Time-Traveling Founders

The religious right’s favorite fake historian, David Barton, wanders into anotherĀ  popular topic here at TFN Insider: evolution. And as usual, he’s a little fuzzy on the facts.

You go back to the Founding Fathers, and as far as they were concerned, they’d already had the entire debate on creation/evolution. And you get Thomas Paine, who’s the least religious Founding Father, saying, “You’ve got to teach creation science in the public school classroom. Scientific method demands that.” But we’re opposite today!



One problem —

Thomas Paine: 1737 – 1809

Darwin’s On the Origin of Species published: 1859

But the Founders had already had the entire debate on creation/evolution — right, David? Sigh. This isn’t even challenging anymore.

h/t Mother Jones

7 thoughts on “Time-Traveling Founders

  1. Barton isn’t fuzzy on the facts because he states no facts. He makes up every sentence out of whole cloth. Tie creation science to the Founding Fathers and evolution to Hitler and he’s got it in the bag! Of course, his followers (Huckabee) have to be both stupid and ignorant to swallow Barton’s fabrications bolt and thread, but they do.

    It should be clear that Barton is a propagandist, not an historian. “Self-taught historian” is another one of Barton’s lies. Any “historian” who can be corrected on major points of his narrative by a 5-minute Wikipedia or Google search is no historian.

    Public schools: not widespread until the 1840’s, certainly not in the modern connotation as Barton implies.

    Scientific method: the modern concept developed around 1870. First research PhD granted in 1871. Prior to that doctorates were in the fields of medicine and law.

    Creation science: not a term as we know it until after the Supreme Court ruling in 1968.

    Barton relies on our Hollywood view of history, that we tend to project our society upon the history so historical figures seem more like us. Reality is quite different as any real historian knows. Thomas Paine could just as easily have said, “You’ve got to install Service Pack 2, Microsoft demands it!” Except that he didn’t say that either!

    However, all this aside, as far as Barton is concerned it’s all good publicity. After all, he’s a businessman, not an academic. Notoriety is good for sales and the more he’s “persecuted” the more his base will support him with their hard-earned dollars.

  2. “In the same interview, Barton explains that one of the main reasons that the colonies wanted to break away from England was because it would then become easier to abolish slavery.” Mother Jones

    Well, actually, Great Britain took the lead in abolishing slavery and the first 13 states of the United States wrote slavery into their new constitution by counting slaves as a fraction of a white person. They clearly wanted to keep it, which is why we had to fight a war over it in 1861-1865.

    Want to know one of the real lesser known reasons the founding fathers wanted to break the 13 colonies free from Great Britain? A number of them were in deep financial hock (debt) to British financiers. Breaking free from Great Britain meant that these founding fathers would no longer be obligated to pay off their debts. If I recall correctly, George Washington was in debt to some of these financiers, Martha’s great personal wealth wealth not withstanding.

    Lowest Common Denominator Interpretation for Christian Conservatives on Main Street:

    The American Revolution provided an opportunity for a number of our founding fathers to steal money that had been legitimately loaned to them and they took it. Did Jesus bless that? Read the Bible and you decide.

  3. Barton has been lambasted by every website examining his made up quotation. I have yet to find a website that does not refer to Barton as a “liar.”

  4. Well…

    Barton is grossly misrepresenting the state of the debate at the time. However, Thomas Paine did argue in his Discourse at the Society of Theophilanthropists in favor of teaching a precursor view resembling the modern concept of Intelligent Design. It’s just Paine also made clear (somewhat in the Discourse, but blatantly in “The Age of Reason”) that in his view, the Bible had absolutely nothing to do with it and had no place anywhere near the schoolhouse.

    Thus, it’s not fair to say it’s made up out of whole cloth; it’s merely another example of Barton’s gross projection of his contemporary notions onto incomplete excerpts of historical sources, using the evidence of history as a lawyer’s partisan advocacy for a client rather than as a historian seeking truth with honesty and open-mindedness.

  5. A good psychiatrist / psychologist / sociologist could keep himself amused with Barton.

    Something just has to be wrong with this guy. No normal person could publically say so many false and misleading things without having some sense of shame. That ‘s something sociopaths do.

    So he is a sociopath making money by being a sociopath. No one will ever get him to change his mind by reasoning with him.

    “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it! – Upton Sinclair

  6. Piedmont:

    There may be a Bernie Madoff factor there too. By Madoff’s own admission, when you walk that deep into the doodoo, you eventually cross a threshold where you realize that turning back is impossible, even when you finally understand the error of your ways. My guess is that Barton is in it so deep that there is now way he could extricate himself, even if he wanted to do so.

  7. And while I won’t claim to speak for anyone but myself, quite frankly I find these attempts utterly disgusting.

    The mere notion of turning a nation that has rightfully prided itself on upholding the wisdom of those long proclaimed to be the very Founding Fathers of America, men who by virtue of having bore witness to the dangers of a theocratic form of government, warned against that way of thinking, declare themselves to somehow have a “Divine” insight as to how this nation must be just that: a theocracy.

    These individuals are little more than a group of charlatans who, if allowed to continue on this frightening path, will become responsible for another tragedy akin to Jonestown or Waco.