Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Appearing in Berkeley II

I will be speaking for the East Bay Atheists this April 18 (Sunday) at 1:30pm in the Berkeley Main Library (3rd Floor Meeting Room) on 2090 Kittredge St. in Berkeley (California). It's about a block south of the downtown Berkeley BART station.

Subject: "Why Everyone Says Medieval Christians Invented Science." I'll summarize and expand on one of my chapters in the controversial book The Christian Delusion (edited by John Loftus), which addresses the new argument going around that we have Christianity to thank for modern science. We all know it's closer to the other way around. So how on earth do they think the opposite? What are their arguments? What is their evidence? How can they be so mistaken? Well, I'll tell you.


There will follow Q&A and I'll be selling and signing my own books (Sense and Goodness without God and Not the Impossible Faith), but alas I'm not likely to have any copies to sell yet of The Christian Delusion. Prometheus Books has made it frustratingly difficult to buy stock for resale, and their consignment discounts barely compete with Amazon retail rates, and there is a lot else they do that pisses off authors like me. But that's just them. This is a superb book, though, two years in the making, a definite must-read. Buy it to support the authors if nothing else. I'll be blogging about it's release tomorrow.

6 comments:

Luke said...

'racket of idiots' is the impression I've gotten from other people, too. A shame!

Richard Carrier said...

I think it was a bit harsh of me to say so, so I took that out. They are just clueless. Obstinately clueless. Some of them are well meaning. I don't think they're stupid. But groupthink has got their souls. They make a ton of stupid decisions. I could draw up a list over the past five years, and I know a dozen of their authors who have vented their own similar complaints to me or those I know. They just don't get how to market books in the 21st century (they are still operating on a 1980s business model; even their forray into e-marketing is inept). They don't run their offices with the same professionalism I encounter from other publishers. And the contracts they give authors are criminal, which I think is what enrages me the most (I'll say something about that in my next blog). But I don't think they're malicious or mercenary. I think they just don't know what they are doing.

Actionman said...

I enjoy your rational approach. What do you make of C.G. Jung's determination that we humans are irrational at our core, that our ability to be rational is based on irrational unconscious processes and that a personal religious experience is necessary for meaningful life?

John said...

Your new book looks great. When will you debate William Lane Craig next with your new approach to Bayes Theorem?

Richard Carrier said...

Actionman said... What do you make of C.G. Jung's determination that we humans are irrational at our core, that our ability to be rational is based on irrational unconscious processes and that a personal religious experience is necessary for meaningful life?

Rationality is indeed a cultural construct, a technology we invented to override and compensate for our innately irrational brain. As such it must be taught, practiced at, and consciously employed to work. The early chapters of The Christian Delusion document some of the science of this; I say more (and give bibliographies) in my sections on reason, intuition, and the mind in Sense and Goodness without God. As for what's necessary for meaningful life, the latter book has a whole chapter on that. Religious experience isn't on the list. In fact, read my section on "Religion as Medicine," ibid. pp. 270-73.

Richard Carrier said...

John said... When will you debate William Lane Craig next with your new approach to Bayes Theorem?

I don't arrange debates. Others arrange them and invite me. But if someone arranges such a debate, I'll definitely do it. Find a group or institution near you that has ten or twenty grand to spend on it and it'll happen (Craig demands an enormous cash payout, and draws considerable crowds requiring expensive venues).