Monday, June 06, 2011

New Podcast & Vids

I recently did an interview for the Think Atheist podcast, which is now available. We discuss historical method generally, how historians work and what makes their work logically valid, including discussion of Bayes' Theorem and the philosophy of history, and the completion schedule of my four books currently in progress (one of which is completed and now under contract at a publisher and in the stage of formal academic peer review).

Video of my St. Louis gigs has also gone online now: Carrier-McKay Debate (atheist vs. atheist: Goal Theory vs. Desire Utilitarianism); From Robots to the Moon (ancient science and technology; this was in a pub, so the video and audio quality is not fabulous); Ancient Christian Hostility to Science (how the church fathers of the first three centuries reacted to all that science and technology; this was also in conditions not conducive to producing quality a/v).


Still waiting for the Carrier-Holding debate video.

11 comments:

Zack said...

Great, thanks for posting.

Matthew said...

How many stages are left before this book goes to market? Is the second book on the historical Jesus near completion?

Fadefury said...

You presentation on the Early Christian Hostility to Science was fantastic. Wouldn't mind seeing you write a book on the topic.

Richard Carrier said...

Matthew said... How many stages are left before [Bayes' Theorem and Historical Method] goes to market?

Peer review (can't control how many months that will take), then production (when the print edition is created and proofed) which usually takes several months (depending on how much gets done in advance; that isn't in my hands).

Is the second book on the historical Jesus [On the Historicity of Jesus Christ] near completion?

Yes.

Fadefury said... You presentation on the Early Christian Hostility to Science was fantastic. Wouldn't mind seeing you write a book on the topic.

All that material (and more) is incorporated into a chapter in my book The Scientist in the Early Roman Empire, which is unfortunately the last of my four books in the queue to completion. Before that will be Science Education in the Early Roman Empire, which does have a section on Christian hostility, but only specifically in connection with education generally (and science education specifically), which is not much of the material in the talk, but does support it.

david.j.stein.1 said...

The day your new book on historical Jesus arrives on shelves is the day Jon Stewart and Bill Maher get ahold of you.


That is, assuming there's any justice in the world.

Vince said...

I listened to the podcast interview and the Christian Hostility to Science talk and enjoyed both. Glad to hear your Bayes book is under contract. I'm most looking forward to your books on ancient science though, so I'm glad to hear the first one is progressing.

Fadefury said...

So many great books in the works from the sounds of it. Very exciting indeed.

Pikemann Urge said...

RE 'From Robots to the Moon'

Thank you for such an entertaining talk!

Someone asked you about whether or not a Pope banned rifled gun barrels. I'd like to play devil's advocate and suggest that there is a plausibility to it.

1. One Pope banned opera for a time (I don't remember which Pope).

2. The English almost lost the First World War for two facepalm-worthy reasons: they thought that submarines were 'un-English' and so allowed Germany to gain a lead in submarine warfare; and AFAIK they also thought that machine guns were 'un-gentlemanly' and so allowed the Germans, unanswered, to mow them down by the thousand. (All this is odd seeing as Lord Nelson was happy to use flint-ignited cannons - new technology, gasp! - to replace fuse-ignited ones).

This sheer stupidity and naivety certainly must have existed before 1914!

A peripheral issue: speaking of Jews travelling to China, I read years ago a most fascinating and exhausting book, 'Dark Horse Odyssey' by Richard Harris, about a discovery which strongly implied that a Roman legion, banished from Rome, settled in China before being destroyed by the Chinese army. That was just FYI, if that sort of thing makes you curious.

Will77 said...

what's the deal with the Holding debate video taking so long I wonder..

Richard Carrier said...

Pikemann Urge, just be careful you aren't repeating modern myths to argue against a medieval myth. I am always initially suspicious of stories like those. The more so knowing that the British used machineguns against the Zulu in 1879, so it seems unlikely they'd be shy about using them against the even more hated Hun forty years later. And I happen to know the British were buying submarines from the U.S. as early as 1900. Some Brits certainly did worry that submarine warfare was immoral (if not even illegal), but they nevertheless used them in battle as early as 1904, and continued developing the technology. The Germans didn't even start building subs until 1906.

I think a better analogy here is tanks: the Brits certainly had no gentlemanly hostility to tanks, yet lagged far behind German tank development persistently all the way even to the end of WWII; so crappy was UK tank development that in WWII they started just buying U.S. tanks instead (which were far superior yet still lagged behind the Germans until 1945, when a new series of U.S. tanks the rival of any German finally hit pavement, but the war ended before they ever reached the front lines). There was just something different about the way the Germans funded and managed their R&D.

As to the Roman legion in China (supposedly the "lost" legion under Crassus, sold into slavery east, and called into battle locally), that's a theory I've known about for years and it has some small merit. The Chinese even celebrate it with cheesy statues. But the evidence is not strong enough to stand much on. It's just an intriguing possibility.

Pikemann Urge said...

The more so knowing that the British used machineguns against the Zulu in 1879, so it seems unlikely they'd be shy about using them against the even more hated Hun forty years later.

This is why I'm glad you have more interests than the average scholar seems to have. Well at least you've forced me to (eventually) go back and check my facts. Always a good thing.

I also had no idea that the British had a foreign source for their earliest submarines. I assumed that they developed their own. Or that's what I remember from a book I started, A Damned Un-English Weapon. You can guess that I did not finish it. :-)

RE 'Ancient Christian Hostility'

Dionysius is probably why we have a false impression that pagan scientists were all armchair philosophers. Ironic, if so!