they have prior information at their hand. However, this isn’t the same in history.

            Bayesian inference is completely compatible with the scientific method, and everyone always has prior information at their hand, or rather, in their head. The only question is whether that prior information is unstated or (as fuzzily as may be) quantified.

            Do you know why Jaynes’ book on Bayes’ Theorem and reasoning is called “Probability Theory: The Logic of Science”? Because all valid rules of reasoning, including the scientific method, can be expressed in terms of Bayesian inference. Both deductive and inductive reasoning can be expressed in terms of Bayesian inference; in fact your standard syllogistic logic is the edge case of Bayesian inference where the probabilities are all 1 or 0.

            Now this is different from the practical question of whether or not to use Bayesian probabilities as a statistical technique. But that’s a practical question that depends on the specific problem you’re trying to solve, not the field. And it’s one statistical method among others, not a unique method on par with “the scientific method” that could be used instead of it.

  • rg57

    I wonder how well his “sane” and “insane” categories line up with his “with us” and “against us” categories. If you’ve got a set, he can partition it.

  • L.Long

    I always thought that ‘INSANE’ has a definite meaning of ‘not being able to tell the difference between a right or wrong action.’ If this is so then the use of ‘INSANE’ is completely wrong but they may well be mentally disturbed as in highly delusional about some fairy tale.

    • jaggington

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Insanity#In_medicine
      “Insanity is no longer considered a medical diagnosis but is a legal term in the United States, stemming from its original use in common law.”

      From http://dictionary.law.com/Default.aspx?selected=979
      Law.com’s definition of insanity
      insanity
      n. mental illness of such a severe nature that a person cannot distinguish fantasy from reality, cannot conduct her/his affairs due to psychosis, or is subject to uncontrollable impulsive behavior. Insanity is distinguished from low intelligence or mental deficiency due to age or injury.”

      Having read http://freethoughtblogs.com/carrier/archives/3951 Richard Carrier’s piece on Stephanie Fisher’s criticisms of his book “(conclusion: didn’t read the book, lies about it; doesn’t understand math; probably insane)”, I think Carrier may be conflating delusional mental illness with an inability to reason critically combined with some form of the Dunning-Kruger effect.

      [Apologies in advance, I'm not sure how my links and formatting will turn out and I don't know how to preview or if I'll be able to edit]

      • Steven Carr

        You just have to read some of Stephanie Louise Fisher’s comments on blogs like Vridar to realise that she is weird.

        What can you expect from a self-described Dolphinst?

        But being weird is not the same as being insane.

        It just means you are weird.

        The following quote might illustrate the difficulty of categorising Stephanie.

        FISHER
        ‘I’ve never believed in gods or religions but that doesn’t make me an atheist of any sort at all.’

        • jaggington

          Having just skim-read Stephanie Fisher’s post I am who I am: Why I am not an atheist
          http://www.stateofformation.org/2011/05/i-am-who-i-am-why-i-am-not-an-atheist-2/

          [I have not yet discovered the magic incantation to substitute text for a link]

          then I can see how she might fall outside many people’s definition of insane but within others’. To me, she comes across (from what little I have read of her own writings) as ‘bonkers’ but not ‘insane’. Richard Carrier obviously defines sanity/insanity by different criteria to us.

          • http://patheos.com/blogs/hallq/ Chris Hallquist

            I started reading that link and… oh my science, no way am I finishing all that, but honestly the opening paragraphs don’t even rate all that “weird” by the standards of liberal academic theology.

  • https://plus.google.com/103783311760679881592/about Ophis

    Surely calling Thunderf00t a sociopath should be in that list?

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/carrier/archives/3364

  • http://www.peterhurford.com peterhurford

    This list is much shorter than I expected.

    • http://patheos.com/blogs/hallq/ Chris Hallquist

      This was just the examples I could come up with on short notice using Google. I deliberately left out Jerry Vardaman (where the charge isn’t that far off), as well as things I vaguely remember hearing in sources that aren’t easily Googleable. Hence why suggested additions are welcome.

      • MattB

        Even if I wasn’t a Christian, I would still be very skeptical of Carrier’s arguments(like you have). It seems that he cares more about his ego than the actual evidence itself.


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