I’ve sometimes heard people deride young-earth creationists, mythicists, and various others as “stupid.” But that is grossly unfair. Whether someone is wrong need not and often does not correlate with their intelligence or lack thereof. Indeed, it can require astounding mental acumen to find ways to defend one’s viewpoint against impressive counter-evidence.
For an extreme illustration of this, one might consider John Nash’s “brilliant madness.” But one can also look at the back and forth between Richard Carrier and his critics such as David Marshall and Colin Green. Richard Carrier is wrong, but that is not the same thing as being lacking in intelligence.
George Wells, who was once a proponent of mythicism but to his credit changed his mind, passed away recently. Mythicism has continued to be promoted mainly by those outside of academia, such as Frank Zindler, precisely on blogs, as well as by academics in unrelated fields. Illustrative of this is the “Big Think” article last year that said that growing numbers of scholars are questioning the existence of Jesus – and yet the names they provided were Richard Carrier and Joseph Atwill! It is misguided to accept the claims of such articles, or to uncritically listen to fringe voices while rejecting an overwhelming scholarly consensus. But even intelligent people are misguided at times.Mike Bird shared this quote from Rudolf Bultmann:
Of course the doubt as to whether Jesus really existed in unfounded and not worth refutation. No sane person can doubt that Jesus stands as founder behind the historical movement whose first distinct stage is represented by the oldest Palestinian community. But how far that community preserved an objectively true picture of him and his message is another question.
Bultmann, Jesus and the Word, pp. 17-18.
Certain mythicist views are rightly described as “completely crackers.” But once again, neither madness nor wrongness is the same as lack of intelligence.
Ben Stanhope made a video engaging with mythicist claims made by Jaclyn Glenn:
And here is a recent video engagement with Richard Carrier’s math (the transcript of which can be found here):