Thursday, September 26, 2013

Institute on the Constitution Misrepresents Study of Founding Era

That's the title to Warren Throckmorton's post here. A taste:
See the differences? Peroutka said Lutz and Hyneman studied the writings of the 55 framers. Not so. Lutz and Hyneman studied the “political writings of Americans published between 1760 and 1805.” Their review was not limited to framers. Furthermore, Peroutka said Lutz and Hyneman read the framers’ letters. Again not so. They specifically indicated that they did not read letters that were private.


Tom Van Dyke said...

Seems correct, but rather a quibble.

wsforten said...

I agree, Tom, and if we wanted to quibble as well, we could point out that Warren made a similar mistake in his comments about "the most important part of the study for students of the Constitution." He claims that "the Bible was not cited at all by the Federalists," but that is not correct. What he should have said is that the Bible was not cited with attribution in the Federalist Papers. That is what the study actually says, but of course, Warren left out the portion of the Lutz study which explains that they only counted quotes that were expressly attributed.

I am fairly certain that I could find similar flaws in 90% or more of the material that has been written about this study regardless of which side the author takes in the Christian nation debate. I think that correcting these errors is helpful, but they are far too common to be considered damnatory.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Yes, those in the "gotcha" game* seem oblivious to their own inaccuracies. And don't seem to care when their own errors are pointed out. That's why these "controversy" posts are of so little value. All we learn about is errors, not truths.

*Gotcha game = a rhetorical tactic of catching an opponent in an error--no matter how minor--with the implication that therefore they should not be listened to

Art Deco said...

While we are at it, why does it invalidate their work that they used a sample of political writings broader than those of 55 individuals?