menu

How Carrier Responds to Critics (Supercut)

How Carrier Responds to Critics (Supercut) December 17, 2015

A blog reader sent me a compilation of Richard Carrier’s treatment of reviews of his work, which the individual suggested should be kept until the next time Carrier “brings a gun to a review fight.” Since Carrier saw fit not only to sing the praises of Raphael Lataster’s recent volume, but in the process to make the false claims that T&T Clark/Continuum is not an academic press, and that Maurice Casey’s book was not peer reviewed, I thought now would be as good a time as any to pass on what was sent to me. Here it is:

Dr. McGrath,

Your exchanges with Richard Carrier, and particularly your “What would it take…” post, inspired me to look into how Carrier has responded to his critics.

When Carrier is responding to a review that is “positive” (Lataster) or “overall positive” (Rosson) or largely agrees with him with minor questions/criticisms (Covington) he is generally respectful, even over disagreements. The exception is his response to Chris Hallquist. Carrier says Hallquist has “overall good impressions”, but then describes the rest of his review with “the worst kind of criticism”, “seriously embarrassing”, “ridiculous” and “This should not instill much confidence in his ability to reliably critique the rest of my book.”

When Carrier is responding to a negative review, he routinely accuses the reviewer of 1) dishonesty, 2) idiocy, 3) incompetence, 4) failure to read the book, 5) failure to understand the book, and/or 6) generally being baffling, bizarre, strange, unintelligible or weird.

My point is not whether Carrier’s thesis or responses are correct in any particular case, but the consistently hostile way that Carrier responds to all criticism of his work. Perhaps Richard Carrier is right that every single critical reviewer of his work is incompetent, an idiot or a liar. Perhaps. Or perhaps the common factor is Richard Carrier.

 

Richard Carrier’s responses to reviews of On the Historicity of Jesus

 

July 15, 2014: Richard Carrier responds to an Amazon review by F. Ramos

 

Ramos’s review is largely disingenuous and often makes false claims about the book…

[…]

This is disingenuous to the point of actual dishonesty

[…]

I think it’s safe to dismiss his review as a dishonest, disingenuous, illogical and contra-factual Christian fundamentalist winge.

 

March 5, 2015: Richard Carrier responds to James McGrath

 

A Failure of Logic and Accuracy

[…]

…McGrath not only botches logic and facts, he misreports what my book says…

[…]

McGrath gets my arguments wrong, makes obvious logical mistakes, and incorrectly reports what experts have said in key matters. 

[…]

…which McGrath clearly didn’t read. 

[…]

…yet another example of his not correctly grasping key distinctions…

[…]

…another example of McGrath not getting it…

[…]

…McGrath evidently did not read my discussion in OHJ…

[…]

…McGrath actually falsely claims I said “that the [Ascension of Isaiah] ought to be dated contemporaneous with the Gospel of Mark.”

[…]

…McGrath isn’t actually reading my book…

[…]

He doesn’t even seem capable of figuring out how one ever knows that.

 

March 6, 2015: Richard Carrier responds to James McGrath (part 2)

 

…he shows no sign of having read my chapter on this…

[…]

He clearly doesn’t understand the mathematical or methodological point. It does not even appear he has read that chapter.

[…]

McGrath perhaps can’t understand this because he is confused by what a prior probability is.

[…]

…McGrath’s failure to even get literary analysis right. … McGrath tries to “down-score” Jesus on the 22-point scale by sucking at basic literary analysis. 

[…]

…McGrath has no idea what he is talking about…

[…]

The final proof that McGrath isn’t really reading my book…

[…]

That McGrath is engaging in Christian apologetics and not honest scholarship is proved…

[…]

In the book. Which McGrath is starting to show little sign of having read.

[…]

It’s clear McGrath did not read this. Or did not understand it. 

[…]

McGrath has nothing to contribute to this debate.

 

September 11, 2015: Richard Carrier responds to James McGrath (part 3)

 

James McGrath has added another entry to his bizarrely uninformed critique of On the Historicity of Jesus, and this time is the most dishonest of the bunch.

[…]

…that looks like scholarly dishonesty to me.

[…]

In line with what looks like a constructed lie, McGrath then deceitfully makes it appear that I just make everything up in my demonstration of allegorical content in the Gospels.

[…]

McGrath dishonestly deploys a well poisoning fallacy…

[…]

His contempt for the truth is therefore galling.

[…]

…as McGrath dishonestly implies…

[…]

So again, McGrath is lying to you about what I said, and trying to make it look like I said something else.

[…]

McGrath effectively lies to you, by not telling you that, and telling you instead that I said the opposite of what in fact I actually said.

[…]

Again lying to you…

[…]

…denying it would make him look like a fool. So he has to lie and pretend I said something else.

[…]

In a sense, even McGrath’s entire thesis is a lie…

[…]

McGrath again lies…

[…]

Another example of McGrath’s dishonesty…

[…]

…another fact McGrath deceitfully fails to mention.

[…]

It is his moral responsibility as a scholar to locate those passages in my work and actually address them, before maintaining a claim like his. That he did not do this disgraces him as a scholar.

 

March 24, 2015: Richard Carrier responds to Kenneth Waters, after an SBL debate

 

Waters’ rancorous and somewhat contemptuous (and very apologetics-heavy) rebuttal…

[…]

Sorry, but I have to call stupid on that.

[…]

To simply ignore these facts and all else I argued in OHJ when claiming to rebut it, cannot be characterized as debating honestly.

[…]

This is just phenomenally stupid. It is an argument that does not deserve even the pretense of respect.

[…]

Christian believers who cannot abide even the thought of the thesis should just admit they cannot have anything honest or well-considered to say about it.

 

 

Other responses and reviews from Richard Carrier

 

April 9, 2012: Richard Carrier reviews Bart Ehrman’s book, Did Jesus Exist?

 

…I can officially say it is filled with factual errors, logical fallacies, and badly worded arguments

[…]

Lousy with errors and failing even at the one useful thing it could have done, this is not a book I can recommend.

[…]

…it officially sucks.

[…]

I think Ehrman is not nearly honest enough with his readers about this.

[…]

falsified propaganda.

[…]

Ehrman hides this fact from his readers, and even misleads his readers by declaring exactly the opposite. Where else does Ehrman completely hide and misrepresent the views, statements, and methods of the mythicists he criticizes? If we cannot trust him in this case (and clearly we can’t, since what he says is demonstrably exactly the opposite of the truth), why are we to trust anything he says in this book?

[…]

Ehrman almost made me fall out of my chair…

[…]

Ehrman doesn’t actually know what he is talking about. 

[…]

This kind of sloppy work, the failure to check his facts, to do any basic research we should expect of a scholar, and consequently to misrepresent his opponents and their position, and misinform the public about the debate.

[…]

Again, Ehrman exposes himself as completely uninformed, and incompetent as a scholar

[…]

…it appears like he is suppressing arguments and evidence presented by mythicists…

[…]

…his carelessness and his skewed attempts to distort the facts in his favor…

[…]

Ehrman can’t have learned my degree is in classics from any reliable source. He can only have invented this detail. I am left to wonder if this was a deliberate attempt to diminish my qualifications by misrepresentation.

[…]

Ehrman’s book is so full of egregious factual errors demonstrating his ignorance, sloppiness, and incompetence in this matter, it really doesn’t even need a rebuttal.

 

April 27, 2012: Richard Carrier responds to Bart Ehrman’s response to his Carrier’s review of Did Jesus Exist? (part 1)

 

…they do not look entirely honest to me. 

[…]

…his desperate attempt to justify the fact that he misleads his readers and misrepresents his opponents…

[…]

It is making him really look like he doesn’t know what he is talking about, can’t reason logically, avoids every substantive issue possible, and isn’t keen to accurately represent what his opponents have said. 

[…]

he is not even capable of detecting when a sentence he has written says the opposite of what he meant. That entails we should trust his book even less. Because whatever filter is supposed to prevent him making these kind of mistakes is clearly not working in his brain.

[…]

…I suspect he is lying.

[…]

This seems to me strong evidence that he is now lying about what he really thought and meant when writing the book.

[…]

it is Ehrman who hasn’t done the work necessary to be qualified to discuss this question competently … [based on] the actual evidence of his incompetence.

 

June 14, 2013: Richard Carrier responds to Kevin Brown’s review of Proving History

 

Brown is not a great thinker.

[…]

This is a weird argument… [] As I said, this is not a great thinker.

[…]

Notably, Brown does not appear to have read my book all that carefully…

[…]

Brown, clearly, failed to get the point.

[…]

Brown, again, evidently cannot be trusted to correctly and fairly represent what my book argues.

[…]

This is gross incompetence on Brown’s part.

[…]

That’s either a shocking error of reading comprehension on his part, or outright fabricating a narrative, either way, it’s not a competent way to review a book.

[…]

So he is being dishonest with his readers…

[…]

I don’t know if he’s deliberately trying to deceive his readers or if he is just a lousy reader and a terrible reviewer who can’t ever represent what he is reading correctly or fairly.

 

April 29, 2012: Richard Carrier responds to Bart Ehrman’s response to Carrier’s review of Did Jesus Exist? (part 2)

 

…a fallacious kind of inference that typifies Ehrman’s continual shortcomings in logic.

[…]

Ehrman would prefer to ignore it. Possibly he would even prefer you not to know of it.

[…]

This would at least be honest. Instead he made it look like mythicists have no support…

[…]

Is Ehrman now lying about what he actually thought when writing the above?

[…]

Ehrman simply lies about this–or, again, is such a godawful writer he accidentally said the exact opposite of what he meant to say…

 

June 28, 2013: Richard Carrier responds to Stephanie Louise Fisher’s review of Proving History

 

…I’m finally getting to an embarrassingly childish review of Proving History by Stephanie Louise Fisher (a doctoral student in biblical studies). 

[…]

…she betrays her incompetence in logic and mathematics and reading comprehension throughout, and yet is claiming I’m the one who is incompetent. Her review is also close to libelous and on at least two occasions overtly dishonest.

[…]

Dishonesty, illogicality, a complete failure to engage with any substantive point in my book…and I had to sit through 8,000 words of that crap.

 

March 3, 2014: Richard Carrier responds to Maurice Casey’s book in defense of the historicity of Jesus.

 

The best way to describe this book is to imagine a rambling weirdo running into a grove of orange trees with a hammer and in a random frenzy smacking half the low hanging fruit, and then beating his chest and declaring proudly how the trees are now barren. Indeed. This book consists of a wandering, disorganized stream-of-consciousness of half-intelligible pontificating…

[…]

There is also an extraordinary amount of dishonesty and misrepresentation (although I suspect in many cases this is actually a cognitive defect: Casey literally doesn’t understand what his opponents are saying quite a lot of the time…

[…]

This is either insane or dishonest. It’s hard to tell which.

[…]

I find Casey’s treatment of the dating of the documents not only contrary to the actual practice of historians, but at one key point outright dishonest. … I do not know how anyone who considers themselves a professional can be so dishonest and sleazy, and so irresponsibly mis-educate the public.

 

August 3, 2015: Richard Carrier responds to Tim Hendrix review of Proving History

 

…the bulk of his analysis is critical, though only of a few select points. All of which he bizarrely misunderstood.

[…]

I found little on point in what Hendrix attempts to say about this. He goes weird right away by saying that the demarcation of physical and epistemic probabilities is circular because they both contain the word probability. 

[…]

 he seems to have confused himself into thinking Chapter 6 says something different. Which I suppose goes in the evidence box for it being badly written. Although then the evidence that he is not entirely facile with the English language might come to be relevant.

[…]

…Hendrix’s complaint here is baffling to me.

[…]

It gets worse when Hendrix even more bafflingly fails to get the entire point of those two closing sections.

[…]

This is just a really strange thing to say

[…]

it doesn’t seem at any point that he understands this.

[…]

At no point does Hendrix appear to understand this. At all. And none of his attempts to deny it make any mathematical sense. In fact, Hendrix doesn’t even seem to grasp at any point what it is he is denying. This I can only count as an epic fail in the domain of semantics.

[…]

Nor will I bother with his silly attempt to insist we need to account for infinities and irrational fractions in probability theory. … And his discussion of my libraries example is too unintelligible to even understand.

[…]

So in all, Hendrix doesn’t have any relevant criticisms of Proving History. By not understanding the points he aims to rebut, his rebuttals either don’t respond to anything the book actually argues, or end up verifying as correct what the book actually argues.

 

 

"So was Philo of Alexandria a Jew or a Judean???? Is the Hebrew bible, the ..."

“To Your Tents, O Israel!” A ..."
"The stained glass art is by Marissa Garner: https://www.etsy.com/shop/0..."

Christianity and Science Fiction Conference
"As I have emphasized in previous posts about this topic as well as in my ..."

“To Your Tents, O Israel!” A ..."
"No it isn't Judeans....It's clearly a theological description - not an ethnic oneJohn 49 The ..."

“To Your Tents, O Israel!” A ..."

Browse Our Archives