August 11, 2012

Some Critics Are Like Clouds Without Rain…

Print Friendly and PDF

Why the clanking cymbals and blathering nonsense of some critics does not answer my challenge for specific proof that any premise in David Barton’s book about Thomas Jefferson is inaccurate…

I absolutely love the fact that this internet age of information makes it possible for ALL of us to have a voice and give our opinion. Gone are the days of the high priests controlling the dialogue for the entire nation or the big three networks being our only news source.

Any of us can sound off with what we believe. We can share stories or facts we find interesting, regardless of whether or not some nerd in the backroom of a publishing house agrees.

The playing field has been leveled. We are experiencing one of those rare times in history where the rich and powerful do not have the advantage they use to have.

The difference today though, is that you have to build your own audience. You can’t just walk into NBC and demand your own show. You can, however, quickly throw up a website or start commenting on Facebook…and more power to ya! The more voices the better!

We get to choose whom we want to read or what shows are worth listening to. No one gets to cram their views down our throats because none of us are part of a truly captive audience. If people choose to join your email list, follow your blog, like your FaceBook page, buy your book, or book you to speak, then God Bless you!

For those who have not been able to build much of an audience (think back to liberal talk radio trying and failing, trying and failing, etc. and always pushing the “fairness doctrine” so they can force their views on audiences built by other people), there is often an attempt to use someone else’s audience to get out their message. This is perfectly fine when the host invites them to participate. I’ve been blessed to speak lots of places, not always hosts or guests who agreed with me, but always within the parameters of the invitation.

This brings me to all the “minions” of one of our most vocal critics (minions is what SHE calls them, not me) clamoring for me to post her response on my website. I was traveling today, so unable to respond to their clamors until just now, but it is quite humorous to see them get all worked into a lather because they are not given my microphone as soon as they want it. I wonder where these people are when liberal professors shout down any student voicing a different opinion in a classroom paid for by our tax dollars? I thought about waiting until morning to respond just because, well, we all have our faults and one of mine is that I just love getting under the skin of liberals. I can’t help it (insert sinister grin here). I know we aren’t supposed to enjoy such a thing, but consider it a vice Christ has not yet purged from my depravity.

Chris Rodda seems to have devoted her life to making youtube videos of herself ranting about WallBuilders and now she has teamed up with the military version of the ACLU. Her criticisms are exactly like those I described in my previous blog, but even more illogical and lacking real substance. She has a very small audience, so she follows our radio show and blogs and looks for opportunities to criticize. She has written a “book” about her criticisms of those of us who promote the faith of America’s Founders and based on her comments on my web page, wants to use my website and FaceBook page to promote and sell her book.

I am a very, very small fish in the big national pond, so she does not reach that many people through me, but the book is called “Liars for Jesus” (which might give you a hint as to the tone) and you should consider reading at least the free sample chapters and compare her criticisms to the actual facts.

I really struggled with whether this was a Proverbs 26:4 or 26:5 situation…I often struggle with knowing which one of those verses to apply to a situation. Proverbs tells us to sometimes ignore a fool in their folly and at other times to answer them. I’ve been a fool in my folly at times when I was best ignored and then there were times when God sent mentors to answer my folly and get me back on track, so I kind of understand why Proverbs has both scenarios.

I will not hand over my hard earned outlets (website, Facebook, etc.) to critics who have proven themselves to be illogical and slanderous. Those critics are more than welcome to build their own audience. But since I did issue a challenge and ask for people to give me specifics, I am gladly recommending to you Ms. Rodda’s book because it is further evidence of EMPTY criticism that reminds me of clouds without rain. I’ll even provide a link here to her website, but I will not post her generalized accusations that have no actual evidence. If you read her book and in comparison to Barton’s book you are persuaded by her, then congrats to her! That’s the beauty of the arena of ideas!

Even with the lack of rhetoric and logic taught in our schools today, I doubt anyone will genuinely be persuaded by her, but liberals will love her claims regardless of the lack of evidence. The problem with Ms. Rodda’s posts and book is that they come nowhere close to answering my challenge for “specific inaccuracies” or “false claims” in David Barton’s book on Jefferson.

For instance, one of Ms. Rodda’s chief points of attack on David is regarding The Northwest Ordinance. The relevant language says:

“Religion, Morality and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.”

Barton has often quoted that law as an example of the Founding Fathers encouraging religious and moral instruction rather than banning it from our schools. Ms. Rodda does not dispute the language or the fact that it was adopted by both the Continental Congress AND the first Congress under the Constitution.

Yet she spends page after page giving unrelated information about businessmen and pastors like Manasseh Cutler supporting the law and then jumps to the conclusion that when the Founding Fathers said religion and morality were necessary for good government that they did not really mean it. She claims that even though they said so in the same sentence in which they encourage schools, somehow the two were completely unrelated.

What is her reasoning for this?

After several very long rabbit trails and dozens of pages, her main argument turns out to be that because a 1785 committee draft of the language was disliked by James Madison, she deduces that the 1787 & 1789 versions actually adopted by Congress (see language above) no longer (in Ms. Rodda’s way of thinking) mean exactly what they actually say.

That is the logical equivalent of responding to a Mike Olt walk off base hit in the bottom of the 9th Inning with evidence that Ron Washington really meant to pinch-hit Craig Gentry for Nelson Cruz in the 4th Inning…of a game last season… or even last decade! Even if a scratched out lineup card is produced for said claim, it has absolutely nothing to do with point at hand and does not change the fact that 23 year old Mike Olt got that hit tonight, Nelson Cruz scored from second base, and the Rangers beat the Tigers (despite Justin Verlander pitching 7 great innings for Detroit…but I digress).

Do I really need to do a point – counterpoint on this? I think this is definitely one of those Proverbs 26:4 situations, so I may have just wasted all of our time.

I’m still looking for specific examples. I’m not going to post ridiculous, unrelated, illogical ramblings, but I will gladly post legitimate questions of research or challenges to any point made in the Jefferson book. I know I will not have time to respond to every single one, but will do my best. There was a good question posted by “boo,” so it will be posted at the bottom of the previous blog and I’ll do my best to respond. I normally prefer posts that give your actual name, but since we aren’t getting any other scholarly questions, “boo” gets the floor!!!

Print Friendly and PDF
Posting Policy
We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, vulgarity, profanity, all caps, or discourteous behavior. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain a courteous and useful public environment where we can engage in reasonable discourse. Read more.
  • Tim

    Why are you so afraid of Chris Rodda?
    More to the point, why are you so afraid of facts? I’m sorry, but the Jesus I read about it in the gospels was an honest man–you history revisionists need to change their ways and follow Christ’s example.

  • Tim

    Ach du Lieber . . . “change *your* ways,” I mean, of course.

  • Paul Day

    Chris Rhodda has offered to give you examples. Instead, you call her names and denigrate her, as you do with everyone that doesn’t agree with you.

    Greg Forster has given examples here –

    You can’t prevent the truth from coming out simply by leaving it in comment moderation.

  • Michael

    According to Wikipedia:
    The Streisand effect is a colloquial term to describe the phenomenon whereby an attempt to hide or remove a piece of information has the unintended consequence of publicizing the information more widely.

  • Soup McGee Hi Rick! Love your Work! Find it Very Entertaining….say, hey, uh, could you do everyone a favor and post Ms. Rodda’s comment, the one I have provided a link to, to prove it exists…because I <3 evidence? Also, this "debate" is Quite amusing for Minions everywhere, please, do go on…

  • Tualha

    Specific examples found here:

  • Dr. Shawn M. Greener

    I address the critics this way in my speeches and teaching: “You know, David Barton is one of the most reliable footnoters ever! In Jefferson Lies he has well over a hundred for each chapter, feign looking shocked, oh wait! The chapter dealing with slavery ONLY HAS EXACTLY 100 FOOTNOTES! Maybe there is something to this!”. Here is the deal, I support David Barton unconditionally.

  • Josh Reidell

    “Do I really need to do a point – counterpoint on this?”

    Yes, you do. You presented a challenge and a challenger has presented themselves. If you do not follow through with the argument you lose your ground as a contender in the argument. It’s how debates work. Heck, it’s how any sort of battle between two entities works. If you forfeit you lose.

  • Raven

    I like how you cherry-picked one of Rodda’s arguments you could object to while ignoring mountains of others.

    > I wonder where these people are when liberal professors shout down any student voicing a different opinion in a classroom paid for by our tax dollars?

    When I hear about that happening in real life I will be against it. So far I’ve only ever heard people complaining that their religious teachings aren’t being sufficiently misplaced by insertion into other subjects.

  • Chris Ho-Stuart

    It would be better all around if you are going to write a whole blog post in which you rephrase Chris Rodda’s comment in your own words if you were to actually allow the comment — so it is her own writing that you address.

    You did, after all, invite examples of errors. You should either avoid making such invitations or else go ahead and post the comment and then address it.

    I’m an Aussie, watching with interest. Despite your earlier indication that you’d actually accept examples of errors, I’m having to read the “exchange” on two separate pages. Plus also double check each of you with other sources available.

  • Aaron Morse

    You seem to not have read that chapter of Rodda’s book carefully, because your presentation of her argument regarding the Northwest Ordinance is grossly inaccurate. She, in fact, debunks several specific false statements from Barton in that chapter, to wit:

    (1) The framers of the Northwest Ordinance were the same people as the framers of the First Amendment

    Barton claims this by pointing out that the Ordinance was approved by the House and Senate in 1789, ignoring the fact that it was in fact written (that is, framed) much earlier, in fact only 6 of the senators/congressmen in 1789 were also present at its framing. Barton’s statement is false. (And, frankly, this is an elementary error I would not expect from a historian.)

    Moreover, your amusing criticism of her “digressions” over the businessmen Manasseh Cutler demonstrate how little you paid attention to her text. The purpose of that odd digression is actually to demonstrate that, no only weren’t the framers of the first amendment also the framers of the ordinance, as claimed, but in fact the original writer of that clause of the ordinance wasn’t even in the Continental Congress. In fact, the continental congress passed a version of the ordinance that *explicitly removed* any power that clause in the ordinance would have granted the government to actually pursue enforcing religious teachings. (Cutler’s original wording included religious institutions explicitly, the altered wording, which passed, removed that.)

    (2) Barton claims that states admitted after 1789 were required to adhere to the Northwest Ordinance

    In fact, as Rodda documents, only one northwest territory state, Ohio, included anything like that language, and even Ohio explicitly stated that such encouragement was not to interfere with the “rights of conscience.” Barton leaves out this clause, without so much as an ellipsis, in his book.

    Frankly, it seems like you haven’t really read Rodda’s book closely, in order to claim that she presents “no evidence.” In fact, she does. But historians that actually want to present what really happened, who cannot merely delete clauses that they don’t like, have to spend a little more time on things you might consider irrelevant, like who actually wrote the passage in question.

  • Noah Patrick

    I believe Chris Rodda explicitly answered your request and gave an example of Barton’s dishonesty. Unfortunately her comment appears to be stuck in moderation.

  • Aaron Altom

    Keep on fighting the fight. God Bless you and your family!

    Your friend and ASU alumni
    Aaron Altom

  • Joe
  • Pingback: One of the foremost Barton debunkers accepts challenge to prove the fallacies in "The Jefferson Lies" | God Discussion()

  • Seamus Ruah

    You are a liar.

  • Peter Olsen

    Dear Mr. Green,

    I believe your challenge is that if anyone finds or claims to find and documents an error in Barton’s book, then you will post the alleged error and the claim. I further believe you have said that you will not refuse to post any reasonable challenge just because you disagree with it. Is that correct?


    Peter Olsen

  • Morb

    And you have been provided with specific examples. However you are specifically choosing to not let those examples through. This speaks directly to your lack of character, Rick.

  • B-Lar

    You are mistaken. The playing field has not been levelled, and it is evident by the way comment is suppressed here. You simply do not wish to engage with ideas contrary to your own.

    If you did have the moral and intellectual high ground it should be clearly apparent. No one expects you to answer critics who make no sense, but a free and open comment policy allows everyone to see when a critic is making no sense. If you can point to the flaw in a rebuttal then do so. Everyone who cares about truth benefits from this.

    Proverbs were guides for wise men to pass down to their descendants through the ages, not shields to hide behind and avoid self examination.

    Righteousness is not inherent. It must be refined and justified.

  • Tualha

    No doubt you are fooling other fools like yourself by suppressing comments, Mr. Green, but you’re not fooling anyone else. People don’t need to read about this issue here; they can use Google and find Chris Rodda’s blog on their own. Your point of view and beliefs are swiftly becoming irrelevant in an increasingly secular America. Your side is losing, and your god can’t help you, because he never existed. Enjoy the ride.

  • Pingback: "Clanking cymbals and blathering nonsense?" Challenge for evidence of false claims in Barton's controversial 'The Jefferson Lies' riles critics and researchers | God Discussion()

  • David29073

    I have been following David Barton and “the Jefferson Lies” for quite some time now, and have read the criticism by Warren Throckmorton. I find those criticisms valid. I could begin by refuting David Barton’s claim about there NOT being a wall between church and state,( but I doubt that you are going to even post this. I will say this, Mr. Throckmorton has written a point by historical point rebuttal to Mr. Barton’s presentation of history.
    I also have a question, why was Mr. Barton’s book pulled from Thomas Nelson publishing?? Couldn’t be because of this:“in the course of our review learned that there were some historical details included in the book that were not adequately supported.” ( Just Asking??

  • Phillip Lozano

    “I’m still looking for specific examples. I’m not going to post ridiculous, unrelated, illogical ramblings, but I will gladly post legitimate questions of research or challenges to any point made in the Jefferson book.”

    Rodda’s work in this area has been exhaustive, Mr. Green. Post her replies. Your implication that her work does NOT consiste of highly specific and researched examples is intellectual dishonesty of the worst kind.

    In any case, it is not her “minions” who are responisble for Barton’s fall from grace; it is other conservative Christians.

  • lorimakesquilts

    Where are the comments?

  • Tualha

    Hmm…I gather that several critical comments have been posted here, but you’re not letting them out of moderation, giving readers the false impression that your opponents have nothing to say. Bearing false witness, that. I must have overlooked the bit where Jesus said it was ok to do that as long as you were doing it in a good cause.

  • David Graff

    When you make a statement like this:

    “I will not post her generalized accusations that have no actual evidence.”

    you truly reaffirm the power of religious belief. It is capable of inducing believers to deny reality, even when reality is put directly into their field of view.

  • Kacy Ray

    Mr Green,

    You realize… you could make the pain go away by simply posting Rodda’s comment, right?

    Because right now, your intellectual credibility is nil. Rodda has made a screen shot available of her comment with a very specific example of a Barton lie, and the whole world can not only see that she submitted it, but also that you refuse to approve it.

    So you’re faced with a choice – you could continue refusing to post her comment (which is pointless at this juncture since everyone knows what you’re up to) or post it and deal with the reality of it.

    I know the prospect of having to publicly admit that someone met your challenge of finding a lie in Barton’s book is unappealing… but surely it must be preferable to being exposed as an intellectual coward.

  • Martin Wagner

    Mr. Green, your attacks on Chris Rodda are as contemptibly and transparently dishonest as the revisionist history you promote. Her refutations of Barton are exhaustive, specific, and backed up by solidly researched citations. She’s interested in historical accuracy. She’s not the one spouting blathering nonsense in an attempt to shore up her personal popularity. That would be you guys.

    Rodda has answered your challenge. You’re running from her while claiming she hasn’t. That’s what ideologically motivated liars do. Stop it.

  • Alan Bird

    ” I will gladly post legitimate questions of research or challenges to any point made in the Jefferson book.”

    … somewhere in the distance, a tumbleweed rolled slowly across the bush…

  • Mark

    Why not just post Rodda’s comments and let your readers decide for themselves?

  • Doug

    So , i just tuned in. correct me if im reading this wrong please. You issued an open debate challenge, some chic accepted, and now you are backing down? Are you trying to cherry pick your opponent in an attempt to guarantee a win? What am i missing?

  • Rick

    Yes, Doug, you are reading it wrong. I asked for specific evidence of any of David’s premises or conclusions being wrong, not a “open debate challenge,” just a request for people to send in any evidence and that I would post it if it actually was what they said it was. Well, the stuff being sent was so illogical and crazy that I decided to just open the comments and people could see through it. No backing down here, lots of info coming out in the coming days!

    Mark, that’s exactly what I did.

  • Quine

    Most of Chris Rodda’s material comes from simply looking up the footnotes and citations David Barton uses in his books. Somewhere along the line David must have realized the the vast majority (if not all) of his market audience would never look up (and actually read) a reference document, especially if he showed a picture of himself holding said document. I suspect it started off slowly, but eventually he found the power of being able to make up anything he wished, as if truth, to be ultimately, and irresistibly, corrupting.

    The truth always comes out, and now that it has, leading conservatives are distancing themselves from Barton both on the grounds of Barton’s misuse of their trust, and to avoid loss of their own credibility from the blowback.

  • Mandie

    Why did you delete this post of Chris Rodda’s from August 12th at 12:51am & everyone else’s post who came back & referenced the time & date so it would be easy for people to find? THIS IS SPECIFIC EVIDENCE THAT DAVID’S CONCLUSIONS ARE WRONG. My guess is that’s the reason you deleted it.

    From Chris Rodda…
    August 12th, 2012 12:51 am

    OK, Mr. Green, I’ll do exactly as you asked, so that there will be no reason for you not to approve my comment. Here is a very specific example.
    Mr. Barton claims on page 42 of his book that Jefferson wanted to move a religious school from Europe to the United States. Here is what he wrote:
    “In 1794, after Jefferson had returned home from serving as secretary of state for President George Washington, he contacted a member of the Virginia legislature about bringing the Geneva Academy from Europe to Virginia. The Geneva Academy was established in 1559 by Reformation theologian John Calvin. In this school, the Bible was an indispensable textbook and students from the school became missionaries all over Europe; and Jefferson wanted to bring this famous religious school to his state.”
    Why is Mr. Barton’s claim that Jefferson wanted to bring this religious school to America a lie? Because by 1794 the Geneva Academy was no longer a theological seminary. It was one of the two leading academies of science in Europe. Jefferson’s plan was to import a group of Europe’s top science professors, not a religious school.
    In a letter to George Washington, who was also anxious to establish a public university in America, Jefferson described the Geneva Academy and its faculty, listing the various sciences taught by the faculty members.
    Here are Jefferson’s own words describing the very Geneva Academy to George Washington:
    “…the revolution which has taken place at Geneva has demolished the college of that place, which was in a great measure supported by the former government. The colleges of Geneva & Edinburgh were considered as the two eyes of Europe in matters of science, insomuch that no other pretended to any rivalship with either. Edinburgh has been the most famous in medicine during the life of Cullen; but Geneva most so in the other branches of science, and much the most resorted to from the continent of Europe because the French language was that which was used. a Mr. D’Ivernois, a Genevan, & man of science, known as the author of a history of that republic, has proposed the transplanting that college in a body to America. he has written to me on the subject, as he has also done to Mr. Adams, as he was formerly known to us both, giving us the details of his views for effecting it. probably these have been communicated to you by Mr. Adams, as D’Ivernois desired should be done; but lest they should not have been communicated I will take the liberty of doing it. his plan I think would go to about ten or twelve professorships. he names to me the following professors as likely if not certain to embrace the plan.
    Monchon, the present President, who wrote the Analytical table for the Encyclopedists, & which sufficiently proves his comprehensive science.
    Pictet, known from his admeasurements of a degree, & other works, professor of Natural philosophy.
    his brother, said by M. D’Ivernois to be also great.
    Senebier, author of commentaries on Spallanzani, & of other works in Natural philosophy & Meteorology; also the translator of the Greek tragedies.
    L’Huillier} both mathematicians, and said to be inferior to nobody in that line except La Grange, who is without an equal.
    Prevost, highly spoken of by D’Ivernois.
    De Saussure & his son, formerly a professor, but who left the college to have more leisure to pursue his geological researches into the Alps, by which work he is very advantageously known.”
    Source: Thomas Jefferson to George Washington, February 23, 1795, The Thomas Jefferson Papers, Series 1, General Correspondence, 1651-1827, Library of Congress Manuscript Division, #16799.
    Obviously, this was not a religious school. What Jefferson wanted to bring to America was very clearly a group of science professors. Yet Mr. Barton claims that Jefferson wanted to bring a “famous religious school” to America. This is a lie.

  • aspidoscelis

    So… you ask for any specific examples of things Barton has gotten wrong, Rodda supplies one (Barton presenting the Geneva Academy as a religious school cranking out missionaries, when the Geneva Academy was a scientific institution at the time in question), and you entirely ignore it.

    Instead you opt for personal attack against Rodda & apparently dug through her work to find something -else- to disagree with her about.

    Either show us how the example Rodda provided is wrong, or just admit that you are -no longer- “waiting for someone to show me a specific inaccuracy or false claim by Barton”. You’ve been provided one. Pretending it didn’t happen is dishonest.

  • Alan Bird

    Mr Green,
    Well done for publishing Ms Rodda’s example of where she thinks Mr Barton’s account was wrong (or, in her words, a lie).
    I look forward to your rebuttal.

  • Kacy Ray

    Rick, if you find Rodda’s refutation of Barton’s claim regarding the Geneva Academy to be “illogical and crazy”, it’s due to a phenomenon called “cognitive dissonance”. It’s the uncomfortable feeling you get when what you believe comes in direct conflict with an observed fact.

    You believe Barton is a legitimate, honest historian. Yet Rodda has shown that’s not the case. This is generating the dissonance in your mind that causes you to to choose between what you have *accepted* and what is *plainly obvious*. Since you chose the former, the latter would then necessarily appear crazy and illogical – although you quite can’t explain why, can you?

    Don’t worry – what seems like a crisis is often merely the end of an illusion. Would it really be so awful to accept that Barton is actually a revisionist liar? Has it even occurred to you that this is a possibility?

    Think of it this way: Which is more poisonous to the soul? To say “I was wrong” or to live in a constant state of evasion? Because that’s the choice you’re facing right now.

  • Rick

    Kacy, I gave you guys a perfect example (Northwest Ordinance) of the kind of non-sensical claims she makes. I’m not going to take the time away from my family or the important work that we do to give a tit for tat against such bunk that is only a legitimate question in her circle of “minions” that live for this stuff and will ignore every logical, cogent argument presented. However, we will be giving very detailed, specific responses to the questions that have been raised by others in the national media and you guys are welcome to add your comments to those responses over the coming days.

  • Paul Burnett

    Mr. Green – your inability and / or unwillingness to honestly address (much less refute) Chris Rodda’s factual proofs of Barton’s numerous lies and distortions is getting wide distribution across the internet, as is news of Barton’s dishonesty. Please man up and start being honest about this. I know it’s hard for creationists to deal with reality, but give it a try.

  • Jamie

    David Barton is a pathological liar and you are no better – you called for evidence, and when presented with it, you chose to ignore it and malign the person who proved you wrong.

    Liars for Jesus is a perfect name for both of you.

  • Duncan

    @Paul Burnett: What the heck does “creationists dealing with reality” have to do with the topic at hand? Sounds like a petty personal attack to me. Most “creationists” are very kind, thoughtful, and generous people. It saddens me if you have a different view, because I would assume you may have encountered some Christians not acting like Christians!

    Oh, and the “founders” of this fairly decent country were creationists, and didn’t mind frequently saying as much!

  • Paul Burnett

    Well, yes, loosely defined, the Founding Fathers were creationists, as Darwin had not yet been born.

    And “creationists dealing with reality” was specifically aimed at Rick Green dealing with the reality of David Barton;s dishonesty, as documented by Chris Rodda – which he refuses to deal with.

  • Flora Poste

    Speaking of creationists, Jay W. Richards, a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute, has criticized Barton’s inaccuracies. It’s misleading to claim that Barton’s critics come from the secular left.

  • Flora Poste

    That should be “solely from the secular left”.

  • Napkin Religion

    Nice way of avoiding her arguments.

  • Joe Wilson

    You lie.

  • Mike Morrison

    Liar. Liar. LIAR! Rick Green, you are the disgusting filth on the bottom of my shoes.

    When you say:

    “the book is called “Liars for Jesus,” (which might give you a hint as to the tone,) you prove yourself a hypocrite.

    Does not the book “The Jefferson LIES” say the same thing? You are calling the professionals who study these things and have PhDs liars. What about your tone?

    What is it that Jesus said about hypocrites? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?