Barton Finds Two Useless PhDs to Agree With Him

There are few things more important to the Christian right than academic credentials. That’s why so many creationists, like Kent Hovind, call themselves “Dr” by getting worthless PhDs from diploma mills. And it’s why David Barton made such a huge deal over the fact that two people with PhDs have written a book agreeing with him about Jefferson:

That’s why, we we came out with the book “The Jefferson Lies” that tore down all this stuff, man, the left went viciously through the roof and said “oh, that’s not true.” Well, now it turns out that other scholars, a couple of Ph.Ds have come out with a new book called “Doubting Thomas” that indeed reaches the same conclusions that we did on the faith of Jefferson … And so now Ph.Ds are out with this kind of stuff and we thought this is good because people need the apologetics on Thomas Jefferson because if you can take Jefferson away from left then it becomes very naked what they’re trying to do. They’re trying to impose their own personal agenda. It no longer has anything to do history or credibility. And so this will be a fun interview to look at Jefferson through the eyes of two PH.Ds who have done research work on Jefferson that has not been done in this generations for sure and I don’t think this kind of work has been done in Jefferson in the last one hundred years, quite frankly.

Wow, two people with PhDs! That proves what Barton said was true! Except, of course, it doesn’t, just like Barton’s constant mentions of how many footnotes he had in his book proves it to be true. And predictably, the two men he’s referring to have PhDs that have nothing remotely to do with history (Barton only has a bachelor’s, also in no way related to history). One is Jerry Newcombe, a wingnut preacher whose PhD is actually a D.Min. — a doctorate in ministry. The other is Mark Belilesis, whose PhD is from an unaccredited online seminary. Funny how he can never find an actual historian who agrees with him.

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  • wreck

    “They’re trying to impose their own personal agenda. It no longer has anything to do history or credibility.”

    Irony meter: KABOOM!!!!!

  • Mr Ed

    May I suggest a Free Though Blog fund raiser, each day for a dollar or two readers can download a unique bingo card. Each square would have some sort logical fallacy. Squares could be filed in from quotes used in Dispatches column. I just got “appeal to authority.”

  • Larry

    Funny how he can never find an actual historian who agrees with him

    That’s because of the personal agenda, Ed. Actual historians insist on presenting history the way it actually happened. If that isn’t an agenda, I don’t know what is.

  • http://cycleninja.blogspot.com cycleninja

    Could Barton tell the truth if he tried at this point?

  • Doc Bill

    Barton never has to tell the truth for a couple of reasons.

    First, he runs his own business, privately held, so he’s not accountable to anyone but himself. As long as he’s making money doing what he’s doing it’s all good.

    Second, Barton sells persecution. He’s one of “us” alerting people to “them.” Persecution sells big time on the Christian circuit. Imagine how pitiful Barton’s bottom line would be if he wrote factual, boring history books, or actually taught history at some college. No money in that, I can tell you!

    There’s gold in Wingnuttia! Sure, it’s covered in slime but you get used to the smell.

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

    Back when I was a young man, I worked in a diploma mill. I still remember that terrible day my PhD got caught in a saw. Luckily, I pried it loose with a BA, but it was never the same after that. The BA, however, didn’t even get a scratch. It was just as useless after was it was before.

  • peterh

    Having a diploma to wave about only proves somewhere there’s a dead sheep.

  • dingojack

    [Victorian drawing room. A Messenger bursts through the door at shouts – ]

    MESSENGER: There’s trouble at t’diploma mill!

    ‘Dr’ NEWCOMBE: What kind of trouble?

    MESSENGER: I don’t know. Mr Barton just told me to tell you that there’s trouble at t’mill. I didn’t expect some kind of Spanish Inquisition

    [& etc.]

    Dingo

  • Sastra

    Funny how he can never find an actual historian who agrees with him.

    James Randi says something to the effect that there is no idea so stupid, so ludicrous, or so ill-conceived that you can’t find a Phd scientist to agree with it. The same probably goes for people with PhDs in history. Every large group has someone who has gone off the rails — chemists who support homeopathy, psychologists who believe in alien abductions, geologists who argue that the earth is only 6,000 years old, etc. Sometimes the reason is religion … and sometimes the reason is obscure … but even cranks can call forth the mental discipline to get educated just enough to get legitimate credentials.

    I wouldn’t bet against Barton coming up with one of those.

  • Larry

    James Randi says something to the effect that there is no idea so stupid, so ludicrous, or so ill-conceived that you can’t find a Phd scientist to agree with it.

    I refer to that as Newton’s 2nd law of expertise: For every expert in a particular topic, there is always an equal and opposite expert whose expertise is inversely proportional to the first.

  • Pierce R. Butler

    There are few things more important to the Christian right than academic credentials.

    So why hasn’t Barton bought himself a nice set?

  • colnago80

    Re Sastra @ #9

    Every large group has someone who has gone off the rails — chemists who support homeopathy, psychologists who believe in alien abductions, geologists who argue that the earth is only 6,000 years old, etc.

    How about astrophysicists who believe in alien abductions? Case in point, the late J. Allen Hynek, professor of astrophysics at Northwestern Un. and at one time president of the American Astronomical Society.

  • Childermass

    I just got my Ph.D. in history out of a box of Cracker Jacks which has got to make just as qualified as those two guys and I note that Jefferson proved he was a fundamentalist evangelical Protestant Christian that any Ken Ham could be proud of by his endorsement of:

    The Universe is eternal.

    Its parts, great and small, interchangeable.

    Matter and Void alone

    Motion–inherent in matter which is weighty and declining.

    Eternal circulation of the elements of bodies.

    Gods, an order of beings next superior to man, enjoying in their sphere, their own felicities; but not meddling with the concerns of the scale of beings below them.

  • theguy

    “because if you can take Jefferson away from left then it becomes very naked what they’re trying to do.”

    Protect the government (and its separation of church and state) from people like Barton, who’d just tear down every constitutional protection they can find? To paraphrase Better Call Saul, Barton with political power is like giving a chimp a machine gun.

    “They’re trying to impose their own personal agenda. It no longer has anything to do history or credibility.”

    Sounds like your entire career. BTW, how credible are your stats for your college basketball career?

  • Hercules Grytpype-Thynne

    @Sastra

    Randi was channeling Cicero.

    Nihil tam absurdum dici potest ut non dicatur ab aliquo philosopho

    “Nothing can be said that is so absurd that some philosopher mightn’t say it.”

    Not that I want to open the whole “does philosophy have any value?” can of worms.

  • weatherwax

    #9 Sastra: “James Randi says something to the effect that there is no idea so stupid, so ludicrous, or so ill-conceived that you can’t find a Phd scientist to agree with it.”

    He also likes to point out getting a Phd turns off 2 circuits in your brain. The ones that allow you to say “I don’t know” and “I could be wrong”.