The Absurdity of Mike Adams

Jon Rowe has a post at Positive Liberty where he deftly shreds the nonsense being spewed by Mike Adams about legislating morality. Here's what jumps out at me about Adams' screed. In the first part of his two part article on the subject, he declares himself to be the noble myth destroyer:

Part of my job as your professor is to dispel certain myths you learn in your other classes, especially sociology. If you decide to question these myths in Sociology 101, your professor is likely to assign you to sensitivity training sessions...

Needless to say, I can't take on all of the myths you will encounter every semester at UNC-Wilmington. In fact, each semester I design a project that focuses on just one of those myths. This semester I will focus on the myth that society "can't legislate morality."

Ah, the brave and noble truth-teller, tilting at the windmills of academic mythmaking. It's a common pose, and a useful one as well. But when one is caught, in the second part of that same article, not only peddling myths oneself, but peddling myths that have been exposed as such over and over again, one comes out looking rather foolish. To wit:

James Madison once said that "We have staked the future of all of our political institutions ... upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves, according to the Ten Commandments of God." Was this the same James Madison who wrote the First Amendment?

Well no, it's not. Because James Madison never said that, as has been pointed out literally hundreds of times and admitted even by Adams' pal David Barton, the modern purveyor of this myth. This is one of the many fake quotes that circulates among the religious right despite being debunked again and again. It simply will not die. And the fact that it's repeated credulously by a guy who fancies himself a scholar and poses as a quasher of myths is really quite absurd.

More like this

Jon Rowe and I have spent a good deal of time over the last couple years documenting the numerous fake quotations from the founding fathers that circulate among the religious right continually, almost all of them traced back to David Barton and his pseudo-historical books and videos. No matter how…
Jon Rowe has a post linking to this article by Dave Daubenmire, a guy whose sole credentials are that he once coached high school football. Now, I remember taking classes from the coaches in high school. I remember having to explain econometric formulas to the baseball coach who taught economics,…
Jon Rowe is back to blogging at his own place and has kept up the great writing he has been doing the last couple weeks. I'm gonna take a stab in the dark and guess that he hasn't been teaching because of holiday vacation and has had more time to write? Whatever the reason, you should look at this…
There is an e-mail making the rounds with a set of arguments alleging to prove that the US is a "Christian Nation." The entire e-mail was taken directly, word for word, from this webpage:, which was in turn taken from an article in Worldnetdaily, and…

Don't forget, in the same drivel he rehashes the myth that gays only has a life expectancy of about 40. Nimrod. Did he post simliar disinformative posts while applying for tenure? If so, he should have been denied (I think he was, but won on appeal or is currently fighting the denial).

One myth that Rowe does not sufficiently address that is cribbed from Barton is this one:

How many of our Founding Fathers attended seminary? (Hint: It is more than 26 and less than 28).

In fact there was no such thing as a seminary in North America in the modern sense until the 19th century. Many Founding Fathers attended colleges like Harvard, Yale, William and Mary, Oxford and Cambridge. They no doubt got a significant dose of theology there (as did those who attended 18th century grade schools) but by the 1820's or 1830's almost all of them (with Princeton being a notable exception) were moving to a more secular curriculum. These were not seminaries in any sense of the word.

Can you name the 1981 Arkansas case in which the ACLU (the ones who brought us the Scopes case) argued that teaching both evolution and creation is actually in violation of the First Amendment?

Um, would that be the case in which the judge ruled that it is in violation of the first amendment? The case in which the judge wrote:

The approach to teaching "creation science" and "evolution-science" found in Act 590 is identical to the two-model approach espoused by the Institute for Creation Research and is taken almost verbatim from ICR writings. It is an extension of Fundamentalists' view that one must either accept the literal interpretation of Genesis or else believe in the godless system of evolution.

The two model approach of the creationists is simply a contrived dualism (22) which has not scientific factual basis or legitimate educational purpose. It assumes only two explanations for the origins of life and existence of man, plants and animals: it was either the work of a creator or it was not. Application of these two models, according to creationists, and the defendants, dictates that all scientific evidence which fails to support the theory of evolution is necessarily scientific evidence in support of creationism and is, therefore, creation science "evidence" in support of Section 4(a).
If creation science is, in fact, science and not religion, as the defendants claim, it is difficult to see how the teaching of such a science could "neutralize" the religious nature of evolution.
Assuming for the purposes of argument, however, that evolution is a religion or religious tenet, the remedy is to stop the teaching of evolution, not establish another religion in opposition to it. Yet it is clearly established in the case law, and perhaps also in common sense, that evolution is not a religion and that teaching evolution does not violate the Establishment Clause

By Ginger Yellow (not verified) on 14 Nov 2006 #permalink

Thanks. Yes, the seminary degree thing is probably another one of Barton's BS talking points. I could see Barton saying simply graduating with a degree from Harvard, Yale, or Princeton qualifies as getting a "seminary degree." But as I said, I'm still looking into this one.

You can only call statements of fact "myths". Opinions on political philosophy aren't "myths" no matter how much you disagree with them.

In fact there was no such thing as a seminary in North America in the modern sense until the 19th century.

Laval University in Quebec began as something that called itself a seminary in the 17th century.

But perhaps this fails to be in the modern sense.

Anyhow, it's tangential to the main argument.

"The origins of the university are the Séminaire de Québec founded in 1663..."

By El Christador (not verified) on 14 Nov 2006 #permalink

Laval University in Quebec began as something that called itself a seminary in the 17th century.

My apologies if, in fact, I dissed the Canadians. My research only covered the American colonies and I assumed (evidently incorrectly) that the Canadians would be even more behind.

My research only covered the American colonies and I assumed (evidently incorrectly) that the Canadians would be even more behind.

No offense taken. I'm not sure that I would put having seminaries on an ahead-behind axis anyway. It is possible that the relevant factor is not so much being "ahead" as that, (at least to my understanding) the province of Quebec was essentially a Roman Catholic theocracy up until the 1960's.

By El Christador (not verified) on 14 Nov 2006 #permalink