Skeptics of a Feather

I happened across a document reflecting mythicist claims and views recently, and was struck when I noticed where it was hosted.

The blog is “Citizen for 9/11 Truth.”

It is not a coincidence that fundamentalist Christians often accept conspiracy theories about the government and uncritically accept as “news” things that could be easily debunked with a little research. Once you have accepted the view that you should reject what secular experts have to say, not even when they agree but especially when they agree, then you will need to posit conspiracies to account for their consensuses. (Here’s a recent example of someone who draws on both young-earth creationism and ancient aliens).

And it is likewise no surprise when Bill Maher’s “skepticism” leads him to question the consensus on vaccinations as well as the historicity of Jesus, or when a 9/11 truther also embraces Jesus mythicism. When you believe that all you need to do to get at the truth is poke what seem to you to be holes in what experts say, then you will find that you can do that with just about anything.

Pay close attention to where various kinds of skepticism lead people, or rather, how the tools of skepticism are used by people to conveniently draw the conclusions that they wish to, without that skeptical examination ever being turned inwards upon their own views and assumptions.

This is a point at which my Christian faith and my role as a scholar seem to converge. Unless we turn our critical gaze inwards to examine the beam in our own eye and not primarily the splinter in someone else’s, it is unlikely that we will ever see things clearly.

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  • http://undeception.com/ Steve Douglas

    “When you believe that all you need to do to get at the truth is poke what seem to you to be holes in what experts say, then you will find that you can do that with just about anything.”

    And that deserves one of those poster treatments.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/religionprof/ James F. McGrath

      Would you care to do the honors? :-)

      • http://undeception.com/ Steve Douglas

        How’s this?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/religionprof/ James F. McGrath

          Wow, thanks! I’ll share it, and give you credit!

  • http://youcallthisculture.blogspot.com/ VinnyJH

    I don’t think the fact that historicity doubters include 911 Truthers tells me much more than the fact that historicity affirmers include Kirk Cameron and Ken Ham..

    I also don’t think that the fact that I don’t believe we can have any certainty about an obscure ancient preacher who went unnoticed by literate and prominent people during his lifetime leads me to doubt that we can have a reasonable degree of certainty about ancient emperors and generals and politicians whose activities were recorded by their contemporaries.

    • http://thread-of-fire.tumblr.com/myblogs Brian Pansky

      Indeed I was about to say something similar, but I don’t think James Mcgrath said that this weighs against mythicism.

      (Except for the tags “Richard Carrier”,…that tag seems to accuse Richard Carrier of something similar to the contents of the post, which is bizarre)

  • http://thread-of-fire.tumblr.com/myblogs Brian Pansky

    “the consensus on…the historicity of Jesus”

    Just so that everyone here is aware*, the methods used to establish that conclusion as the consensus have been reviewed (by multiple qualified people) and found lacking. Members in the field of study may have to re-evaluate the position.

    Richard Carrier, a scholar, has outlined this in his book “Proving History: Bayes’s Theorem and the Quest for the Historical Jesus”. Carrier even says that EVERY scholarly review of the methodology has found the methodology to be flawed. Also note that in Proving History he is not presenting the mythicist hypothesis as correct, his newer book does that. But Proving History only addresses methodology.

    *[Edit: in case it isn’t obvious, when I originally made this post I was unaware that this blog is aware of many things Richard Carrier has to say on the subject]

    • Andrew Dowling

      James on this blog has deconstructed Carrier pretty well and found him to be lacking . .

      • http://thread-of-fire.tumblr.com/myblogs Brian Pansky

        Perhaps you aren’t aware of Carrier’s response:

        http://freethoughtblogs.com/carrier/archives/5730

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/religionprof/ James F. McGrath

          Are you sharing that post in all seriousness? You might want to see the context in which it was previously mentioned here…

          • http://thread-of-fire.tumblr.com/myblogs Brian Pansky

            Yes, in all seriousness. Odd that my seriousness is questioned. Is Andrew Dowling’s seriousness to be questioned for doing the same thing I just did? (Except he did it first)

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/religionprof/ James F. McGrath

            All you did was link to a post which declares the holders of the consensus of historians and other scholars incompetent or insane. Plenty of crank and pseudoscholarly positions do that. What makes Carrier different from any other fringe view of a PhD-holder who prefers to declare other scholars hopelessly biased or in dereliction of their duty as scholars, than to either persuade them or accept the implication of being unable to do so?

          • http://thread-of-fire.tumblr.com/myblogs Brian Pansky

            Maybe Carrier’s writing becomes magically invisible to you the moment he concludes that some people are incompetent (and backs this up) and some are “insane”, and so that’s why you are not commenting on the actual content of his positions and rebuttals.

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/religionprof/ James F. McGrath

            Sorry, but scholarship is not a matter of dismissing other scholars on one’s blog, but of persuading them through academic arguments that deal with the evidence.

          • http://thread-of-fire.tumblr.com/myblogs Brian Pansky

            Interesting, considering some real scholars he responded to were also using blogs in their discussions.

            Also interesting that you label what Carrier does as “dismissing”. That doesn’t really describe what he did, which was often very informative discussion on many points.

            Thirdly, Carrier does interact substantially with the other scholars arguments etc. in non-blog format, namely: his books.

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/religionprof/ James F. McGrath

            The point was not about the use of blogs. The point was that you seem to think that a book which has just appeared ought to be accepted by the general public, even before it has been evaluated by the scholarly community. I’m trying to figure out why you think that, and whether you would not see the problems with this approach to things in other areas, such as science or even other areas of history.

            I realize that people who do not study the relevant sources in detail professionally as part of their occupation may find a view persuasive, which those who know the sources inside and out find to be thoroughly without merit. Hence the need for key information fluency skills, to know how to make sense of competing claims and sensationalized headlines about the matters that academics study.

          • http://thread-of-fire.tumblr.com/myblogs Brian Pansky

            Maybe you are confused about which book I was talking about. I was not talking about the new one, but about the older one, “Proving History”. I will also repeat myself that the methods were not just reviewed by Carrier, but also by other people.

            I also did not present this as something which “ought to be accepted by the general public”. O.o

            Or at least I would be disappointed in myself if I had accidentally written something like that.

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/religionprof/ James F. McGrath

            Perhaps you might care to not simply post links and make vague references, but actually talk about what you think, and why you think it, including details such as the names of scholars and historians whose conslusions have influenced you? Perhaps you could begin at the beginning and introduce yourself as well, instead of making an impression that you may not have intended to and then complaining when the little you have said gives an impression you did not intend?

        • Andrew Dowling

          I’m well aware of Carrier’s arguments. He’s the William Lane Craig of the “left” side of biblical scholarship.

          • http://thread-of-fire.tumblr.com/myblogs Brian Pansky

            This isn’t an argument. Your opinion is dismissed.

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/religionprof/ James F. McGrath

            No, it is a summary of a conclusion drawn over the course of years of discussion here. Perhaps you would care to inform yourself about this topic and the discussion of it here, and then join in the conversation at the stage it has currently reached?

          • http://thread-of-fire.tumblr.com/myblogs Brian Pansky

            I responded to the “get up to speed” thing on my other post:

            http://www.patheos.com/blogs/religionprof/2014/06/skeptics-of-a-feather.html#comment-1450746395

          • arcseconds

            What is the point of responding like this?

            Surely you don’t expect to convince anyone by acting as though you’ve been appointed as Judge Pansky, with authority over all opinion and argument.

            The most likely outcome of you wandering into a new environment where you have no authority and no established credibility and issuing summary judgement on everyone is that everyone will just conclude you’re an arrogant idiot.

          • http://thread-of-fire.tumblr.com/myblogs Brian Pansky

            Say that to the person I was replying to.

            Except I’m an outsider, so it’s ok if useless posts are given to me, I just can’t dismiss useless posts or else I’m arrogant. Got it.

          • arcseconds

            I’m not telling you what to do. I’m asking you why you choose to express yourself as you do.

            “Your opinion is dismissed” is the sort of thing a judge might say, someone who has authority over what is to count towards some eventual decision. As you don’t have any such authority, it certainly does come across as arrogant (if you weren’t aware of this before, I’m telling you now), and, if you think about it, rather ridiculous.

            But I don’t know what goals you have for this discussion. You started off as though you were trying to inform people of something, apparently unaware that everyone here has an (usually fairly low) opinion of Carrier already. Which made me think that perhaps you want to persuade us of something.

          • http://thread-of-fire.tumblr.com/myblogs Brian Pansky

            “…someone who has authority over what is to count towards some eventual decision. As you don’t have any such authority…”

            Yes indeed. I did consider editing my words because I had a similar concern when I read it over.

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/religionprof/ James F. McGrath

            If you had a blog on which a subject had been under discussion for many years previously, and someone new showed up with an arrogant tone and started repeating claims that had been discussed previously, can you imagine the impression they would make, and the reception they might get from long-time commenters?

          • Andrew Dowling

            . . .like Carrier’s arguments by anyone noted in the field of biblical scholarship and ancient history. Fine by me.

          • Guest

            That’s more like it, Andrew! I can now predict looking at every single noted person in the field of biblical scholarship and ancient history who have checked his argument, and find that his argument has been dismissed or found lacking etc.

          • http://thread-of-fire.tumblr.com/myblogs Brian Pansky

            If you know of anyone in the relevant fields interacting with his arguments, please help compile them all here:

            http://freethoughtblogs.com/carrier/archives/5730

            [edit, why is my other reply to Andrew that I just DELETED now listed as being posted by “guest” and has one upvote by “guest”? I did not post it as a guest, I posted it as my google account, and I also deleted it]

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/religionprof/ James F. McGrath

      I take it you are new here. You might want to review some of the past discussions of mythicism, historical method, scholarship, and pseudoscholarship on this blog, and then join in the discussion where it is up to at this point. In case you are not aware, the fact that someone with a PhD has made the case for something does not mean that that person’s view ought to be adopted. But it might help if you used scholars’ names instead of the vague “multiple qualified people.”

      • http://thread-of-fire.tumblr.com/myblogs Brian Pansky

        How condescending and unhelpful.

        I have now looked at some of your previous posts that were nominally on the topic, but there was little if any content that I was otherwise lacking/ not up to speed on. But, then again, I didn’t bother reading every last one of your posts.

        Maybe you would be good enough to direct me to something substantial by you which has not already been responded to by Carrier.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/religionprof/ James F. McGrath

          I wonder what your purpose in commenting here is. You have communicated with an air of arrogance that you consider Richard Carrier’s views convincing, even though he hasn’t managed to persuade anyone who works professionally in the relevant fields of history. I assume that you’ve already browsed my posts on this subject. And so perhaps you can explain why you think that someone ought to accept a fringe view because they’ve found it persuasive, even when it doesn’t convince the experts?

          In case you haven’t found some of my older posts on mythicism (I’ve been blogging about this a long time), here’s a round-up of some of the more substantial posts from the period prior to July 2011: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/religionprof/2011/07/round-up-of-mythicist-blogging.html

          More recent ones can be found easily using obvious keywords and tags, such as mythicism, Richard Carrier, Earl Doherty, etc.

    • http://thread-of-fire.tumblr.com/myblogs Brian Pansky

      The replies here have become a mess of non-responses, misunderstandings, and the like. Right now I feel inclined to no longer check in on the continuing discussion on this particular post. Though I may keep this blog on my radar in general, as it looks like it may contribute to my understanding of this subject.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/religionprof/ James F. McGrath

        You are welcome to join in the conversation. Perhaps you might wish to give some thought first to how you introduce yourself in a new forum, the impression that you make, why you you feel misunderstood, and how to appropriately interact with the conclusions of scholars in this or indeed any field. If interacting in a manner that is less troll-like than your recent comments is unappealing to you, then simply reading quietly might indeed be the best thing for everyone here.

        • http://thread-of-fire.tumblr.com/myblogs Brian Pansky

          Your assessment of how the conversation proceeded and your vague accusations are bizarre to me (and not what I’m interested in) and I will presently dismiss them.

          [edited after reading Anonymous Coward]

          [though James did say in a different comment to me “Perhaps you could begin at the beginning and introduce yourself as well”]

          • Anonymous Coward

            I don’t think he meant like a formal introduction. I think he just meant any time anyone makes a first post here, they’re in effect “introducing themselves” and in that sense making a “first impression.”

  • Sean Garrigan

    “Once you have accepted the view that you should reject what secular
    experts have to say, not even when they agree but especially when they
    agree, then you will need to posit conspiracies to account for their
    consensuses.”

    Not necessarily. In the case of the Darwinian “consensus”, all one has to do is reject the assumption that serves as a sort of criteria of investigation or precondition for investigation, namely naturalism (=supernatural explanations need not apply). We’ve gone over this so many times it’s odd that you still don’t show any sign that your discourse is informed by your understanding.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/religionprof/ James F. McGrath

      The talk of the antiscience forms of creationism about “Darwinism” are a perfect example of what I am talking about, and pretending that you have shown this to be an exception when you have illustrated the very issue I am talking about is disingenuous on your part, and extremely frustrating and disappointing.

      • Sean Garrigan

        Not at all. I was pointing out the rather obvious fact that rejecting a methodology that excludes intelligent causation as a governing precondition of science is not to promote a “conspiracy theory”. That you don’t realize this is extremely frustrating and disappointing.

        • lance Geologist

          Your lack of understanding of the scientific method is something to be pittied.Your own words show the problem ,”governing precondition of science”is a silly statement.Instead of making silly statements, try giving evidence for intelligent causation.Evidence that anyone can look at and examine. When your hypothesis can be examined by looking at repeatable evidence, then intelligent causation might become part of scientific exploration. Until then it is religion and is to be taken on faith. I for one do not see a need to test or analyze God.

          • Sean Garrigan

            I’ve gone over this many times on this blog, and provided plenty of corroborating evidence of what I’m saying.

            If you should chose to better inform yourself, there are many examples out there that support my contention, some of which I’ve posted here over the last several years. You could start by following the many debates between opponents of ID and its advocates. You might also consider the words of Richard Lewontin, which I don’t have time to quote for you, but you can locate them for yourself, here:

            http://www.drjbloom.com/Public%20files/Lewontin_Review.htm

            Scientists — like most people in general — believe that if intelligent causation is responsible for the bacterial flagellum — as just one example — then that implies divine causation (few buy the proposal that aliens seeded the earth). Whether they and most people are correct is beside the point. What matters is that there is this view that intelligent causation = supernatural causation, and science only seeks natural causes in biology. Arguments that propose that intelligent causation is responsible for the emergence of complex body plans, the diversity of life forms, etc, are therefore considered “not science” by many.

            You can bluster that I’m ignorant, but such self-satisfying exclamations don’t gain traction with me. I’ve researched this more than most people, and know it to be largely true just as I know that I’m wearing glasses and sitting on a chair while I type this post.

          • lance Geologist

            Sean, YOU still miss the point.Examples of claimed intelligent causation are not evidence of intelligent causation.Until you can postulate who, what or how bacterial flagellum (to use your example) came about AND show facts supporting your hypothesis, then you are not using the scientific method. Your arguments are only attacks on science and ignore the problem, that is that you don’t have a hypothesis.You don’t have the option to redefine the scientific method! You do have the option to provide a hypothesis and give us facts to examine. You may “know” that you are wearing glasses, however that has nothing to do with ” intelligent causation.”Without a working hypothesis, based on repeatable and observable facts you don’t have anything that can be a part of the scientific method.
            As you say”I’ve gone over this many times on this blog, and provided plenty of corroborating evidence of what I’m saying” , so what is your hypothesis that we can look at?Where are your facts to support your hypothesis? Saying something is complex , thus there must be design by the flying spaghetti monster does not become a scientific hypothesis until you could support your hypothesis(substitute flying spaghetti monster for God, aliens, etc— your choice).But you and other advocates of ID don’t provide repeatable data, you only attack scientific exploration.

          • Sean Garrigan

            “Sean, YOU still miss the point.Examples of claimed intelligent causation
            are not evidence of intelligent causation.Until you can postulate who,
            what or how bacterial flagellum (to use your example) came about AND
            show facts supporting your hypothesis, then you are not using the
            scientific method. Your arguments are only attacks on science and ignore
            the problem, that is that you don’t have a hypothesis.You don’t have
            the option to redefine the scientific method!”

            I’m afraid that it is you who have missed the point, Lance. I never claimed that I was using “the scientific method”. I pointed out that many if not most scientists who practice “the scientific method” do so within a context of self-imposed constraints that some don’t accept, and the fact that they don’t accept those constraints doesn’t mean that they are advocates of a “conspiracy theory”. Go back and note what I was responding to in my original post in this thread.

          • lance Geologist

            They are not self imposed constraints, magic,mysticism or unknown “intelligences” are not part of any science!!!!! I note that you do NOT provide a hypothesis or data . I also note you keep changing your constraints of what scientists do. ALL science is constrained by the testable and observable. You are not at liberty to provide your own definition of how the scientific method works,your responses keep changing.

          • Sean Garrigan

            If you’re going to insist on arguing with someone, you should make an attempt to read what they say carefully so that you can discern their intent and therefore respond with comments that are relevant to the point to which you are supposedly responding.

            If you want to discuss some point that isn’t the one I was making, that’s fine, but you might want to join a discussion that’s actually about what you want to discuss rather than trying to make my point into something it’s not.

          • lance Geologist

            so state your intent instead of avoiding giving your intent or a hypothesis.

          • Sean Garrigan

            Hint: My intent wasn’t to offer a hypothesis. That’s your fixation, but it is not relevant to the observation I made. Seriously, my intent was to point out exactly what I pointed out in my initial post and in my subsequent reply to James, and I don’t know how to make it any clearer than that.

          • lance Geologist

            Sean,as you say”all one has to do is reject the assumption that serves as a sort of
            criteria of investigation or precondition for investigation, namely
            naturalism”,, in your own words you are alluding to a supposed pattern or assumption being part of scientific investigation. Thus you are ( not in your words) supposing a “conspiracy.” However there is no such assumption or constraint in the scientific method. The reason magic,mysticism or “God did it ” does not enter the realm of scientific investigation is only that they are not repeatable, observable or testable.If you or others can show the ability to “falsify” a hypothesis using magic, mysticism or a designer did it(who, what?), then magic , mysticism or a designer would be part of scientific investigation.Until this simple criteria is filled , they are not science!

          • Sean Garrigan

            Recognizing that there is a general consensus among scientists about what an apparatus of investigation should allow if it is to be considered “scientific” is not to proffer a conspiracy theory, despite your dogged determination to believe otherwise.

            It’s interesting to see you attempt to refute my point in one sentence and then unwittingly affirm it in the very next sentence. My primary point isn’t based on the reason scientists exclude inference to intelligent causation in biology; it’s based on the fact that scientist exclude inference to intelligent causation in biology. I offered one reason and you offered another, yet they aren’t mutually exclusive. I have personally heard opponents of ID offer both as points against ID in the same debate.

            Ironically, in your response to my observation that scientists assume that intelligent causation is tantamount to supernatural causation, you noted “God did it” is excluded is because it is not testable. You seem oblivious to the fact that with those words you are demonstrating the very point I made!

            You have joined the countless scores of scientists and others who claim that intelligent design is a “God of the gaps” argument. Since the identificaiton of the source of intelligence is outside the scope of ID, the only way it can be a “God of the gaps” argument is if one assumes that an inference to intelligent causaiton in bioilogy is ipso facto an inference to God.

            Thanks for substantiating my argument, not that it needed your substantiation;-)

          • lance Geologist

            Love your selective reading. I also used “magic , mysticism or a designer”(intelligence). I will accept that you don’t want to go into who or what the designer (intelligence ) is (snicker,snicker), then your premise will need
            to include , maybe “how, when, where,etc.”Maybe also why organisms have
            changed over time and maybe how they have changed.Why so many different
            designs( is the designer still experimenting?) Why so many poor designs? If ID proponents will actually provide facts about the “intelligence” and propose hypothesis about the “intelligence”,backed up with repeatable and observable facts, then we can all examine in a scientific manner the subject. However I don’t expect to see such a scientific inquiry.Instead ID proponents want people to just “believe” because it looks like it was designed!!!!!!! Or it “looks” complex.

          • lance Geologist

            I would also ask ,Why did the intelligence change Trilobites, Blastoids, Graptolites,Corals, etc?Why did so many organisms change or disappear?

          • lance Geologist

            Your posts look suspicious. i have seen your non responses and jumping on supposed “gotcha” before. Are you using the same “playbook” as other ID proponents? Are you taught to respond as you do?

          • Sean Garrigan

            You only imagine that you’re receiving “non responses” because I’m choosing not to be sidetracked and enter the new and different conversation that you wish to initiate. You apparently want an argument, but the argument you want changes the focus from the only point I care to make to other questions.

            Those other questions can be interesting and worthy of consideration, but they aren’t part of a discussion about whether choosing not to impose certain restrictions on your inquiry into the reasons for the emergence of life constitutes a conspiracy theory.

    • lance Geologist

      You are wrong about your ” criteria of investigation.” Science has available all discovered “Facts.” Any supernatural explanation based on observable and repeatable facts would be welcomed.
      The point is that “experts” have studied many aspects of their fields that are available to all, however most people will not take the time to read and learn the specifics.Example- “index fossils”, how many people know what they are and their significance? Judging from responses in many blogs and replies i have seen, not many!

      • Sean Garrigan

        I’m afraid that you are mistaken.

        • lance Geologist

          How so?

  • http://thread-of-fire.tumblr.com/myblogs Brian Pansky

    James said “Sorry, but scholarship is not a matter of dismissing other scholars on one’s blog”

    and yet you are making all kinds of dismissive and accusatory communications on your blog about Richard Carrier’s position…when his definitive book on that position has only just been published and has not been interacted with by the qualified people.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/religionprof/ James F. McGrath

      It is interesting that mythicists will insist that Carrier’s viewpoint ought to be accepted despite it not having yet been evaluated by the academy, but will then complain when we make comments based on what Carrier has previously written or said publicly. And apparently you find it inappropriate to point out that someone who has chosen not to pursue a career in academia and calls other scholars insane or incompetent on his blog, and to suggest that that is inappropriate and not the way to go about making a scholarly case?

      • http://thread-of-fire.tumblr.com/myblogs Brian Pansky

        “It is interesting that mythicists will insist that Carrier’s viewpoint ought to be accepted despite it not having yet been evaluated by the academy, but will then complain when we make comments based on what Carrier has previously written or said publicly.”

        um, thanks for sharing. Hope you aren’t (yet again) mistakenly saying that I am insisting mythicism should be presently believed as correct by the public.

        “And apparently you find it inappropriate to point out that someone who has chosen not to pursue a career in academia and calls other scholars insane or incompetent on his blog, and to suggest that that is inappropriate and not the way to go about making a scholarly case?”

        I’ll try to rewrite this sentence as best I can interpret it:

        You say that Carrier has “chosen not to pursue a career in academia”, and this is “not the way to go about making a scholarly case”. You say that Carrier “calls other scholars insane or incompetent on his blog” and this is “not the way to go about making a scholarly case”. You say that I “find it inappropriate” that you say these things.

        First of all (actually last of all, I don’t have time to chase your other positions), your assessment of what I am finding inappropriate seems mistaken. I did not have those items in mind. The items I DID have in mind:

        -linking Richard Carrier to gross denialism in the OP and cranks in the comments section (which, in case you aren’t aware, would need of be a link to the content and support of his position which has JUST BEEN PUBLISHED. It would be mistake on your part to make such a link based on quibbles over the optics of his character, which is not what being a crank or denialist means)

        – saying that Carrier “prefers to declare other scholars hopelessly biased or in dereliction of their duty as scholars, than to either persuade them”, when he JUST published something designed to persuade them! And has been working towards it for years, during the whole duration that you claim he “prefers” to do otherwise!

        Now re-read what you just respond to, and see what I’m actually saying.

      • Guest

        did you just delete my response to you? It was visible a while ago…

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/religionprof/ James F. McGrath

          I didn’t delete it, and it isn’t in the spam folder. Do you remember the gist of it? If I got an e-mail notification of the comment, I can copy and paste from that.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/religionprof/ James F. McGrath

          I am pasting below what I think is the comment you are referring to. I am not sure what happened to it – I got a notification and so it should be visible here. Your last comment shows up as “Guest” so I am guessing maybe something happened on your computer that logged you out? Anyway, let me know if this isn’t the comment you were referring to:

          “It is interesting that mythicists will insist that Carrier’s viewpoint ought to be accepted despite it not having yet been evaluated by the academy, but will then complain when we make comments based on what Carrier has previously written or said publicly.”

          um, thanks for sharing. Hope you aren’t (yet again) mistakenly saying that I am insisting mythicism should be presently believed as correct by the public.

          “And apparently you find it inappropriate to point out that someone who has chosen not to pursue a career in academia and calls other scholars insane or incompetent on his blog, and to suggest that that is inappropriate and not the way to go about making a scholarly case?”

          I’ll try to rewrite this sentence as best I can interpret it:

          You say that Carrier has “chosen not to pursue a career in academia”, and this is “not the way to go about making a scholarly case”. You say that Carrier “calls other scholars insane or incompetent on his blog” and this is “not the way to go about making a scholarly case”. You say that I “find it inappropriate” that you say these things.
          First of all (actually last of all, I don’t have time to chase your other positions), your assessment of what I am finding inappropriate seems mistaken. I did not have those items in mind. The items I DID have in mind:

          -linking Richard Carrier to gross denialism in the OP and cranks in the comments section (which, in case you aren’t aware, would need of be a link to the content and support of his position which has JUST BEEN PUBLISHED. It would be mistake on your part to make such a link based on quibbles over the optics of his character, which is not what being a crank or denialist means)

          – saying that Carrier “prefers to declare other scholars hopelessly biased or in dereliction of their duty as scholars, than to either persuade them”, when he JUST published something designed to persuade them! And has been working towards it for years, during the whole duration that you claim he “prefers” to do otherwise!

          Now re-read what you just respond to, and see what I’m actually saying

          .