Carrier's mysterious patron

Jerry Russell

Administrator
Staff member
Jerry, how do we not know whether or not it is you yourself who have been paying Carrier to attack you, in some crass attempt to drum up traffic for Postflaviana? :rolleyes:
This is a fascinating proposal. Let's begin with the undeniable facts. Since Oct. 2016, I have been sending Carrier the sum of $10 per month through his Patreon account. At that time, Carrier was facing multiple sexual harassment accusations, and had been banned from Skepticon and had his Freethought blog taken away. Richard says "all I have ever done is politely asking for consent and respecting the answer." Sometimes "you just have to believe the Man", and so I wanted to contribute to his legal fund.

I basically felt sorry for the guy, and besides, I think he generally does good work.

But maybe he misunderstood my intentions, and thought that my contribution was intended to fund his critical review of my critical review. It's all obviously in the pursuit of scholarly truth and accuracy.

At any rate, he certainly has done us a huge service. We are probably going to get tens of readers through his link to Postflaviana, that he posted at the very top of his review. And look at that great summary he posted, about our content!!

...wildly, implausibly complex interpretations of history that insist Shakespeare was a black Jewish woman, the writers of Jane the Virgin may have attended “quasi-Masonic meetings of the Ordo Templi” and are now sending us coded signals in their TV show, astrological signs may have alerted CEOs to go to a conference to avoid being killed on 9/11, the 9/11 attack was itself part of a global conspiracy of an ancient cabal of aristocratic families even more secretive than the Illuminati, John Lennon tried to warn us about this cabal by putting coded messages in Beatles lyrics, The Catcher in the Rye is a Freemason brainwashing vector developed in connection with the MK Ultra mind control program to undermine society by causing the sexual revolution, indeed hired anthropologists “were used by the CIA against the American people in the creation of the 1960’s counter culture,” and all of this ties back to the Flavians, because not only had “the Flavian Caesars, Vespasian and Titus, invented Christianity, more or less in the form we know it today,” but there was also “an early Roman and Herodian-controlled form of Christianity which was invented well before the time of the Flavians,” and Paul was its shill. And that’s all just “Straight-Talking Common Sense.”

Who could resist clicking through, with such a fascinating list of topics? I mean, I could get all pissy, and complain that Carrier didn't read any of this stuff, has no ability to detect irony, and got numerous details wrong. But what would be the point of that? Our readers love conspiracy theories, and know that the very best ones are the quickest to attract "tin foil hat" accusations. Our audience, they know who they are!

If I was able to buy all this advertising for only $10 per month, it would be a steal. And on the other hand, my $10 a month can't be going far towards Carrier's $50,000 legal bill.

Hmm... let's see. Bayesian probabilities. Hypothesis H1: for $10 a month, Carrier is supplying us with all this great press. Hypothesis H2, my donation is going where it's supposed to, to pay Carrier's lawyer. Hypothesis H3: Somebody else paid Carrier a bunch of money to attack us. Hypothesis H4: nobody besides me ever sends Carrier much money, and he made this up to taunt us, hoping we'd make a big deal out of it and accuse him of taking money from MK-Ultra.

These hypotheses are not even mutually exclusive. I'll leave it to our readers to speculate as to the numerical values to be assigned to each hypothesis.
 
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Richard Stanley

Well-Known Member
Hmm... let's see. Bayesian probabilities. Hypothesis H1: for $10 a month, Carrier is supplying us with all this great press. Hypothesis H2, my donation is going where it's supposed to, to pay Carrier's lawyer. Hypothesis H3: Somebody else paid Carrier a bunch of money to attack us. Hypothesis H4: nobody besides me ever sends Carrier much money, and he made this up to taunt us, hoping we'd make a big deal out of it and accuse him of taking money from MK-Ultra.

These hypotheses are not even mutually exclusive. I'll leave it to our readers to speculate as to the numerical values to be assigned to each hypothesis.
As to the party behind H3 I think it might be humorously profitable to speculate as to just who(m) this might be. That is, parties besides you, since I've already offered you up for that. Who would Carrier carry water for?

The easy answer would be the Pope, perhaps to distract from his present sexual problems, but yes, he is too easy a choice. Hmmm. Just how much money is a "bunch of money" BTW? Because the answer to that might exclude that cheapskate, crypto-Nazarite, Donald 'Liddle John' Trump.

Bart Ehrman maybe?

Bart O'Kavanaugh?

Well, this could go on for a while, but still its fascinating that Carrier would admit to attacking little ol' us for 30 shekels as Don Jr. (or was that Eric) would say. Apparently its OK to attack the dying avatar, the worn through fascia that's been masking the Old Boss, because the way is being prepared for the new avatar. Beware the dawning of the water carrier!!!
 
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Jerry Russell

Administrator
Staff member
Who would Carrier carry water for?

The easy answer would be the Pope, perhaps to distract from his present sexual problems, but yes, he is too easy a choice. Hmmm.
Taking the bait, eh? You know full well that by even mentioning the Pope, you are planting a subliminal suggestion that our readers should consider the possibility. And, that Carrier will quote this as if you've jumped to the conclusion.

You do realize there are ~7 billion people on the planet, right? At least 6.999 billion of them would disagree with what we're saying, and 6.998 billion would consider us (1) an easy target, and (2) in league with the Devil, if only they ever heard of us. Or for that matter, if they only ever heard of what Carrier said about us. So the Bayesian prior probability that the Pope funded our demise is only 1 in 6.998 billion. If you care to argue for a higher posterior for the high friar, produce your evidence.

Carrier himself has a pretty good page on Bayesian probabilities. Consider the law of large numbers, as he discusses it. With 7 billion people on the planet, it must be almost inevitable that somebody, somewhere would send Carrier money to trash talk us. I mean, we all know how money just emerges from the cosmic ooze.

https://www.richardcarrier.info/archives/9265


[....]

The more you widen the set of “what counts as a coincidence,” the more coincidences you will find—by random chance alone.

"[4.] The Law of Truly Large Numbers. Events rare per person occur with high frequency in the presence of large numbers of people; therefore, even larger numbers of interactions occur between groups of people and between people and objects. We believe that this principle has not yet been adequately exploited, so we look forward to its further contribution."

This is the Law of Large Numbers that Christian apologist David Marshall once tried to claim didn’t exist. In order to ignore the fact that: the universe is so big and old, the extreme improbability of random biogenesis on a per-reaction basis actually becomes virtually 100% on cosmic sum. It is more formally referred to as the Infinite Monkey Theorem, as the Law of Large Numbers is also used to refer to what causes the Infinite Monkey Theorem to be true. So these authors coin a new way of referring to it, as The Law of Truly Large Numbers (I used The Law of Big Numbers for the same effect). The point is the same: the more occasions for a coincidence to occur, the more such coincidences will occur. And without a mathematical check, we cannot know from our isolated POV whether we are one of those coincidences or not. As the authors explain:

"Succinctly put, the law of truly large numbers states: With a large enough sample, any outrageous thing is likely to happen. The point is that truly rare events, say events that occur only once in a million…are bound to be plentiful in a population of 250 million people. If a coincidence occurs to one person in a million each day, then we expect 250 occurrences a day and close to 100,000 such occurrences a year. Going from a year to a lifetime and from the population of the United States to that of the world (5 billion at this writing), we can be absolutely sure that we will see incredibly remarkable events. When such events occur, they are often noted and recorded. If they happen to us or someone we know, it is hard to escape that spooky feeling."

This is the biggest math error most people make: they think amazing coincidences can’t be accidental. Well, guess what. Tons are. Because the world is so big, and so many things are happening in it. More than we actually have any real capacity to imagine (only to calculate—with one of those “software patches,” which we call mathematics). An even bigger problem this leads us to, is that science has grown in publication rate faster than it has adjusted its standards of evidence, and is now being overwhelmed by the multiple comparisons fallacy, often to the tune of a third or more of all peer reviewed science papers now being false. When you publish a thousand papers a year, you can no longer use a 1 in 20 failure rate as your standard, as that guarantees 50 false results a year, even if all your math is in order, but it’s been shown that in fact, the way the math is being done, the actual rate is so high at that standard that we are getting 300 false results a year. The problem of the Law of Large Numbers is a serious problem indeed. Coincidences are far too common now, for science to continue with such low standards of evidence anymore.

[....]

For example, the UN picture at the top of this post: everyone is amused by the coincidence of where the soldier’s helmet just accidentally happened to be when the picture was taken; but no one thinks that’s anything other than a random thing, it isn’t God or the Universe sending us a message. It’s just funny. Because it’s ironic.
Silly me, it would never occur to me to think that God or the Universe was sending a message. But, I would carefully consider the possibility that the photographer staged the picture. Or, that Photoshop was involved.
 
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Richard Stanley

Well-Known Member
You do realize there are ~7 billion people on the planet, right? At least 6.999 billion of them would disagree with what we're saying, and 6.998 billion would consider us (1) an easy target, and (2) in league with the Devil, if only they ever heard of us. Or for that matter, if they only ever heard of what Carrier said about us. So the Bayesian prior probability that the Pope funded our demise is only 1 in 6.998 billion. If you care to argue for a higher posterior for the high friar, produce your evidence.

Carrier himself has a pretty good page on Bayesian probabilities. Consider the law of large numbers, as he discusses it. With 7 billion people on the planet, it must be almost inevitable that somebody, somewhere would send Carrier money to trash talk us. I mean, we all know how money just emerges from the cosmic ooze.
Yes, money oozes out of the cosmic quantum foam like this all the time, especially from Bart O'Kavanaugh's Devil's Triangle Casino. But if we are in league with said Devil, how come that money is going to Carrier?
 

Jerry Russell

Administrator
Staff member
Carrier should tell us who he's working for.
But if Carrier actually is taking funds from the Dark Side, wouldn't it be a serious breach of protocol for him to admit it? In fact (as you pointed out earlier) if there's a guilty secret here, Carrier would not call our attention to it. Whereas if he thinks we're fools, and he wants to provide further proof, it makes perfect sense that he would bait us with this information.

And now you've even saved him the trouble of misquoting you.

Far and away the most probably explanation of Carrier's activities, is that he's exactly what he appears to be. A 'voice crying in the wilderness', advocating for a rationalistic view of religious history. Patreon says he gets $738 per blog post (which could translate to as little as $738 per month) from his supporters there, which is hardly enough to motivate anyone to team up with the forces of evil. With his legal expenses & travel expenses, he must be lucky if there's any money left from that to pay rent, or buy food.

The problem is: we just haven't convinced Carrier yet, that the Roman Origins theory fits the evidence better than his view.

Look at this article by Carrier, calling out the dangers in all forms of religious craziness. How could this sort of writing possibly benefit O'Kavanaugh and his Georgetown friends, much less the Lubavichers or Sunnis, or any sort of religion-motivated fascists?

Carrier says "False beliefs lead to bad decisions." Please consider taking that to heart when you're accusing Carrier of acting in bad faith.

https://www.richardcarrier.info/archives/14557

Why Conservative Theologies Are Dangerous

False beliefs lead to bad decisions. And that can be dangerous on a mass scale. Paradigmatic examples: the Catholic Church is an international rape factory; a majority of Evangelicals are perpetually pushing for war, the expansion of poverty, and the suppression of women’s autonomy; and Donald Trump is President. But just in case a few examples aren’t enough to make the point clear, let me give you a slightly expanded tour of the horrors of religious belief.

The What’s the Harm website catalogs examples of the often lethal but also economic dangers of all manner of woo and false beliefs that people might ask the same question about, including a section on the dangers of fundamentalism—and they don’t even include religious violence, like war, terrorism, and hate crimes. Nor do they count harms resulting from trauma, abuse, political suppression, and damaging and dysfunctional teachings about self and society. Conservative religion causes misery to countless people infected with it who don’t conform to its false worldview, from producing self-hating homosexuals to little girls terrorized by the idea they might burn eternally in hell for merely asking questions. And countless other examples we could name.
 
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