Monday, April 23, 2012

The Ehrman-Carrier-Murdock Cockfight

Yep, this was earth-shaking enough to put off that last E-Block item. It has to do with how Bart Ehrman is being thrown under the bus by the rest of the atheist crowd for his work in Did Jesus Exist? The subject is a phallic-nosed statue with the head of a chicken, originally featured by Acharya S, which Ehrman declared in DJE didn't exist. Unfortunately, he either didn't explain himself enough in DJE, or didn't go as far as he should have with the details, and that's just the sort of thing mythicists will jump on in order to enable their persecution complexes. Now he's getting both barrels from the unlikely duo of Richard Carrier and Acharya S at the same time. And um...he seems to be winning.

By the way, as an extra irony,this past weekend I got an unusual opportunity to use one of Ehrman's articles -- from 1983 -- against a fundy atheist.



  1. A commentator(Jonathan Burke) on Erhmann's blog post points out that the statue does indeed exist. However, it's not in the Vatican. It's from artworks discovered in Pompeii, and is stored in Naples as part of a collection of sexual and erotic artifacts found there.

    Oh, and as Ehrman notes, it has nothing to do with Peter.

    He [Burke] says "I went through all of Murdock’s references, and was interested by what I found. The original claim can be traced to basically two sources from 200-300 years ago, none of the sources cited makes the same claim she does, virtually all of the sources disagree on various points, and the only modern scholarly sources she quotes as referring to it, actually treat the ‘Vatican’ story cautiously as hearsay. "

  2. The actual subject is Ehrman's sloppy scholarship (I'm guess you didn't bother actually reading Carrier's post?), but you know, whatever fits your narrative, dude.

  3. Yeah, sure, Ben. The guy you chose as your hero, and who you set up a virtual shrine too, got himself blasted by one of the leading academics in the country. It sure hurts, doesn't it? Actually, I made it quite clear in my review of DJE that I think Ehrman didn't do as good a job as he should have, and I have blasted Ehrman more than a few times for what I regard as poor scholarship; and not a word of what I wrote would have changed if I had NOT read Carrier's post. To me this a three-way between three people whose competence I have already questioned to varying degrees, and it's more something I highlight for the irony of it than anything else.

    Now go back to your own sloppy version of atheist apologetics. You're merely staining the rug here, and you won't be allowed in again.

  4. Hey not to dampen the excitement of seeing three of the skeptical world top celebs duke it out, but whatever happened with Christendom's own intellectual conflict between Licona and Geisler?

  5. Of course, Geisler enlisted that Cone dude a little bit ago, but I suspect that's going to either be the end of it (as far as open interaction) or else he'll have very little to say. It can't be easy to find anyone willing to step to the plate against a blockbuster like Licona, especially since it is obvious that you'll get pulled down from all sides...and maybe even get turned into a cartoon. ;)

  6. Got some problems with crying in the corner there, Ben? Like I said -- you're not welcome here, crybaby. :D

    To see how Ben got whipped trying to discuss hell, see

    To him, a victory is when he goes away bleeding from less than two dozen places.

  7. As usual, Ben, you have nothing worthwhile to say, and have little but a deluded and sloganeered way of saying it. But it's so nice of you to admit that Richard Carrier has the place of Jesus in your life.

    Watch. In the end, the cycle will continue; you'll become as disillusioned with Carrier as you also did with your prior heroes like Jesus. The criticisms piling up against him will start to eat away at you; you'll find that work on your shrine to him consumes you, and you can't keep up.

    I'll add to the pile. So now will Ehrman, Hoffmann, and Casey, as well as the McGrews and countless others dissatisfied with his performance. You'll find yourself far out of your competence trying to defend him on matters like the Domesday watermills. You'll go back and find out that you responses have been responded to, and you have more and more work to do. It will never end.

    Before long, you'll start to ask yourself -- as you did with Jesus -- "Why am I doing this? How long can I maintain the cognitive dissonance of defending -- no, rationalizing -- in the face of these criticisms coming from people so obviously right and so obviously better trained?" Then once more you'll come to hate what you once were. You'll drop the obsession with Carrier like a hot potato.

    Maybe next time you'll join some sort of Heaven's Gate cult -- who knows? You've always been a sorrowful, derelict personage in need of some sort of hero to worship and adore. That's why hate is your ultimate driving force, not rationality. You need the extremes: Someone to adore, and someone on whose behalf you can hate. It's never, ever about real argument; you have never been, and will never be, capable of any more depth than whiny, sarcastic summary notes and absurdly incomplete caricatures of your opponents' positions. That's why you were an abject failure as a Christian apologist then, and that is why you are an abject failure as an atheist apologist now.

    Get psychological help. See a counselor. You need to rid yourself of your obsessive state of mind before it destroys you.

  8. Poor Ben. His savior and Lord just keeps being crucified:

    Yes, of course you have no Carrier-shaped hole in your heart, Ben....his Holy, ever with you. At least until it's time for the cognitive dissonance to set in again. Poor thing.

  9. Check the TWeb thread you ran from in disgrace, Fundy Boy.;)

  10. "Bart Ehrman is being thrown under the bus by the rest of the atheist crowd"

    No, it's not nearly that simple. We atheists don't usually agree on everything just because we agree on one thing. Many of Ehrman's former atheist fans are actually still currently fans. And those taking him to task over Did Jesus Exist? have many complaints about the book and about Ehrman's recent public comments trying to defend the book, the phallic-nosed bird is just the most famous item on the list. There are also: arguing from authority, misrepresentation of mythicist positions, confusion on Ehrman's part concerning Pliny, Pilate, Tacitus, similarities of the Jesus myth to earlier pagan myths, to name just a few. Carrier and Doherty, among others, are going into great detail about the book's mistakes on their blogs. See also Price, Detering, etc, etc...

  11. It might be helpful if you learn a little bit about narrative expression. I'm not saying it's "that simple" any more than "everyone likes chocolate ice cream" is intended as representing a 100% taste survey,

    As for Price and Detering, I wouldn't trust them to do my laundry. Less so than Ehrman at any rate.

  12. "Bart Ehrman is being thrown under the bus by the rest of the atheist crowd "

    Since when does Ehrman identify as an atheist?

  13. @Sili Since he found his cajones -- the ones he said he lost on Colbert.

  14. I'm doing a little series examining the Carrier/Ehrman debate and just posted omn the whole priapus thing:

    A lot of the folks who were supporting Carrier on this bit never bothered to read the context of the quote from "The Christ Conspiracy." Or they tried to erase every last memory of that book from their mind - which is something for which I cannot fault them. However, they need to be reminded if they are going to make statements of which one got it "right."