Chris Rodda gives away her book on religious revisionist American history

By the way, David Barton claims to be an expert in black history to help reinforce his tax-exempt status.

Oreo_Speedwagon wrote:
By the way, David Barton claims to be an expert in black history to help reinforce his tax-exempt status.

If I can't call him a liar, can I at least call him a douche?

Crispus wrote:
Certainly, I know people who believe that America is a Christian nation but do NOT believe that everyone here should be required to live as a Christian.

Have you mentioned to them that they're wrong? America was not founded on a basis of Christianity, it was founded on a basis of freedom of religion. The founders believed that religion was a personal matter between an individual and their creator, and that government had no right to interfere with that relationship. There were a half dozen different denominations that were the "official" religion of various colonies. That was one of the things that made the constitutional convention so much fun.

The problem with claiming America is a Christian nation is that as soon as someone starts questioning Christian principles, they automatically become unpatriotic. That should absolutely not be the case, but far too often it is.

There are also far too often the kinds of kerfluffles that happened recently where a Christian organization was permitted to have a fund raising event on an Army base, but when an atheist organization tried to do the same thing, they were given the silent treatment and it never happened. If you believe America is a Christian nation, there's nothing wrong with that--at least that was the justification given by many people who saw nothing wrong with it, and in fact argued against the atheist organization being allowed to use the facility. I shudder to think what would have happened if a Moslem organization had tried the same thing.

Hypatian:

I disagree with your approach from a fundamental level, because ad hominem attacks are fallacious for a reason - they're fundamentally illogical. Regardless of how many wrong statements a person makes, and how consistently he makes them, does not make everything he says wrong. They're wrong on an individual basis.

At this point, I'm just calling for basic logical and critical thinking, as I've done in the past in other topics.

Personal attacks make the counter argument or the refutation appear weak because it makes it appear that the debater needed that kind of fallacious reasoning to support his counter, even it absolutely did not. One of the reasons why Darwin's book is so strong is because it's entitled. "The Origin of Species," and not "You Stupid Christians are Wrong, Nyah, Nyah."

Even given that Rodda's book is a dismantling of a well-built view of American History, it should focus on the fallacies about that view, rather than attack what is a deistic figure (Jesus) to the majority of people who should be reading her book. It's a stupid move.


And of course, if you tear down every individual base claim, it's easily possible for someone to make a new base claim in the same manner, resurrecting the super-claim from the ashes.

Doesn't matter. It does not excuse the illogic. If a supporter can take the trouble to craft a complex series of mental constructs to push his agenda, then surely it's even easier for a scholar to just point to the bare facts and say where it's wrong. I mean, if Barton's view can really be easily refuted by students, then what's the danger in it.

If I started teaching Americans that America was really a Scientologist Country, based on the fact that Washington wasn't really the first president, but was merely a sub for Mario Galaga, who was his assistant, would anyone call me a liar and be hostile to me? I rather think that everyone would just think it a humongous practical joke.


Why is it important to be able to discard stuff from someone like this so broadly? Because there is no other effective way to combat the problem. The pattern is of making many tiny claims, and blowing each one up into a hugely broad overgeneralization. This is a specious argument tactic used to make it hard to argue against not the original claims, but the super-claim that is the outcome of the overgeneralization. You can't argue against the super-claim directly, you have to argue against all of the base claims, and demonstrate that each one is false, or that it is being generalized incorrectly. As long as a single base claim remains intact, it will be held up as being sufficient proof of the super-claim.

Each argument is a support of the claim. The claim gains strength because of its many arguments. Indeed, I find what I've seen of Barton's argumentation profoundly unmoving because they're all indirect and circumstantial. If he were arguing like this to convict a criminal, he should lose his case. Aside from dismantling his main points of support, you could ask him to provide an absolute, literal, irrefutable document that calls the US a Christian Nation. The reason he has to resort to these tactics is because he has no case.

I'll just sign my name under Larry's post, here. Except that Scientology Galaga thing. Line-itemed!

Crispus wrote:
OG_slinger wrote:

No one's changing it to a battle for moral superiority except for perhaps you. Calling Barton a liar is simply an accurate use of the word. That you've added an entire other definition to 'liar' involving moral judgement is another issue entirely.

It looks like the dictionary says that you're BOTH right, actually. Here's its definition of lying:

5. to speak falsely or utter untruth knowingly, as with intent to deceive.
6. to express what is false; convey a false impression.

Given this definition, I think "lying" could be read as either having OR not having the extra dimension of intentional, knowing deception. I don't know which is the more common understanding of the word - I'd personally always thought that the liar knew they were telling an untruth - but I guess it's hard to criticize people who read it differently, given the above.

Generally, definitions are ordered by how common they are, but why use the term if there's the possibility for misinterpretation?

MilkmanDanimal wrote:
Oreo_Speedwagon wrote:
By the way, David Barton claims to be an expert in black history to help reinforce his tax-exempt status.

If I can't call him a liar, can I at least call him a douche?

I'm willing to allow this.

wordsmythe, I don't get how you can stick with the idea that it's somehow an accidental misrepresentation. It's just so absolutely systematic and thorough. Given the evidence on display, how can it be anything but conscious and deliberate?

I mean, yeah, you can point at any one of the misrepresentations and careful omissions and think that he just got that wrong, but he's incredibly and absolutely consistent, to the point that I, at least, get the strong impression that he knows his history very well indeed. You'd have be awfully knowledgeable to be able to sort through and pick out exactly the evidence needed to support such a slanted and incorrect argument, without making mistakes and presenting counterfactual evidence.

Is it so hard to believe that someone can say they believe in Jesus, and still be lying through their teeth? A) they may not really believe, and B) even if they do, does that automatically make them honest?

wordsmythe wrote:
MilkmanDanimal wrote:
If I can't call him a liar, can I at least call him a douche?

I'm willing to allow this.


Hmmm... "Douches for Jesus"
Yeah, definitely a better title.

I was talking with a friend of mine last night, trying to think about this whole method of "proof". It seems like it ought to be a sort of fallacy, but it really isn't... quite. Wikipedia's list of fallacies does mention it, though, as a related phenomenon to "proof by verbosity", named the "Gish Gallop" after a creationist who used the technique routinely.

The essential problem here is that given a suitably large number of provably false arguments, it's simply incredibly difficult to address every argument conclusively in any reasonable amount of time. Normally, when you make a controversial claim in an argument you include significant supporting material to prove your case. That's the reasonable thing to do when you have something you know to be true and you want to establish it with certainty. You can leave out such support, but only when you're bringing out something that is well accepted.

This "Gish Gallop" technique, on the other hand, throws out many many controversial claims as facts without supporting evidence, using them all as supporting evidence for the main thesis. The problem is that a critic who is acting in good faith does need to provide the appropriate supporting material to debunk the claim—and that requires a deep knowledge of the material necessary to debunk every individual claim, and takes a long time. And, of course, going through a long detailed debunking of one of the "base" points gets away from the main thrust of the argument, which is to the detriment of the critic: the ideas that the critic was trying to debunk is lost in the details required to debunk the supporting points.

Without the supporting evidence in the criticism, the argument turns into a "nuh-huh!", "yeah-huh!" kind of thing. And that's also to the detriment of the critic, because the critic is generally responding to claims that have already been made.

So... this tactic acts sort of like a network "denial of service attack" by consuming the resources of the critic. It shifts the burden of proof onto the critic, by using a flurry of fallacious but reasonable sounding claims that must be demonstrated to be fallacious. It makes it difficult to tear down the entire edifice by replacing claims that have been "knocked down" with completely new (and equally fallacious) claims until the critic is exhausted.

Instead of the normal order of things where the person making the outrageous claims must make an extraordinary effort to demonstrate the validity of what they are saying, all of the work has shifted onto the shoulders of the critic, who is forced to spend so much effort debunking claims that there is little left for bringing out the myriad facts that have made the commonly accepted interpretation of things commonly accepted.

It's truly an odious method of argument... and I still see no way to combat it except by demonstrating that those who use it are arguing in bad fait: that they repeatedly claim the truth of obviously untrue things, that their arguments are almost always fallacious.

LarryC wrote:
Hypatian:

I disagree with your approach from a fundamental level, because ad hominem attacks are fallacious for a reason - they're fundamentally illogical. Regardless of how many wrong statements a person makes, and how consistently he makes them, does not make everything he says wrong. They're wrong on an individual basis.

Not all ad hominem attacks are fallacious. A fallacious ad hominem attack is one that confuses the speaker with the subject. "Everybody thinks that you are a child molester, therefore your ideas about medicine are suspect." That's fallacious—there's no reason to believe that somebody that everybody hates does bad medicine. The argument doesn't follow.

But saying that "every argument you have ever made on this subject is fallacious, therefore your new ideas about this subject are suspect" is perfectly valid. Note: You still can't say that the new ideas are false, simply that they're suspect—and that the speaker in question should bear the burden of proof. To give an example not related to the topic at hand: "You own a fortune's worth of shares in company X, therefore you have a conflict of interest and your testimony regarding company X is suspect." This is clearly true, and clearly ad hominem. And again, it's not a claim of falsehood—it's a claim that there's a reason to be wary.

LarryC wrote:
At this point, I'm just calling for basic logical and critical thinking, as I've done in the past in other topics.

Personal attacks make the counter argument or the refutation appear weak because it makes it appear that the debater needed that kind of fallacious reasoning to support his counter, even it absolutely did not. One of the reasons why Darwin's book is so strong is because it's entitled. "The Origin of Species," and not "You Stupid Christians are Wrong, Nyah, Nyah."

Even given that Rodda's book is a dismantling of a well-built view of American History, it should focus on the fallacies about that view, rather than attack what is a deistic figure (Jesus) to the majority of people who should be reading her book. It's a stupid move.

I agree that the name of the book is potentially a stupid move. However, it's also rather more of a marketing move than a debate move. Rodda does not argue "Christians are liars, therefore these arguments are wrong"—she's simply used a book title that will get people talking about the book. It's rude and overblown. A lot of books are like that. Of course, it also doesn't mean that she's wrong.

LarryC wrote:
Hypatian wrote:

And of course, if you tear down every individual base claim, it's easily possible for someone to make a new base claim in the same manner, resurrecting the super-claim from the ashes.

Doesn't matter. It does not excuse the illogic. If a supporter can take the trouble to craft a complex series of mental constructs to push his agenda, then surely it's even easier for a scholar to just point to the bare facts and say where it's wrong. I mean, if Barton's view can really be easily refuted by students, then what's the danger in it.

If I started teaching Americans that America was really a Scientologist Country, based on the fact that Washington wasn't really the first president, but was merely a sub for Mario Galaga, who was his assistant, would anyone call me a liar and be hostile to me? I rather think that everyone would just think it a humongous practical joke.

There is no illogic here. As I discussed in my post just now, the problem is specifically about the burden of proof. The reasonable thing to say is "You have a history of spewing bullsh*t. Therefore, you're on the hook to give us full and detailed proofs of all of your controversial claims." Unfortunately, Barton keeps spewing controversial claims without proof, and they continue to be bullsh*t. The non-fallacious ad-hominem argument here is "It is right to be suspicious of Barton's claims, because Barton has shown a history of making unsupported claims that turn out to be false."

To come back to one specific thing you said:

LarryC wrote:
If a supporter can take the trouble to craft a complex series of mental constructs to push his agenda, then surely it's even easier for a scholar to just point to the bare facts and say where it's wrong.

This is the precise problem: This complex series of mental constructs (the false claims) is not actually well supported—but it is convoluted. It is easy to state. It is very hard to tear down. It is far easier to state the actual facts than to debunk the false claims... but doing so leaves those false claims lying around unopposed, and leads people to lend them far more credence than they are worth. Particularly because the false claims are generally made by quoting out of context. It also makes it very easy for the supporter to apply the fallacy of "argument from silence": "you didn't oppose my points, therefore they must be right."

It's a giant mess, and it's all built around a method of debate that's meant to force the supporter of the *well-accepted* ideas to spend more effort than the proponent of *new, controversial* ideas would normally have to spend if they were arguing in good faith.

LarryC wrote:
Each argument is a support of the claim. The claim gains strength because of its many arguments. Indeed, I find what I've seen of Barton's argumentation profoundly unmoving because they're all indirect and circumstantial. If he were arguing like this to convict a criminal, he should lose his case. Aside from dismantling his main points of support, you could ask him to provide an absolute, literal, irrefutable document that calls the US a Christian Nation. The reason he has to resort to these tactics is because he has no case.

Correct—all of his individual claims is profoundly unconvincing, so long as you don't already believe that his thesis is correct, and so long as you understand what good claims look like. He uses controversial claims without sufficient evidence (presumably because he's quoting out of context, so no such evidence exists) to back his thesis... and he then makes this argument to people who already believe the thesis. They then follow the fallacy of division (if the whole is true, the parts must be true) and spread their belief in the truth of the thesis to belief in the truth of what he's used to back it up... and eventually, a lot of people are claiming these untrue things he's said as being true.

You'll notice that Barton (and people like him) generally make their arguments to people who are *already* believers. The main effect of their arguments is not to convince new people to believe their ideas, but to place new "evidence" in the hands of those who already believe. Convincing more people then happens by osmosis, as the fallacious "evidence" is accepted by more and more people.

When someone who uses this technique shows up to an actual debate, they get roasted... and the people who believed them already remain utterly unconvinced. If Barton tried to get a job as a lecturer in history at a serious university, he'd be laughed out of the room. And yet, it works with a surprising number of people.

I'll leave with the following quote from Newsweek, 2009:

Newsweek wrote:
The poll also shows changing perceptions about the religious makeup of the United States and its politics. Since Barack Obama took office earlier this year, the number of people who consider the U.S. a Christian nation has fallen to 62 percent, down from higher numbers during the Bush administration (69 percent last year and 71 percent in 2005).

Hypatian:

I was part of a college debate thing for one of our philo classes. Ad hominem attack is a classic, classic logical fallacy. Essentially, you stop talking about what's on the table, and try to discredit the speaker instead. It has nothing to do with confusing one for the other. You're just attacking the speaker outright, for whatever reasons and using whatever bullets you can shoot. In essence, ad hominem attack is like this:

"You know, that Darwin guy has a point. It's reasonable to extrapolate adaptation as a natural process occurring in places other than the Galapagos Islands."
"Well, he's wrong because his momma's ugly and he's a stupidhead."

Granted, I'm kind of using intentionally stupid language for the fallacy stater for effect, but the logical error is the same. The veracity or value of a statement is not related to who is saying it, whatsoever. Even the Boy Who Cried Wolf was right the third time.


So... this tactic acts sort of like a network "denial of service attack" by consuming the resources of the critic. It shifts the burden of proof onto the critic, by using a flurry of fallacious but reasonable sounding claims that must be demonstrated to be fallacious. It makes it difficult to tear down the entire edifice by replacing claims that have been "knocked down" with completely new (and equally fallacious) claims until the critic is exhausted.

Not at all. There is no shifting of burden occurring whatsoever. That might be what underlies many of the misunderstandings that occur between me and many posters in this forum. A critic of an argument never acquires burden of proof, ever. The burden of proof is always squarely on the shoulders of the person presenting the argument. You can refute the argument by showing logical errors in the argument, or refuse to engage by questioning his assumptions, but the burden of proof never shifts onto the one making the rebuttal.

This is different from a separate countering argument. In making a counter argument, you are forwarding your own position, which may or may not be directly about the same things your opponent is pursuing. In that case, the burden of proof is on you, and your opponent can counter through rebuttal.

Therefore, "denial of service" should never occur. A proponent's claim is only as strong as any of his legitimate arguments, and it's easier to undermine arguments than to present them. It's particularly easy in the case of Barton, it looks like, since one only has to present the original document.


But saying that "every argument you have ever made on this subject is fallacious, therefore your new ideas about this subject are suspect" is perfectly valid. Note: You still can't say that the new ideas are false, simply that they're suspect—and that the speaker in question should bear the burden of proof. To give an example not related to the topic at hand: "You own a fortune's worth of shares in company X, therefore you have a conflict of interest and your testimony regarding company X is suspect." This is clearly true, and clearly ad hominem. And again, it's not a claim of falsehood—it's a claim that there's a reason to be wary.

That is actually a fallacy, just as Wikipedia says it is. Any reasonable philosophy textbook will tell you the same thing. As counterintuitive as it may seem, the character of the person saying the claim doesn't matter when evaluating the claim logically. A person of questionable character could be forwarding a reasonable statement, and none of what he's said before should matter. What he says stands on its own. A person of irrefutable character could be forwarding a questionable statement, and again, none of what he said before should matter, either.

If you attack a person in this manner, then you are not actually engaging him in debate. You're going on a smear campaign in order to discredit his statements based on fallacious reasoning. Doing this makes Barton stronger, because when you do this, he actually appears to be reasonable in comparison, since he's not smearing you, but making reasonable statements based on facts he's providing.


This is the precise problem: This complex series of mental constructs (the false claims) is not actually well supported—but it is convoluted. It is easy to state. It is very hard to tear down. It is far easier to state the actual facts than to debunk the false claims... but doing so leaves those false claims lying around unopposed, and leads people to lend them far more credence than they are worth. Particularly because the false claims are generally made by quoting out of context. It also makes it very easy for the supporter to apply the fallacy of "argument from silence": "you didn't oppose my points, therefore they must be right."

I don't see how this could be the case. Without even the wording of the original documents, you can tear Barton's arguments a new one because they have huge gaping holes in them. They're easy to debunk, not difficult. People believe what he says because they want to, not because he's a brilliant debater. Which brings us to the penultimate point.


Correct—all of his individual claims is profoundly unconvincing, so long as you don't already believe that his thesis is correct, and so long as you understand what good claims look like. He uses controversial claims without sufficient evidence (presumably because he's quoting out of context, so no such evidence exists) to back his thesis... and he then makes this argument to people who already believe the thesis. They then follow the fallacy of division (if the whole is true, the parts must be true) and spread their belief in the truth of the thesis to belief in the truth of what he's used to back it up... and eventually, a lot of people are claiming these untrue things he's said as being true.

You'll notice that Barton (and people like him) generally make their arguments to people who are *already* believers. The main effect of their arguments is not to convince new people to believe their ideas, but to place new "evidence" in the hands of those who already believe. Convincing more people then happens by osmosis, as the fallacious "evidence" is accepted by more and more people.

That's frickin crazy. You can't convince people who don't want to be convinced. It's impossible. They'll believe illogic and refuse to accept reasonable statements. This is because they've become delusional (quite literally, the meaning of the term - believing in the face of contrary facts). You can't fight delusional individuals by smearing their idols. You'll just inflame them. That does no good.

It seems to me that this is a case of Barton being willing to "educate" people with his version of history, and historians being, well, not. The only way Barton can win is by telling a lot of ignorant people information they have no way of vetting.

Pardon me for being offensive here, but wouldn't the logical manner of combating misinformation be with information? Isn't that what this book is? It does no good for this book to even be titled in the manner of a personal attack, because it plays into Barton's game. It wrongly casts opponents of Barton as a militant group who're only out to insult and attack. If it were titled more consistently with its dry tone, it would be a more powerful book.

In like manner, if we stop concentrating on who Barton is and start concentrating on why the things he says are incorrect, I think it would be a more powerful counter.

Of course, I'm biased. I love critical thought and logical discourse. I'm preconditioned to believe that this sort of strategy would work better than a smear campaign.

So here's my question... would the various concerns be alleviated if there was a question mark?
Liars for Jesus?
And then consider the content of the book as the argument towards that hypothesis?

Edit edit: Never mind, there's no point.


I don't think I'm the only one who thinks that there's a character judgment associated with the word "liar."

Here's the thing about tainted views: Everyone's views are slanted, even if most people don't realize it. That's sort of the core of things like confirmation bias—it's really, really hard to realize that you're not objective (like, ever).

So if someone lies, you won't call them a liar, for fear you'll damage their character? Seriously?

Slanted views and confirmation bias lead people to draw differing conclusions from the facts available. They do *not* cause people to tell falsehoods in pursuit of a goal. When a child tells you they didn't take a cookie from the jar, and they are holding half of one in their hand while holding the jar in the other, is that statement a slanted view, or confirmation bias? It is not. Now, granted, you don't usually take the child to task too much for that, but you *do* have a conversation where you explain about lying.

Under your system, however, neither the conclusion that the child was lying, nor the use of the term would be acceptable. I find that weird...

Robear wrote:

I don't think I'm the only one who thinks that there's a character judgment associated with the word "liar."

Here's the thing about tainted views: Everyone's views are slanted, even if most people don't realize it. That's sort of the core of things like confirmation bias—it's really, really hard to realize that you're not objective (like, ever).

So if someone lies, you won't call them a liar, for fear you'll damage their character? Seriously?

Slanted views and confirmation bias lead people to draw differing conclusions from the facts available. They do *not* cause people to tell falsehoods in pursuit of a goal. When a child tells you they didn't take a cookie from the jar, and they are holding half of one in their hand while holding the jar in the other, is that statement a slanted view, or confirmation bias? It is not. Now, granted, you don't usually take the child to task too much for that, but you *do* have a conversation where you explain about lying.

Under your system, however, neither the conclusion that the child was lying, nor the use of the term would be acceptable. I find that weird...


Those are the joys of post-modernism, and the main reason why I have very little use for it. Yes, the world is a complex series of shades of grey, but that doesn't mean everything is equally valid.

Robear:

I'm not sure you're really getting what wordsmythe is getting at. As far as I can tell, he doesn't really have a problem with the word "liar" having a negative connotation. He just has a problem with personally attacking someone who could be making a mistake based on confirmation bias, based on a stance that concludes he's lying with at least a small amount of similar confirmation bias.

Essentially, he's saying that Barton may not be aware that the jar is there at all.

LarryC wrote:
Robear:

I'm not sure you're really getting what wordsmythe is getting at. As far as I can tell, he doesn't really have a problem with the word "liar" having a negative connotation. He just has a problem with personally attacking someone who could be making a mistake based on confirmation bias, based on a stance that concludes he's lying with at least a small amount of similar confirmation bias.

Essentially, he's saying that Barton may not be aware that the jar is there at all.


Except that in this case it's pretty obvious that he is holding a jar, is eating cookies from it, and then denying the existence of the jar. That takes more than just ignorance, that takes a willful denial of reality, and that's why some of us see it as him lying, rather than being misinformed.

That's what I'm talking about. It appears to me, and possibly to wordsmythe, that the obviousness of his being aware of his confirmation is itself based on confirmation bias. You want to label him a liar, so you see everything in that light.

Malor wrote:
wordsmythe, I don't get how you can stick with the idea that it's somehow an accidental misrepresentation. It's just so absolutely systematic and thorough. Given the evidence on display, how can it be anything but conscious and deliberate?

I mean, yeah, you can point at any one of the misrepresentations and careful omissions and think that he just got that wrong, but he's incredibly and absolutely consistent, to the point that I, at least, get the strong impression that he knows his history very well indeed. You'd have be awfully knowledgeable to be able to sort through and pick out exactly the evidence needed to support such a slanted and incorrect argument, without making mistakes and presenting counterfactual evidence.

Is it so hard to believe that someone can say they believe in Jesus, and still be lying through their teeth? A) they may not really believe, and B) even if they do, does that automatically make them honest?

I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of Barton's points were amassed via cocktail conversations and emails with friends.

As for your questions, I don't care what religion he professes. I'm not a fan of fundamentalism of any stripe, and probably least friendly toward Christian fundamentalists. I just don't see a need to move from direct, civil contention with his argument and move to attacking his character—and I'm not willing to make that move without very strong evidence. (And the extent and frequency with which he's wrong don't amount to strong enough evidence for me.)

Hypatian wrote:

I agree that the name of the book is potentially a stupid move. However, it's also rather more of a marketing move than a debate move. Rodda does not argue "Christians are liars, therefore these arguments are wrong"—she's simply used a book title that will get people talking about the book. It's rude and overblown. A lot of books are like that. Of course, it also doesn't mean that she's wrong.

I think that the rhetoric of the book is hurt by the marketing aims (yeah, that's not a rare thing). The only people who are going to engage with this book at all are people who already agree with Rodda. In fact, the title gives a pass to the "liars" not to engage.
Robear wrote:

I don't think I'm the only one who thinks that there's a character judgment associated with the word "liar."

Here's the thing about tainted views: Everyone's views are slanted, even if most people don't realize it. That's sort of the core of things like confirmation bias—it's really, really hard to realize that you're not objective (like, ever).

So if someone lies, you won't call them a liar, for fear you'll damage their character? Seriously?


If someone says something that's not true, I will not jump from there to calling them a liar. I think that's an unnecessary and counterproductive move. There are plenty of ways to disagree with propositions of fact without casting aspersions on the speaker's character.

Rallick wrote:
LarryC wrote:
Robear:

I'm not sure you're really getting what wordsmythe is getting at. As far as I can tell, he doesn't really have a problem with the word "liar" having a negative connotation. He just has a problem with personally attacking someone who could be making a mistake based on confirmation bias, based on a stance that concludes he's lying with at least a small amount of similar confirmation bias.

Essentially, he's saying that Barton may not be aware that the jar is there at all.


Except that in this case it's pretty obvious that he is holding a jar, is eating cookies from it, and then denying the existence of the jar. That takes more than just ignorance, that takes a willful denial of reality.

I disagree with your opinion.

I am constantly amazed by just how much in going on in the human subconscious, and just how weak our conscious minds really are. From the Renaissance through Modernism, we built up the reasoning capabilities of the human mind to be almost as perfect and praiseworthy as any god on the market. It's been a while since I visited that temple, and I think I've lost my faith.

wordsmythe wrote:
Rallick wrote:
Except that in this case it's pretty obvious that he is holding a jar, is eating cookies from it, and then denying the existence of the jar. That takes more than just ignorance, that takes a willful denial of reality.

I disagree with your opinion.

I am constantly amazed by just how much in going on in the human subconscious, and just how weak our conscious minds really are. From the Renaissance through Modernism, we built up the reasoning capabilities of the human mind to be almost as perfect and praiseworthy as any god on the market. It's been a while since I visited that temple, and I think I've lost my faith.


As a dyed-in-the-wool skeptic I totally agree that the human mind is fallible. Hence I don't put much faith in reports of Bigfoot or UFO abductions - anecdote is not evidence. This is why I think the scientific method is so important. It's a way of reducing (though not eliminating) the problems with having a human mindset.

In this case, Barton claims to use all the available evidence, but it's easily demonstrated that this is not so. One mistake, or a few, might be attributed to human error, or cognitive bias. But this seems to me to be too systematic to be quite so innocent. This is why I don't have a problem with calling him a liar. You know, the duck test and all that. I agree that the title of the book is inflammatory, and to be honest I'm on the fence as to whether Rodda does herself any favours by naming it that. While I think she intended it to only apply to the particular subset of Christians who act like Barton, I can see how other Christians would find it offensive.

Rallick:

A proponent of a world view can be systematic about amassing his evidence, and systematic in ignoring the things that don't fit with his world view, without intentionally meaning to deceive. That's essentially what happens with confirmation bias: you systematically comb through evidence, but you don't see things that don't agree with your manner of thinking, or willfully interpret everything to fit with your preconceptions.

I find it deliciously ironic that Barton here may be attacked because of the same kind of bias he suffered when amassing his data.

I found some interesting videos made by Rodda. They contain Barton lying on radio about an encounter they had. Including video evidence. They also contain excerpts of his presentations and rebuttals. Also, hugely entertaining robo-quotes!

Probably doesn't add much to the general debate regarding the term 'Liar,' but definitely shows that Barton isn't above 'fudging' the truth to improve his side of the story.










(hope the underscore things don't mess with the links... )


If someone says something that's not true, I will not jump from there to calling them a liar. I think that's an unnecessary and counterproductive move. There are plenty of ways to disagree with propositions of fact without casting aspersions on the speaker's character.

Calling someone a liar is not casting aspersions. It's a statement of fact, and it's intended to alert others to the fact that this person has deceived others. What label would you use for someone who lies, but liar? Maybe that's the issue here - I don't see it as a slur, but rather an accurate statement.


Robear:

I'm not sure you're really getting what wordsmythe is getting at. As far as I can tell, he doesn't really have a problem with the word "liar" having a negative connotation. He just has a problem with personally attacking someone who could be making a mistake based on confirmation bias, based on a stance that concludes he's lying with at least a small amount of similar confirmation bias.

Essentially, he's saying that Barton may not be aware that the jar is there at all.

When one can assemble an entire book of evidence that Barton and others are deliberately misinforming the public, along with their motives for doing so, and a good explanation of the inaccuracies, that's pretty suggestive. It's not confirmation bias.

Look, there are documents that show that a motion was introduced to ask Congress to buy bibles, but that it never reached the floor of Congress and so was never voted upon by the full Congress. Congress never bought the bibles and did not issue money to do so. Barton cites the wording of the motion, but never tells the readers that it actually died in committee, and states that in 1777 Congress actually *did* import bibles to distribute to citizens. How in the *world* is saying that that is a lie "confirmation bias"? And that's just one example.

We seem to have gone from concrete discussions to arguing in circles about abstract concepts again, and that frustrates me. I am pretty sure that nobody here believes that merely making a false statement makes someone a liar, and I am pretty sure that nobody here believes that ad hominem arguments of the form "you're ugly therefore you're wrong" have any merit. I'm not so sure about the consensus on post-modern relativity. Nevertheless...

Let me try this again:

Can someone please explain to me how taking one quote from one source and another quote from another source, and then merging the two quotes and attributing them to one source, and making arguments based on that quote and that source is not intentional deception?

I will not accept the "oops" answer. It is not a mistake, because it has been pointed out to the person that those are separate quotes from separate people, but that person still continues using the manufactured quote and attributing it to one source.

My confirmation bias is preventing me from seeing this as anything but intentional deceit.

Rezzy wrote:
I found some interesting videos made by Rodda.

For whatever little it's worth, after watching these, you can put me down in the "intentional deceit" category.

I would ask that people who are speculating about Rodda's book pick it up. Without understanding the thoroughness of the analysis, it's hard to assess whether she makes the case well enough, or not.

gewy wrote:
Rezzy wrote:
I found some interesting videos made by Rodda.

For whatever little it's worth, after watching these, you can put me down in the "intentional deceit" category.


The postures adopted there confirm my worries. Rodda is aggressive (not violent, but her emotional hostility shows through in the way she slaps the book), and Barton takes that as his cue to be entirely dismissive.

The reason I have a problem with this is that I don't think these sort of interactions are going to help us correct the misunderstandings that these fundamentalists hold as truth. It's the reverse of the evangelists at the train station yelling at you about Jesus—nobody feels obligated to take them seriously, and very few want to even look them in the eye.

Robear wrote:
I would ask that people who are speculating about Rodda's book pick it up. Without understanding the thoroughness of the analysis, it's hard to assess whether she makes the case well enough, or not.

I don't think anyone's speculating about the book. I hope the book gets read as widely as possible, and that it can be a reference for having meaningful conversations with the aim of helping nationalists realize their mistake.

I believe the speculation lies in assuming there is not enough information to say that Barton and others are *not* mistaken, but are rather misusing sources for a cause. I'm not sure how you would determine that in your system, however.

Robear wrote:
I believe the speculation lies in assuming there is not enough information to say that Barton and others are *not* mistaken, but are rather misusing sources for a cause. I'm not sure how you would determine that in your system, however.

I suppose I'm not sure how I would determine that, either. Luckily, I don't feel the need to determine it.

wordsmythe wrote:
The postures adopted there confirm my worries. Rodda is aggressive (not violent, but her emotional hostility shows through in the way she slaps the book), and Barton takes that as his cue to be entirely dismissive.

Meh, I give her some leniency in that situation. Remember that she is facing the person that almost single-handedly inspired the book she had spent 3 years researching and writing. A lying snake that has taken a topic that she loves dearly, the history of this nation, and twisted it into a farce all while claiming to be one of her peers. Sneering at the other Historians that "can't see past their own biases and are afraid to go to original sources.' All while fabricating lies after lies and spreading them thick and fast to overwhelm any semblance of a rational response using a network of other 'historians' all feeding on each other. Hiding lies under falsified evidence almost in plain sight and making a mockery of history to the utter delight of thousands of people who proclaim themselves patriots and scholars of our past.

And she had a chance to step in front of that sh*t-train, holding a published book of truth, countering every single one of his delusions with solid, researched, verified facts, and slap that book into his hands? I think she was more shocked that he didn't burst into flames when she did than that he wasn't grateful and ready to renounce his ways. That he would then lie about the details of the encounter in public is just gravy for the whole experience.

I wonder what your response would be if Barton had been paid to slander Strunk and White. If his agenda was to subvert the rules of grammar using early writings to show that punctuation, spelling, an grammer is a plot 2 chain our human thoughts into rigid bockses instead of flowing f3 and wild as we was intended our brains don stop thinking just cause the colon says so pausing is unnatural but dont take my word for it here are some fingerpaintings from Strunk when he was 12