And… I’m done

I have completed my project of summarizing and reorganizing Richard Carrier’s book, On the Historicity of Jesus: Why We Might Have Reason for Doubt. I very much hope that some of you find it useful or interesting. Any of you that do, I hope that you will purchase the book to explore the arguments and evidence in greater detail.

If any of the arguments that I outline aren’t clear, please let me know in the comments and I will try to revise my summaries. I, as always, welcome any and all comments, questions, suggestions, criticisms, and so on.

You can find my summaries here.

There Was No Historical Jesus

Several weeks ago, I finished reading Richard Carrier’s book, On the Historicity of Jesus: Why We Might Have Reason for Doubt. This book has completely flipped my evaluation of the subject, and now instead of considering it more likely than not that there was a historical figure based on whom the Jesus mythology developed, I have now come to agree with Carrier that Jesus probably originated as a celestial deity that was later falsely placed in history.

Unfortunately, Carrier’s book is a very difficult and lengthy read, so I fear that many people that are interested in its subject matter will not read it. That, plus wanting to be able to answer my wife’s question, “So what was his argument that convinced you?” I have begun the daunting project of condensing and slightly reorganizing his work into a more digestible form. I am not done yet, but I have worked my way up through Chapter 8 of the book, which was the chapter that more than any other shifted my opinion. I therefore have now posted my series of essays on this book, which should be viewed as a work-in-progress. Even my summary is long, for which I apologize. But I think it is worth the read. As always, I welcome any and all feedback, be it positive, negative, curious, or whatever. Enjoy!

New Post: Fine-Tuning Part I

I have just posted part one in a planned two-part series of essays on the so-called Fine-Tuning Argument. As I was writing my response to this argument, I realized that the supposedly fine-tuned parameters that are part of this argument really fall into two broad categories: those that are so obviously not fine-tuned that claiming they are should be embarrassing, and those about which there is legitimate, interesting debate about. Since the response was getting quite long as I wrote it up, I decided to split the essay in half based on these two broad categories. So I now present, The Fine-Tuning Argument, Part I: Parameters that Make You Say, “Really?”

As always, I welcome questions, comments, suggestions, and rebuttals.

New Essay (Origins of the Ethical Imperative)

It has been a long time since my last essay. Real life end-of-year obligations are part of the explanation. Another part is that my planned next topic was a comprehensive essay on the development of a workable atheistic ethical system, and that was turning into a behemoth of an essay. I was struggling constantly with balancing comprehensiveness against tl;dr. Frankly, writing it for public consumption was intimidating me.

So, I’ve decided to break it down into multiple posts, each tackling a portion of the argument. This is therefore going to be a series of posts that together make a larger argument, the first of which I posted back in October (dealing with morality vs. ethics and the failure of divine absolute morality). Today I have posted the second essay in the series, dealing with the origins of an atheistic imperative for behaving ethically. Once complete, this series of posts will constitute not only a description of how atheists (at least some of us) view ethics, but also a rebuttal to the moral arguments for the existence of God.

As always, I am posting these essays in an effort to spawn dialog. In order for me to improve, or ultimately reject, my positions, I need to have them challenged. I therefore welcome any comments, questions, and critiques.

New Essay: Scriptural Evidence for God

My latest essay is now online, dealing with using scripture to support the existence of God. The main points are:

  1. Internal consistency, internally-reported fulfilled prophesies, and minor historical veracity are insufficient to support scriptural claims of miraculous events.
  2. There is no reliable extra-scriptural evidence for any miraculous events reported in scripture.

I go through the argument in detail with respect to the New Testament.

As always, I welcome suggestions, comments, and criticisms.  Thank you for reading!

New Essay: Intelligent Design

I have posted a new essay on Intelligent Design. This is a topic that has been hacked to death elsewhere on the internet, so I don’t know that my heart was really in the effort of making this essay a comprehensive rebuttal; hopefully it can nonetheless serve as a jumping-off point for discussion.

I am also considering reducing my targeted essay rate to once every two weeks rather than once per week. I’ll leave myself the freedom to post more often than that should inspiration strike, but I don’t think I have the time and energy to commit to once per week.

As always, I welcome comments, criticism, and suggestions. Enjoy!

New Essay (Argument from First Cause)

This week’s essay, uploaded a day early, is my first to tackle a common argument that purports to support the existence of God. The basic idea of the argument is that something cannot come from nothing, and so therefore the universe itself has to come from something, which we will call God. There are a number of problems with this argument, both philosophical and scientific, which I outline in the essay.

Next week’s essay and probably the one for the week following will probably be quite short, simply because I won’t have much time to devote to them. My family is moving to a new state, so free time will be at a premium.