06 May 2012

Yes, Richard Carrier exists

The extant Richard Carrier
Master sophist Glenn Peoples has a post up over at his blog that attempts to cleverly mock Richard Carrier's skepticism about a historical Jesus by asking, Does Richard Carrier Exist? Now, Glenn didn't actually write this (someone named Tim McGrew did), but he thinks it's clever. It's posted under "humor", but the message is a serious one: that it's silly of Carrier to question Jesus' existence, and that supposedly similar logic can be used to question Carrier's own existence (in this case, oft-abused Bayesian probability).

I've detailed the reasons why the New Testament is not historically reliable in previous posts, like this one, so I'm not going to rehash all that here. Suffice to say that there is absolutely no reason at all to believe that Jesus, as he is described in the Bible, is anything but a myth. Might the myth have been based on a real person? Plausibly, but it's conjectural and irrelevant.

But let's think for two seconds (two seconds longer than the guy who wrote the piece) about what we'd have to fake to fabricate Richard Carrier's existence:
  • Birth records
  • Medical records
  • Testimony from contemporaneous peers (there is no testimony of Jesus from his contemporaries)
  • Thousands of photographs, and quite a few videos
  • Academic records from preschool all the way through his doctoral education
  • Published research
  • Public writings
  • Marital records
  • Tax records
  • Eventually, certificates of his death and records of his burial
Any single one of those constitutes more evidence than we have for the existence of the Biblical Jesus. Posts like Peoples' just show how much common sense apologists are willing to ignore in the name of sophistry, and how artfully they can butcher probability theorems.

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