It looks like the Gnu Leaders have begun to embrace a population of internet crackpots who have been arguing that Jesus did not exist. As far as I can tell, the mythers are made up of atheists and new age types who think there is a conspiracy to silence their arguments given that their ideas are rejected by the vast majority of academic scholars.
On March 21, 2012, PZ Myers outs himself as a myther:
Jesus is a legend, like King Arthur or Robin Hood or Paul Bunyan.
Jerry Coyne has been flirting with the mythers also. On April 20, 2012, he writes:
We’ve all been waiting for Richard Carrier, an expert on history and a Biblical scholar, to respond to Bart Ehrman’s new book.
Since I have never heard of this expert, I did some checking with Google and found his blog.
The expert promotes himself as follows:
Richard Carrier is the renowned author of Sense and Goodness without God, Proving History, and Not the Impossible Faith, as well as numerous articles online and in print. His avid fans span the world from Hong Kong to Poland. With a Ph.D. in ancient history from Columbia University, he specializes in the modern philosophy of naturalism, the origins of Christianity, and the intellectual history of Greece and Rome, with particular expertise in ancient philosophy, science and technology. He has also become a noted defender of scientific and moral realism, Bayesian reasoning, and the epistemology of history.
It is informative to note that the renowned expert cites his “fans” but does not mention where he teaches and does his research. Neither does he mention the academic journals he has published in. Okay, I think we have all seen this type of thing before.
So I go to Wikipedia and find out he has simply been a prolific internet atheist. He did get a PhD in 2008, but has been unable to secure a position in academia. Wikipedia has a link to his CV dated Oct 2011 and since getting his PhD, he has not published a single paper in a scholarly journal (although he did submit two papers in 2011).
So why does Coyne call him an expert on history and a Biblical scholar, especially when he advocates a position that is thoroughly rejected by almost all scholars and experts? Because he has a PhD and has written many chapters for books published by atheist publishers? If someone got a PhD in biology, and since getting a PhD, failed to secure a position in academia, wrote chapters in books published by Christian publishers, and adopted a position contrary to the majority of mainstream biologists, do you think Coyne would refer to that person as an expert? Of course not. When you are an activist with an agenda, why bother with intellectual consistency?