The Great 2020 Atty Mystery

Earlier, I noted that the Jesus Mythicist of 2020 award could turn out to be most entertaining.  Instead, It has become the most mysterious.  First, it’s pretty obvious that the award was designed for Carrier.  But then comes the mystery – he wasn’t even nominated for the award.  Four other obscure atheists with their own personal, fringe crackpot notions about what happen are instead nominated.

Now, is there any one out there believes Richard Carrier is not the type of person who would nominate himself?  Anyone?  I would have thought he sent his nomination in moments after the window opened.  And then, to make sure, he would get women from his harem to nominate him.  Perhaps he would get his two fans to nominate him also.  But not even a nomination?  

Why is that?



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27 Responses to The Great 2020 Atty Mystery

  1. unclesporkums says:

    Damage Control? Relating to the Chunk’s “leg stroking” incident? Given how Carrier also tends to use these conferences as venues to literally pimp himself and the organizers’ mealy-mouth warning for his fellow God-Haters to “behave”.

  2. Dhay says:

    Nor did anybody nominate Raphael Lataster — the Robin to Richard Carrier’s Batman.

    I think that we can rule out that the organisers quietly vetoed Carrier nominations; they accepted the nomination of fellow miscreant David Silverman for ‘Atheist of the Year’ and also for ‘Atheist Author 2020’ so they should have felt no moral difficulty in accepting nominations for Carrier.

    While there was nothing on the website to say that nominees must even be informed they would be nominated, let alone their permission sought, I note that it was stipulated that nominees would need to have an internet connection to enable an interview — my guess is, to record a video, either as an introduction to each nominee on Banquet night or as an introduction to (or post-announcement celebration of) the winners; if any nominee said no to that, it’s presumably no to the nomination also.

    My main suspicion is that Carrier has been as financially straitened as the victims of his long-running legal case have been, and simply cannot afford to travel to the UK. Although the only remnant of evidence that he was once expected to play a prominent part in the Attys is his face’s continuing presence in the banner video to “Cookie Policy”, the other evidence disappeared early on — he stopped being someone who obviously was soon after he abandoned that case and all hope of millions in damages. He’s a guy who, for years, has traveled to events by car, selling books and publicising himself at pubmeets on the way and dossing down where he can; he’s not a wealthy man able to afford a flight unless paid for: there’s 25 Atty award nominees and some from far-flung places, and I really cannot see the organisers paying traveling and hotel expenses for them all.


    Update on discounts — surely a sign of desperation to get bottoms on seats: two video interviews of attending comedians were posted on Atty Facebook yesterday, hours apart. The “reward” for watching the first was just £20 off of the Banquet price, extended in the second video to £20 off of the Banquet OR £50 off of the price of Banquet plus Convention.

    That looks like either a first-time blunder — believable from these organisers — or — also readily believable — a scramble.

  3. ” I would have thought he sent his nomination in moments after the window opened. And then, to make sure, he would get women from his harem to nominate him. Perhaps he would get his two fans to nominate him also. But not even a nomination?

    Why is that?”

    yep, you with your desperate need for attention would think this wouldn’t you. Such the projection michael, we know you’d nominate yourself for TrueChristian(tm).

    And “harem”? Gosh, are you so jealous so you have to lie? Tsk.

  4. unclesporkums says:

    Yep, just as desperate as we thought, And by “attendees”, they apparently mean the ones who can afford to show up..

  5. Kevin says:

    Uh oh, found one of Carrier’s two fans.

  6. Dhay says:

    clubschadenfreude > And “harem”? Gosh, are you so jealous so you have to lie? Tsk.

    Richard Carrier has a history of polyamory — he’s been very open about that — and also has a history of using conferences as an opportunity to hook up with like-minded females. I don’t think there’ll literally be a walled garden guarded by eunuchs involved, but as a figurative expression “harem” expresses it nicely.

  7. Is this Alex O’Connor fellow worth taking seriously?

  8. Dhay says:

    > Four other obscure atheists with their own personal, fringe crackpot notions…

    I see that Richard Carrier has a new book in preparation, “Jesus from Outer Space: What the Earliest Christians Really Believed about Christ”

    Crackpot though the others undoubtedly are, a Jesus from outer space definitely counts as an “own personal, fringe crackpot notion.”

    Carrier and his publisher have evidently realised that click-bait titles and click-bait content sell. I see Erich von Däniken’s “Chariots of the Gods?” series of books sold a claimed 63 million copies, so a title like “Jesus from Outer Space” is presumably chosen to sell well to the same audience as would lap up von Däniken’s output.

  9. Dhay says:

    The Amazon blurb for Richard Carrier’s coming book finishes:

    What exactly was the original belief about Jesus, and how did this belief change over time? Noted historian Richard Carrier summarizes for a popular audience the scholarly research on these and related questions, revealing in turn how modern attempts to conceal, misrepresent, or avoid the actual evidence call into question the entire field of Jesus studies.
    [My emboldening.]

    The parallels with Erich von Däniken and his books is very plain, here. A feature of von Däniken’s books that I remember clearly is him bleating that the world’s archaeologists were — every last one of them — trying to suppress the obvious truth that he — he alone — knew and which he had to present to the public in popular books because archaeologists and scholars, stuck in their blind unwillingness to adopt reason and rationality, ignored him.

    Paraphrasing, von Däniken bleats: “Noted archaeologist Erich von Däniken summarizes for a popular audience the scholarly research on these and related questions, revealing in turn how modern attempts to conceal, misrepresent, or avoid the actual evidence call into question the entire field of archaeology.”

    The parallel with Erich von Däniken, his fringe crackpot books and his claim that the establishment is totally irrationally and unreasonably suppressing his ideas — which are plain and obvious truth — is very plain.

  10. I think part of Richard Carrier, PhD’s problem is that he can’t accept the existence of a higher or wiser being than Richard Carrier, PhD.

  11. Doug Peters says:

    “His atheism was an intellectual tantrum upon the discovery that he was not God.” 😉

  12. nsr says:

    What is that a quote from?

  13. Dhay says:

    Looking up the un-nominated Jesus Mythicist Raphael Lataster to see what he’s doing nowadays, I was surprised to find he’s a Jesus Mythicist who won’t debate Jesus Mythicism — or not with a Christian, at any rate:

    Raphael Lataster, 11 February 2020

    It was brought to my attention that I was mentioned as having declined an appearance on the Unbelievable podcast recently. In the era of fake news I thought I better explain what ‘really’ happened. They offered me a debate with a budding Christian apologist on Jesus’ historicity. I explicitly state that I do not debate that topic, especially with Christians, as I frame it as a debate among atheists. I offered a Jesus resurrection or existence of God debate, which is infinitely more useful, and they were not interested.
    [Emphasis added – Dhay]

    He’s got his PhD, but not a proper job; he has lectured (as a “casual”, he says) at the University of Sydney and at other institutions, but:

    Raphael Lataster, 17 March 2020

    This corona business is tough. Within 24h all of my courses (I’m a casual) were cancelled or moved, and I felt compelled to turn down my first proper job offer (international). On the plus side, I’ve still got toilet paper…

    He’s also got a couple of Jesus Mythicist monographs published, albeit their list price to buy is so prohibitively expensive he complains he can’t afford to buy his own latest; so I don’t suppose anyone else will, either.

    The executive summary is that for all that he’s got a PhD in ‘Studies in Religion’, Lataster is a nobody going nowhere.

  14. unclesporkums says:

    Well, there’s a surprise..

  15. Dhay says:

    There’s another atheist and anti-theist event that’s a mystery, and that’s the mysteriously missing Reason Rally 2020. There was one in 2012, one again in 2016; you’d reasonably expect another in 2020 and the same preceding year-long flurry of Facebook and Twitter activity as in 2016.

    On both Facebook and Twitter the last relevant announcement was on 22 July 2017, when it was stated on Facebook that “…The time has come for us to close up shop and wind down our operations. In the next few days, we will be taking down both the Reason Rally store and image websites….”

    One hurricane disaster appeal for funds followed, a month later, then zilch, nada, nothing — nothing until the 17 March 2020 announcement (to those who needed the implicit to be explicit) that: “Notice: There will be no Reason Rally in 2020. Thank you for your past support. Please stay healthy and safe out there.”

    Had a Reason Rally 2020 been organised, it would of course have had to have been cancelled by now because of Covid-19; but it was never organised. Looks like Reason Rally 2016 was such a flop it was pointless trying to organise another.

  16. Dhay says:

    Although you will still find the revised date of 24/25 October 2020 on other pages, the Atty Home page no longer announces that weekend but instead says:

    The new date is to be notified

    We’ll see in due course whether this Anti-Theist event happens annually as originally envisaged — or even just a second time — or even a first time.

  17. unclesporkums says:

    Especially with the projected long-term duration the virus is said to take. Wouldn’t be surprised if they simply never referred to it again.

  18. RobertM says:

    Unclesporkums: “Wouldn’t be surprised if they simply never referred to it again.“

    What are the odds they (he?) just quietly call it off, but hold onto peoples’ money indefinitely?

  19. Dhay says:

    There is nothing about refunds on the Policies page.

  20. Has the great atheist convention cash cow been milked dry already?

  21. Dhay says:

    Wondering who had replaced the twice disgraced, twice sacked David Silverman at the AAI (who’s nonetheless a nominee for Atty ‘Atheist of the Year’ **, I find his replacement is another Atty ‘Atheist of the Year’ nominee, Michael Sherlock.

    ( ** Silverman is also a nominee for Atty ‘Atheist Author’.)

    In between, two “co-Executive Directors” shared the post on a temporary basis. Also, a kerfuffle arose with accusations that a Board member had misused $60,000 of Google Ads funding money to his own advantage by directing the resulting traffic primarily to the posts of the most active and popular AAI blogger, the Board member himself. Sherlock investigated, found that person entirely without fault, and found the two co-Executive Directors, who had urged that person should be sacked then both resigned when he wasn’t, to have acted improperly. One way and other, there’s been some questionable management at AAI.


    So who is this unknown-to-me Sherlock? Apart from now being the AAI Executive Director he’s the author of a book, “The Gospel of Atheism and Freethought: according to Sherlock”, which was published mid-2014 and which in the nearly six years since has attracted just 24 Amazon reviews, the last one in early 2017; like the books and messages of all of those other Atty nominees who have written books – add in both Atty event organisers – Sherlock’s book and message have been damned by faint interest.

    Like Silverman, Sherlock is a Jesus mythicist **: this earns him a long, mostly favourable review from the infamously awful Jesus mythicist – even Richard Carrier strongly deprecates her ideas and arguments – “Acharya S” (there’s a world of pretension in that self-designation, “Acharya”) aka DM Murdock; Murdock reveals that large parts of the book are written as “wisdom bites”, or “verses” – that’s what you and I recognise as memes, so evidently he was aiming at the bottom-feeding level of readership, at those with that level of intelligence that considers memes to be devastating arguments.

    ( ** Sherlock didn’t get nominated for Atty ‘Jesus Mythicist of 2020’. Given the poor standard of the opposition, I wonder how just bad his mythicism can be.)


    Here’s one of those Sherlock memes (except the original SHOUTED in block capitals):

    “Religion – Psychological Virus

    Religion is a psychological virus; it is contracted and spread via social interaction and attacks the cognitive immune system, known as our reason. The only way to cure this virus is to administer large doses of knowledge into the affected region, but even then, if the virus has fed on its host for an extended period of time, there may be no cure.

    This is fantasy throughout, not reason and evidence; it’s certainly not science and evidence; indeed, I observe that referring to religion as a virus is a sure sign that the referrer is an anti-religious bigot.

    Sherlock lists as a qualification, “MA, Religion”, but:

    sherlockmichael @sherlockmichael · May 12 [2020]
    You are standing on a train station platform and you hear a religious person yell one of the two following phrases. Which one makes you run and duck for cover out of fear? Why?
    Buddha is great!
    Allahu Akbar!

    I’m sure I knew even as a schoolboy, from RE lessons and from general knowledge, that the likelihood of a Buddhist shouting “Buddha is great” is vanishingly small. Has Sherlock not even a schoolboy’s understanding of the major religions!

    That ignorance – pig-ignorance, too – is displayed in another recent tweet:

    sherlockmichael @sherlockmichael May 18
    #Jesus instructed his followers to love their enemies and hate their own families.
    Was this cunt on drugs?

    That’s not thoughtful exegesis. That’s crude propagandist distortion, expressed as hate.

    There’s much, much more like these examples: Sherlock spews his pig-ignorant hatred in the majority of the tweets on both his own Twitter account and that of AAI.


    What are the AAI Board’s objectives, that they should hire such a man? They are:

    AAI is a global federation of atheist groups and individuals committed to educating its members and the public about atheism and critical thinking, and to supporting atheists around the world who are discriminated against and criminalized.

    Between those objectives, both of them, and their hiring an Executive Officer who is a crude and ignorant anti-religious propagandist, a bigot and a hater, there is a mis-match.

  22. Dhay says:

    Michael Sherlock, Atty ‘Atheist of the Year’ nominee, on Twitter:

    sherlockmichael @sherlockmichael · May 12
    God is the comforting lie theists tell themselves to psychologically manage the terrifying truth of their mortality.

    Sam Harris has said something very closely similar, Sherlock is hardly original. Both present it as 100% true, neither qualifies it in the slightest, neither recognises that there are Christians (like me) who are not terrified of their mortality, who are unperturbed by the idea of death being like a sleep or a nothingness, who perceive nothing to be terrified about and no need for self-deception to, er, manage.

    Presumably their claim is a comforting lie that Sherlock, Harris and those who agree with them tell themselves to psychologically manage the terrifying truth that most Christians are steadfast in disregarding Sherlock, Harris and anti-theist propaganda.

    As so often with memes, this meme can be turned around to become “friendly fire”, and then becomes particularly relevant to those who have rejected Christianity and other Abrahamic religions because they cannot cope with the idea of sin and judgment. Let’s see what that reversed meme looks like — in the obligatory block capitals, of course:


  23. unclesporkums says:

    He may as well have been one of the hateheist commenters here given what he spews. Freethought=Newthought,

  24. unclesporkums says:

    Or Newspeak rather, but so many are attracted to New Age woo, that it might as well be Newthought.

  25. It’s unfortunate that the social media age has led people whose level of knowledge and whose opinion of their own level of knowledge are in inverse proportion to believe that the whole world needs to be exposed to their stream of consciousness.

  26. Dhay says:

    The Atty Facebook page bears an upbeat message with currently no fewer than two ‘likes’:

    Anti-Theist International . 26 April
    Covid 19 uncertainty continues to plague all of us.
    Rest assured that we plan to go ahead with the Anti-theism Convention as soon as possible.
    And we intend it to be better than ever…

    It surely cannot be difficult for it to be “better than ever”. I’ve lost track of all the scathing comments I’ve been able to make about the shambles.


    This year, if the 2020 event happens in 2020 or ever, the Atty anti-theist great being commemorated and eulogised — “Who will be the next?”, “14:00 A Tribute to Christopher Hitchens” — is Hitchens. The next event’s hero of those glory days of yesteryear is going to be the science populariser Carl Sagan. (The Atty organiser, John Richards, describes himself as: “John is an ex-science teacher who can’t stop!”, so quite possibly Sagan was more Richards’ hero than Hitchens was.)

    In his 26 May 2020 “Psychologists don’t really believe that, do they?” PZ Myers has just pitched into the “triune brain nonsense” biological pseudoscience about the brain and its evolution to be found in many psychology textbooks — and also promoted in a book by Sagan:

    To investigate the scope of the problem, we sampled 20 introductory psychology textbooks published between 2009 and 2017. Of the 14 that mention brain evolution, 86% contained at least one inaccuracy along the lines described above. Said differently, only 2 of the field’s current introductory textbooks describe brain evolution in a way that represents the consensus shared among comparative neurobiologists. [Link to paper.]

    Not to blame only psychologists, they also point out that Carl Sagan popularized the idea further in The Dragons of Eden. I hate to puncture the warm happy glow Sagan’s name brings to many of us, me included, but that was a bad book. Don’t ask an astronomer to explain brain evolution and consciousness, ever. I’m looking at you, Neil.
    [Emphasis Myers’.]

    There’s a lesson here for all of us, but especially for those who — like Richards, if I understand him right — elevate and adulate the following of Science and Reason (which, for some reason is always initial-capitalised (which is useful for distinguishing it from actual science and reason)): whose Science and Reason is that? — when a scientist holds forth on a subject outside of their field (or even just outside of their speciality), what they expound is likely to be ill-informed and possibly be wrong, or be pseudoscience. As here.

  27. Dhay says:

    Breaking News
    COVID-19 has forced the postponement of this event
    The new date is provisionally April 2021

    April 2021: no great surprise.

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