Jesus Mythicist of 2020. And the winner is……..

Let’s have a look at the funniest Atty:

Jesus Mythicist of 2020

As the lack of evidence for a ‘son of god’ gains traction in the public consciousness, authors and academics have boldly expressed the idea that maybe Jesus did not even exist. Some Jesus mythicists are comfortable with the idea of a non-godly wandering prophet while others proclaim that there’s not even any clues for the existence of such a man: they suggest the character was entirely made-up for the profession of street preaching – story-telling and passing a hat round. The catalogue of books and videos expressing these views is growing. If you think you, or someone you know, qualifies for the Award of Best Jesus Mythicist please complete the form below.

First of all, “some Jesus mythicists are comfortable with the idea of a non-godly wandering prophet?”  Really?  So the Anti-Theism International is going to hand out an Award  of Best Jesus Mythicist and it can be someone who acknowledges that Jesus was a historical figure?

Second, so far the judges are supposed to be Stephen Fry and Ian McEwan.  How would they know who the  Best Jesus Mythicist of 2020 would be?

Third, it’s quite fitting that this weird atheist conference, featuring people like Lawrence Krauss and Richard Dawkins, would honor the crackpot notions of Jesus Mythicism.  Crackpots and kooks tend to run together.

But let’s get to the really amusing part.

It seems pretty clear to me this award was designed specifically to honor Richard Carrier.  After all, who is Carrier’s competition?  What’s more, it explains why the original videos that promoted the conference honored Carrier.

So now, just imagine Carrier winning.  Imagine just how much more insufferable he will become.  He will act as if he had just won the Most Important Award in the Universe and will be quick to remind you of his great victory.  He’ll win arguments by merely referring to his great victory.  He might even cite it as a form of redemption from his sexual behavior problems.  In the end, it will be quite funny to watch Carrier take such a meaningless, ad hoc, “award” and try to make it sound so special and important.

But there is yet a more amusing possibility.  What if, and I know this is quite the long shot, but what if….Carrier did not win the award!  LOL! Can you just imagine the thousands and thousands of words written to discredit the award?  And whoever did win the award would find themselves being massively “critiqued”  by one of Carrier’s world renowned essays.  If Carrier can’t be the Jesus Mythicist of 2020, he’ll be the guy who took down the Jesus Mythicist of 2020.

If Carrier can’t win the Jesus Mythicist award from a bunch of friendly atheist allies, why bother doing anything?  🙂

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35 Responses to Jesus Mythicist of 2020. And the winner is……..

  1. Ilíon says:

    After the Solar Flare EMP takes out all the computers (i.e. the internet), there won’t be any evidence that a “Richard Carrier” ever existed. Meanwhile, a century after the EMP, just as today, there will still be more evidence that Jesus pf Nazareth existed than there will be that Alexander or Gaius Julius existed.

  2. jbsptfn says:

    I don’t see an EMP attack like that happening, if one at all:

    https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/what-is-the-likelihood-of-an-emp-attack.493744/

  3. Ilíon says:

    The sun is a conscious entity, which can attack?

  4. nsr says:

    I wonder if Carrier actually believes Jesus never existed. It seems like little more than an attempt to draw attention to himself.

  5. jbsptfn says:

    Probably. I wonder if any of those people believe it.

  6. Dhay says:

    > Let’s have a look at the funniest Atty: Jesus Mythicist of 2020

    I note that the ATI Home page’s ‘Our Mission’ seems to complain primarily about Muslim theocratic rule; thus it seems odd of John Richards to single out Christianity Founder mythicism for an Award, Muhammad mythicism being a more obvious candidate for ATI’s ostentatious hatred; and when more obvious yet is to open the Award up to Founder mythicists in general, including Abraham mythicists, Lao Tzu mythicists and Gautama Siddhartha (“The Buddha”) mythicists.

    https://aeon.co/essays/was-the-buddha-an-awakened-prince-or-a-humble-itinerant

    Or the Award could be opened to those who debunk the myth that the current Tibetan Buddhist religious rulers — the Rinpoches, the Tulkus above them, and at the very top the Dalai Lama — are the reincarnations of their predecessors in post.

    Yep, I can envisage it: Dalai Lama Mythicist of 2020.

  7. Dhay says:

    > But there is yet a more amusing possibility. What if, and I know this is quite the long shot, but what if….Carrier did not win the award! LOL! Can you just imagine the thousands and thousands of words written to discredit the award? And whoever did win the award would find themselves being massively “critiqued” by one of Carrier’s world renowned essays. If Carrier can’t be the Jesus Mythicist of 2020, he’ll be the guy who took down the Jesus Mythicist of 2020.

    Well, well, well. I stumbled on a second page where you can vote — the first was…

    https://www.atheist-convention.com/banquet-menu/vote-now/

    …and it’s still there although the radio boxes for voting have disappeared since yesterday, leaving only pictures (Carrier’s included) and illiteracy.

    The second page is at…

    https://www.atheist-convention.com/atheist-awards/

    …and I see that currently two people have been nominated for ‘Jesus Mythicist of 2020’: Pier Tulip and Mike Lawrence.

    But Carrier has not been nominated. Fireworks?.

  8. Dhay says:

    ‘Jesus Mythicist of 2020’ nominee Pier Tulip’s picture is not of himself but of the front cover of his book, “KRST: Jesus a Solar Myth”. I looked the book up on Amazon to read the reviews, and found it was self-published in 2015, first as an e-book, then as a paperback. The four Amazon reviews spread over four years are all for the Kindle edition, and award an overall 2.8 of of 5 stars; the Amazon star-rating system starts at 1 star, 3 stars is the mid-point, so it didn’t achieve so much as the equivalent of a 50% mark; the one reviewer who awarded 5 stars turn out to be the guy who wrote the preface, so we can take that review to be an advert rather than a review; discounting him, there’s but a dismal 7 stars from the other three reviewers, assessing him worth 1.33 stars off of the bottom score out of a range of four (1 – 5.)

    Yep, this nominee for ‘Jesus Mythicist of 2020’ is of that quality, say the tiny number of reviewers. Or if you want to assess for yourself, Amazon kindly provides a ‘Look Inside’ preview, where on P.21 there’s:

    Jerusalem, in the years 746-749 since the founding of Rome (7-4 BC)

    The High Priest of the Essene tribe of Jerusalem had for months watched the spectacle of the long-awaited conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in the constellation of Pisces. … The message from the Essene watchers was intercepted by the Sanhedrin, who shared it with the Roman Tetrarch Herod in Caesarea. Herod sent for the Essene priest to confirm the story. …

    http://www.amazon.com/KRST-Jesus-solar-myth-Tulip/dp/8893216302/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8

    The Essenes were a Jewish religious sect, not a tribe. Tulip seems clueless, and highly imaginative! But Tulip is a nominee for ‘Jesus Mythicist of 2020’.

    *

    Mike Lawrence is the other nominee for ‘Jesus Mythicist of 2020’. There’s this from his nominator:

    … Mike has produced many videos, two books, and presented to groups across the country, some of which I have attended, on his thesis that the gospels are a reverse construction, compiled as a theological response to the fall of the Second Temple. … His thesis explains how the gospels combine the destruction event with ancient Jewish prophetical veneration of, and fascination with, the astrologically based number 70. …

    https://www.atheist-convention.com/atheist-awards/

    I could find any trace of the alleged two books using Google, he appears to publish only on YouTube. But I rather think that nomination extract identifies him as being as much a kook as Tulip is. The nomination continues with:

    This is a unique and somewhat convincing argument for mythicism.

    Let’s translate “unique”: the guy’s a maverick, a kook; nobody else sees what he sees and argues as he does. Even his nominator thinks Lawrence’s argument is only “somewhat” convincing.

    *

    There’s now a ‘Vote Now / Nominees’ tab with details of the nominees and what they have been nominated for, along with radio boxes so you can vote in three (only, so far, of the ten) award categories; the three are:
    Atheist of the Year 2020
    Atheist Author 2020
    Atheist Podcaster 2020

    They do thank you for your vote; the three thanks messages progress to:

    Thank you for your vote. would you like to see your vote win an ATTY award, then book your Ticket now… Click here to book

    That’s a trifle illiterate, and there’s “votes” winning awards; but what the heck, that’s par for the course for John Richards, for the former schoolteacher.

  9. Dhay says:

    You can now vote in all five award categories which have had people nominated. The two additions are (as per the radio box titles):
    Hitchens Trophy for Atheist Eloquence
    Hitchens the Jesus Mythicist of 2020 [sic]

    *

    In his 16 January 2020 blog post entitled “A major award!” PZ Myers reports — reports a scam, basically — in which he, and almost certainly every other business or “business” in the area likewise, is awarded an award; to get his crystal desktop award, plaque or both all he has to do is pay for one or both — at exorbitant prices.

    It occurs to me that the Atty awards function in the same way, except that Myers was guaranteed an award — he’d been told in writing he’d already won it, just pay through the nose for the trophies — whereas anyone gullible enough to buy an Awards Banquet ticket and optional Convention ticket, pay for a return flight from eg the US, pay for accommodation, and add their supposed or actual anti-theistic majesty to the proceedings by their mere presence is likely to: a) be disappointed when another nominee gets the award and b) be severely out of pocket. (There’s no mention anywhere of reimbursement of expenses.)

    In his 14 January 2020 blog post entitled “A good critique of panpsychism but a lousy alternative” Jerry Coyne comments of the British ‘Institute of Art and Ideas’ HowTheLightGetsIn festival: “I then remembered that they invited me to that festival a few years back, but expected me to pay my own way, which I won’t do just to help them fund their endeavors.” Should anyone nominate Coyne (which they haven’t), don’t expect him to turn up in mere hope of an Atty award. Richard Carrier is currently financially straitened (and still not nominated) so don’t expect him to turn up in mere hope (or even should he get a nod), I cannot see his book sales outweighing his costs. I can well imagine a number of international award winners might well not bother to turn up.

    My comments about gullibility and expense apply in greater measure again to those “would you like to see your vote win an ATTY award, then book your Ticket now…” who are mere supporters of nominees.

    *

    Who can and surely will turn up? Why, the “current chairman of Dorset Humanist” [sic], from the next-door county and next-door group. He’s probably got a good chance of winning the ‘Atheist of the Year 2020’ top award, too, not because he’s well-known internationally like eg Matt Dillahunty but because he’s well known locally and all the locals — people who will know of this obscure ATI event (run from a suburban dwelling, as I see on Google Street View, probably from John Richards’ home ** ) because Richards will have been around the local groups publicising it, whereas it’s had nothing but brief scorn and condemnation from Friendly Atheist and a number of other bloggers, those who have mentioned it at all — all the local atheists will probably vote for their local guy. We will see.

    ( ** I’ll say it again, the grand-sounding Anti-Theist International Organisation is… is John Richards, working from home, with the assistance of Lance Gregorchuk. It’s never done anything (that I can find) except plan this 2020 Convention and Awards, and my bet is, it will do nothing in future except organise the 2021 Carl Sagan memorial convention/awards plus similar in later years… if it doesn’t crash and burn in 2020, of course.)

  10. Dhay says:

    There’s now nominees in seven Atty Award categories, though you can only vote in five, there’s no radio boxes for the latest two; and there’s now seventeen nominees, though you can only vote for the first ten, the names of the latest seven haven’t appeared in any radio boxes, not even in the already existing five. No doubt they’ll get around to it eventually, but the delay speaks incompetence – yet again.

    Four (in a row) of the new nominees are comedians, which indicates someone – some individual, possibly John Richards – decided to populate the empty ‘Atheist Comedian 2020’ category by nominating the four one after the other; had it been multiple nominators nominating each their favourite, the nominations would surely have been more spread out.

    *

    Antony Magnabosco, nominated in ‘Category 8. Best Atheist Video 2020, is a surprise, because the ‘How We Let Go’ video he’s nominated for uses Rebecca Fox’s graphics and also her research: although the website names the two of them as co-authors, it’s hard to discern what part Magnabosco might have played in its production, it seems to be all Fox.

    https://howweletgo.org/

    That impression is strengthened by looking at the linked Medium article by Fox. She uses the first person throughout — “I” did this, “I” did that, and all the occurrences of “we” are in context, “we atheists”; there’s mention of Street Epistemology as a tool atheists could use, but her only mention of input by Magnabosco is this:

    On a lighter note, I put ‘cryptids’ on my list of possible paranormal, spiritual or supernatural beliefs. Then I changed it to ‘legendary creatures unknown to science’ when my friend Anthony Magnabosco pointed out that only massive nerds like me know what a ‘cryptid’ is.

    https://medium.com/@rebecca_18897/how-we-let-go-of-faith-beliefs-8461d5f649ea

    Now is that really enough to earn Magnabosco credit (and possibly an award, nobody else has been nominated in the category yet) for a video he seems to have had relatively little part in the creation of? – not the graphics, not the content! If the video creator is judged worthy for the award (or no other is nominated) it should surely be Fox, not her co-author Magnabosco, who would rightly deserve the award.

    *

    David Silverman has now been nominated: for ‘Atheist of the Year’ and also for ‘Atheist Author of 2020’.

    Hmmm, the nominator’s reason for is the first is, Silverman “Organized two World Atheists meetings in Washington, DC. 2012 & 2016”. Ah yes, organising meetings four and eight years ago makes you ‘Atheist of the Year 2020’ (the ‘Gala Awards Banquet’ tab states it in full); I don’t see an award category for ‘Atheist of the Year 2012’ or ‘Atheist of the Year 2016’, evidently the nominator is confused.

    The nominator’s reason for is the second is, Silverman is “Author of book ‘Fighting God: An Atheist Manifesto for a religious world’”. That was published four years ago, in January 2016, so he can hardly be ‘Atheist Author of 2020’; once you allow books published way back, what’s to stop nominations for Richard “The God Delusion” Dawkins, Victor Stenger or Carl Sagan.

    *

    I can’t be bothered to look up or comment on most of the nominees, mainly because many seem to be also-rans who never emerged from obscurity. But don’t worry, they’re all International Keynote Speaker material, aren’t they. Aren’t they?

  11. Dhay says:

    It has now become clearer (at last!) how the Atty Award category winners will be selected. Merging text from two tabs:

    Every vote counts and the three winners of the people’s vote will go before our judges in March.
    The Award Judges include Stephen Fry and Ian McEwan.
    Head judge is Ian McEwan.

    I say clearer because “The Award Judges include [the named two.]” Unless the website author is illiterate — a very real possibility — here’s an attempt to mislead with the truth; the Award Judges include the two but do not comprise the two; so who are the other Judges — John Richards? Lawrence Krauss? Richard Dawkins? Lance Gregorchuk?

    Anyway, at least it’s clear the voting determines the shortlists comprising the three most popular nominees in each category.

    *

    Allegedly, “You have only ONE vote per category.”; nice try, but in practice it seems to allow any number of votes, no restriction whatsoever.

    *

    The ‘Vote Now / Nominees’ page stumbles on. There’s now 25 persons nominated for 34 awards — one person has been nominated (possibly by himself, he seems extravagently flamboyant) for five — but you cannot yet vote for 15 of the nominees and can still only vote in five of the eight categories which have nominees. (Two categories have no nominees.)

    *

    I see Aron Ra has been nominated for ‘Atheist of the Year 2020’. In view of his principled withdrawal from the Keynote Speaker role, I wonder whether he will take a similarly principled attitude towards attending anyway in hope of a prize.

  12. Dhay says:

    There’s now three ‘Jesus Mythicist of 2020’ nominees. The latest boasts, “During the whole of 2019, I have posted several thoughts, Bible contradictions and absurdities on Facebook.”

    Several thoughts (etc) on Facebook, eh? “Several” is an output that’s impressive indeed!

    He continues, “I have shown that the original Ancient Testament texts were manipulated to influence on people’s beliefs, and that the whole New Testament (except the book of Revelation, a copy of the Book of Enoch) was written by members of the roman family Calpurnius Piso.”

    Gosh, the Calpurnius Piso family wrote the entire — well, very nearly — the entire New Testament. Let me guess: gMark, with its crappy Greek, was written by their seven-year old?

    *

    If you haven’t already worked it out, this Mythicist doesn’t speak or write passable English. Though many of the other 26 Award nominees are unknowns, they are nearly all of them English speakers and are concentrated in a few English-speaking countries. Although the Atty Awards are allegedly international, open to all atheists worldwide, the atheosphere is predominantly Anglo-Saxon (and male) and the Atty voters likewise: with outsiders so disadvantaged, it’s reasonable to expect that whatever the merits of the potential or actual nominees from the non-English speaking world, the awards will go to men, mostly, and exclusively or almost exclusively to English speakers.

  13. pennywit says:

    What is the point of “Jesus mythicist,” anyway? jesus’ existence, or lack thereof, really has no bearing on the larger question of whether there is anything beyond this material world.

  14. TFBW says:

    Because a great deal of atheist activism is squarely anti-Christian. This is just one of those mask-slips which makes it obvious.

  15. Michael says:

    Because a great deal of atheist activism is squarely anti-Christian. This is just one of those mask-slips which makes it obvious.

    Indeed. In fact, the mask slip becomes even more obvious when Richard Carrier, Mr. Myther himself, argues that Mohammed was a historical figure. The hyper-skepticism vanishes. Yet, the evidence for Mohammed is not anymore compelling than for Jesus – https://www.crisismagazine.com/2012/did-muhammad-exist

  16. Dhay says:

    On the Anti-Theist International Facebook page there’s a new video, dated 22 January 2020. The main video which banners the website has for the last week or more been sending the message visually that the final pieces of the jigsaw are being put in place; so seeing that the post text is “Equipment is arriving for the Anti-theism International Convention” and the video itself is titled “Unboxing A-TI kit”, I took a look to see what final jigsaw pieces were important enough to justify a video. It’s 2 min 22 sec long and I loved it — though not for reasons its sole actor John Richards would like

    “Hi guys, more kit has been arriving for [the Convention]. I’ve got a little box, and I’ve got a big box. I’m going to save the big box, the excitement, for later, I’ll see what he’s got here (in the small box, starts cutting.)… It’s a box… Ah, these are the lanyards (@ 1 minute in)… when you arrive you’ll get one of these (dons one, points, picks up compact box, points) with your name tag on it… OK… Now the big one… Ooh, two (boxes)… and it clinks, what can we see? (cuts upper box)… somethings in there… Ah, hehehe, it’s a drum seat, nothing to do with anti-theism at all, I’ve got two of those for my kids… hahaha. So, anyway…” (and now, finally, after two minutes of bumbling, Richards gets to what presumably his point all along: book your ticket now, it’s the last few days before the price goes up.)

    http://www.facebook.com/internationalatheist/videos/166391771353515/

    *

    I am intrigued by Richards describing himself, on every website I can find him on, the Atty website, too, as an ex-science teacher (“who can’t stop!”) In case you haven’t worked it out from the transcript, in this video Richards is presenting with a teaching style, and at a level, that’s suitable for children — children! — who just a year or two out of Nursery (or Kindergarten.) At that level science teaching is little more than weights and measures.

    I detect this science teaching enthusiast is a pseud.

    *

    Why present at that level? Is Richards just an utter bumbler? Or does he know the audience level he should talk down to?

  17. Dhay says:

    Something tells me John Richards (and Lance Gregorchuk) are not getting the ticket sales they wanted and still need; it’s now been very quietly announced — you only see this if you vote, presumably so as to not piss off those who paid the higher Early Bird price — that:

    Thank you for voting! Use the coupon code, “I-Voted”, to save 50 Pounds off your ticket to the Atheist Convention. [Link to ‘Tickets’ page.]

    Hmmm, those stung will be wary about buying tickets early next year, it’s proven it’s worth waiting until the last minute for the offers. Those who haven’t bought yet this year might consider whether there might be more reductions if they wait a bit longer. I’d call it a bad move (though probably forced by looming poor total sales.)

    In the end they’ll probably do what theatres often do, give away free tickets to swell the audience.

    *

    The ‘Vote Now / Nominees’ page is still a shambles, but to their credit somebody’s evidently working on the page right now. At last.

  18. Dhay says:

    The window for nominating people for Atty Awards has now closed. I see nobody’s nominated Richard Carrier, evidently nobody considers Carrier pre-eminent in the field of ‘Jesus Mythicism’. There’s four other mythers who considered more eminent than Carrier.

    *

    Two awards have quietly disappeared, won’t be awarded, can’t be awarded: there were no nominations at all for ‘Best Children’s Author of 2020′ — which means Richard Dawkins’ latest book, aimed primarily at teenage children, obviously didn’t make the grade, not even in his fans’ eyes; and ‘Best Atheist Image of 2020 (social media)’ was the other casualty, though the absence of good ‘Atheist Images’ (read memes?) is no great surprise.

  19. Dhay says:

    A nominee for ‘Atheist of the year’, ‘Atheist Podcaster’ and ‘Hitchens Trophy for Atheist Eloquence’ — somebody loves him, possibly himself, I’ve formed the hypothesis that the more awards someone is nominated for, the more likely it is that someone with a big, Big, BIG ego and an eye for self-publicity has nominated themself — has just got himself publicised via one of Jerry Coyne’s “Photos of Readers” blog posts. I spotted it because his ATI and WEIT blurbs are similar, here’s the latter:

    Here’s Mr. [Daniel James] Sharp, whose words are indented

    I’m a student at the University of Edinburgh (English Literature and History) and president of the university’s Atheist, Humanist, and Secularist Society- and a longtime WEIT reader (and very occasional commenter)! I also do a lot of writing and I review books for Areo (in which capacity I’ve had generous praise from the authors of some such books, including Richard Dawkins, A.C. Grayling, and Salman Rushdie). So with that in mind I’ve picked a picture of me in my fancy blue velvet jacket next to my books in my nice but chilly Edinburgh flat. Life of a student- sorry for the background of my clothes hanging up to dry! And the second is either me being shocked by the irreligiousness of Faith Versus Fact or me reverentially staring at it.

    https://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2020/02/04/photos-of-readers-59/

    What can we learn from this? The last sentence (“reverentially”!) tells me he’s a bit of a prat. What we learn from his getting “generous praise” from various authors whose books he has reviewed for Areo — the mouthpiece of Helen Pluckrose, one of a trio of New Atheist ‘Hilarious Hoaxers’ — authors “including Richard Dawkins, A.C. Grayling, and Salman Rushdie” is that Sharp is an unskeptical arsliken sycophant — probably he was as “reverential” towards those authors when he buttered them up as he’s now been to Coyne.

    *

    The record is a Kenneth Humphries, who is, er, modestly (self-?) nominated in five of the eight surviving award categories.

    *

    Changing subject, the Early Bird prices were originally due to end at the end of December, then got extended to end at the end of January — when they did end; but instead of rising to the full prices (which should have come in on 1 January) they’ve crept up to intermediate prices for the month of February and will finally creep up to the full prices — assuming they ever do, that is — on 1 March. As of a couple of days ago — they’ve finally cottoned on that if they are going to limit people to one vote per category they’re going to have to walk the talk and actually enforce a limit, so I’m now rationing my votes — as of a couple of days ago there was, revealed only after sending a vote, still that kept-quiet £50 discount (ie ticket price reduction) for those who vote.

    I’d say that indicates poorer than hoped and planned for ticket sales, and an urgent need to get more attendees and more income. I’ll be almost surprised to see the prices rise to the advertised ‘Final Prices’, and not at all surprised to see ticket prices slashed as the event draws ever nearer.

    If Lance Gregorchuk is the main funder of the convention and awards ceremony, as Conservapedia and my recollection of the earliest version of the ‘About Us’ tab tell me, Gregorchuk could well be in for a financial hiding the equal of his reputational hiding.

    *

    Is it my imagination, or has the main advertiser of the Anti-Theist International Convention and the Atty Awards been S2L? That is, every time I check Google I find a very few atheist blogs posts that are negative and condemnatory towards ATI, a very few interviews of Richards (and the shocking interview of Lance Gregorchuk) and… and crickets: we’ve probably written as many words on ATI as all the atheist blogs combined.

  20. nsr says:

    Kenneth Humphries? Is he that utter fruitbat of a Jesus mythicist who was on the Unbelievable podcast a while ago?

  21. Dhay says:

    Up to now, prospective ticket purchasers only got to see that there was that kept-quiet “I-Voted” £50 discount after they had voted, and only if they had voted. Still not enough tickets being sold, getting twitchy, getting desperate? Ah, make the discount obvious on the ‘Home’ page:

    Breaking News!
    Stephen Fry has chosen the winner of the Hitchens portrait painting competition and tweeted us! Email a screenshot of his tweet to john@atheist-convention.com for a discount code (£50 off Weekend Pass or £20 off Banquet)

    Obviously, all one now has to do to get the discounts, even if one has voted before buying a ticket but forgot to jot down the coupon code, is to Google Steven Fry’s Twitter account and take a screenshot. For those who are too stupid to realise this, or who are uncertain how to take a screenshot, the screenshot is helpfully reproduced on the ‘Artwork Competition’ page to save you the bother of Googling Fry.

    And it’s reproduced on the Atty Facebook page as well.

    *

    The Hitchens portrait artist will be Mike Lawrence, who would have been my own choice. Pity his word-pictures of the, er, mythical Jesus look to be nowhere near as good as his paintwork, though in an uncrowded Mythicist field of four poor-quality nominees he might yet triumph over greater mediocrity.

    *

    The field for ‘Hitchens Trophy for Atheist Eloquence’ is even more uncrowded, at just three nominees. Do any of the three deserve it? Looking it up, eloquence is “fluent or persuasive speaking or writing”, or similar, so:

    * Kenneth Humphries is that “utter fruitbat” (as nsr puts it); his ‘jesus never existed’ website includes such fluent and persuasive gems as:

    It seems increasingly likely that normal gene mutations within the brain gave evolutionary advantage to individuals who could mitigate the evidence of rational thought and their own senses with a belief in an invisible world beyond the grave.

    https://www.jesusneverexisted.com/goodness.html

    This pseudo-evolutionary-science bullshit looks remarkably like jim-‘s “It took a sword and a conquest for Christianity to thrive. Only the compliant and weak minded survived. Now we are forever saddled with beliefs” (which, I note, declares jim- himself to be weak-minded.) I despair of anyone who cannot see what’s unpersuasive with both quotes.

    * Daniel Sharp, the self-publicising butterer-up (see reply above), writes for Areo, where I found his:

    Besides, one can’t consistently argue that Dawkins’ science books are good but his critiques of religion are tiresome, for they are both rooted in the same principle: that truth matters above all else.

    https://areomagazine.com/2019/10/21/an-argument-worth-having-outgrowing-god-by-richard-dawkins/

    “Good” is contrasted with “tiresome”? Shouldn’t Sharp have contrast-paired “entertaining” (or similar) with “tiresome”, and what’s any of it to do with truth mattering above all else? That’s not fluent, it’s but dashed off thoughtlessly.

    If Sharp’s claim is (as I suspect it is) that Dawkins’ critiques of religion must be good because he’s both a good biological-science populariser and truth matters to him, that’s that’s a non-sequitur: there must be thousands or millions of people in the world to whom truth matters and who write on science, religion, history, horticulture, whiskey distilling, football etc etc, but whose writings other than on their non-specialist subjects are indifferent or utter crap.

    * Rebecca Fox is the author of two comic books for kids published in 2017 and since then mustering thirteen Amazon reviews between them; probably the lack of interest is not good evidence for eloquence.

    Fox recently did a survey of why atheists became atheists (which results presented in YouTube video form — Fox even did the graphics for it — are what Antony Magnabosco is a wave through to get ‘Best Atheist Video 2020′ Award for, though I am unaware what Magnabosco’s contribution might have been and why it was greater than Fox’s) but it’s not of the nature of a survey of other peoples’ voices that it should demonstrate the collator’s eloquence, and having read the report when Hemant Mehta announced it I don’t remember it being particularly eloquent.

    Nor does Fox seem to have ever been a big name speaker, so perhaps — I have no way of telling — she was eloquent at meetings of the various small local atheist groups that are dotted around Britain.

    That’s the three. As with the Jesus Mythicists, whoever wins the ‘Hitchens Trophy for Atheist Eloquence’ Award will be the best of the mediocre. Most of the nominees for other Awards look mediocre, too: I fancy the Award Banquet is going to be self-parody.

    And as with the Jesus Mythicists, what is most striking is not who’s nominated but who isn’t, there’s so many big names missing. After so many years of polemics against Christianity and religion, Richard Dawkins has been snubbed by not even being nominated. Where, too, the eloquent Steven Pinker? And in view of the astonishing level of adulation accorded him by the indignant fans who visit S2L from time to time, where’s Sam Harris?

    *

    I see that although nominations closed at the end of January, the online nomination form is still there. There’s incompetence for you.

    *

    Stop Press: I see 9 February 2020 ATI Facebook post revealing that John Richards has persuaded Lawrence Krauss to give a “teaser” — “Lawrence will speak on lobbying governments to make evidence led decisions.” which we knew — for his Atty Convention talk on video.

    The video starts as an advert for Krauss’ ‘Origins Project’ — which appears to comprise rich people luxury cruising to environmentally endangered places and habitats — and for its website where the next trip is to the Galapagos Islands.

    At -10:30 on the video’s timeline, Richards announces that “You’ll be very pleased to know that Noam Chomsky has agreed to be interviewed by me”… and gets snored over by Krauss, who insensitively continues promoting his own events. Finally, 40% through the video, Krauss gets to his “teaser”. I don’t think people who keep up to date with the atheist ethos will learn anything new, somehow, what I heard was familiar or predictable.

    At -5:15 Richards tells Krauss “This is the very reason we’ve organised this event. Because England seems to have gone backwards over my lifetime. Whereas it was once upon a time not a very religious country, now we’ve got more religion coming in.” … “We’ve even got a branch of ‘Answers in Genesis’ in Brighton now.” Hmmm, as a fellow native of this increasingly secular United Kingdom I judge this Little Englander to be paranoid.

    Lastly Richards tells his viewers (watching on or after 9 February) that they can nominate — they can’t, now — and that the Early Bird prices end on 31 January. Incompetent.

  22. unclesporkums says:

    Incompetents, liars, and cheats.

  23. TFBW says:

    At -5:15 Richards tells Krauss “This is the very reason we’ve organised this event. Because England seems to have gone backwards over my lifetime. Whereas it was once upon a time not a very religious country, now we’ve got more religion coming in.” … “We’ve even got a branch of ‘Answers in Genesis’ in Brighton now.” Hmmm, as a fellow native of this increasingly secular United Kingdom I judge this Little Englander to be paranoid.

    He says, “now we’ve got more religion coming in,” but isn’t specific about it. To what religion is he referring? I can’t find a handy chart of UK religious affiliation over time, but my perception is that the best match for “more religion coming in” would be Islam. Is that what he meant? He doesn’t elaborate, although there’s an edit in the stream immediately after he makes that comment, so perhaps the elaboration wound up on the cutting room floor. If he’s not going to be explicit about his concerns, however, then it’s just bogeyman talk, so the charge of paranoia isn’t unreasonable, given the data we have.

    But if his concern about religion is reflected in his latter comment about a branch of Answers in Genesis in Brighton (and that’s a real “if”, because editing has interfered with context), then the charge of paranoia seems to be completely justified without further evidence. Perhaps he’s using the name “Answers in Genesis” as a generic brand for all creationist activity, which would merely be sloppy (imagine my shock if this is the case), but if we take him at his word then I’ll have to say, “fact check: false”. A spot of research shows that UK branch office/bookstore of Answers in Genesis is in Leicester, a place which can be summarily described as “absolutely nowhere near Brighton”. And it’s just a branch office we’re talking about: an ugly little warehouse in a light industrial area, not the UK equivalent of the infamous Creation Museum.

    So presumably it’s not that little AiG branch office in Leicester that has him in a lather at the rising influence of religion. So what is it, then? I can’t find any current connections between Brighton and anything relating to creationists more broadly, or any other connection between Answers in Genesis and the UK more broadly, so paranoid delusions certainly aren’t off the table as an explanation here, absent further detail. Whatever the case, it’s certainly telling (but far from surprising) that his perception of “religious threat” is driven by alignment with Darwinism, and Answers in Genesis do have a long track record of successful conferences which gore the sacred cow of Darwinism.

    I note in passing that, “their conferences are bigger than our conferences,” is a possible basis for feelings of existential threat. I’m open to other explanations, if anyone has them.

  24. Dhay says:

    TFBW > So presumably it’s not that little AiG branch office in Leicester that has him in a lather at the rising influence of religion.

    I might have found it: there isn’t a “branch” of Answers in Genesis in Brighton, but Brighton and the adjacent town, Hove, have conglomerated and are often referred to as ‘Brighton & Hove’; in Hove the “Southern Cross Evangelical Church fully supports Answers in Genesis and currently hosts the South Coast Answers Support Group.” From the SCEC website:

    What is an Answers Support Group?

    Answers Support Groups (ASGs) are made up of like-minded, local believers who see the relevance and importance of the Creation message. They want to give regional expression to the work, mission and objectives of Answers in Genesis (AiG).

    ASGs will accept AiG’s mission statement and statement of faith, both of which can be viewed at [link]. The groups are run independently of AiG but have support through the UK office (including visits from AiG staff on a yearly basis). They also provide a forum for the support and encouragement of brothers and sisters in Christ who find themselves in churches that either deny or are indifferent to the fact that God created the heavens and the earth in six days.

    https://www.southerncross.org.uk/aig-support-group/

    Presumably the “branch” is that Answers Support Group.

    (Also, I have spotted that an AiG conference will be held on 22/23 February 2020 at a Baptist Church just nineteen miles along the coast from from Brighton. It’s a low-key event, with just two speakers covering five sessions plus a Q&A; there’s no registration, it’s free, bring your own lunch.

    https://answersingenesis.org/outreach/event/angmering-2020/)

    But these raises more questions, and my personal incredulity: John Richards says the Answers Support Group (alone, he didn’t mention the AiG Conference) is “the very reason we’ve organised this event”. Really, they’ve organised a big (they hope) atheist conference with “speakers represent[ing] the UK, the USA, Canada, Denmark and Nigeria” and with attendees jetting in from [can’t find it, various countries], plus “international” “prestigious” awards because a local church hosts an Answers Support Group? That’s disproportionate; indeed, it’s what I would call an extremely over the top over-reaction.

    If it flops — and I suspect it’s headed that way — it will be a very expensive over the top over-reaction.

  25. unclesporkums says:

    I’d expect nothing less from them. Quite an expensive tantrum.

  26. Dhay says:

    TFBW > So presumably it’s not that little AiG branch office in Leicester that has him in a lather at the rising influence of religion.

    I might have found it: there isn’t a “branch” of Answers in Genesis in Brighton, but Brighton and the adjacent town, Hove, have conglomerated and are often referred to as ‘Brighton & Hove’; in Hove the “Southern Cross Evangelical Church fully supports Answers in Genesis and currently hosts the South Coast Answers Support Group.” From the SCEC website:

    What is an Answers Support Group?

    Answers Support Groups (ASGs) are made up of like-minded, local believers who see the relevance and importance of the Creation message. They want to give regional expression to the work, mission and objectives of Answers in Genesis (AiG).

    ASGs will accept AiG’s mission statement and statement of faith, both of which can be viewed at [link]. The groups are run independently of AiG but have support through the UK office (including visits from AiG staff on a yearly basis). They also provide a forum for the support and encouragement of brothers and sisters in Christ who find themselves in churches that either deny or are indifferent to the fact that God created the heavens and the earth in six days.

    https://www.southerncross.org.uk/aig-support-group/

    Presumably the “branch” is that Answers Support Group.

    (Also, I have spotted that an AiG conference will be held on 22/23 February 2020 at a Baptist Church just nineteen miles along the coast from from Brighton. It’s a low-key event, with just two speakers covering five sessions plus a Q&A; there’s no registration, it’s free, bring your own lunch.

    https://answersingenesis.org/outreach/event/angmering-2020/)

    But these raise more questions, and my personal incredulity: John Richards says the Answers Support Group (alone, he didn’t mention the AiG Conference) is “the very reason we’ve organised this event”. Really, they’ve organised a big (they hope) atheist conference with “speakers represent[ing] the UK, the USA, Canada, Denmark and Nigeria” and with attendees jetting in from [can’t find it, various countries], plus “international” “prestigious” awards because a local church hosts an Answers Support Group? That’s disproportionate; indeed, it’s what I would call an extremely over the top over-reaction.

    If it flops — and I suspect it’s headed that way — it will be a very expensive over the top over-reaction.

  27. TFBW says:

    Presumably the “branch” is that Answers Support Group.

    It’s possible, but those support groups are not a form of public outreach in and of themselves, so they tend to be low-key affairs. The link you provide does not even offer a meeting schedule; only an email address to contact if interested. Is this really what Richards is talking about when he laments the rising influence of religion? Is one creationist group anywhere such a threat to Darwinism/atheism/secularism everywhere? If so, this isn’t atheism, or even anti-theism: it’s anti-creationism.

    The February 22/23 event in Littlehampton is more like the public face of AiG: small, one-off, free-admission speaking events like this are peppered across the country all year round. Evidently the support group above is organising the event. The programme follows a recognisable pattern: a light day-long presentation on Saturday (four presentations of about an hour each with breaks in between), and a presentation at the following Sunday service. It will be no bigger than the church hall which contains it.

    Clearly Richards’ reaction can’t be to this specific support group or this specific presentation. It would be wildly disproportionate, as you suggest. The only way this makes any sense to me is if Richards perceives Answers in Genesis as some kind of enormous background threat to his ideology, and so any time he sees anything associated with AiG in the real world, this acts to confirm and reinforce that perception, regardless of the substance of that individual case. That’s why it makes so little sense to outsiders like us on examination of the details.

    If this conjecture is correct, then it supports my earlier suggestion that this is more like anti-creationism than anti-theism. It’s probably a little broader than that, but still narrower than anti-theism. What seems to irk these people most is not the idea of God or belief in God, although that is their go-to scapegoat on which to blame evil in general, but the idea that people are willing to take seriously and promote the idea that an actual God created the universe, and that people are willing to accept the authority of a scruffy old scripture over their modern priesthood of scientists. Again, it’s not precisely these things, but those seem to be the clearest symptoms of the underlying ideological clash, and while “anti-creationism” may not be the perfect name for it, it still seems a better fit than “anti-theism”.

    Richards could easily change my mind if he named some names other than Answers in Genesis, and if those names did not fit the pattern I’ve observed here. So far, however, all we have is broad generalities plus the specific example of Answers in Genesis. At least, that’s all I’ve been able to glean from transcripts and the small amount of that terrible video I’ve been able to suffer through in person. Correct me if I’m missing something.

    The Jesus Mythicism angle isn’t anti-creationist, specifically, but as pennywit has already observed, it’s also far from being a specifically anti-theist thing. You can accept the existence of Jesus while denying his divinity. This narrows the target further along the lines of “scriptural authority vs scientific authority”, of which creationism is always the greatest flash-point. If you’re a Jesus Mythicist, your angle is almost certainly to promote academic authorities that attack scriptural credibility.

    The pattern holds.

  28. Dhay says:

    In the ‘About Us / Attributions’ tab John Richards describes himself as “A non-believer with a mission to normalize non-belief and reduce the harm caused by the religious when they take control”.

    TFBW > It [the AiG Conference] will be no bigger than the church hall which contains it.

    The same applies to the Answers in Genesis Support Group, Richards’ reaction to which is, as he declared, “the very reason we’ve organised this [Atty] event”.

    Crazy. Does Richards really believe a church hall’s worth of creationists, or several groups like them, scattered here and there in a very secular UK, are going to take control of the UK!

  29. nsr says:

    Perhaps he sees Brighton as the UK’s bastion of secularism and progressivism, and a local AiG event, no matter how small, is a siege tower approaching the walls.

  30. Dhay says:

    Going back to John Richards’, “This is the very reason we’ve organised this event. Because England seems to have gone backwards over my lifetime. Whereas it was once upon a time not a very religious country, now we’ve got more religion coming in”, the latest ATI Facebook video, dated 12 February, headed “I chat with Stephen about the forthcoming convention”, is John Richards interviewing Stephen Law.

    Law is a philosopher, so it’s a shame that Richards steered Law away from his Convention talk’s interesting philosophical topic — distinguishing false beliefs from true ones — and into the mundane irrelevancy of discussing ‘fake news’ and the media; eventually Law gets onto an anti-theist track when he mentions “people on the street” who — I’m paraphrasing — try to draw you into their bubble.

    At -6.15 Richards tells Law that it seems to him (Richards) that “the number of people on the streets has grown over my lifetime” and invites Law to agree. No, Law disagrees; he says it’s less now, opining and later repeating that “If anything, they’ve toned it down a little bit.”

    Note, too, that the only “people on the streets” specifically mentioned by Richards and Law are the JWs. JWs have such a reputation for being self-isolated from other Christians that I don’t expect they number among those going to that Answers Support Group which Richards is so reactive against — any who did would be disfellowshipped, surely.

  31. unclesporkums says:

    There we go, it’s either “We’ve got the Christians on the run!” to “The Theocracy is coming! The Theocracy is coming!”

  32. Ilíon says:

    ^ Well, the first rule of running a financially successful con is to tailor the message to the marks.

  33. FZM says:

    If this conjecture is correct, then it supports my earlier suggestion that this is more like anti-creationism than anti-theism. It’s probably a little broader than that, but still narrower than anti-theism.

    It’s not uncommon for New Atheist types to engage fairly extreme straw manning, like say, trying to reduce Theism to Creationism. I saw Hector Garcia, the guy who wrote the ‘Alpha God’ book doing something similar in an interview recently but using the tactic of defining Theism as unthinking robotic belief in divine command morality. I associate that approach more with Sam Harris but it reminded me of the tendency.

  34. Dhay says:

    I’ll let DR Conference (aka “DaveCon”) David Worley announce it in his own words:

    David Worley, DRC Organiser
    Long story short, I interviewed an Atheist Conference (A-TI) organiser who defended sexual assault. He got fired, but is still allowed to attend and fund his event.​

    Several speakers dropped out. Aron Ra was being subsidised to attend A-TI and was out of pocket for standing up for his morals. We crowdfunded his AirBnB that same week.

    We couldn’t let the A-TI organisers be the face of Atheist Conferences. DRC is the event that aims to restore the reputation of what you expect an Atheist Conference to be.

    https://www.worleydr.com/dr-conference

    And:

    DRC 1 gives you the chance to meet a variety of prominent Atheist YouTube Creators, in person, for a night of debate, discussion and humour!
    Saturday 4th April 2020, 7:30pm to 10:30pm

    In my own words, Worley and Ra are so disgusted with the ATI event organisers they have organised their own event in direct opposition to, and in competition with, the Banquet and Atty Award ceremony.

    More details of the speakers and program are available by dropping down the ‘DR Conference’ menu.

    H/T Hemant Mehta’s “YouTube Atheist Organizes Alternative to Flawed “Anti-Theism” Conference”:

    https://friendlyatheist.patheos.com/2020/02/18/youtube-atheist-organizes-alternative-to-flawed-anti-theism-conference-2/

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