richard-carrier

It’s extraordinarily arrogant to assume that just because I don’t sign up to your ideology, that I “haven’t given it a chance”. You don’t know what other people are thinking. 

Most atheists come from religious backgrounds of various kinds, and can therefore demonstrate that you are the one who has never dropped your ideology. 

I have made a playlist on my Youtube channel with all the videos to Phantom adaptations that I have, for your viewing convenience.

None of them are my videos, I’ve just gathered them all up into one place.

99+ videos, over 35 adaptations, all free on Youtube and easily accessible on my playlist

This includes:

  • Phantom of the Opera (1983 movie) with Maximilian Schell as Sandor Korvin (full movie in one video)
  • Phantom of the Opera (1925 silent movie) with Lon Chaney as Erik (full movie in one video)
  • Phantom of the Opera (ALW musical) with Ethan Freeman as the Phantom (full musical bootleg in one video)
  • Phantom of the Opera (ALW musical) with Ion Jon Bourg as the Phantom (full musical bootleg in one video)
  • Love Never Dies (Australian Cast) with Ben Lewis as Mister Y (full musical in on video)
  • Phantom: The American Musical Sensation (Yeston and Kopit musical) with Richard White as Erik Carriere (full musical separated into four videos)
  • Fantomu (2011 Takarazuka Flower Troupe production of the Yeston Kopit musical) with Ranju Tomu as Erik Carriere (full musical in one video)
  • Phantom of the Opera (1990 miniseries) with Charles Dance as Erik Carriere (full two-part miniseries, separated into twenty-one videos)
  • Phantom of the Opera (Rosen and Schierhorn musical) with David Staller as Erik (full musical in one video)
  • The Phantom of the Opera on Ice (full performance in one video)
  • The Phantom of the Opera (2004 Dirk Kuiper play) Dinuba High School’s production (full play in one video)
  • Phantom of the Mall: Eric’s Revenge (1989 movie) with Derek Rydall as Eric Matthews (full movie separated into five videos)
  • El Fantasma de la Opereta Tin Tan (full movie in one video, no English subtitles)
  • Song at Midnight (full movie in one video, no English subtitles)
  • Pyro: The Thing Without a Face/Phantom of the Ferris Wheel (full movie in one video)
  • Popcorn/Phantom of the Cinema (full movie in one video)
  • Horror Chamber of Dr. Faustus/Eyes Without a Face (full movie in one video)
  • The Phantom of 42nd Street (full movie in one video)
  • The MeatEater/Phantom of the Bijoux (full movie in one video)
  • Il Monstro dell’Opera/Vampire of the Opera (full movie in one video, no English subtitles)
  • Phantom of the Opera cartoon (full movie separated into six videos)
  • Wishbone - Pantin’ at the Opera (full episode separated into two videos)
  • Oswald the Lucky Rabbit - Spooks (full cartoon short in one video)
  • Babar - The Phantom (full cartoon episode in one video)
  • Hello Kitty - The Phantom of the Theater (full cartoon episode in one video)
  • Goosebumps - The Phantom of the Auditorium (full episode in one video)
  • Highlander - The Beast Below (full episode in one video)
  • Baywatch - Nevermore (full episode separated into five videos)
  • Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Mysteries - The Mystery of the Hollywood Phantom (full two-part episodes separated into two videos)
  • Are You Afraid of the Dark? (two episodes, one video each)
  • Phantom of the Opera radio show with Basil Rathbone as the voice of Erique Claudin (full radioplay separated into two parts)
  • The Phantom of the Opera CBS horror radio show with Court Benson as the voice of the Phantom (full radioplay in one video)
  • KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park (full movie in one video)
  • La Bella e la Bestia (Beauty and the Beast Italian miniseries) with Alessandro Preziosi as Prince Leon (full two-part miniseries separated into two videos, English subtitles)
  • Beauty and the Beast (1987 TV show) with Tony Jay as Paracelsus (seven full episodes, separated into four videos each)
Another Inept Quote

No one disbelieves the existence of God except the person to whom God’s existence is not convenient… there are no atheists so thoroughly sure of their unbelief as to be willing to die a martyr’s death for it. – Herman Bavinck

Given Tumblr’s formatting, I couldn’t reblog this directly, but I saw this quote over at @revelation19‘s blog. This quote has hidden misconceptions about atheists. They are, however, implied strongly enough, so we can draw them out and make them more explicit.

For starters, there’s the misconception that a) atheists enjoy sinning or choose non-belief because it allows them, at the very least, the semblance of avoiding culpability and accountability; or b) atheists suppress the truth of god in their unrighteousness, which is nothing more than a bigoted way of restating the previous statement. This line of thinking is problematic because Christians conveniently forget that we also lack belief in every other god. Thus, without justification, a Muslim could assert that Christians don’t believe in their god because his existence inconveniences them. A Hindu can say the same thing. It’s an assertion without qualification and can thus be dismissed.

The second half of the quote is the most inept part. Why should I be willing to die a martyr’s death for atheism? The Christian has once again conveniently forgotten that we have no belief in an afterlife. To the contrary, we maintain that this is the only life we will ever have the privilege of living. We therefore would not surrender it due to ideological or political views. 

On top of that, it is implied that dying a martyr’s death for anything implies the truth of what the martyr died for. People have died for Jesus; people have died for Allah; people have died for Buddha; people have died for Marx. Richard Carrier puts it succinctly:

[T]he fact that believers are willing to die for their belief does not confirm their belief is true, since there have been willing martyrs for Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Marxism, even paganism, and many other religions and ideologies throughout history. In the right social conditions, such martyrdom doesn’t even slow recruitment because such willingness to die is normal for such movements, not unusual. As W.H.C. Frend says of that time, “there was a living pagan tradition of self-sacrifice for a cause, a preparedness if necessary to defy an unjust rule, that existed alongside the developing Christian concept of martyrdom inherited from Judaism.” Christian martyrdom particularly made sense from a cultural and sociological perspective. Many sociologists studying world martyrdom movements have found they have a common social underpinning throughout history, from aboriginal movements in the New World to Islamic movements in the Middle East. For example, Alan Segal says that in every well-documented case a widespread inclination to martyrdom “is an oblique attack by the powerless against the power of oppressors,” in effect “canceling the power of an oppressor through moral claims to higher ground and to a resolute claim to the afterlife, as the better” and only “permanent” reward. “From modern examples,” Segal concludes, “we can see that what produces martyrdom,” besides the corresponding “exaltation of the afterlife,” is “a colonial and imperial situation, a conquering power, and a subject people whose religion does not easily account for the conquest.” Some of these subjects are “predisposed to understand events in a religious context,” and are suffering from some “political or economic” deprivation, or even social or cultural deprivation (as when the most heartfelt morals of the subgroup are not recognized or realized by the dominating power structure).

Richard Carrier as quoted in Loftus, John W. “Christianity’s Success Was Not Incredible.” The End of Christianity. Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus, 2011. 64-65. Print.

The fact that an atheist is unwilling to die for the sake of non-belief isn’t a mark against atheism. It definitely doesn’t imply that lacking belief in gods is a demonstrably false position. If that were the case, given Carrier’s quote, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Marxism, and any religion or ideology people have died for are equally and incontrovertibly true.

Another point that can be made is that atheists are opposed to the rampant extremism found in the major world religions. Martyrdom is a symptom of such extremism and is therefore something we simply wouldn’t adopt. We don’t think it’s necessary to die for one’s beliefs or lack thereof. We think it more productive to sit at a table to discuss the (de)merits of the views in question. Sacrificing a life for sake of a favored view is means to draw attention to said view or a failed attempt to prove the presumed truth of a given view. For the religious, martyrdom is driven by the belief that the martyr will be eternally rewarded for sacrificing her terrestrial life. Atheists lack belief in such promise makers and therefore cannot believe in such promises. Martyrdom serves us no purpose.

Ultimately, if god existed, his existence wouldn’t inconvenience me. I’ve gone on record many times and stated that even if he existed, I wouldn’t worship him. He’s an assailable being in many ways similar to human beings and is therefore unworthy of obeisance. I have many times stood in agreement with Stoics and other Greek philosophers who have stated that good and just deities wouldn’t require my worship or punish me for denying them veneration. I cannot fathom an ego so fragile that it would require that of me, that it would corner me with an ultimatum: obey me or be cast out from my presence for all eternity. This quote is the height of Christian hubris and ineptitude, and serves as nothing more than another failed attempt to poison the well and mischaracterize what atheists actually stand for. 

Unlike Jesus, we have over half a dozen relatively objective historians discussing the history of Alexander the Great (most notably Diodorus, Dionysius, Rufus, Trogus, Plutarch and more). These are not romances or propagandists, least of all fanatical worshipers, or anyone concerned about dogma, but disinterested historical writers employing some of the recognized skills of critical analysis of their day on a wide body of sources they had available that we do not. Which doesn’t mean we trust everything they say, but we still cannot name even one such person for Jesus, and ‘none’ is not 'more’ than half a dozen.

Lest one complain that these historians wrote 'too late’, this is actually of minor significance because, unlike Jesus, they still had contemporary eyewitness sources to work from. In fact, our best historian of Alexander is Arrian, who though he wrote five hundred years later, nevertheless employed an explicit method of using only three eyewitness sources (two of them actual generals of Alexander who wrote accounts of their adventures with him). He names and identifies these sources, explains how he used them to generate a more reliable account, and discusses their relative merits. That alone is quite a great deal more than we have for Jesus, for whom we have not a single named eyewitness source in any of the accounts of him, much less a discussion of how those sources were used or what their relative merits were. Not even for the anonymous witness claimed to have been used by the authors of the Gospel of John, which claim isn’t even credible to begin with, but in any case we’re not told who he was, why we should trust him or what all exactly derives from him.

And that’s not all. We have mentions of Alexander the Great and details about him in several contemporary or eyewitness sources still extant, including the speeches of Isocrates and Demosthenes and Aeschines and Hyperides and Dinarchus, the poetry of Theocritus, the scientific works of Theophrastus and the plays of Menander. We have not a single contemporary mention of Jesus–apart from, at best, the letters of Paul, who never knew him, and says next to nothing about him (as a historical man), or the dubious letters of certain alleged disciples (and I say alleged because apart from known forgeries, none ever say they were his disciples), and (again apart from forgeries) none ever distinctly place Jesus in history. The eyewitness and contemporary attestation for Alexander is thus vastly better than we have for Jesus, not the other way around. And that’s even if we count only extant texts–if we count extant quotations of lost texts in other texts, we have literally hundreds of quotations of contemporaries and eyewitnesses that survive in later works attesting to Alexander and his history. We have not even one such for Jesus (e.g. even Paul never once quotes anyone he identifies as an eyewitness or contemporary source for any of his information on Jesus).

And even that is not all. For Alexander we have contemporary inscriptions and coins, sculpture (originals or copies of originals done from life), as well as other archaeological verifications of historical claims about him. For example, we can verify the claim that Alexander attached Tyre to the mainland with rubble from Ushu–because that rubble is still there and dates to his time; the city of Alexandria named for him dates from his lifetime as expected; archaeology confirms Alexander invaded Bactria; etc. We also have archaeological confirmation of many of his battles and acts, including the exact time and day of his death–because contemporary records of these exist in the recovered clay tablet archives of Persian court astrologers. None of this is even remotely analogous to Jesus, for whom we have absolutely zero archaeological corroboration (e.g. none of the tombs alleged to be his have been verified as such), much less (as we have for Alexander) actual archaeological attestation (in the form of coins, inscriptions and statues…).

It’s ridiculous to claim the source situation is better for Jesus than for Alexander the Great (or indeed any comparably famous person in antiquity). The exact reverse is the case, by many orders of magnitude. This is not the way to defend the historicity of Jesus.
—  Carrier, Richard. On the Historicity of Jesus: Why We Might Have Reason for Doubt, p.21-23. Sheffield, England: Sheffield Phoenix Press Ltd, 2014. Print.
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An interesting lecture by Prof. Richard Carrier, deunking Christianity (and religion as a whole)

(using plain historical and scientific evidence, logic and common sense.) 

He starts with a simple historical timeline of religion, which started some 40.000 years before Jesus ever showed up (also way before the universe even existed, according to some bronze age belief systems). 

Judaism is nothing more than Ideas borrowed from other cultures and religions like Zoroastrianism with some things added here and there for convenience. Christianity emerged from Judaism, mixed with ideas from other local religions/traditions, and Islam is basically plagiarized from Judaism and Christianity… 

IMHO, a pretty watertight case for the idea that ALL religions are man made.  

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Richard Carrier is a bad-ass. This lecture is one of my favorites. Highly recommended for philosophy or science nerds.

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Debate on the historicity of Jesus: Trent Horn Vs. Richard Carrier

Was the character we know as Jesus based on a historical man who was mythologized, or a mythological figure that was historicized? Two men who are more knowledgable than I thought possible on the subject of biblical manuscripts and relating history debate the respective sides.

I have followed Richard Carrier’s case for mythicism (haven’t read the books yet) and I’ve been impressed with it. But at the onset I thought that Horn’s opening statement, which was presented with well rehearsed speed and confidence, posed some serious problems for Carrier. But I was mistaken, I think in the end Carrier came out on top; actually handled the onslaught with relative ease and made Trent Horn seem like just another apologist who’s biblical knowledge is only rivaled by their credulity and willingness to settle for the thinnest, most obscure evidence that they can save from scrutiny. Funny how God let the very existence of Jesus come down to obscure academic debates over the nature of vague fragments of hearsay evidence, riddled with fraud and surrounded by comparable traditions of invented saviors.

One thing is for sure though: people accept a historical Jesus for lots of reasons, but actual evidence, that survives skeptical scrutiny, is certainly not one them.

… fears of what the “true moral facts” may turn out to be are as irrational as fears of what the “true facts” may turn out to be on the origin of life or the universe or any other subject whose true results may contradict your cherished beliefs. And it’s always irrational to reject empirically established facts and replace them with what you prefer to believe.
—  Richard Carrier
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“Are Christians Delusional?” Richard Carrier

this is so interesting like wow 

Capsule Reviews 3 of 3

Oh I completed a writing project, crazy.

Voices from Chernobyl - Svetlana Alexievich

I’ve talked about this writer before. She’s the most recent Nobel winner. It’s well deserved. The opening scene-story-interview is one of the most emotional, deeply affecting pieces of literature I’ve ever read, no kidding. It’s a love in the face of the unimaginable, a cry so profound it has joined the cosmic background radiation, consequences be damned.

The Complete Plays - Aristophanes

If like me here’s how you know ancient Greek literature: the mythology through Bulfinch and Edith Wharton, Aesop through children’s books, Sophocles through Oedipus’s and Euripides through Medea’s countless retellings, and you’ve never been able to finish The Iliad because in your secret heart you think it’s boring, and the only Odysseys you did were by the Coen Brothers and Joyce, if this is true for you, then read Aristophanes.

He will be your in to the age. To modern eyes he’s funny. One is baffled - you think of ancient Greeks, any peoples that old, as another species - but they made they same dumb choices we repeat today. Their concerns were the same: gamesmanship, gossip, and greed. Our revered democratic models chose the strong military male to lead even though they knew his governing hurt them. And so on.

Aristophanes is so imaginative. We can learn new things about storytelling and characterization from him. His lines spark ideas in the brain. He’s fun to read too.

The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood

With this book Atwood became a kin to Hawthorne and A. Miller. It tells things strikingly. Unchecked religion is always a danger, obviously, but more it shows how the labor class will suffer under any system. The handmaid lives as she must, unhappily, dreaming of escape. There is the kind of flawed man who is familiar in Coetzee. For a fantasy with action and intrigue, it is fundamentally a personal story.

I’m unsure if the sex scene is ridiculous or one of the most harrowing in literature.

The China Study - T. Colin Campbell

A non-fiction diet book makes my list. It uses scientific methodology on a multi-year study in China to prove that people eating a whole foods, plant-based diet are healthier.

I worked for one year at the National Institutes of Health processing grant applications. I saw firsthand, in meetings and papers, how hard the advisor scientists work to reward good science and weed out the bad.

Campbell was an NIH advisor scientist for years. His work is often attacked by people who aren’t. Nor are they Professors Emeritus of an Ivy League university, for that matter.

On the Historicity of Jesus - Richard Carrier

Subtitled “Why We Might Have Reason for Doubt.” Seems wishy washy considering this is volume 2 of 1000 pages of proof that doubt there is. Carrier spent all of volume 1 laying out his logic and methodology, proving its soundness. Then he applies that to the question we all take for granted - was Jesus a real guy. That is, a born human being. I mean, God too, or son thereof, that is 1 in 3, but flesh and blood too, (Homoousion!) (No, HomoIousion!) (Back to the 3rd century you fools!) (Shut up don’t judge us!), er well you know what I mean.

He takes a magnifying glass to classical literature, honing his argument and finding examples. In sum if you agree that in a 340-page volume Carrier proves that his method is sound, then you must agree that when he applies it to Jesus, his conclusion is sound: Jesus was never a real guy. He was a meme. He was a centuries- (BCE-) old myth that slowly captured people’s imaginations, was applied to Judaism for legitimacy (see later: Mahomet), reinterpreted, and spread.

A painstaking book only for those girded against academic prose and possibly, but probably not, the intellectually curious.

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“Are Christians Delusional?” Speech by Dr. Richard Carrier at Skepticon 3. 

Lots of information and very very interesting. Highly recommend. 

Brilliant, funny, intelligent, skilled speaker.