Barton Can Lie With Charts Too


Warren Throckmorton catches David Barton finding a whole new way to lie to his ignorant and credulous audience, knowing full well they’ll never catch him at it. Take a look at this chart that Barton likes to show during his talks to claim that violent crime has gone up almost 700% since Bible reading was removed from schools.

violentcrime1993

He begins with 1963, the year Bible reading was taken out. And he ends with…1993, conveniently the year when violent crime rates began to drop steadily for the last 20 years. Turns out there are four kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, statistics and every time David Barton opens his mouth.

Comments

  1. dogmeat says

    Reminds me of the climate denial game where they picked ’98 and then danced around it claiming that temperatures were going down.

  2. slc1 says

    Re dogmeat @ #1

    they’re still doing it. Just read comments from Sir Lancelot (Lancifer) where he repeats that particular big lie.

  3. robert79 says

    Not only that, but it looks like he’s reporting the absolute number of crimes, instead of the crime rate (crimes per number of people.)

    So he’s not correcting for population growth, which I don’t doubt shows a similar increase.

    That is, of course, assuming i’m reading the axes correctly on this rather vague image… Seriously, who makes a low resolution dark green on black plot… (and no, i’m not gonna click through the links to find the original data/graph, i’ve been grading students all week and have overdosed on nonsense.)

  4. Skip White says

    Is it me, or does it look like the bar for the previous year (1962-1963) goes all the way to the top of the chart?

  5. Synfandel says

    Furthermore, if we take into account the fact that the US population grew 37 per cent between 1963 (189.24 million) and 1993 (259.92 million)*, Mr. Barton’s nearly 700% absolute increase falls back to about a 510% increase on a per-capita basis, which is a much more meaningful parameter.

    *http://www.multpl.com/united-states-population/table

  6. Mr Ed says

    See the bearded lady, See the two head dog, See the horrors of Jesus being kept from your kids. He is a side show barker getting a few bucks off the rubes who gladly pay to hear what they already think they know. The only danger of con-men like Barton is that some of the rubes are policy makers.

  7. Alverant says

    Lots of people were born in 1963 too. How do we know one of them didn’t cause an increase in the number of crimes. Correlation is only causation in the minds of those who want to link two things together.

  8. iknklast says

    People like Barton are simply banking on people being statistically unsophisticated; since most people are, it’s a safe gamble. Also, very few people will question the statistics if it’s showing them what they want to hear.

    I had a similar experience in my Economics class, where the teacher would state that the graphs he was showing us were for the period 1984 to 2003, the period since deregulation. Because I followed these things routinely, and had just seen graphs in that morning’s Wall Street Journal that didn’t match, I looked more closely. He didn’t even change the values on the graph – his data actually went from 1964 to 1983., which was the period of regulation, so his data showed the exact opposite of what he indicated. He trusted that the students would assume the teacher would not lie to them. He was right. I tried to point it out to a few people, and they just said, “Oh, Dr. X (name redacted to protetct the guilty, and because it’s nearly impossible to spell) is such a nice guy. He wouldn’t lie to us.” He was a very pleasant man. But he lied to us.

  9. Larry says

    The sale of disco records soared 1000% between 1970 and 1978! If this trend continues…

  10. gshelley says

    Perhaps I’m imagining things, but it looks like the rate doubled in the ten years before 63-64

  11. tfkreference says

    I used to show students a one year graph of scary witch costume sales that showed a precipitous increase from August through the end of the year (November and December data extrapolated).

  12. dmcclean says

    Is that really a graph of “# of offenses”? Because if so that in itself is a ridiculous lie or complete ineptitude. To make his point he would need to graph per capita offenses.

  13. bad Jim says

    Kevin Drum has been promoting the idea that the rise and fall in violent crimes was the result of an epidemic of lead poisoning which began with the addition of tetraethyl lead to gasoline and ended with the adoption of catalytic converters, with a lag of about 20 years. It seems pretty solid, since this scenario played out at slightly different times in different countries with similar results.

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