Cats, the Black Death and a Pope

Cats, the Black Death and a Pope

New Atheists really love their internet memes.  There are whole Facebook groups that seem devoted to nothing more than the posting and exchange of snappy quotes and pithy mockery of religion, all served as an easy-to-share GIF or JPEG, each accompanied by a chorus of approval and agreement in the comments.  These are often quotes from leading atheists or expressions of disbelief at stupid things said or accepted by religious believers, which forms a rich seam of material to be…

Read More Read More

The Great Myths 3: Giordano Bruno was a Martyr for Science

The Great Myths 3: Giordano Bruno was a Martyr for Science

Last month the Italian National Association of Free Thought gathered in the Campo de’Fiori in Rome to commemorate the 417th anniversary of the execution by burning at the stake of Giordano Bruno on that spot on February 17, 1600. The ceremony highlighted Bruno as a free-thinker who ran afoul of dogmatic religious beliefs. But he was also remembered by others as a scientist who died because his rational thought contradicted the superstition of his day and a symbol of an…

Read More Read More

Serious Inquiries Only podcast – Did the Catholic Church Support Hitler?

Serious Inquiries Only podcast – Did the Catholic Church Support Hitler?

Thomas Smith was good enough to have me back on his “Serious Inquiries Only” podcast (formerly “Atheistically Speaking”), this time to tackle the question “Did the Catholic Church Support HItler?“.  Unfortunately we didn’t quite get time to go into the related question of Pope Pius XII and the Holocaust, but I did a further 30 minutes on that topic which Thomas will be making available to his patrons as bonus content.  Since the myth of “Hitler’s Pope” is common in…

Read More Read More

The Great Myths 2: Christmas, Mithras and Paganism

The Great Myths 2: Christmas, Mithras and Paganism

Well, it’s Yuletide and so tis the season to be merry, to buy presents, to queue for ages in airports and to eat too much.  It’s also the season when New Atheists fill their social media feeds with smug memes like these:       How do they know these things about Mithras and December 25th?  Well, they read them in memes on other New Atheists’ Facebook feeds.  Though the fact that this idea was given a boost by the…

Read More Read More

“The Dark Ages” – Popery, Periodisation and Pejoratives

“The Dark Ages” – Popery, Periodisation and Pejoratives

  “When the Pope ruled England, them was called the Dark Ages!” (East London street orator, reported by Herbert Butterfield, 1931) The concept of “the Dark Ages” is central to several key elements in New Atheist Bad History.  One of the primary myths most beloved by many New Atheists is the one whereby Christianity violently suppressed ancient Greco-Roman learning, destroyed an ancient intellectual culture based on pure reason and retarded a nascent scientific and technological revolution, thus plunging Europe into…

Read More Read More

Atheistically Speaking Podcast on Jesus Mythicism

Atheistically Speaking Podcast on Jesus Mythicism

Thomas Smith was kind enough to have me back on his “Atheistically Speaking” podcast for a two part discussion on Jesus Mythicism and why it’s rejected by the vast majority of scholars: Did Jesus Exist? Part One Did Jesus Exist? Part Two Needless to say, some of his audience are not pleased, though others seem more open-minded.    

“Inciting Incident” Podcast on History for Atheists

“Inciting Incident” Podcast on History for Atheists

Al Laiman from the “Inciting Incident” podcast enjoyed my chat with Thomas Smith a few weeks ago and decided to have me as a guest on his show.  Unfortunately our first conversation failed to record, so we tried again last weekend and the podcast is now up.  We cover some of the same ground as I did with Thomas, though I go into a little more detail on the myths around Galileo and the Great Library of Alexandria.  We also…

Read More Read More

Edward T. Babinski Objects

Edward T. Babinski Objects

My interview with Thomas Smith on the “Atheistically Speaking” podcast last week has stirred up an interest in the topics we covered among some of Thomas’ audience.  Inevitably, given that I had to skate over some topics pretty quickly, not everything I was saying seems to have been grasped fully by some listeners.  The part of the conversation on Galileo was very rushed and that is a complex subject, since many New Atheists find it hard to get their head…

Read More Read More

“Atheistically Speaking” Podcast on History for Atheists

“Atheistically Speaking” Podcast on History for Atheists

Last weekend I had a great time recording an interview on New Atheist Bad History with Thomas Smith for his “Atheistically Speaking” podcast.  You can hear the full interview HERE, with some bonus material if you become a patron of Thomas’ show.  The conversation covered some of the more common New Atheist pseudo historical myths, including Giordano Bruno, the Great Library of Alexandria, Hypatia and the old “Christianity caused the ‘Dark Ages’” nonsense.  Thomas seemed to be enjoying himself as…

Read More Read More

Richard Carrier is Displeased

Richard Carrier is Displeased

It seems I’ve done something to upset Richard Carrier. Or rather, I’ve done something to get him to turn his nasal snark on me on behalf of his latest fawning minion.  For those who aren’t aware of him, Richard Carrier is a New Atheist blogger who has a post-graduate degree in history from Columbia and who, once upon a time, had a decent chance at an academic career.  Unfortunately he blew it by wasting his time being a dilettante who self-published…

Read More Read More