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David Paszkiewicz Letter to Editor

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It appears that Mr. P has taken these quotes almost verbatum from a right wing Christian fundamentalist website which is run by a self appointed 'expert' on these matters by the name of David Barton.

Mr. Barton runs a website called 'Wallbuilders'.

Really? What's the evidence that he took the quotations from that source?

It's got to be more than the fact that each quotation may be found there, right?

That is, unless one (or more) of the quotations is distinctive of the Barton site?

Barton appears to be nothing more than another right wing religious nutjob who has been described as a "pseudo-historian", and whose work has been described as "laced with exaggerations, half-truths and misstatements of fact."

For an analysis of the apparent source of Mr. P's quotations quotations visit

www.rightwingwatch.org/individuals/david_paszkiewi/index.html

1) This source ("Kyle"--no last name--from "People for the American Way") has not yet provided reasonable evidence to warrant a conclusion that Paszkiewicz used Barton as a source.

2) Regardless of #1, PFAW provides no substantive criticism of Barton's conclusions, instead preferring to tar him via name-calling ("skewed 'scholarship,'" guilt by (loose/looser/loosest) association with an Identity movement group).

If this letter to the editor is typical of the quality of Mr. P's historical analytical abilities, then it appears that the students at Kearny High School are being sorely disadvantaged by having him as their history teacher, even apart from his preaching and his ridiculous scientific blunders.

The foregoing statement is not made in the company of supporting evidence, unless we count the smear campaign against Barton--and no reasonable effort has been made to connect Barton to Paszkiewicz.

I think he final paragraph of the above article sums up Mr. P's situation quite concisely.

"As a history teacher, Paszkiewicz ought to know better than to rely on a "historian" whose credentials are as suspect as Barton's. If he keeps this up, Paszkiewicz may soon need to issue his own list of “Unconfirmed Quotations.”

And the conclusion is yet another smear made without the benefit of supporting evidence.

The effort by "Kyle" to discredit Paszkiewicz indirectly through Barton is wholly laughable. "Kyle" provides no affirmative case for connecting the two apart from the fact that four quotations may be found used by both--but "Kyle" himself notes that one of the quotations is different between the two (the Washington address of the Delaware Indians).

Shouldn't that be a clue that Paszkiewicz did not use Barton's work as his source?

Don't let the evidence distract you from the conclusion you seek to draw, "Kyle."

As already pointed out, however, the real point is that Paszkiewicz's thesis has not been challenged. The case stands on its own apart from the source (otherwise the critics are guilty of a genetic fallacy), but no attempt is made to address the argument itself.

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Guest plunge

Paszkiewicz has already established that he was unethical, but his letter now establishes that he has too poor a grasp of history to be qualified to teach it as well.

Quote mining is the game of creationists and holocaust deniers: you can't do history by excerpting short quotes from the writings of famous figures: historians need to address their ENTIRE body of work and what it says, not pick and choose phrases you think support a particular interpretation and ignore all the rest. It's even worse when half of the quotes are fabricated in the first place. And further even worse that Paszkiewicz seems to think that merely establishing that some of the founders liked religion makes his case, when in fact it's completely irrelevant.

Brayton's post explains why Paszkiewicz is completely out of his depth on this one. And Paszkiewicz, no doubt, doesn't even have the knowledge or background to continue the discussion: adapting a Wallbuilder's article into his own words was about as complex as he could get.

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It would be if Mr. P. had spoken differently. He might have said "One reason a believer might accept the veracity of the Bible is if it contained specific prophesies that could be shown to have come true." That isn't what he said.

That is, in fact, the content of what he said when fixed in the original context.

He said that the Bible was full of prophesies that did come true. That's a claim for the truth of his religion, pure and simple.

In the context, he is simply making the point that there is reason for accepting the Bible apart from blind faith, which was the issue introduced by the student (LaClair, IIRC).

It would be disingenuous to try to paint Paszkiewicz's purpose as proselytization when the context so plainly indicates that the facts to which he alludes (supported by an encyclopedic reference, no less) pertain to epistemology in general for purposes of comparison.

That's a legal/constitutional question, and I don't have the expertise to answer authoritatively.

Hopefully you won't just buy what lawyers, judges and lawmakers tell you without considering the merit (or lack thereof) of their arguments.

But from my understanding, no, the topic of religion is not off-limits in a public classroom. Nor do I think it should be. However, based on my understanding of how courts currently interpret the constitution, it is off limits for a teacher to present their religion as true. That interpretationi also fits my personal views on the matter.

It would be okay if Paszkiewicz said that some believe the Bible is true because of fulfilled prophecy, but only if he fails to give examples and/or makes sure that he is not seen as believing it himself? Is that the general idea?

I disagree in part. I agree that he didn't tell students that they must accept his ideas as true. Whether he had any intent to convince them is unknowable, so I give him the benefit of the doubt there as well.

You rock.

:)

However, he was not simply illustrating the possible rational basis of religious belief in the abstract. He was attempting to illustrate that his religious beliefs are rational. That is not the same thing.

The student asked about belief in the Bible, specifically. Paszkiewicz gave an answer in that context that could have been given by a Jew, a Muslim or a Christian.

Again, he could have prefaced his statements by saying "A believer might argue that...." He did not.

I'd argue that the context supplies that idea. Taking Paszkiewicz's comments out of context makes him appear at fault.

Have I been inconsistent? If so, I apologize, but I don't recall when. If you'll kindly provide an illustrative quote, perhaps I can clarify.

You are amply protected from appearing inconsistent by keeping your definition of "religious belief" out of view.

If I should venture to charge you with inconsistency, just say that's not what you meant and the matter should be put to rest. ;)

As I said, reasonable people may sometimes disagree on what is or is not a religious belief. If I thought this case were at all equivocal, that would be one thing. But it's not (IMO). Do you disagree?

Of course I disagree.

Do you deny that Mr. P. was discussing religious beliefs, by any reasonable definition of the term?

I don't know what you mean by "reasonable definition of the term" since you don't have any inclination to define the term.

I don't think there is any reasonable definition of the term that will protect hundreds (thousands) of U.S. teachers from charges like those brought against Paszkiewicz--and I'm not talking about advocates of the Bible or Christianity.

Personally, I think your question of "what is a religious belief" is something of a debating trick. An attempt to shift the subject.

And you can explain how explicitly defining the key idea in the debate distracts from the subject?

If I were to place great emphasis on your unwillingness to define the key term and try to replace the discussion of constitutionality with a discussion of your debating tactics, then your suggestion would be reasonable.

That's far from my intent. My intent is to show that the case against Paszkiewicz (as it has commonly been made) is a case of special pleading.

Unless you're prepared to argue that Mr. P was not discussing religion, your question isn't relevant.

Non sequitur, since I might find areas where you are very happy to see "religious beliefs" as you define them (if you're consistent) taught in the public school setting.

That, of course, would bring us back to the criterion you use to find Paszkiewicz's speech unacceptable.

Just because some cases may be arguable doesn't mean every case is.

Agreed, but I haven't made that argument--have I?

As an analogy, consider that green and yellow are unquestionably different colors, even if it's difficult to precisely divide green from yellow on the color spectrum.

Why should I believe that it is obviously green in the first place?

This is not one of those difficult cases.

Oh, well then I simply shouldn't argue about it it, then.

Verily, your technique of not defining green is a stroke of genius.

Mr. P. was unambiguously discussing religious beliefs; his religious beliefs in particular. Based on the transcript, it seems clear that he repeatedly made truth claims about his religious beliefs. (I say "seems" to acknowledge that I don't know for a fact that the transcript is accurate.) You can argue that he was merely answering students' questions in a hypothetical way, but the posted transcript doesn't support you.

It wasn't hypothetical. It was by example.

If you committed any typos, none of them caught my eye.

I realize this is the Internet, anyway. Message boards are not the place to obsess over spelling. Unless maybe one is paid to moderate.

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Paszkiewicz has already established that he was unethical, but his letter now establishes that he has too poor a grasp of history to be qualified to teach it as well.

I'll bet if you tested history teachers across the nation, Paskiewicz would be solidly in the middle if not in the upper half.

Quote mining is the game of creationists and holocaust deniers: you can't do history by excerpting short quotes from the writings of famous figures: historians need to address their ENTIRE body of work and what it says, not pick and choose phrases you think support a particular interpretation and ignore all the rest.

Yet that's what many have done with Paszkiewicz.

And those people are creationists and holocaust deniers, you say?

It's even worse when half of the quotes are fabricated in the first place.

You can specify which?

And further even worse that Paszkiewicz seems to think that merely establishing that some of the founders liked religion makes his case, when in fact it's completely irrelevant.

Can't Paszkiewicz have his own purpose for writing without running the post past you first for approval of the topic?

Is that another creationist trick--ignoring the content and context of a post and projecting your own subject on top of it in order to proclaim it "irrelevant"?

So how long have you been a creationist? Or are you a holocaust denier, instead?

:)

Brayton's post explains why Paszkiewicz is completely out of his depth on this one.

Brayton's no historian; he committed a good hanful of errors in his post.

Lippard should have thought twice about citing him.

And Paszkiewicz, no doubt, doesn't even have the knowledge or background to continue the discussion: adapting a Wallbuilder's article into his own words was about as complex as he could get.

Ah, so you bought the Paszkiewicz/Wallbuilder connection.

What was the key evidence that established that connection, in your opinion?

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Guest DingoDave

Dear Bryan,

To any fair minded individual it should be obvious that Paszkiewicz has used David Barton as a source for his quotations. It's not so much the 'quotations' of your founding fathers that gives him away, it the 'MIS-QUOTATIONS' that give him away.

Most of the inaccurate and out of context quotes that Paszkiewicz used in his letter to the editor are virtually identical to what David Barton has been spreading around on his own crusade to re-write American history.

There has been quite a reaction to Paszkiewicz's letter on the blogosphere. I suggest that you follow up on some of the links that have been provided and do some of your own reseach.

A good first exercise for you, would be to visit this web page:

http://anotherhistoryblog.blogspot.com/200...n-on-jesus.html

This website is run by David Parker who is a Professor of History at Kennesaw State University in Northwest Georgia.

Concerning the likelihood of David Barton being the source of these quotes, here's what he has to say on the matter.

"A posting by People for the American Way suggests that Paszkiewicz got his quotations from David Barton, who is well-known for misquoting, pulling words out of context, etc. I suspected as much--Paszkiewicz's letter had Barton written all over it..."

If you would please get your head out of your arse for just one moment, you might be able to see some daylight for a change.

Or how about this for an idea?

Why don't you try asking David Paszkiewicz where he got those quotes from?

Oh, on second thoughts, given David's track record for playing fast and loose with the truth, that might not work as well as it should.

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Guest bewildered

Really? What's the evidence that he took the quotations from that source?

It's got to be more than the fact that each quotation may be found there, right?

That is, unless one (or more) of the quotations is distinctive of the Barton site?

I got it! I got it! Paszkiewicz's letter and Barton piece were almost identical because...Barton was merely prophesying what Paszkiewicz going to say.

Get a grip, Bryan. There is ample evidence that Barton is a fraud. He misuses quotes, alters quotes, and makes up quotes. Google his name and you will find many sites that disprove his work.

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Guest Guest
The effort by "Kyle" to discredit Paszkiewicz indirectly through Barton is wholly laughable.  "Kyle" provides no affirmative case for connecting the two apart from the fact that four quotations may be found used by both--but "Kyle" himself notes that one of the quotations is different between the two (the Washington address of the Delaware Indians).

Shouldn't that be a clue that Paszkiewicz did not use Barton's work as his source?

Yes, it should. But even if you could fully discredit the claim that Paszkiewicz's source is Barton, (which you haven't, that connection remains plausible even if not satisfactorily proven) it doesn't do much to make Paszkiewicz look any better. Especially when you consider that Paszkiewicz's version of the Washington claim was the poorer of the two in that Paszkiewicz incorrectly presented as a direct quote something that was pretty clearly paraphrasing in Barton's version.

What Barton said:

(Quoted directly from the wallbuilders site, which is linked from the rightwingwatch.org article. The ellipsis at the end is mine)

Nor does George Washington. He was an open promoter of Christianity. For example, in his speech on May 12, 1779, he claimed that what children needed to learn “above all” was the “religion of Jesus Christ,” and that to learn this would make them “greater and happier than they already are”...

What Paszkiewicz said:

(quoted directly from Paszkiewicz letter as reproduced on the theobserver.com site, which is linked from the rightwingwatch.org article.)

George Washington, the venerated father of our beloved country, also had some interesting thoughts on the subject:“What students would learn in American schools above all is the religion of Jesus Christ.” (Washington’s speech to the Delaware Indian Chiefs May 12, 1779).

What George Washington said:

(quoted from the online edition of "George Washington, A Collection" at the oll.libertyfund.org website, which is linked from the rightwingwatch.org article)

Brothers: I am glad you have brought three of the Children of your principal Chiefs to be educated with us. I am sure Congress will open the Arms of love to them, and will look upon them as their own Children, and will have them educated accordingly. This is a great mark of your confidence and of your desire to preserve the friendship between the Two Nations to the end of time, and to become One people with your Brethren of the United States. My ears hear with pleasure the other matters you mention. Congress will be glad to hear them too. You do well to wish to learn our arts and ways of life, and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ. These will make you a greater and happier people than you are. Congress will do every thing they can to assist you in this wise intention; and to tie the knot of friendship and union so fast, that nothing shall ever be able to loose it.

Of the three, that last is the only one that appears at all credible. That source presents the complete speech, not just the part I've quoted above. And amazingly (or perhaps not), it is not at all the ringing endorsement of classroom proseletyzing that both Paszkiewicz and Barton portray it as.

So, even if Barton is not Paszkiewicz's direct(*) source, the criticism about using suspect sources remains valid in the general sense.

There's some pretty blatant dishonesty going on in Paszkiewicz's letter. If not on the part of Paszkiewicz himself, then at least on the part of his source(s). And even if Paszkiewicz is only unknowingly and passing on these falsehoods, intending no dishonesty at all, it still speaks poorly for his competence as a history teacher. Really, Bryan. How can you, in good conscience, defend this?

* I say "direct" because a quick search shows similar articles scattered all over the web, many of them similar enough to Barton's to reasonably suspect that they were derived from Barton. Though this is not at all proveable or defensible as anything more than speculation, it still seems to me quite likely that Paszkiewicz's source(s) were at least indirectly connected with Barton, even if not Barton himself.

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Guest WilliamK
Quote mining is the game of creationists and holocaust deniers: you can't do history by excerpting short quotes from the writings of famous figures: historians need to address their ENTIRE body of work and what it says, not pick and choose phrases you think support a particular interpretation and ignore all the rest.  It's even worse when half of the quotes are fabricated in the first place.  And further even worse that Paszkiewicz seems to think that merely establishing that some of the founders liked religion makes his case, when in fact it's completely irrelevant.

Quote mining is not an inherently dishonest or bad way to support an argument. But because it is so often abused, the reader is wise to seek out the original context. Unfortunately, there's a tendency not to do that when the reader agrees with the case the quoter is trying to make. Yet that is when it is MOST important to check the claims, because that is when we are most vulnerable to being deceived.

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Dear Bryan,

To any fair minded individual it should be obvious that Paszkiewicz has used David Barton as a source for his quotations.

Oh, really.

May I assume that fair-minded people give some consideration to evidence?

What have you got?

It's not so much the 'quotations' of your founding fathers that gives him away, it the 'MIS-QUOTATIONS'  that give him away.

Most of the inaccurate and out of context quotes that Paszkiewicz used in his letter to the editor are virtually identical to what David Barton has been spreading around on his own crusade to re-write American history.

So name one that is distinctive of Barton--unless you can come up with two or more.

There has been quite a reaction to Paszkiewicz's letter on the blogosphere. I suggest that you follow up on some of the links that have been provided and do some of your own resea[r]ch.

A good first exercise for you, would be  to visit this web page:

http://anotherhistoryblog.blogspot.com/200...n-on-jesus.html

This website is run by David Parker who is a Professor of History at Kennesaw State University in Northwest Georgia. 

Concerning the likelihood of David Barton being the source of these quotes, here's what he has to say on the matter.

"A posting by People for the American Way suggests that Paszkiewicz got his quotations from David Barton, who is well-known for misquoting, pulling words out of context, etc. I suspected as much--Paszkiewicz's letter had Barton written all over it..."

So Parker has his suspicions confirmed by the evidenceless case made by "Kyle" @ PFAW? What's he doing teaching history at the university level if he allows his mind to be made up on zero real evidence?

http://forums.kearnyontheweb.com/index.php...pic=3727&st=40#

As for the "AnotherHistory" blog, that guy only comments on the one Jefferson quotation. You might want to do your own research on what I've already written in this thread:

http://forums.kearnyontheweb.com/index.php...opic=3727&st=0#

If you would please get your head out of your arse for just one moment, you might be able to see some daylight for a change.

So why don't you show us some daylight instead of just asserting without evidence that I'm wrong about something?

Or how about this for an idea?

Why don't you try asking David Paszkiewicz where he got those quotes from?

You really think that's better than going to skeptics who just jump to conclusions minus any substantial evidence?

:)

Oh, on second thoughts, given David's track record for playing fast and loose with the truth, that might not work as well as it should.

So, you don't have evidence but you feel comfortable launching personal attacks on me (first paragraph) and Paskiewicz (final paragraph).

http://www.eadshome.com/Jefferson.htm

You might also want to clue yourself in, DingoDave, to the fact that the genetic fallacy is, after all, a fallacy.

http://www.fallacyfiles.org/genefall.html

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Guest WilliamK
Regardless of the context?

Of course the context matters. The fundamental disagreement is not whether what was said might be ok in some context, but whether such a context exists in this case. You seem to think it does. But I and many others are not convinced of that.

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Anonymous guests qualify for the "three strikes" plan.

Good luck, "Guest"

Yes, it should. But even if you could fully discredit the claim that Paszkiewicz's source is Barton, (which you haven't, that connection remains plausible even if not satisfactorily proven) it doesn't do much to make Paszkiewicz look any better.

If it's proven, it's still the genetic fallacy. I just thought it would be fun to examine the utter lack of reasoning presented in favor of the conclusion.

Especially when you consider that Paszkiewicz's version of the Washington claim was the poorer of the two in that Paszkiewicz incorrectly presented as a direct quote something that was pretty clearly paraphrasing in Barton's version.

If you had done as much research as I have done on this, you'd be aware that the version cited by Paszkiewicz was sourced to a published government document from earlier the early 20th century. Whether the quotation actually appears in that document I do not know--but incredulity isn't much of an argument against, is it?

Given that the precise version used by Paszkiewicz is found in relative abundance on the Web (and not by Barton), this argues strongly that Barton was not the source.

What Barton said:

(Quoted directly from the wallbuilders site, which is linked from the rightwingwatch.org article. The ellipsis at the end is mine)

Nor does George Washington. He was an open promoter of Christianity. For example, in his speech on May 12, 1779, he claimed that what children needed to learn “above all” was the “religion of Jesus Christ,” and that to learn this would make them “greater and happier than they already are”...

What Paszkiewicz said:

(quoted directly from Paszkiewicz letter as reproduced on the theobserver.com site, which is linked from the rightwingwatch.org article.)

George Washington, the venerated father of our beloved country, also had some interesting thoughts on the subject:“What students would learn in American schools above all is the religion of Jesus Christ.” (Washington’s speech to the Delaware Indian Chiefs May 12, 1779).

Yes, and?

They're so similar that the latter must have been taken from the former? Gimme a break.

http://www.eadshome.com/GeorgeWashington.htm

What George Washington said:

(quoted from the online edition of "George Washington, A Collection" at the oll.libertyfund.org website, which is linked from the rightwingwatch.org article)

Brothers: I am glad you have brought three of the Children of your principal Chiefs to be educated with us. I am sure Congress will open the Arms of love to them, and will look upon them as their own Children, and will have them educated accordingly. This is a great mark of your confidence and of your desire to preserve the friendship between the Two Nations to the end of time, and to become One people with your Brethren of the United States. My ears hear with pleasure the other matters you mention. Congress will be glad to hear them too. You do well to wish to learn our arts and ways of life, and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ. These will make you a greater and happier people than you are. Congress will do every thing they can to assist you in this wise intention; and to tie the knot of friendship and union so fast, that nothing shall ever be able to loose it.

Of the three, that last is the only one that appears at all credible.That source presents the complete speech, not just the part I've quoted above. And amazingly (or perhaps not), it is not at all the ringing endorsement of classroom proseletyzing that both Paszkiewicz and Barton portray it as.

*Sigh*

Again with the straw man argument.

Paszkiewicz argued that those key framers did not have the popular notion of church/state separation in mind; I expect that he would argue that he was not proselytizing. The version that Paszkiewicz used, while apparently not accurate, is a fair paraphrase of Washington.

http://oll.libertyfund.org/Texts/LFBooks/W..._lf026.head.060

Just for fun, you should see if Barton ever used the version of the quotation that Paszkiewicz used.

So, even if Barton is not Paszkiewicz's direct(*) source, the criticism about using suspect sources remains valid in the general sense.

That technique ends up addressing Paskiewicz rather than Paszkiewicz's argument.

It's an inductive ad hominem of dubious value in debating the issue that Paszkiewicz broached.

There's some pretty blatant dishonesty going on in Paszkiewicz's letter. If not on the part of Paszkiewicz himself, then at least on the part of his source(s).

So, whoever got the quotations wrong, they did it on purpose?

Are you a psychic, or what?

And even if Paszkiewicz is only unknowingly and passing on these falsehoods, intending no dishonesty at all, it still speaks poorly for his competence as a history teacher. Really, Bryan. How can you, in good conscience, defend this?

Defend what? Using inaccurate quotations? I haven't done that.

How about you spell out what you think I'm defending, just to assure me that you intend no dishonest innuendo as part of an attack against me.

* I say "direct" because a quick search shows similar articles scattered all over the web, many of them similar enough to Barton's to reasonably suspect that they were derived from Barton.

lol

Describe those key similarities anytime.

Though this is not at all proveable or defensible as anything more than speculation, it still seems to me quite likely that Paszkiewicz's source(s) were at least indirectly connected with Barton, even if not Barton himself.

All roads lead to Barton, it seems.

I don't see why you're putting such effort into a genetic fallacy.

The jig is up.

Address the argument, or find something else constructive to do.

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Guest Steve_C

It's clear that with this letter Mr. P is defending what he did in his class.

He's willing to look at the founding father's efforts to keep the government out of controlling religion or over burdening it with taxes but ignores the fact they also clearly wanted government not to endorse any religion or have the irreligious descriminated against.

The one thing he should of done was apologize for what he did and apologize to the town for bringing the attention to it. He didn't. He also proves he doesn't understand one of the most important facts about our country. Its government is intended to be secular.

Mr P gets an F in American history, and he gets and F in science too.

Oh, how can we not all be laughing are asses off when he believes there were dinosaurs on Noah's ark.

Defend him all you want. But he's a joke.

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It's clear that with this letter Mr. P is defending what he did in his class.

Hey, why don't you pick up your new post without the benefit of context?

"He also forgets that the schools at the time of the founding fathers were private schools.

There were very few public schools at the time."

-Steve

Yes, he was defending what he did in class (I don't think I've argued otherwise), but the paucity or absence of public schools during the time of the framers isn't really relevant to that point.

It's silly to suggest that Paszkiewiecz "forgets" about it.

He's willing to look at the founding father's efforts to keep the government out of controlling religion or over burdening it with taxes but ignores the fact they also clearly wanted government not to endorse any religion or have the irreligious descriminated against.

Well, you've got your facts messed up.

The framers wanted the national government barred from establishing a religion. If they were agreed that government in general should not have any ability to legislate concerning religion then they would have made that explicit in the Constitution in such a way that the various established state religions of the time were ended with the adoption of the Constitution.

Yet quotation from framers have been produced recognizing the ability of the states to establish a religion under the Constitution--but all we hear from the other side is "Barton!" "Out of context!" "Liars!" and the like.

The one thing he should of done was apologize for what he did and apologize to the town for bringing the attention to it. He didn't. He also proves he doesn't understand one of the most important facts about our country. Its government is intended to be secular.

So, in your view the framers intended for the Constitution to bar city governments from legislating on religious matters?

Seriously?

Mr P gets an F in American history, and he gets and F in science too.

Shouldn't you establish some ability of your own before assigning grades to others?

Answer my former question.

Oh, how can we not all be laughing are asses off when he believes there were dinosaurs on Noah's ark.

Maybe toleration and respect for others could come into play on that?

Defend him all you want. But he's a joke.

That's easy to say, certainly, but you don't seem to have any real evidence to stack up against his argument, Steve.

All you do is repeat your own dubious understanding of history and then declare that Paszkiewicz doesn't measure up.

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Bryan, seriously, come on now...who do you think you're kidding?

No evidence? Regardless of whether he actually got the specific words from Barton, just about all of his quotes appear on Barton's site too. And the fact of the matter is that Barton is a known pseudo-historian and liar who has misrepresented, misquoted, and/or MADE UP all of the quotes on his website in order to achieve the same end--that is, trying to rewrite history for the benefit of power-hungry Christians.

So, does it matter whether Mr. P. actually got his quotes directly from Barton's site? No, not really--the fact of the matter is, he is quoting KNOWN BULLSHIT. You're just trying to dodge the issue by pouncing on the trivial matter of whether or not his words came from that specific site, instead of the fact that we know these quotes are bullshit. I mean, Barton originated most (if not all) of the quotes on his site--seeing someone else quote them does pretty much guarantee who the original source is, no?

On top of that, he is a HISTORY teacher! He has no excuse for making such dishonest and inaccurate quotations. He is at best incompetent as a history teacher for quote-mining, and at worst a flat-out liar for knowing. Those are your options--incompetence or dishonesty. Personally, I'm going with dishonesty.

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I didn't say it was official.  I said it is done, and that things are not as secular as you would like them to appear.  Does that frighten you? :)

Not a bit; why would I be "frightened" by the private religious actions of people I've never met, as long as they don't affect me?

Plenty of Congress people go to church every Sunday, too; as long as they don't try to make it part of their official duties as government officials, I'm fine with it. Because the government is set up to be secular; the private actions of individuals AWAY from their governmental duties are their own concern.

That's kind of, y'know, the whole POINT of Paskiewicz's crime. He brought his preaching into the classroom, where it has no place.

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Guest Jim Lippard

Paszkiewicz's quote attributed to the Benjamin Rush letter is erroneous--it is an accurate, but misleading and out-of-context quotation from another Jefferson letter, to Charles Thomson on January 9, 1816. In that letter, Jefferson described himself as a "disciple of the doctrines of Jesus," referring specifically to those doctrines found in his "Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth" (also known as the "Jefferson Bible"). The Jefferson Bible was constructed from the gospels by removing the material Jefferson thought was not authentic, which included Jesus' claims to divinity and his miracles.

You can find the Jefferson letter to Thomson here:

http://etext.virginia.edu/etcbin/toccer-ne...7&division=div1

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Bryan, seriously, come on now...who do you think you're kidding?

Is that supposed to be an argument?

No evidence?

I believe I used the phrase "no real evidence" (bold emphasis added).

No real evidence, correct.

Regardless of whether he actually got the specific words from Barton, just about all of his quotes appear on Barton's site too.

Except for those that do not?

lol

Who do you think you're kidding?

And the fact of the matter is that Barton is a known pseudo-historian and liar who has misrepresented, misquoted, and/or MADE UP all of the quotes on his website in order to achieve the same end--that is, trying to rewrite history for the benefit of power-hungry Christians.

So you insist upon the genetic fallacy, or what?

So, does it matter whether Mr. P. actually got his quotes directly from Barton's site? No, not really--the fact of the matter is, he is quoting KNOWN BULLSHIT.

All of the quotations that Barton uses are false, then?

You're just trying to dodge the issue by pouncing on the trivial matter of whether or not his words came from that specific site, instead of the fact that we know these quotes are bullshit.

I was not the one who introduced the trivial matter of the alleged origin of the quotations.

On the contrary, I have pointed out that the emphasis on the origin of the quotations constitutes a genetic fallacy, and moreover that the evidence produced to tie Paszkiewicz to Barton is thin indeed.

I've also provided URLs to a far more likely origin for the quotations (I believe that all of the quotations are found at the site, in addition to the Delaware Indian address in the same form as used by Paszkiewicz).

I've called it a dead end, and it is people like you who insist on making an issue of it, even while ironically accusing me of changing the subject.

The evidence is against those who allege a Barton/Paszkiewicz link. Ignore the facts at your own peril.

I mean, Barton originated most (if not all) of the quotes on his site--seeing someone else quote them does pretty much guarantee who the original source is, no?

If Barton originated the quotations, then they must all be fabrications, no?

Otherwise we could suppose that Washington, Jefferson, and Franklin originated at least some of the quotations.

Others have already noted that many Web sites collect quotations touching the same or similar subject matter. As noted above, I provided the URL for one that seems a closer match than the Barton hypothesis--but some won't let go of the genetic fallacy despite the evidence.

Barton really is irrelevant to what Paszkiewicz wrote--and I'd be delighted to focus on the argument presented by Paszkiewicz based on its own merits, if others in the thread can find their way to relinquishing the obsession with Barton.

On top of that, he is a HISTORY teacher! He has no excuse for making such dishonest and inaccurate quotations.

I'd hope for better, but I'm a realist. I know what public schoolteachers are like, on balance. As I said before: If you took a survey you'd probably find Paskiewicz right around the middle if not distinctly in the upper half.

Who would you hire to replace the 50% of teachers you would fire?

He is at best incompetent as a history teacher for quote-mining, and at worst a flat-out liar for knowing. Those are your options--incompetence or dishonesty.

Your posts mark you as one who is in no position to judge the competence of others.

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Paszkiewicz's quote attributed to the Benjamin Rush letter is erroneous--it is an accurate, but misleading and out-of-context quotation from another Jefferson letter, to Charles Thomson on January 9, 1816.  In that letter, Jefferson described himself as a "disciple of the doctrines of Jesus," referring specifically to those doctrines found in his "Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth" (also known as the "Jefferson Bible").  The Jefferson Bible was constructed from the gospels by removing the material Jefferson thought was not authentic, which included Jesus' claims to divinity and his miracles.

You can find the Jefferson letter to Thomson here:

http://etext.virginia.edu/etcbin/toccer-ne...7&division=div1

Thanks, Jim.

That adds another nail to the coffin of those who have alleged on such flimsy evidence that Paszkiewicz drew his material from Barton.

The site that I have suggested as the source attributes the quotation to the Rush missive rather than the letter to Thomson.

That's pretty good evidence.

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Guest Guest

Dear Bryan,

You make some interesting points in your postings regarding not jumping to conclusions about the direct sources of Mr. P's quotes.

So for the moment, I'm willing to grant you the possibility that Mr.P didn't directly rely on David Barton as his inspiration for the quotes contained in his letter to the editor.

However, given that Barton is the main player in this particular arena, and given the fact that his ideas are so widely circulated and quoted among Christian organisations, I'm afraid I find it harder to believe that Barton has not had an influence, either directly or indirectly, on shaping Mr. P's outlook than to believe that he has.

OK, let's suppose for the moment that Barton's ideas have exerted absolutely no influence on Mr. P. How does that change anything with regard to Mr. P's behaviour in his classes or the dismissive attitude he displayed in his letter to the editor?

Why are you so vigorously defending him?

Do you sincerely believe that every religious fanatic should be given the right to promote their crazy ideas in public school classes the way Mr. P has done?

Suppose for a moment that Mr. P was a Scientologist or a Raelian. Would you and your local community be prepared to accomodate him preaching their crazy doctrines to your young people?

Do you also believe that Mr. P has the 'God given' right to undermine your school's science curriculum the way he has?

Imagine if one of your school's science teachers was in the habit of telling their students that what Mr. P was teaching about American history was all a bunch of crap, and that they shouldn't believe it, and then started spouting some harebrained theory about how your country was 'really' founded, even though what they were saying was contradicted by all the best available evidence. (For example the Mormon version of American history)

How do you think something like that would go down with Parents and the school authorities?

As someone once said, "Everybody is entitled to their own opinions, but they're not entitled to their own facts".

Apparently Mr. P has trouble distinguishing between the two.

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Guest 2smart4u
Not a bit; why would I be "frightened" by the private religious actions of people I've never met, as long as they don't affect me?

Plenty of Congress people go to church every Sunday, too; as long as they don't try to make it part of their official duties as government officials, I'm fine with it. Because the government is set up to be secular; the private actions of individuals AWAY from their governmental duties are their own concern.

That's kind of, y'know, the whole POINT of Paskiewicz's crime. He brought his preaching into the classroom, where it has no place.

"Crime" ??? There were no laws broken. You're off the chart with your liberal diatribes.

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Guest WilliamK
Anonymous guests qualify for the "three strikes" plan.

Good luck, "Guest"

Nice ad hominem from one who is so quick to accuse others of such.

If it's proven, it's still the genetic fallacy.  I just thought it would be fun to examine the utter lack of reasoning presented in favor of the conclusion.

I don't particularly care whether it's proven. It is of little importance. I agree that the PFAW article did not make a strong case for it, and would also agree that the artilce was not a very good rebuttal otherwise. My only point about it is that at least an indirect connection is plausible and reasonable to suspect.

If you had done as much research as I have done on this, you'd be aware that the version cited by Paszkiewicz was sourced to a published government document from earlier the early 20th century.  Whether the quotation actually appears in that document I do not know--but incredulity isn't much of an argument against, is it?

Given that I provided the complete quote and showed how badly both Paszkiewicz's misquote and Barton's paraphrase compared, it is rather obvious that I have not presented incredulity as an argument.

Given that the precise version used by Paszkiewicz is found in relative abundance on the Web (and not by Barton), this argues strongly that Barton was not the source.

Conceded.

Yes, and?

They're so similar that the latter must have been taken from the former?  Gimme a break.

http://www.eadshome.com/GeorgeWashington.htm

I did not present Paszkiewicz's and Barton's quotes to show their similarity to each other, but to show their dissimilarity to what Washington actually said.

*Sigh*

Again with the straw man argument.

What straw man? If Paszkiewicz did not mean to imply that Washington favored the idea of teaching christianity to schoolchildren, then what do you propose was his purpose in citing that misquote? Completely aside from the issue of its accuracy, I don't see how it could support Paszkiewicz's postion other than to take it to mean not only that, but public schools specificially, as that is the only way it would have any relevance to Washington's position on church-state separation.

Paszkiewicz argued that those key framers did not have the popular notion of church/state separation in mind; I expect that he would argue that he was not proselytizing.  The version that Paszkiewicz used, while apparently not accurate, is a fair paraphrase of Washington.

http://oll.libertyfund.org/Texts/LFBooks/W..._lf026.head.060

A fair representation? Outrageous! It was a gross misrepresentation of what Washington said. Washington made no general statement about "What students would learn in American schools". It was about what the Delawares should learn about the culture of the european immigrants in order to achieve peace.

Just for fun, you should see if Barton ever used the version of the quotation that Paszkiewicz used.

That technique ends up addressing Paskiewicz rather than Paszkiewicz's argument.

It's an inductive ad hominem of dubious value in debating the issue that Paszkiewicz broached.

So, whoever got the quotations wrong, they did it on purpose?

Are you a psychic, or what?

This is no trivial typographical error. It has every appearance of being a deliberate cut-and-paste hack job. However, I will concede that, despite all appearances, it COULD be the product of mere incompetence rather than malice.

Defend what?  Using inaccurate quotations?  I haven't done that.

How about you spell out what you think I'm defending, just to assure me that you intend no dishonest innuendo as part of an attack against me.

I intended exactly what you proposed. That you defended Paszkiewicz's use of inaccurate quotations. It was clear enough for you to discern that, wasn't it? I still contend that to be the case, and further, that you have continued to do exactly that in this last post. Your claim to the contrary is false. To make that completely clear, on that one specific point, I AM calling you a liar. No innuendo needed.

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Guest qetzal

Bryan,

You know, I tried to have a respectful discussion with you, despite seeing almost all of your other discussions degenerate into insults and childishness. To be fair, there have been plenty directed at you as well. I figured if I was respectful, maybe you would be, too. Guess not.

So, let's play one of your favorite little games - 3 strikes!

That is, in fact, the content of what he said when fixed in the original context....In the context, he is simply making the point that there is reason for accepting the Bible apart from blind faith, which was the issue introduced by the student (LaClair, IIRC).

So you assert. Repeatedly. Perhaps you could quote some of that context to support your assertion? Apparently not. Strike one.

But here, let me help you. This is a link to the transcript from the Sep. 14 class. Quoted below is the first passage that mentions either God or the Bible (emphasis added).

Teacher: I very seldom lock my doors.

LaClair: Really?

Teacher: One day, someone may take advantage of me, because there're

not many places left in the world where you can do that. And times

have changed everything. That's what people do, that's the thing. But

Kearny, when I think of Kearny, it really is - not bad, even the

schools. My problem with schools is not that I don't think my kids are

gonna learn reading, writing and arthmetic and learn it well...[the

world??] The highest value in public education is tolerance. But

tolerance - of what? Deviant behavior? There are a lot of things I

don't want my kids tolerating. Ethnic diversity? Yes. Sexually deviant

behavior? No. Things like that, and that's all being taught right from

kindergarten and up. I still believe in the concept of sin, man's born

in nature, all that stuff, and uh, you know, that's considered

old-fashioned nowadays, and that's how my kids are being raised. Some

days when you think about these things, that's what people that are

concerned about - is the most part concerned with. [Fa...?] Carnegie's

got great schools as far as qualified teachers and stuff like that,

but, there's a lot of disparity when it comes to world views. Public

schools in general - your family - let's suppose you're a religious

family. Send your kid - you surrender your kid to the state from

preschool on through 12th grade, and Mom and Dad are trying to tell

you that the Bible is God's word, and their lives are deeply rooted in

faith... but yet the "smart" people - and I say that in quotations,

because they're not all really that smart - the teachers that you're

exposed to from kindergarten through 12th grade, never once will you

see them crack open a Bible, never once will you hear them quote it,

never once hear a prayer uttered from their lips. Over the course of

12 years, what's the transfer? Smart people don't have faith, don't

believe. [student: No it's not...] That's the transfer, it was a lot

of the transfer. Now, my parents grew up and went to public schools,

but they went prior to 1962, so teachers read the Bible, the teachers

prayed, it was part of the school day, and in other words, just a very

very different attitude, but that's also back a generation, back to

totalitarianism, communism, following the Great Depression, and all

that.

Who introduced God and the Bible into the discussion? Mr. P. Why? As part of a rant about schools supposedly teaching kids that "smart people don't have faith." There's your context.

Strike two.

It would be disingenuous to try to paint Paszkiewicz's purpose as proselytization when the context so plainly indicates that the facts to which he alludes (supported by an encyclopedic reference, no less) pertain to epistemology in general for purposes of comparison.

First of all, I did not try to paint his purpose as proselytization. In fact, I specifically stated otherwise. Remember that little part where I said I gave him the benefit of the doubt? I know you read it, because you made a point of commenting sarcastically.

Strike three.

Second, his "facts" (to use the term loosely) clearly do not pertain solely to epistemology in general. It's abundantly clear that they pertain just as much, if not more, to his specific claims that the Bible is true.

Strike four.

You are amply protected from appearing inconsistent by keeping your definition of "religious belief" out of view. If I should venture to charge you with inconsistency, just say that's not what you meant and the matter should be put to rest.  :angry:

Next you'll be asking me when I stopped beating my wife.

Two more strikes. One for continuing to imply I would be inconsistent without supporting the accusation, another for implying I would respond dishonestly to any actual charge. That makes six.

Of course I disagree.

If you can't even agree that Mr. P was discussing religious beliefs (independent of whether it was OK for him to do so), then you're either dishonest or delusional.

Strike seven.

I don't know what you mean by "reasonable definition of the term" since you don't have any inclination to define the term.

What's next - do I have to define "reasonable", "definition", and "term" for you? If I did try to provide a reasonable definition of a religious belief, you'd just argue over each of the words in that definition as well.

Oops. I guess you're rubbing off on me. Convicting you of assumed future bad behavior. That was low - ball one.

Personally, I think your question of "what is a religious belief" is something of a debating trick. An attempt to shift the subject.

And you can explain how explicitly defining the key idea in the debate distracts from the subject?

Asked and answered. Some topics are unquestionably religious, unless you choose to define your terms completely at odds with 99+% of English speakers. Other topics are unquestionably not religious. Some topics are arguable.

If Mr. P was discussing an arguable topic, then the precise definition of "religious" would indeed be key. But he was not. He was discussing God, the Bible, and the supposedly accurate prophesies in the Bible. Those are unquestionably religious topics. Given that fact, the key idea in the debate is not "what is a religious belief." The key idea is, "is it OK for a public school teacher to discuss religious beliefs in class the way Mr. P did." I say "no." You say "define 'religious belief'." You are either disingenuous or suffering from some unfortunate mental defect.

Either way, strike eight.

As an analogy, consider that green and yellow are unquestionably different colors, even if it's difficult to precisely divide green from yellow on the color spectrum.

Why should I believe that it is obviously green in the first place?

God. Bible. Religious. How much greener could it be?

This is not one of those difficult cases [where it's hard to tell if the teacher was discussing religious beliefs].

Oh, well then I simply shouldn't argue about it it, then. 

Verily, your technique of not defining green is a stroke of genius.

No, you shouldn't. It only makes you look foolish. Whereas the unwarranted sarcasm and insults make you look petty and childish.

Strike nine. Your whole side is out, and I'm done trying to have a rational discussion with you. You've been an ass, and you're not worth any more of my time.

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Dear Bryan,

You make some interesting points in your postings regarding not jumping to conclusions about the direct sources of Mr. P's quotes.

So for the moment, I'm willing to grant you the possibility that Mr.P didn't directly rely on David Barton as his inspiration for the quotes contained in his letter to the editor.

Hallelujah.

:angry:

However, given that Barton is the main player in this particular arena, and given the fact that his ideas are so widely circulated and quoted among Christian organisations, I'm afraid I find it harder to believe that Barton has not had an influence, either directly or indirectly, on shaping Mr. P's outlook than to believe that he has.

And I'm sure that's very important when it comes time to address what Paszkiewicz wrote.

:huh:

OK, let's suppose for the moment that Barton's ideas have exerted absolutely no influence on Mr. P. How does that change anything with regard to Mr. P's behaviour in his classes or the dismissive attitude he displayed in his letter to the editor?

It doesn't, nor does it really have anything to do with Paszkiewicz's argument in the post that kicked off this thread--which has been my point all along in dealing with the Barton-obsessed masses.

Why are you so vigorously defending him?

Because so many are vigorously attacking him with such bad argumentation.

Do you sincerely believe that every religious fanatic should be given the right to promote their crazy ideas in public school classes the way Mr. P has done?

Of course not. Only the ones I designate.

Kidding. I don't agree that Paszkiewicz proselytized (though at least one of his statements wasn't sufficiently supported to stand as a statement of fact, as I have noted elsewhere).

Suppose for a moment that Mr. P was a Scientologist or a Raelian. Would you and your local community be prepared to accomodate him preaching their crazy doctrines to your young people?

In a manner parallel to what Paszkiewicz did, yes.

Do you also believe that Mr. P has the 'God given' right to undermine your school's science curriculum the way he has?

I disagree with the premise of your question.

Imagine if one of your school's science teachers was in the habit of telling their students that what Mr. P was teaching about American history was all a bunch of crap, and that they shouldn't believe it, and then started spouting some harebrained theory about how your country was 'really' founded, even though what they were saying was contradicted by all the best available evidence. (For example the Mormon version of American history)

How do you think something like that would go down with Parents and the school authorities?

I don't think that pointing out the unsure epistemic foundation of science is parallel to calling a position "crap" (IOW I again question the premise of your question).

As someone once said, "Everybody is entitled to their own opinions, but they're not entitled to their own facts".

Apparently Mr. P has trouble distinguishing between the two.

Perhaps we should use the facts that you used to support that claim as an example of the principle of having one's own facts.

I don't suppose you're willing to discuss the factual basis for your claims?

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Nice ad hominem from one who is so quick to accuse others of such.

Calling the poster "Guest" when that's how the poster is identified in his post is ad hominem?

Good luck explaining that one, "WilliamK" (oops--did I just commit another ad hom?).

Did you wish to claim the anonymous post?

I don't particularly care whether it's proven. It is of little importance. I agree that the PFAW article did not make a strong case for it, and would also agree that the arti[cl]e was not a very good rebuttal otherwise. My only point about it is that at least an indirect connection is plausible and reasonable to suspect.

And relevant?

Given that I provided the complete quote and showed how badly both Paszkiewicz's misquote and Barton's paraphrase compared, it is rather obvious that I have not presented incredulity as an argument.

That will pass for a claim of authorship, I think.

I did not present Paszkiewicz's and Barton's quotes to show their similarity to each other, but to show their dissimilarity to what Washington actually said.

You have a funny way of showing it:

Yes, it should. But even if you could fully discredit the claim that Paszkiewicz's source is Barton, (which you haven't, that connection remains plausible even if not satisfactorily proven) it doesn't do much to make Paszkiewicz look any better.

Especially when you consider that Paszkiewicz's version of the Washington claim was the poorer of the two in that Paszkiewicz incorrectly presented as a direct quote something that was pretty clearly paraphrasing in Barton's version.

Isn't that you suggesting the plausibility of the connection parenthetically?

I suppose it could just be "Guest" doing that. :ninja:

What straw man?

"ringing endorsement of classroom proseletyzing that both Paszkiewicz and Barton portray it as"

-"Guest" aka WillamK?

If Paszkiewicz did not mean to imply that Washington favored the idea of teaching christianity to schoolchildren, then what do you propose was his purpose in citing that misquote?

"The intent of the founders was to limit the government’s encroachment into matters of conscience and religion, not to exclude any discussion of religion from public life."

-Mr. Paszkiewicz

Novel thought, basing it on what he wrote, eh?

Completely aside from the issue of its accuracy, I don't see how it could support Paszkiewicz's postion other than to take it to mean not only that, but public schools specificially, as that is the only way it would have any relevance to Washington's position on church-state separation.

Ah. So it's not relevant that Washington plainly let on that among the most valuable things their children would learn in American schools was the religion of Jesus Christ?

http://oll.libertyfund.org/Texts/LFBooks/W..._lf026.head.060

A fair representation? Outrageous! It was a gross misrepresentation of what Washington said. Washington made no general statement about "What students would learn in American schools". It was about what the Delawares should learn about the culture of the european immigrants in order to achieve peace.

If you revisit the context, Washington made the statement concerning three children the Indians were sending to be educated.

It's not about what's good for the Delaware Indians in general. It's about what the Indians should expect their children to learn after turning them over to the (early) Congress for education, emphasizing the great utility of the religion of Jesus Christ.

Yes, it's a fair paraphrase, and you're sounding a bit unhinged in your protestations to the contrary. You quoted it, earlier: "Brothers: I am glad you have brought three of the Children of your principal Chiefs to be educated with us."

This is no trivial typographical error. It has every appearance of being a deliberate cut-and-paste hack job.

Your argument seems to hang on the idea that "American schools" would be taken as the U.S. public school system prior to the ratification of the Constitution. It's hard to make sense of that notion. I don't think I'd jump to the conclusion that the quotation was deliberately altered. There are myriad ways a quotation can be altered, and in the case of speeches for which a written copy remains, the spoken speech may well have been at variance with the written one.

Just ask John Kerry.

However, I will concede that, despite all appearances, it COULD be the product of mere incompetence rather than malice.

"[D]espite all appearances" seems to drift into hyperbole, but I appreciate your willingness to retain an open mind.

I intended exactly what you proposed. That you defended Paszkiewicz's use of inaccurate quotations.

Quote me where I defended the use of inaccurate quotations.

I state categorically that quotations should always be done as accurately as humanly possible.

I'll defend Paszkiewicz's version of the speech to the Indians as a reasonable paraphrase that seems to capture Washington's intent (appreciating the historical context), but far short of excusing him for possibly having misquoted Washington (that isn't yet established), and for probably choosing a poor source for the quotations he used (even if most or all of them are perfectly accurate).

It was clear enough for you to discern that, wasn't it?

I like to grant my opponent the benefit of the doubt, so I was just taking my best guess so that you could affirm or deny--and affirm it you have.

I still contend that to be the case, and further, that you have continued to do exactly that in this last post. Your claim to the contrary is false. To make that completely clear, on that one specific point, I AM calling you a liar. No innuendo needed.

Apparently you don't need any evidence, either.

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