I do not see this as a competition between us as to who is the better scholar, but as simply a matter of who to trust: someone who presents carefully researched, carefully worded, carefully reasoned work on this subject, with a minimum of mistakes (because as I’ve said, I make them, too), or someone who doesn’t.The part after "who to trust" is tendentious, of course. Bart Ehrman's books are fantastic, and they show he's a good scholar and perfectly prepared to be a skeptic (he abandoned the Christian faith of his youth). In rounds one and two of the web-debate, I think Ehrman slaughters Carrier. But here's what really destroyed Carrier's reputation in my eyes. It so happens that the first thing Carrier wrote after he joined Free Thought Blogs was an astonishingly cocky yet unbelievably stupid diatribe called "Meat not Bad". The thing was shot through with errors, yet the tone invited the reader to think Carrier was Mr. Smart slaughtering all the dummies. His conclusion: "I think being a vegetarian out of 'compassion' is irrational. I mean that in the classic sense: it’s a non sequitur, and thus illogical. It’s to treat animals like people, which they are not."
You could not read the literature on the treatment of animals, or watch videos put out by reliable groups like the Humane Society, and come away with this opinion. Could not. Yet he holds forth with certitude, and make the other side out to be illogical. This, I take it, is Carrier's modus operandi. It's exactly what you see in his current debate with Ehrman. So I have no time for Richard Carrier, but Ehrman's book sounds fun--perhaps just because it's intriguing how some atheists are so determined to move from "No God" to "No Jesus". I'd like to see this passion for no-Jesus dissected.