David Barton is a self-styled historian who is very popular with the religious right in the US. So much so, that Mike Huckabee, a contender in the 2008 Republican primaries, recommended that every American should be forced, at gunpoint, to listen to every David Barton message.
Barton is the founder of a religious political group known as the Wallbuilders.
David is the author of numerous best-selling books, with the subjects being drawn largely from his massive library of tens of thousands of original writings from the Founding Era. He also addresses well over 400 groups each year.
His exhaustive research has rendered him an expert in historical and constitutional issues and he serves as a consultant to state and federal legislators, has participated in several cases at the Supreme Court, was involved in the development of the History/Social Studies standards for states such as Texas and California, and has helped produce history textbooks now used in schools across the nation.
One of the things that happens with great regularity in the US is debates over the intentions of the Founding Fathers – the men who either signed the Declaration of Independence, or were instrumental in developing it. It is not a subject I usually have any interest in.
This instance crosses over between nonsensical ‘history’ and a major milestone in the history of science
According to Barton, these Founding Fathers, in particular Thomas Paine, had the creation/evolution debate and declared that creationism had to be taught in school. Never mind that Paine died in 1809, the year that Darwin was born, and Darwin didn’t leave on his Beagle voyage until 1831, and publish his diary in 1839. Even that book had nothing in it about evolution; The Origin of Species was not published until 1859.
People believe this man.
It is always troublesome when someone purporting to be a scholar invents their own facts to base theories upon. It is even more troublesome when people like Barton have the ear of the powerful politicians in the most powerful nation on earth. In the Middle East and Africa, we have seen the consequences of theocracies. It is terrifying to consider the US moving more and more in that direction.