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Apr 10 2012

Barton: Evolution Destroys History Teaching

Boy, when David Barton starts spewing the crazy there seems to be almost nothing too stupid or bizarre for him to say. Now he says that schools aren’t teaching history correctly and it’s all the fault of the theory of evolution. Try to follow this “logic”:

We’ve taken the evolution thing and kept it as a science debate, and it’s not. Evolution [versus] creation is not a science, it is a worldview. If I take evolution and say you know, man’s always evolving, moving forward, then I’ve got to say well, then we need a Constitution that evolves and moves forward with us. And so we get a living Constitution whereby who cares what the Constitution says, here’s what we think about Obamacare or gay marriage or anything else.

If I take and apply [the evolutionary worldview] to history, I’d have to say that in public schools, history is the most worthless subject there is if you believe evolution because, if we are evolving, what can we learn from two hundred years ago? My gosh, those guys didn’t even have internet back then! They rode horses; let’s get up with the real century. And so under that worldview of evolution, history has got to be the first casualty. And it is, quite frankly.

Wow. That may be a world record for the most fallacies packed into that small a space.

27 comments

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  1. 1
    Chiroptera

    …then we need a Constitution that evolves and moves forward with us.

    Um, that’s just obviously true even if you don’t accept evolution is a fact.

  2. 2
    Wes

    Huh. So all those historians I know who specialize in history of biology (including, of course, evolution) don’t exist. I guess I just hallucinated all of them. Good to know.

  3. 3
    richardelguru

    “…then we need a Constitution that evolves and moves forward with us.”
    Um… isn’t that what the amendments have been doing???

  4. 4
    Michael Heath

    David Barton’s argument proves that corporations shouldn’t ‘continually improve’ either. Because to do so proves evolution which is a worldview and is not true. Therefore we should always accept revision 1.0 of products at a given date, perhaps 0 A.D. or when the Articles of Confederation were ratified.

    And while the above is obvious snark, the unfortunate reality is that a major principle of the Republican party underlying its platform is that we should avoid confronting the quality of governance and avoid seeking to continually improve it. It is also a constant talking point by Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin, was a major them in Romney’s book, and illustrated in the name of Romney’s primary super-PAC, Restore our Future.

  5. 5
    DaveL

    Call me crazy, wasn’t the U.S. constitution written decades before Darwin published his theory of evolution? And they waited all of, what, all of a year after ratification before proposing the first amendments?

  6. 6
    jerthebarbarian

    If I take evolution and say you know, man’s always evolving, moving forward…

    You know, I always thought conservatives hated the theory of evolution because of the obvious ramifications the idea has for religious beliefs (existence of God, infallibility of the Bible, etc.).

    I never, ever, for the life of me would have thought that it was because they were confused in their heads and thought that evolution was another word for progress and that since they hate progress they also have to hate evolution.

    I suppose it should make sense – half the problems that most of the conservatives I’ve met in the wild seems to be because they confuse the meanings of the words “liberal” and “libertine”.

    But it’s good to know that David Barton hates progress. Not surprising, but good to know.

  7. 7
    tacitus

    It’s like he’s channeling Sarah Palin or something.

  8. 8
    eric

    “Descent with modification” is a concept heavily rooted in understanding the past. If he was at all sincere (he isn’t), his real beef should be with “an object in motion tends to remain in motion.” Indeed, physics is filled with state functions – properties of a system which require no understanding of the past in order to understand either the system’s present or future state. Those would be the real enemy in his analogy.

    If I take evolution and say you know, man’s always evolving, moving forward, then I’ve got to say

    …I failed High School biology?
    …I don’t understand that fitness is local?

  9. 9
    RW Ahrens

    Ok, I’ll bite:

    DaveL, you’re crazy. (as requested) ;-)

    But you are also right! So you aren’t as crazy as Barton, fortunately…by a looonnng shot!

  10. 10
    marcus

    I believe from now on I will always equate the lame conversational device “you know?” followed by some stupid straw-man extrapolation, as conserva-speak for “You know what? I really don’t have a fucking clue, so I am just going to stand here and spew out a whole truck-load load of bullshit because that’s the only thing I know how to do.”

  11. 11
    macallan

    Sounds like he got confused by his own gibberish.

  12. 12
    robb

    apparently he doesn’t understand the concept of timescales for different processes to act.

    homo sapiens has been around for 50,000 plus years. recorded history goes only goes back about 5000 years.

    not much evolutionary change has occured in our species in only 5000 years.

    also troubling is that he applies a scientific principle to an area where it is not valid and cannot make any predictions,like using quantum mechnics stamp collecting.

  13. 13
    NoVaRunner

    The only possible response to Barton’s idiocy is this great bit from the movie Billy Madison:

    “…[W]hat you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it.”

  14. 14
    greg1466

    …then we need a Constitution that evolves and moves forward with us. And so we get a living Constitution…

    Ironic how the one time he actually sort of quotes the Founding Fathers and not only does he not realize it, but he considers it a bad thing.

  15. 15
    John Hinkle

    And so under that worldview of evolution, history has got to be the first casualty. And it is, quite frankly.

    Doesn’t that sound like he’s talking to himself? David, David, David, you forgot to use your inside voice.

    And so we get a living Constitution whereby who cares what the Constitution says, here’s what we think about Obamacare or gay marriage or anything else.

    Yes, because like the Bible, the Constitution as it was written should’ve remained static. Bring back those golden years of slavery and women barred from voting.

    So David, how do you feel about a Constitutional amendment to prohibit gay marriage?

  16. 16
    steve oberski

    If you keep shitting in the creek upstream from where you live eventually you’re going to end up drinking some if it.

  17. 17
    holytape

    For anyone who thinks that change is not good, I have two words: “Indoor plumbing.”

  18. 18
    peterh

    A cultural/political document is parallel in some mysterious way to the manner in which the Universe conducts itself? Could you add some measure of detail to that astonishing bit of woowoo?

  19. 19
    Jacques Ouihausse

    As a NonUSAsian I find it hard to believe, that this kook has any impact beyond his dedicated fringe audience. Are these guys really worth a debate? Is this a consequence of the common fundamental respect of US Americans of Freedom of Speech? Is there more than an entertainmaint to this?

  20. 20
    Jacques Ouihausse

    s/entertainment/entertainment vlue/

  21. 21
    JustaTech

    So a “Living constitution” is bad. Therefore, what Barton wants is a dead Constitution. And doesn’t that make sense? If all of your idols are dead, they can’t age or do anything that might make you love them less. (James Dean vs Elizabeth Taylor) I mean, his god is dead, the Founding Fathers are dead. Barton can only love it if it is frozen in a “perfect” state.

    Man, that makes me worry for his family.

  22. 22
    marcus

    I see a possible “Criminal Minds” episode in there.

  23. 23
    Pinky

    I figured ole Davy did not believe the cow cookies he flung through the air, but now I’m thinking David Barton is more out to lunch than I thought.

    Instead of being a liar for Yahweh, Barton sounds like he has grow to believe his own fabrications and its twisted his brain.

  24. 24
    Quantum Mechanic

    JustaTech:

    Therefore, what Barton wants is a dead Constitution. And doesn’t that make sense? If all of your idols are dead, they can’t age or do anything that might make you love them less.

    Haven’t you heard? Barton prefers his idols dead, mostly so they can’t object when he misquotes them or flat-out makes shit up. Oh, the money I would pay for a chance to watch Thomas Jefferson LART Barton…

  25. 25
    Nick Gotts

    For anyone who thinks that change is not good, I have two words: “Indoor plumbing.” – holytape

    I’ll see your two words, and raise you one:
    “Anaesthetics”.

  26. 26
    eric
    For anyone who thinks that change is not good, I have two words: “Indoor plumbing.” – holytape

    I’ll see your two words, and raise you one:
    “Anaesthetics”. – KG

    “Antibiotics” FTW.

  27. 27
    sc_ba6cebb96af303512731055bdd08b2dd

    “We’ve taken the evolution thing and kept it as a science debate, and it’s not. Evolution [versus] creation is not a science, it is a worldview.”

    He’s right.

    We need to focus not just on the *content* of science, but on the *history* of science. Why do we trust it? Why do we accept that it’s conclusions are reliable?

    I’d like to see science classes teach a little about science as an institution, as a human activity. Explain how publication and peer review work. Important as chemistry is, for most people having an understanding why chemists deserve ours attention (when they are talking within their field) is way more important.

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