Bayesian craziness: Richard Carrier vs The world

Most people here are familiar with Jesus mythicist Richard Carrier and his use of Bayes’ theorem to “prove” history (he even wrote a book on that) and everything else. We all know Carrier does not like to be corrected, especially when it comes to using the theorem to prove something.

Two people used Bayes’ theorem in the past to prove something he did not like, and those two are Richard Swinburne and Stephen Unwin (I have their books on that).

Dr. Carrier wrote an article which does not begin with very friendly words:

I know their approaches may not have been the best (although Unwin has some real experience), but is Richard Carrier right when it comes to dealing with other people’s use of Bayes’ theorem? What do you think of his rebuttal?

Carrier is one of those looney characters who, if he didn’t exist, we’d have to invent him. (Sorry I’m not going to bother reading is critique, I have already wasted to much time on his nonsense.)


Well, someone has to sink that Carrier LOL.

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You know he is absolutely correct about the foolishness of using Bayes’ Theorem to prove the existence of God. But the fact that he can say that without his own head exploding, given his claim to fame… well the mind reels.

Although I dislike him, I must admit that he is correct. The thing is, Unwin didn’t really show that God exists, his calculations just show that the chance of God existing is 67%, but probability doesn’t really prove anything.

But, to be honest, it is also foolish to use BT to prove if something happened or not in the really distant past (2000 years ago). WLC also uses it to prove that Jesus rose from the dead, and that is a big problem, because if Jesus didn’t exist, then how did he manage to rise from the dead?

I, for one, find WLCs arguments to be utterly unpersuasive.

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I must admit I think the same thing.

Some selected phrases from Richard Carrier’s linked article:
“cranks using Bayes’ Theorem to spew bullshit…. I mean attempts by liars or fools with Ph.D.s…. He just translates his bogus premises into numerical notation…So he is fabricating a bullshit premise with a ton of bullshit arguments”.

I neither know nor care whether Carrier is correct or not in his argument. I have a very serious problem with a person who purports to be a scholar using that kind of language when referring to the work of other scholars. I am no stranger to controversy, both in science (where it can get very contentious) and in religion (ditto). But I cannot think of hearing or reading anyone calling a colleague with whom one disagrees a “liar or fool with a PhD.” I know we are living in a world of Trump, where common decency is becoming passe, but this is disgusting and abominable behavior. I would propose that Richard Carrier not be taken seriously, unless and until he has gained the academic and scholarly maturity to converse properly within the world of ideas.

This level of denigration of intellectual or cultural opponents is one of the worst trends we see in the Western world. It is a threat to democracy, freedom, and spiritual growth. It must be condemned and never tolerated.


He does that all the time. I’ll leave you with a link where you can see how educated he is:

Oh, and look at the title of this article and look at his behaviour:

And, finally, look at his “Bayesian Counter Apologetics” and the language he uses (especially with the Cosmological Argument):

It’s wonderful, isn’t it?

You may enjoy this older thread where we had a guest join us and share some of the things he’s written as an atheist in response to Carrier:


Richard Carrier has lost a lot of support among atheists over the last year. This self-declared sex-positive, feminist, social justice warrior, is facing multiple accusations of sexual harassment.

I have never seen someone express the unbelievable behavior of Carrier better than you. Usually, Carrier is not even able to understand the subtleties of the refutations of his arguments, but when he backs his claims up with this behavior, it is really reprehensive.

Tim O’Neill curbstomped Carrier again when it came to his weird and concerning claims about the authenticity of Antiquities of the Jews XX.9.1. Richard Carrier and Josephus

Carrier, who responds to every tiny comment, whisper, and article ever written about him with an unusual frenzy, has not only not responded to this, but when asked on his own blog about this article, he made a preposterous excuse about it being too long to go through and that he should be notified if there’s anything of merit in it. This tactical invasion is so amazingly dishonest I can hardly keep a straight face when I see Carrier accuse others of lying. By the way, for many who don’t know, Carrier cheated on his wife multiple times before he had a divorce with her, and his excuse for cheating on his longsuffering wife who worked all day long to support him while he was blogging and doing small chores around the house was that he was “coming out as polyamorous”. It disgusted me.


Except for 12 year olds who know nothing about ancient history and still think that if there was no contemporary evidence for something/someone then that something/someone didn’t exist.

BTW, last year, a Spanish engineer published a book (nothing academic, just self-published, like most Jesus myth garbage) titled “Año 303. Inventan el cristianismo” or “Year 303. Christianity is invented”, in which he says the gospels and the epistles were written during the IV century (something that has already been debunked) and that Jesus didn’t exist, using the famous “the Testimonium Flavianum is a forgery” argument. What is funny is that he refuses to debate anyone who disagrees with him and just says “Read my book, you ignorant fool” each time someone showed him that Christians existed back in the I century. Dr. Antonio Piñero, NT scholar from the University of Madrid and agnostic, debunked his hypothesis.

The only good thing about this engineer is that he is not an atheist. He actually believes in God (he even said he KNOWS God exists), but his constant attacks against Christianity are suspicious. What is even funnier is that all of these self proclaimed “skeptics” bought all of his Jesus myth garbage.

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He behaves like a kid when someone shows him how wrong he is.

That’s because Tim roasted him, just as he roasts mythicists in general. It’s funny to see how people call him “undercover Christian apologist”, when he has clearly stated over and over again that he is an atheist.

I remember when James Bishop responded to Carrier once. He responded, but when James refuted him after that, Richard never answered back.

We’ll see if he responds to this.

Same here.

I perfectly remember that. A friend talked about Carrier’s “coming out” on his blog. The mental gymnastics on Richard’s head must be amazing.

Me too.

He behaves like a kid when someone shows him how wrong he is.

You’ve got that right. I’m also reminded of the fact that he almost always refers to himself as “Dr. Richard Carrier Ph.D.” He seems fond of repeating that credential as many times as he can (he has no academic achievements beside it, and certainly hasn’t had any in a decade). His mental gymnastics on even the smallest issues, such as trying to claim Galatians 1:18-19 is contrasting apostles vs non-apostles when it calls James a brother of Jesus but doesn’t give the same credit to Peter, is ridiculous. But that’s only one of his endless ridiculous arguments that scholars seem to find so absurd that they ignore it altogether in their published work.

He had the chance to get an academic position, but rejected it to continue blogging.

Don’t forget about his mental gymnastics on “BT and the quest for the historical Jesus”. Those are amazing.

What is actually funny is that he only influences young gullible people on the Internet who have no knowledge at all about ancient history. He still thinks that the Josephus passage is a forgery (it is just a partial interpolation) because it would destroy all of his work. I remember when one of his supporters said “Scholars may agree that Jesus was a historical figure now, but they will agree that he was mythical in the future!”

The whole Richard Carrier thing is really a tempest in a teapot. We know that people like Joseph Smith, Haile Selassie, and Muhammad were real people, but do you see people converting to Momonism, Rastafarianism, and Islam because of it? Not really. It’s the questions beyond their mere existence which form the basis for religious belief.



Dr. Carrier offers a Christmas course on Bible, where he will show how much he knows about it:

He had a chance to get an academic position? I’d like to know exactly what this position is and where you got this claim from. That’s certainly something I shouldn’t let slip by wiup out knowing about.

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