Richard Carrier: Inept Idiot or Ignorant Simpleton?

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Richard Carrier has aspired to have one of his letters to Penthouse printed for years. As of late he has become frustrated with the ongoing rejections he has received. Since Dick can’t get Penthouse to print him, his he posted this- Michael Shermer: Rapist or Sleaze?

Here is one portion-

Scenario A: You finally get to meet a big celebrity, for the first time, someone you really love and admire, and you’re at a party having drinks together, sitting at a table. He shows a lot of interest in you, asks you lots of questions, listens intently. Your conversation is so animated, in fact, his focus on you so engaging, that you don’t even notice that he keeps filling your wine glass, and you don’t realize how much you’ve had.
Then you start to feel you must have drunk too much, your vision is blurring and you feel a little dizzy. He shows concern, and offers to take you to your room. You get up and almost fall, you are having difficulty keeping upright. He supports you, and in his arms walks you to the elevator, and your room. You are really out of it and at this point can barely think straight and can’t navigate on your own. You have difficulty walking. At first you aren’t even sure it was your room he took you to.
He gets you to the bed and your head is swimming. You’re struggling not to pass out. You can’t speak coherently. He starts kissing and fondling you, then undressing you, then…everything else. You are too drunk to resist. And you are too surprised to speak. You just think to yourself, in a bit of shock… Oh. Okay. So this is happening. You never asked for it, and he never asked you if you did. It wasn’t even a subject you’d ever discussed or hinted at. And once it’s begun you aren’t sure how to stop it. You aren’t even thinking clearly enough to reason that out. You say something, but your speech is so slurred even you aren’t sure what you said. And before you get any idea of what to do, it’s over, and he leaves.
You lay there in the bed, stunned. The shock of what happened has sobered you up a little. You feel violated. You gather yourself up. You start crying. You finally get your head together and stumble out to report what just happened, visibly shaken as many witnesses can verify.

Why Dick feels like he needs to present this example, I don’t know. Does pretending something actually happened make it more true? Sure this kind of thing has happened but what does Richard Carrier’s imagined version have to do with actual events? An example maybe? An example of how Richard Carrier imagines something he never witnessed happened? The best reason I can come up with is his bitterness over the Penthouse rejection letters. Or maybe he is trying to jump on the same conjecture train PZ Myers had been riding up and down the rails.


Before I get too far ahead let’s look at some of Dick’s points, such as-

We should know the difference between anonymous authorship and unnamed sources

I agree, yes we should know the difference. Most people do. The problem here is lots of people do not trust PZ Myers cause he has taken his credibility and used it like a roll of toilet paper. He wipes his ass with it and then expects us to take it from him and say it smells like roses. It doesn’t smell like roses and I seriously doubt it ever will. If Dick Carrier can take toilet paper PZ has used, hold it to his nose, take a whiff of it, and have the same sensation as bringing his wife flowers on Valentines Day that’s nice for him. Most of what PZ says that isn’t directly related to his profession lacks credibility. I’m not saying everything he says is a lie but he has made mistakes when making claims about people’s actions, their character, and words in the past. PZ has never even shown an ability to acknowledge when he is wrong. Anyone who says that PZ has proven to be trustworthy and/or a reliable source in the past is clearly biased, tragically uninformed,  or just plain stupid. I’m sorry but there really is no other explanation.

Dick goes on-

We should also know the difference between criminal and civil standards of judgment; and between investigations and findings reached in a court to enforce public laws, and investigations and findings reached in private companies (for-profit and nonprofit, schools and hospitals, hotels and bars, banks and grocery stores) to enforce their own private conduct policies (e.g., you don’t have to be convicted in court to be banned from a campus for violating a school conduct policy, nor do you have to break any law for that, either).

First of all PZ Myers blog is not a civil court, a company, a school, or any other organization that has any standing. FTB is a bunch of people who know how to hit buttons on a keyboard. I guess Dick is okay with any group of people making any claim they think is credible about anyone as long as they say it is true. There is no need to hear all sides or get any details. There is no need to question or get the opinion of people who have no bias and are not involved in the matter. What  the hell do we even need lawyers for?  Someone says they were victimized, the accuser is known by a biologist with a popular blog, some other people say they have heard the same gossip,  the accused is guilty, case closed.

Does Dick think that the same method used by PZ to accuse Shermer is also used by companies and schools across the country to decide if someone was actually stealing  or if they actually cheated on a test? Well if that is true he should get out of the house more often. Sure an accusation can begin an investigation but it should be reported to responsible people who can check into it’s validity before punishing the accused. No every instance does not have to be decided in a courthouse but most reputable organizations follow a process that is similar to the one used by the court system because it is a good model. For Dick to gloss over that fact gives the impression he omitting important aspects in order to better support his bias.

Richard Carrier (Dick for short) then goes through and shares his fantasies about Michael Shermer’s sexual experiences.(see above) I think it’s safe to say that Dick Carrier has no idea if what he is writing is even remotely close to the truth. Unless he can travel back in time and make himself invisible so he can witness the events he wasn’t there so it all comes down to- A bunch of shit. Dick can write fictional stories. We can put him up there with other fictional writers like say…. L Ron Hubbard. Very impressive but not useful.


Dick continues on-

 But the preponderance of evidence (a civil court burden, whereby a claim need only have a better than 50% chance of being true, so even just a 50.1% chance of being true would win a case) is enough for me to conclude that the general picture is probably true: Shermer pursues sex with women a lot, both one-night stands and ongoing affairs, and he has often enough done so without telling his wife or his various girlfriends. His recent attempt to compel PZ Myers to retract his report of what a witness told him appeared to deny even this (that Shermer has lots of consensual trysts and affairs), which I think is disingenuous at this point.

At this point I think it is fair to ask Dick to make up his mind. Is he going to treat this as if PZ’s blog is a court of law (civil or otherwise) or is he going to claim that accepted legal procedures do not apply because it is not a court? You can’t have it both ways Dick. If we are to consider the comparison used above then it is important to note that in a civil case ALL SIDES OF THE ISSUE ARE HEARD BEFORE ANY JUDGEMENT.

How hard is it to understand? Richard Carrier is educated isn’t he? He is supposed to be intelligent. I’m sorry but this application of logic when it fits what you want to believe is exactly like the behavior of religious people. In their day to day life they apply a certain logic to everything they do because if they didn’t it would be almost impossible to function. When they consider religion a entirely different set of rules come into play because religion is different and isn’t subject to the kind of logic that allows you to function and stay alive in the world you actually live in.  Richard Carrier, PZ Myers, and all the other people who are using this emotional and/or flawed formula are doing the same thing.

I don’t know what the fuck has happened to Dick and PZ and all the other morons who want to try and convince us there is a public process which has no connection to the court system and it should be used to pronounce judgement on people accused of improper behavior or crimes. Sure there is a court of public opinion but people should be responsible when voicing their opinion.

Popular public personalities/figures should be aware that their opinion carries weight. When Jenny Mcarthy said

 The idea that vaccines are a primary cause of autism is not as crackpot as some might wish.

I would assume she thought she was telling the truth. She was incorrect though, the idea was based on completely useless or just plain made-up data. The doctor who had said there was a link was a crackpot. Jenny had given him credibility and we all know the damage that has been done due to her irresponsible behavior. She said it in an attempt to protect children much in the way PZ, Dick and others are claiming to be protecting women from rape. But at what cost? No matter how they want to twist and turn and selectively use examples the bottom line is they are accusing a man of breaking a serious law and they have portrayed him as guilty by way of hearsay, without allowing him to answer his accuser. In fact without allowing him to answer at all. Now that the accusation and presumption of guilt have been made he can not answer without legal council. He would be an idiot to do so, especially considering the types of buffoons he is dealing with here. We all want to know the truth but PZ the Clown has made that even more difficult by acting like a twit.

I’d really like anyone who also chooses to ride the PZ Myers conjecture express to imagine if it was them. Imagine if this was the typical process we used to find innocence /guilt. Even the court of public opinion doles out punishment. Punishment should be deserved. Whether it is deserved should depend  on fair unbiased people learning as much factual information about the issue as possible and listening to all sides in order to form and educated opinion about the how events occurred.


There is a big red flag here. This red flag has popped up time and time again when you read some posts at FTB. There is no link to an opposite point of view. If the writers were honest, thought they had a sound argument, and respected their readers enough to allow them to come to their own conclusions after hearing all sides, then they would give the reader a way to find that information. Whenever you don’t find a link to the original information or the opposing view being criticized, unless it is unavailable, then that is a red flag. This is an important point. There is usually a reason the other side isn’t being represented in some form and that reason is almost never good.

  • Brive1987

    This is what happens when a world view rooted in rape culture and patriarchy hits the practical problems of proving non violent rape and melds with rift based confirmation bias.

    Due process hasn’t got a chance.

  • whatever

    I wish I was half as clear, half as logical, and wrote half as well as you.

    Thank you, this is a terrific argument, wonderfully expressed, and very readable.

  • They’re using tactics they’ve used before. The debate is moving on from whether he “Did it” to how/why he did it. How did he know her room number, do they have the room keys on a little band on your wrist? She wasn’t sure what room it was but she’s SURE it was Shermer (maybe in a certain light PZ could resemble Shermer?)…Just sayin’. She sobered up not at all during this alleged rape but straight AFTER? I TOTALLY AGREE with the “No means no” thing but when did she say no? Sorry but until this gets to court i’ll follow the Law that (in the western & more civilized world at least) provides a presumption on innocence to the accused. IF (Note Capitals) a real “Victim” of rape by a perpetrator who’s not family or friend of family (VAST majority of rapists) then i will offer my FULL support but until there’s more evidence forthcoming from someone who has nothing to gain (Blog hits/Popularity/notoriety) I’ll err on the side of justice & call B.S. on the whole thing!

  • Lara

    Inept Idiot is my vote. I’m still digesting his article ‘Our Mythical Campaign Against Sex’ which has me reeling and now this pile of pooh. He and his god Peezus should just trade in their penis for vaginas and call it a day. They already think like feminist wymyn forgetting all rational logic and instead act like a pack of gossipy yentas relying on hearsay for facts. It’s appalling to witness people that are supposed to be intellectuals acting like uneducated morons.

    I never followed Peezus or Carrier on the net because Peezus is a mediocre scientist at a mediocre university which was ranked by Forbes as 386th of Americas top colleges and 90th as best in the midwest. His last paper is from 1993 and his book is a self plagiarized rehash of his blog posts. This is nothing to write home about and it certainly makes him a small fish in a much larger ocean academically. Richard Carrier should know better than to follow this man and get caught up in his cultish bullshit but as we know, he didn’t tread lightly, he dove in and keeps making big splashes. This makes him an Inept Idiot and someone that shouldn’t be taken seriously but should be taken with a grain of salt. By having a blog on FTB he throws away his reputation and credibility in my eyes. You are the company you keep.

    What I have found interesting through this debacle is that it’s about defamation and libel, not whether rape was or wasn’t involved. It’s all hearsay and speculation generated from a post by the moron Peezus. That in itself should be a red flag but his minions are taking his post as gospel and running with it. This is not the Atheist community I have known for so many decades. Since when does not believing in god have to do with feminism? That has been the crux of the matter since the narcissist Watson gave birth to Elevatorgate.

  • Didgya

    Free Gossip Blogs = FGB =FTB = Pathetic. Thanks Reap!

  • mister d

    These morons may as well dress up like rodeo clowns and where big bullseyes. They are lining up with their acts of diminished capacity to be struck repeatedly by your water balloons of common sense. They really seem to stupid to understand why people are pissed at them. Pitiful.
    Good article Reap

  • voxnulla

    Carrier is the archetypical example of an historian having illusions of grandeur. This happens when peers don’t hold in check said historians, making them believe that anything they argue for is correct. With historians this is especially problematic because they are already used to this within their own discipline, so when they start imagining that their words are reality altering magic spells, we’re in trouble.

  • TacoPie

    Nearly a month old but I wanted to reply.

    As much as I disagree on principle with what Myers did, I had to admit to myself that if someone with a great deal of personal integrity and a strong track record of public credibility made a claim like this on behalf of a friend, I would honestly feel like giving the claim SOME measure of consideration, although in the end I don’t think I would compromise my principles.

    But this is all moot because as you said Myers doesn’t have that kind of credibility. He thinks he does, but he doesn’t. He may think he’s heroically risking his reputation to make a principled stand, but his reputation was already full of holes, and now it’s in tatters. He won’t be a martyr. He’ll be roadkill.

  • Brandon Osborn

    How about “Sexual Predator”? He has edited the blog post where he said something to the effect that he would consider adding a fb friend if you wanted to be a candidate to date him.