Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Richard Carrier brands those who disagree with him 'insane'

I've never had much time for intellectual-manqué Richard Carrier. Anyone who associates themselves with the 'Jesus was a myth' movement is already on the fringes of credibility, but when some atheists criticise him for his ill-informed attack on Bart Ehrman's book on the historical Jesus, and note his tendency to brand those who disagree with him 'insane', it is not unreasonable to see him less as scholar and more as atheist zealot.

With respect to the latter point, Chris Hallquist - an atheist - notes:
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. 
Suffice it to say that anyone who mentions Richard Carrier positively on this subject immediately loses all credibility. This is not to say that I dismiss the scholarship of all non-Christians and non-theists on the subject of the NT and the historical Jesus. Far from it. Ehrman, Vermes, and Casey spring to mind as examples of excellent scholars whose work on the subject I respect. Carrier is not one of them.