Barton: Only Christians Can Be Good Scientists

David Barton seems to think that more than 90% of members of the National Academy of Sciences aren’t good scientists because they don’t “fear the lord.” Citing Proverbs 1:7, “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,” he declares:

We used to believe it was the beginning of knowledge. If you wanted to be a good scientist, you had to start with the fear of the lord, that’s where your knowledge can grow…And that’s what happens with a secular approach to education. If we start leaving God out of anything at all, education becomes a frustration.

Well sure. I mean, look how it destroyed the academic careers of Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett and thousands of other atheists. And how it impeded the scientific careers of Carl Sagan, Neil DeGrasse Tyson and 94% of the NAS membership. The real authority on science is this dishonest dipshit with a worthless degree from Oral Roberts University in Christian education.


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  • Randomfactor

    He keeps forgetting that’s OLD Testament rules. Under the New Rules, established 33 CE, science can be as godless as it wants.

    Besides, we’re not interested in “the beginning of knowledge.” We’re more interested in knowledge of the beginning.

  • matty1

    Worthless degree you say? If only, sadly I suspect that degree has been worth rather a lot of money for Barton as he markets himself as an edumacted Christian leader.

  • Ellie

    Mr. Barton, when I was in school, in that Golden Age you love to lie about, we did not have daily Bible reading, and only one teacher ever started the day with a prayer (the Lord’s Prayer), making sure to say every morning, “Now, all you Protestants, you just keep going. You don’t have to stop at the end of the prayer with the rest of us.” She was kind to the Protestants even though she knew they were all going to hell.

    I assume when you say “sixty eight,” you are picturing CXVIII in your head, rather than that dastardly, heathen, evil Arabic number 68. BTW, I blame the downturn on the addition of the phrase “under God,” into the pledge, since we are obviously being punished by including a reference to our Creator in a secular pledge of loyalty to a human government. It’s either that or having flush toilets become ubiquitous. We never had World Wars before the invention of flush toilets.

  • some bastard on the net

    We used to believe it was the beginning of knowledge.

    And now we know better.

  • colnago80

    Well, I guess that Richard Feynman, Murray Gell-Mann, and Steven Weinberg weren’t good scientists; the Nobel Prize Committe thought otherwise.

  • Artor

    I hear this a lot from Xians who are basically revealing that they don’t have any idea what science actually is. It’s an abuse of language when creationists rail against what they think of as science, when they’re clearly only railing against some imaginary construct that has little relation to the real world. Therefore, I propose that, for the sake of our language, we prevent this abuse by replacing any mention of “science,” in this context with “ju-ju,” and “scientist,” with “shaman.” Check it out;

    “If you wanted to be a good shaman, you had to start with the fear of the lord…”

    “The real authority on ju-ju is this dishonest dipshit with a worthless degree from Oral Roberts University in Christian education.”

    As you can see, the sentences make much more sense this way, and the English language doesn’t have to be tortured, or even subjected to “enhanced interrogation.”

  • Steve Morrison

    Ah, but Sturgeon’s Law tells us that 90% of anything is crud. So Barton must be right; CHECKMATE ATHIESTS!

  • It seems to me that Barton’s ability to broadcast his nonsense was dependent on a lack of fear of god. Benjamin Franklin was a major contributor to our understanding of electricity. We understand lightning in part through Ben’s courageous curiosity instead of going along with the popular story that it was a god’s terrifying cosplay performance as Zeus and beyond mortal ken.

    Frankly, I think the beginning of wisdom is something like “I don’t know. How do we find out?” Faith begins with “I am absolutely certain because I say I am. I will not entertain doubts.” One is humble, honest with itself, and courageously seeks to construct a basis for confidence before making claims. The other is hubris, based in greed and fear, and seeks to make others succumb to those emotions by imposing arbitrary authorities.

  • Randomfactor

    Sturgeon’s Law is inapplicable 90 percent of the time.

  • D. C. Sessions

    What y’all are missing is that you and Barton are using different definitions for the word “good.”

  • Randomfactor

    And “true.”

  • busterggi

    Now M. Baron, we don’t have to fear the Lord, he’s all-loving & gorgiving remeber?

    Unless you’ve changed your mind about that.

  • busterggi

    My keyboard seems to be a tad off!

  • jaytheostrich

    “We used to believe it was the beginning of knowledge.”

    No, anybody with half a brain didn’t believe that. Because A] it’s a nonsensical statement, like many in the Bible, and B] it doesn’t explain why fear of the UNKNOWN is the basis for almost all fears a human can feel.

  • felidae

    OK, Davey, we are supposed to love a god we fear and through fear we gain knowledge and have this grand body of revealed truth in the bible , which tells us what to eat, who to kill and this god’s fondness for the smell of burned meat and lots of other totally useless stuff instead of real, practical things like curing diseases

  • matty1

    @15 Oh but it does tell you how to cure diseases, here for instance is the treatment for skin infections.

    The person to be cleansed must wash their clothes, shave off all their hair and bathe with water; then they will be ceremonially clean. After this they may come into the camp, but they must stay outside their tent for seven days. 9 On the seventh day they must shave off all their hair; they must shave their head, their beard, their eyebrows and the rest of their hair. They must wash their clothes and bathe themselves with water, and they will be clean.

    10“On the eighth day they must bring two male lambs and one ewe lamb a year old, each without defect, along with three-tenths of an ephahb of the finest flour mixed with olive oil for a grain offering, and one logc of oil. 11 The priest who pronounces them clean shall present both the one to be cleansed and their offerings before the Lord at the entrance to the tent of meeting.

    12“Then the priest is to take one of the male lambs and offer it as a guilt offering, along with the log of oil; he shall wave them before the Lord as a wave offering. 13 He is to slaughter the lamb in the sanctuary area where the sin offering and the burnt offering are slaughtered. Like the sin offering, the guilt offering belongs to the priest; it is most holy. 14 The priest is to take some of the blood of the guilt offering and put it on the lobe of the right ear of the one to be cleansed, on the thumb of their right hand and on the big toe of their right foot. 15 The priest shall then take some of the log of oil, pour it in the palm of his own left hand, 16 dip his right forefinger into the oil in his palm, and with his finger sprinkle some of it before the Lord seven times. 17 The priest is to put some of the oil remaining in his palm on the lobe of the right ear of the one to be cleansed, on the thumb of their right hand and on the big toe of their right foot, on top of the blood of the guilt offering. 18 The rest of the oil in his palm the priest shall put on the head of the one to be cleansed and make atonement for them before the Lord.

    19“Then the priest is to sacrifice the sin offering and make atonement for the one to be cleansed from their uncleanness. After that, the priest shall slaughter the burnt offering 20 and offer it on the altar, together with the grain offering, and make atonement for them, and they will be clean.

    Got that – sleep under the stars for a week, shave your head and give two sheep and a ‘log’ of oil to a priest. Practical common sense advice that these modern scientist types would never give.

  • blf

    If we start leaving God out ofinserting arbitrary interpretations of mythical sky faeries into anything at all, education becomes a frustration.


  • Childermass

    Re: Sturgeon’s Law

    When David Barton is around, Sturgeon’s law gets excessive overtime, some double time, a big fat bonus, and cashes in his vacations and sick leave for even more overtime pay.

  • naturalcynic

    What better way to keep people from asking pointed smart alecky questions than to refer them to the Book and the Priest for all knowledge. It worked pretty well for 3000 years.

  • Abdul Alhazred

    @16: Skin infection? I thought that was supposed to be the treatment for leprosy.

  • The Bible says slavery is just fine. Modern morality says that it is not. Thus, if the bible cannot be the ultimate arbiter of morality, seen as this is it’s primary reason to be, why would anyone cite it as the source for anything to do with science?

    Unless you can cite somewhere in the bible the reconciliation between slavery and modern morality then the bible ceases to be anything but literature. It collapses completely as an ultimate source.

  • grumpyoldfart

    Have you ever heard one of those country vicars who picks one word from each of half a dozen widely separated bible verses and then reassembles them into a brand new message that says exactly what he wants it to say? They do it all the time. Barton is an amateur by comparison.