Barton: As Bad at Math As He Is at History

Nothing is certain except death and taxes. I propose we could add a third certainty to the list: When David Barton offers up a “fact,” it’s either flat out wrong or being badly distorted. Right Wing Watch catches him doing this so blatantly that one can only conclude that he is either intentionally lying or is a weapons grade moron.

Barton: What demographic group accounts for the largest percentage of abortions? Let me give you [a hint]: this demographic group accounts for seventy-five percent of all abortions …

Green: I’m going to guess over [the age of] thirty?

Barton: Nope. Gotta go the other way. Seventy-five percent of all abortions are performed on teenagers below the age of sixteen … Remember, one of the problems we have with abortion clinics is they do not report statutory rape, they do abortions instead. So a young girl comes in pregnant at eleven or twelve or thirteen, that’s supposed to be reported as statutory rape because it’s well below the age of consent but rather than reporting it, they simply do an abortion … You have seventy-five percent of all abortions being performed on teens who are sixteen and under.

He’s citing a recent “study” by the Family Research Council, but either lying about it or too stupid to understand the difference between what it actually said and what he falsely claims it said:

The figure that Barton cites (or rather, misrepresents) comes from a recent report and presentation from the Family Research Council’s Marriage and Religion Research Institute which found that “almost 3/4 of abortions are to women who initiated sex at age 16 or younger – 40% of women who begin sexual intercourse very early (12-13-14) will have abortions.”

The report did not find, as Barton asserted, that three-quarters of all abortions are done on women under the age of sixteen, but rather that almost three-quarters of women who have had abortions became sexually active at the age of sixteen or before.

Scary part: Barton used to be a math teacher. And he made almost the same mistake, or told almost the same lie, a month ago when he claimed:

This is a report that I just read that is kind of amazing: 96% of the faculty at the elite colleges donated to President Obama … Not just voted; 96% of faculty donated.

So you have 96% of faculty who donated to the Obama campaign; 96% from the elite colleges. So if we’re looking to get help out of the schools, that ain’t going to happen.

In fact, the report said that 96% of the faculty at elite colleges who did donate to one of the candidates donated to Obama, not that 96% of the faculty donated to Obama. This is pretty basic math. After years and years of chronicling Barton’s claims, one can only conclude that he is either an inveterate liar or he simply doesn’t care what the truth is as long as it supports his agenda.

"JimBob Duggar compared women who have sex before marriage to a used bicycle seat or ..."

Pastor: Moore Liked Young Girls Because ..."
"So you'll need to state the proposition (accusation), you'll need to state what the appropriate ..."

How to Think Critically About the ..."
""I've got the best Mount. Mount Doom. Mount Doom. It's a terrific, tremendous mount. The ..."

Local School Has Another Proselytizing Teacher
"This is how I know you aren't arguing against my actual position.1. "But you're still ..."

How to Think Critically About the ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!


What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • julial

    What demographic group accounts for the largest percentage of abortions? Let me give you [a hint]: this demographic group accounts for seventy-five percent of all abortions

    Women?

  • doublereed

    Barton: What demographic group accounts for the largest percentage of abortions?

    Pregnant women.

  • doublereed

    hahaha, too fast for me julial

  • machintelligence

    Reading comprehension, numeracy and rational thought are not conservative values.

  • http://chillireception.blogspot.com/ Avenel

    There is another lie in there. He is claiming that every abortion by a person below 16 is due to statutory rape. But, if the partner was also below the age of consent, that wouldn’t be the case.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    In fact, the report said that 96% of the faculty at elite colleges who did donate to one of the candidates donated to Obama, not that 96% of the faculty donated to Obama.

    Still, it is pretty odd that these people vote for the party that doesn’t hate them. I can’t wait to find out which party African-Americans, Hispanics, single women and homosexuals vote for. Also, pandas, but that’s mostly because pandas, and everything pandas do, is adorable.

    After years and years of chronicling Barton’s claims, one can only conclude that he is either an inveterate liar…

    Yes.

    …or he simply doesn’t care what the truth is as long as it supports his agenda.

    Also yes.

  • some bastard on the net

    …one can only conclude that he is either intentionally lying or is a weapons grade moron.

    Why not both?

  • some bastard on the net

    Damn it, Modus, not only did you get in before me, your comment was waaaaaaay better!

  • zippythepinhead

    “Family Research Council’s Marriage and Religion Research Institute which found that … almost 3/4 of abortions are to women who initiated sex at age 16 or younger – 40% of women who begin sexual intercourse very early (12-13-14) will have abortions.”

    First off — Family Research Council? — that source is rather suspect to begin with.

    There’s also no context here, I know this is a quote of a quote, but how do these numbers compare to women as a group, i.e., what % of all women had sex at age 16 or younger?

  • Chiroptera

    In fact, the report said that 96% of the faculty at elite colleges who did donate to one of the candidates donated to Obama, not that 96% of the faculty donated to Obama.

    Right. We have a party that hates facts, hates critical reasoning, hates it when experts try to inject accurate information into the public debate, constantly belittles and denigrates the experts and, when it’s possible, engages in witch hunts against the experts in these fields…

    …it’s somehow troubling or even a surprise that the experts whose entire careers consist of learning the actual facts about the world in which we live, whose careers involve using these facts to make informed suggestions concerning public policy, who have a duty to puncture the myths that keep leading us to bad policies…its a surprise that they would be more likely to support the party that is slightly less beholden to mythology and appeals to emotion?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003657987619 Barefoot Bree

    There’s a third plausible option: that he’s just skimming stuff looking for quotes, and doesn’t even take the time to read the sentence surrounding the phrase with the number thoroughly. Basic research, step 1: skim. He forgets that step 2 is stop and read.

    In other words: quote-mining at its most distilled.

  • dingojack

    Ed – “After years and years of chronicling Barton’s claims, one can only conclude that he is either an inveterate liar or he simply doesn’t care what the truth is as long as it supports his agenda.”

    Nah he’s an invertebrate liar – totally spineless.

    Modus – “I can’t wait to find out which party African-Americans, Hispanics, single women and homosexuals vote for. Also, pandas, but that’s mostly because pandas, and everything pandas do, is adorable.”

    In the case of the lattermost, the Democratic Party, of course. But only because Obama panders to them.

    .

    Dingo

  • Wylann

    modus:

    Also, pandas, but that’s mostly because pandas, and everything pandas do, is adorable.

    Lies!!

    Otters. Otters are the cutest thing ever. Although to be fair, pandas are in the top 5.

  • http://ahcuah.wordpress.com/ ahcuah

    In fact, the report said that 96% of the faculty at elite colleges who did donate to one of the candidates donated to Obama, not that 96% of the faculty donated to Obama. This is pretty basic math.

    Actually, that particular instance is not so much basic math as basic reading comprehension.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Wylann “Lies!! Otters. Otters are the cutest thing ever. Although to be fair, pandas are in the top 5.”

    “Lies”? How dare you, sir! I never said that pandas were the “cutest thing ever”. I merely stated the objective facts that: 1) Pandas are adorable, and 2) Things that pandas do are also adorable. I didn’t even wade in to the panda v otter controversy that’s tearing our society apart. Nor do I intend to, since tardigrades are the cutest thing ever.

  • raven

    90% of all scientists favor the Democrats.

    A few decades ago it was 50:50.

    It’s known why there was this dramatic shift. The GOP War on Science. As noted above, why should a group that is hated and often mistreated favor the group that has launched a war on them?

  • Ellie

    Oh, give him a break. Poor guy. He’s obviously completely exhausted from speaking to over 600 groups a year whilst, and at the same time, working 14 hours a day on his ranch. No wonder he can’t keep his statistics straight.

  • dingojack

    Hmmm….. exhibit A

    I thought you had the key!

    :) Dingo

  • suttkus

    @Avenel

    There is another lie in there. He is claiming that every abortion by a person below 16 is due to statutory rape. But, if the partner was also below the age of consent, that wouldn’t be the case.

    This varies considerably by location. Some locations would consider both-under-AoC acts to be double-statutory rape, but most wouldn’t. Idaho’s law limits statutory rape as something that can only happen to women.

    Nice state-by-state summation here: http://www.cga.ct.gov/2003/olrdata/jud/rpt/2003-R-0376.htm

  • suttkus

    And Tardigrades are totally the cutest of all animals.

  • Chiroptera

    Remember, one of the problems we have with abortion clinics….

    … is that there aren’t enough of them, and health workers staff them at great risk.

    Okay, that’s two problems, but conservatives can’t do math anyway.

  • Synfandel

    “…almost 3/4 of abortions are to women who initiated sex at age 16 or younger…”

    What percentage of women initiate sex at age 16 or younger? If, hypothetically, 3/4 of women initiated sex at age 16 or younger, their abortion rate would match the population average and there would be no correlation whatsoever between these two data.

    So what’s his point?

  • had3

    According to Kinsey (2012) 40% of women have intercourse for the first time by age 16 and that jumps to 70% by age 18. So, women who engage in intercourse at a younger age are “over represented” when having abortions. That fact and $3.50 gets you a gallon go regular gas.

  • dingojack

    So let’s be clear here:

    “almost 3/4 of abortions are to women who initiated sex at age 16 or younger – 40% of women who begin sexual intercourse very early (12-13-14) will have abortions.”

    According to the CIA World Factbook there are 84,750,200 females between the age of 14 and 54 in the US*. Of these 33,900,080 were sexually active before they were 16 years old (40% from Kinsey cited above) and of those 13,560,032 will seek to have abortions at sometime in their lives (40% cited in the quote). According to the CDC “In 2010, 765,651 legal induced abortions were reported to CDC from 49 reporting areas”. So assume numbers are say ten percent higher, due to increased population in the intervening 3 years and under reporting of abortions (an assumption that is unfavourable), so 842,216. Of these 631,662 will be from those who were sexually active early in their lives (75%). That gives a rate of 631,662 abortions performed on 13,560,032 women or 4,658.263343 per 100,000 in the target group over an entire sexual lifetime. Assuming an average age of 38.5*, that would be 38.5 – 12 years each on average (note, this is also an unfavourable assumption) or 4,658.263343/26.5 or 175.783522 per 100,000 per year. Note also the CDC report says “The abortion rate for 2010 was 14.6 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44 years and the abortion ratio was 228 abortions per 1,000 live births.” or 1460 per 100,000 for the year 2010.

    Dingo

    ——–

    * from CIA World Factbbook’s 2013 July estimate.

    PS: note all numbers are rounded to the nearest integer (with the exceptions of the median age), all ratios to six decimal places (with the exception of the 2010 abortion rate)