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The real trouble with birtherism

As a political movement, the birthers have really had no impact. Their leadership is viewed as clowns by everybody else and the only one of them to make any impact was the king clown himself, Donald Trump; and his brief participation in the birther movement turned him into political poison. Birthers have wasted time, theirs and others, not the least of whom is me. A few careers have been ruined, but not so many.

No, what is really troubling about birtherism is not what birthers believe, but how they process evidence. I was thinking about the war in Iraq today. You may recall that it was justified by a claim that Iraq was on the verge of obtaining nuclear weapons. The whole Iraqi sales job on weapons of mass destruction was based on an argument as non-rigorous and as lacking in evidentiary support as the claims that Obama was not eligible to be President. The recognized experts were muzzled and decisions were made based on the desired result, not on the evidence. Indeed there were no WMDs in Iraq, and Barack Obama is eligible to be President. The war in Iraq happened because the Administration, the Media and most of the American people went birther.

Just today I was listening to a story about a number of new voting identification and proof of citizenship laws passed across the country, laws that will have the effect of making it more difficult for the poor, minorities and the elderly to vote. The justification is the prevention of fraud. The fact is that an American is more likely to be struck by lightning than they are to commit voter fraud. One state with a new strict ID law, Kansas, has had only 7 convictions for voter fraud over the past 13 years.

It has been estimated that there are now 65 million climate change refugees in the world. Efforts to combat global warming were delayed by birther-like arguments from the Bush administration. Remember the effectiveness of birther-science in delaying efforts to curb cigarette smoking.

Birtherism essentially is a movement of people who chose their reality based on what they wish things to be, not what the best evidence shows it is. So long as people think that way, real bad things happen, trillions of dollars are wasted, and hundreds of thousands of people die.

I could imagine a future time when the history of the Obama eligibility controversy is forgotten, but the phrase “birther” remains as a derisive term to describe someone whose belief system is based on partisan wishful thinking, detached from the evidence.

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67 Responses to The real trouble with birtherism

  1. avatar
    Matt Osborne September 17, 2011 at 10:17 pm #

    They WANT to believe. Just like the X-Files poster, which is a photograph of a famous fake. If you want to see UFOs you will see them. If you want to see WMD in Iraq you will see them. If you want to see death panels in the ACA, you will see them. Same goes for birthers.

    The business of FOX News and Radio Rwanda is to help such people rationalize their cognitive dissonances away by giving them shit to believe. It’s Plato’s cave.

    http://videocafe.crooksandliars.com/matt-osborne/black-helicopter-republicans

  2. avatar
    Paul September 18, 2011 at 12:07 am #

    I hate to say it — have a 15 year old daughter — but I have pretty much given up hope that there will be a future that I,or she, will want to live in. And that’s a really unsettling thought.

  3. avatar
    Arthur September 18, 2011 at 12:42 am #

    Dr. C.:

    I was moved by your thoughtful and deeply felt reflections, and I especially appreciated your reminder that those who deny the significance of small changes in temperature and precipitation turn a callous eye to the suffering of millions of often desperately poor people.

    I also found agreement with your comments on the connection between what might be called a generic birther mind-set and the selling of the invasion of Iraq. To anyone who would like to read more about this issue, I recommend Frank Rich’s “The Greatest Story Ever Sold: The Decline and Fall of Truth from 9/11 to Katrina” (2006). A review of the book http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/17/books/review/Buruma.t.html
    explores many of the themes touched on in your article.

  4. avatar
    Steve September 18, 2011 at 1:48 am #

    The only side I ever hear of the voter ID argument is the one that says that it doesn’t seem unreasonable to be expected to produce an ID to vote.

    I’ve never really known how to counter that argument, though I have heard that in Wisconsin, along with the vote ID requirement, some DMV offices in heavily Democratic areas have been closed.

  5. avatar
    G September 18, 2011 at 1:54 am #

    Excellent article Doc C! Very much worthy of reflection!

  6. avatar
    Obsolete September 18, 2011 at 3:20 am #

    Steve, the cost, effort, and hassle of getting an ID for many poor and elderly people becomes, in effect, a poll tax.
    The amount people who commit voter fraud are minuscule.
    For every case of voter fraud prevented, multiple thousands of legitimate voters will not be allowed to cast their vote. The majority of these will be poor, elderly, and minorities. Oh, yeah- and Democrats.

  7. avatar
    Dr. Bob September 18, 2011 at 5:37 am #

    Add creationism to the list pile explained by birtherism.

  8. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy September 18, 2011 at 8:40 am #

    I suspect that another factor is present in the voting id movement and that is a genetic predisposition towards the virtues of purity and loyalty. That is, an ineligible voter (i.e. an impure election) is much more troubling than some people being inconvenienced to the point of not voting.

    However, I think in the main it is simply a strategy to improve Republican chances at winning elections. The most blatant example is Texas where you can vote with a concealed weapons permit, but not with a university student ID.

    Steve: The only side I ever hear of the voter ID argument is the one that says that it doesn’t seem unreasonable to be expected to produce an ID to vote.

  9. avatar
    Bran Mak Morn September 18, 2011 at 8:51 am #

    Did you see this one on voter IDs:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mary-bottari/wisconsin-voter-id-_b_954976.html

    “A Wisconsin worker was fired last Thursday for reminding fellow workers that photo IDs required for voting are free under Wisconsin law.

    “A man identifying himself as Chris Larson called into “Sly in the Morning,” a popular Madison radio program on WTDY-AM, and said he had been fired and escorted out of his workplace earlier in the day for sending out an email to remind employees to tell the public that they can obtain a state license for free. Larson said he worked for the Department of Safety and Professional Services, which is under Secretary Dave Ross.

    “The man was reacting to recent news stories that the Wisconsin Department of Motor Vehicles was not being upfront with customers that the IDs, which are newly required for voting in Wisconsin, are free. Hours after his dismissal, a small crowd gathered in front of his place of employment to protest his firing.”

  10. avatar
    Bob September 18, 2011 at 9:24 am #

    The birth certificate issue is an example of The Right Wing Noise Machine’s goal of simply SPREADING any story Wingnuts want to hear (regardless of it’s veracity) in the hopes of creating their own reality. You see it continually on websites like Gatewaypundit and Freerepublic. These stories (like the one currently being spread that Michelle Obama hates America) are usually impossible to prove or disprove, but that isn’t the case with the birth certificate and therein lies the problem for the Birthers.

  11. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy September 18, 2011 at 12:34 pm #

    One of the more troubling examples in recent news is Michele Bachmann’s disinformation about the risks of HPV vaccine during last Wednesday’s Republican debate in in followup Thursday. I think an appropriate bumper sticker response would be: “STUPID KILLS.”

    Dr. Bob: Add creationism to the list pile explained by birtherism.

  12. avatar
    CarlOrcas September 18, 2011 at 1:36 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy: One of the more troubling examples in recent news is Michele Bachmann’s disinformation about the risks of HPV vaccine during last Wednesday’s Republican debate in in followup Thursday. I think an appropriate bumper sticker response would be: “STUPID KILLS.”

    In line with the theme of your original post I think birtherism is a symptom of the greater problem and that is a willful anti-intellectualism. You see it in so many things…..global warming, or more accurately, man’s impact on the world we occupy, and then creationism, and then this vaccine nonsense.

    We laughed 50 years ago at the anti-flouride nonsense but now the same thinking has gone mainstream. And mixed with a meanness and callousness (“Let them die!) it is more than a little disturbing.

    As someone said it seems like these folks want to repeal the 20th century……and maybe the 19th and 18th.

  13. avatar
    charo September 18, 2011 at 2:30 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy: The most blatant example is Texas where you can vote with a concealed weapons permit, but not with a university student ID.

    The real trouble with the above statement is that it fails to take into account the following regarding the issuance of a concealed weapons permit in Texas:

    The applicant must submit:

    A completed application form.

    Two Recent Color Passport Photographs.

    Fingerprints.

    Proof of age (at least 21).

    Proof of residency in Texas.

    A handgun proficiency certificate from a qualified handgun instructor.

    An affidavit stating that applicant has read and understands the law concerning a license to carry and the laws on use of deadly force and that the applicant fulfills all eligibility requirements.

    And an authorization to access records.

    The Department shall issue a license to carry a concealed handgun to an applicant if the applicant meets all the eligibility requirements and submits all the application materials.

    Eligibility requirements include no record of felonies, certain misdemeanors, addictions, mental illness or delinquency in child support payments or tax payments.

    A person applying for a concealed carry license must successfully complete both the classroom and range components of the handgun proficiency course to receive a handgun proficiency certificate.

    The handgun proficiency certificate must be no more than two years old and shall specify if it is valid for a revolver or semi-auto pistol based on the proficiency certificate.

    The Department will issue a license to carry only for the categories of firearms listed on the handgun proficiency certificate. A person who is renewing a license to carry a concealed

  14. avatar
    dch September 18, 2011 at 2:48 pm #

    Voting is a right. You just have to be 18 years old.

    You will also note that Absentee Voting is apparently NOT subject to voter ID rules, thus, their motives are clearly not fraud related. Also votor fraud is a nearly mathematically impossible way to accomplish anything in an election as you would need a huge number of fraudulent voter registrations to be created. And each would have to be for a unique individual and accepted after being checked by the registars. Then you would need to go out and vote in multiple locations (you could not keep returning to the same voting location).

    These measures are designed to reduce the participation of targeted sub groups.

    My father just turned 86 and no longer drives, his DL as lapsed. The voter ID law could be a problem. He will be annoyed by this.

    The Doctor is right – we have a problem with critical thinking that permeates our media and political discourse. The math on this does not even work. It so stooopid.

  15. avatar
    charo September 18, 2011 at 2:56 pm #

    Dr. Bob:
    Add creationism to the list pile explained by birtherism.

    To believe that God was involved in creation is not to automatically hold to the belief that the world was literally created 5,000 years ago. I don’t know how those who are Christians can square the belief- man came about completely by chance- with the beginning verses of John, particularly verse 3:

    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.

    Why does evolution have to occur completely outside of God’s design? If you believe that Jesus rose from the dead, why is it so hard to believe that God was involved in creation?

    These are questions I have had not to any particular individual here, and this forum is not suited for the discussion. Just consider them rhetorical. I mention the questions because the topic of creationism is often bandied about.

  16. avatar
    charo September 18, 2011 at 3:06 pm #

    dch: Voting is a right. You just have to be 18 years old.

    There is no affirmative right to vote in the Constitution. Discrimination is illegal though.

    dch: Also votor fraud is a nearly mathematically impossible way to accomplish anything in an election

    No race has ever been close enough for voter fraud to matter?

  17. avatar
    Sef September 18, 2011 at 4:02 pm #

    dch: Voting is a right. You just have to be 18 years old.

    You’ve got your “rights” and “duties” mixed up.

  18. avatar
    Scientist September 18, 2011 at 4:34 pm #

    charo: There is no affirmative right to vote in the Constitution. Discrimination is illegal though.

    I think it is a miistake to regard the Constitution as the sole determinant of the rights that people have. It is a floor, a minimum statement of rights, not a ceiling. There are, in my opinion, a whole series of rights that humans have, some of which are in the Constitution and some of which are not. All are worrthy of respect.

  19. avatar
    Scientist September 18, 2011 at 4:38 pm #

    charo: I don’t know how those who are Christians can square the belief- man came about completely by chance- with the beginning verses of John, particularly verse 3:

    The resolution is easy if you regard God and Nature as one and the same. While this has often been ignored in traditional Judeo-Christian theology (though it is recognized by some branches) it is certainly true of, for example, many traditional aboriginal religions. If, indeed, God and nature are simply diifferent words for the inherent structure of the Universe, then the issue you raise disappears.

  20. avatar
    G September 18, 2011 at 4:42 pm #

    Well said!

    Scientist: I think it is a miistake to regard the Constitution as the sole determinant of the rights that people have. It is a floor, a minimum statement of rights, not a ceiling. There are, in my opinion, a whole series of rights that humans have, some of which are in the Constitution and some of which are not. All are worrthy of respect.

  21. avatar
    G September 18, 2011 at 4:43 pm #

    Again, well said!

    Scientist: The resolution is easy if you regard God and Nature as one and the same. While this has often been ignored in traditional Judeo-Christian theology (though it is recognized by some branches) it is certainly true of, for example, many traditional aboriginal religions. If, indeed, God and nature are simply diifferent words for the inherent structure of the Universe, then the issue you raise disappears.

  22. avatar
    Scientist September 18, 2011 at 4:43 pm #

    charo: No race has ever been close enough for voter fraud to matter?

    If the state deems it necessary that every voter have a photo ID, then they should provide one at no charge to every person upon their registering to vote. These days, the card could easily be fitted with a microchip, which would allow each card to be used only once per election. Voter turnout in the US is already low and declining. Erecting more barriers hardly seems wise.

  23. avatar
    Sef September 18, 2011 at 4:44 pm #

    charo: No race has ever been close enough for voter fraud to matter?

    Some people conveniently forget about 2000 and 2004.

    I do find it hilarious that people consider someone registering as “Mickey Mouse” or the registration of dead people as voter fraud. They still must provide proof of who they are at the polling place. This will be difficult for dead people, even with the new handicapped voting machines. And remember, at least in NY, a person’s POA cannot assist the voter.

  24. avatar
    charo September 18, 2011 at 4:44 pm #

    Scientist: The resolution is easy if you regard God and Nature as one and the same.

    Christians don’t regard God and Nature as one and the same.

  25. avatar
    charo September 18, 2011 at 4:45 pm #

    Scientist: If the state deems it necessary that every voter have a photo ID, then they should provide one at no charge to every person upon their registering to vote.These days, the card could easily be fitted with a microchip, which would allow each card to be used only once per election.

    Good idea.

  26. avatar
    Scientist September 18, 2011 at 4:45 pm #

    charo: Christians don’t regard God and Nature as one and the same

    Why not??

  27. avatar
    charo September 18, 2011 at 4:47 pm #

    If you lose the card, then you have to pay for a replacement. Cost? I have no idea.

  28. avatar
    charo September 18, 2011 at 4:53 pm #

    Scientist: Why not??

    According to my beliefs, it is the heresy of Pantheism. I am not imposing my belief on anyone because faith cannot be imposed.

  29. avatar
    Sef September 18, 2011 at 4:56 pm #

    Scientist: These days, the card could easily be fitted with a microchip, which would allow each card to be used only once per election.

    That would require more electronic equipment with network connections at each polling place to connect with a single central DB. Not necessarily a good thing. Power and network outages occur and people would be even more prone to cry about voter fraud. It would also not prevent a dead person or someone who has moved out of the district from voting as the chip/DB might not have been updated. What you are doing is essentially transferring personhood to the chip.

  30. avatar
    Scientist September 18, 2011 at 4:56 pm #

    charo: If you lose the card, then you have to pay for a replacement. Cost? I have no idea.

    Well, you could implant the microchip under the skin. Last week,, a calico cat, Willow, was found on the streets of NYC and turned in to the SPCA. At the shleter, they scanned it and found that it had disappeared from a family in Boulder, CO 5 years ago. No one knows how it travelled 2,000 miles to New York, but Willow will be on her way home very soon..

  31. avatar
    charo September 18, 2011 at 4:58 pm #

    Scientist: Well, you could implant the microchip under the skin.Last week,, a calico cat, Willow, was found on the streets of NYC and turned in to the SPCA.At the shleter, they scanned it and found that it had disappeared from a family in Boulder, CO 5 years ago.No one knows how it travelled 2,000 miles to New York, but Willow will be on her way home very soon..

    Would that voter chip interfere with the other chips that have been or will be implanted?

  32. avatar
    charo September 18, 2011 at 4:59 pm #

    Sef: That would require more electronic equipment with network connections at each polling place to connect with a single central DB. Not necessarily a good thing. Power and network outages occur and people would be even more prone to cry about voter fraud. It would also not prevent a dead person or someone who has moved out of the district from voting as the chip/DB might not have been updated. What you are doing is essentially transferring personhood to the chip.

    Zombies would not be disenfranchised. I like it. Aren’t they a protected class?

  33. avatar
    Sef September 18, 2011 at 5:06 pm #

    Scientist: Well, you could implant the microchip under the skin.

    All some nefarious person would need to do is plant a viral story that the chip was connected to the voting machine and if you voted for the “wrong person” it would blow up or get red hot. Maybe even travel to your heart or brain and explode. They could start an entirely new level of conspiracy theories. Yes, Virginia, we still have people out there who would believe this stuff.

  34. avatar
    charo September 18, 2011 at 5:11 pm #

    Charo heads for the voting booth after attending her birthday party.

    http://media.photobucket.com/image/zombies/bnovicio/Zombies/IMG_4335.jpg?o=15

  35. avatar
    G September 18, 2011 at 5:13 pm #

    LOL! My favorite post of the day!

    On more serious news, I do agree that for voter ID to be fair, an initial ID should be provided, at no expense for those that can’t afford to pay the cost of making it. If everyone can obtain a legit Voter ID, then I am for it.

    I think there is a valid question about what to do if someone loses their ID and a valid argument of responsibility to say they are responsible for replacement costs. The costs to make, issue & validate a proper ID should be lessened if everyone has to have them (simple laws of supply & demand) and if the purpose of ID is by government need for registering a population, then they should not be a “for profit” enterprise and the only expenses to possibly pass along to the public is the actual cost. I personally don’t mind having to fairly pay for an ID or license at all.

    It is easy to add waivers to cost for the indigent and that would make it fair – as long as efforts were made to also address ensuring that the process to obtain such IDs were also simple and timely and not a burden on the elderly or handicapped either.

    charo: Zombies would not be disenfranchised. I like it. Aren’t they a protected class?

  36. avatar
    G September 18, 2011 at 5:14 pm #

    Hilarious zombie image! LOL! Thanks!

    charo: Charo heads for the voting booth after attending her birthday party.http://media.photobucket.com/image/zombies/bnovicio/Zombies/IMG_4335.jpg?o=15

  37. avatar
    G September 18, 2011 at 5:15 pm #

    I don’t like the idea of microchipping people at all. There are legitimate privacy concerns here involving movement tracking, etc.

    Scientist: Well, you could implant the microchip under the skin. Last week,, a calico cat, Willow, was found on the streets of NYC and turned in to the SPCA. At the shleter, they scanned it and found that it had disappeared from a family in Boulder, CO 5 years ago. No one knows how it travelled 2,000 miles to New York, but Willow will be on her way home very soon..

  38. avatar
    charo September 18, 2011 at 5:16 pm #

    G:
    LOL!My favorite post of the day!

    On more serious news, I do agree that for voter ID to be fair, an initial ID should be provided, at no expense for those that can’t afford to pay the cost of making it. If everyone can obtain a legit Voter ID, then I am for it.

    I think there is a valid question about what to do if someone loses their ID and a valid argument of responsibility to say they are responsible for replacement costs.The costs to make, issue & validate a proper ID should be lessened if everyone has to have them (simple laws of supply & demand) and if the purpose of ID is by government need for registering a population, then they should not be a “for profit” enterprise and the only expenses to possibly pass along to the public is the actual cost. I personally don’t mind having to fairly pay for an ID or license at all.

    It is easy to add waivers to cost for the indigent and that would make it fair – as long as efforts were made to also address ensuring that the process to obtain such IDs were also simple and timely and not a burden on the elderly or handicapped either.

    Voter disenfranchisement issue solved here at OCT. Even the zombies are appeased.

  39. avatar
    G September 18, 2011 at 5:17 pm #

    πŸ˜‰

    charo: Voter disenfranchisement issue solved here at OCT. Even the zombies are appeased.

  40. avatar
    charo September 18, 2011 at 5:19 pm #

    My kids are pretty much wimps when it comes to anything in the scary genre, but they love Plants v. Zombies.

  41. avatar
    G September 18, 2011 at 5:47 pm #

    Wow! Me too! I totally *love* playing Plants Vs. Zombies!!! (From Big Fish Games).

    I have it on this laptop and in fact, just played a round of “It’s Raining Seeds” a few minutes ago. I play a bit here and there, always hoping to obtain a drop of the last few plants I need for my Zen Garden. (I gave myself a little break from housework to have some game time fun since my Cleveland Browns actually won!!!). I also played a round of Acquire online (based on a board game I love).

    Hey, for something on the artistic & Christian side of things you might like, I recently saw an article on the artistic renderings of the Benedictine monastery’s “SaintJohn’s Bible project”, which can be viewed online:

    http://www.saintjohnsbible.org

    article:

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/story/2011-09-18/saint-johns-bible/50456938/1

    charo: My kids are pretty much wimps when it comes to anything in the scary genre, but they love Plants v. Zombies.

  42. avatar
    charo September 18, 2011 at 5:52 pm #

    G:
    Wow!Me too!I totally *love* playing Plants Vs. Zombies!!!(From Big Fish Games).

    I have it on this laptop and in fact, just played a round of “It’s Raining Seeds” a few minutes ago.I play a bit here and there, always hoping to obtain a drop of the last few plants I need for my Zen Garden. (I gave myself a little break from housework to have some game time fun since my Cleveland Browns actually won!!!).I also played a round of Acquire online (based on a board game I love).

    Hey, for something on the artistic & Christian side of things you might like, I recently saw an article on the artistic renderings of the Benedictine monastery’s “SaintJohn’s Bible project”, which can be viewed online:

    http://www.saintjohnsbible.org

    article:

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/story/2011-09-18/saint-johns-bible/50456938/1

    I had a sneaky suspicion you knew all about the game πŸ˜‰ Thanks for the link G (I almost called you Z).

    I have to go see where my “zombies” are now…

  43. avatar
    Keith September 18, 2011 at 5:56 pm #

    I second that: ‘Well said!’ with the following addition:

    Amendment IXThe enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

    This amendment has been overlooked by many, especially those who claim that the Congress is inventing rights that don’t exist when they pass laws such as the recent Health Reform Act. They argue that the Constitution doesn’t give the people any right to decent health care, therefore they should only get what they pay for, and indeed, as some in the audience of a recent GOP candidates debate declared, should be left to die.

    G: Well said!

    Scientist: I think it is a miistake to regard the Constitution as the sole determinant of the rights that people have. It is a floor, a minimum statement of rights, not a ceiling. There are, in my opinion, a whole series of rights that humans have, some of which are in the Constitution and some of which are not. All are worrthy of respect.

  44. avatar
    Sef September 18, 2011 at 6:03 pm #

    Scientist: Well, you could implant the microchip under the skin.

    If personhood begins at the moment of conception, shouldn’t they get their chip then, too?

  45. avatar
    Sef September 18, 2011 at 6:08 pm #

    Sef: If personhood begins at the moment of conception, shouldn’t they get their chip then, too?

    How about a number tattooed on their arm at birth? I think you can see where this is headed.

  46. avatar
    Keith September 18, 2011 at 6:16 pm #

    And furthermore, much of the argument of Creationists (for lack of a better term) resolves around confusion of abiogenesis with evolution. They spend an extraordinary time arguing against evolution when evolution is totally silent on how life began, it only discusses how live, once it exists, changes. There is simply no room for the necessity for supernatural intervention in evolution; evolution is quite thoroughly and conclusively explained via natural processes.

    Abiogenesis is the study of how life began in the first place and there is, as yet, no full scientific theory, only a collection of incomplete hypotheses. There is room for debate about supernatural creation or at least supernatural intervention in creation. Of course science cannot comment on supernatural intervention because it only studies natural processes.

    Evolution does not depend on any particular mechanism for abiogenesis, it doesn’t care if life was created supernaturally or naturally. A Creationist arguing against evolution is quite explicitly arguing against the omnipotence of the deity that they hold dear.

    G: Again, well said!

    Scientist: The resolution is easy if you regard God and Nature as one and the same. While this has often been ignored in traditional Judeo-Christian theology (though it is recognized by some branches) it is certainly true of, for example, many traditional aboriginal religions. If, indeed, God and nature are simply diifferent words for the inherent structure of the Universe, then the issue you raise disappears.

  47. avatar
    Keith September 18, 2011 at 6:25 pm #

    G: On more serious news, I do agree that for voter ID to be fair, an initial ID should be provided, at no expense for those that can’t afford to pay the cost of making it. If everyone can obtain a legit Voter ID, then I am for it.

    Not me.

    Its just another step to the requirement of an Internal Passport. This kind of thing has been used as an instrument of discrimination every where it has ever been introduced, from NAZI Germany to Apartheid South Africa.

    What is wrong with showing standard ID when you register, and again when you vote? Why do you need something that is essentially a permit to exercise your rights and duties as a citizen?

  48. avatar
    Sef September 18, 2011 at 6:28 pm #

    Keith: And furthermore, much of the argument of Creationists (for lack of a better term) resolves around confusion of abiogenesis with evolution.

    “But it doesn’t even explain gravity.”

  49. avatar
    Keith September 18, 2011 at 6:56 pm #

    Sef: “But it doesn’t even explain gravity.”

    Yeah, that’s a real problem with the theory. I don’t know how they’ll get around that one.

  50. avatar
    G September 18, 2011 at 7:03 pm #

    I’m fine with any form of standard ID being ok to use – whether it is a DL, Passport, etc. The issue is having “some” form of identification to present – and there are a lot of people out there that don’t have anything at all – or at least not a photo id.

    Where I live, showing 2 forms of Identification (such as a utility bill & credit card with name matching) is perfectly fine to establish who someone is. That works just fine for me as well.

    I simply support any common sense approach that makes it easy to validate people and enable, not restrict their ability to vote.

    Keith: Not me.Its just another step to the requirement of an Internal Passport. This kind of thing has been used as an instrument of discrimination every where it has ever been introduced, from NAZI Germany to Apartheid South Africa.What is wrong with showing standard ID when you register, and again when you vote? Why do you need something that is essentially a permit to exercise your rights and duties as a citizen?

  51. avatar
    G September 18, 2011 at 7:05 pm #

    Bravo & well said! I completely agree.

    This is what bothers me about most Creationist/ID proponents arguments the most when they attack evolution. Their very arguments show up front that they have no clue of what evolution is and that they are making arguments against nothing that has anything to do with the actual science at all.

    Keith: And furthermore, much of the argument of Creationists (for lack of a better term) resolves around confusion of abiogenesis with evolution. They spend an extraordinary time arguing against evolution when evolution is totally silent on how life began, it only discusses how live, once it exists, changes. There is simply no room for the necessity for supernatural intervention in evolution; evolution is quite thoroughly and conclusively explained via natural processes. Abiogenesis is the study of how life began in the first place and there is, as yet, no full scientific theory, only a collection of incomplete hypotheses. There is room for debate about supernatural creation or at least supernatural intervention in creation. Of course science cannot comment on supernatural intervention because it only studies natural processes. Evolution does not depend on any particular mechanism for abiogenesis, it doesn’t care if life was created supernaturally or naturally. A Creationist arguing against evolution is quite explicitly arguing against the omnipotence of the deity that they hold dear.

  52. avatar
    Scientist September 18, 2011 at 7:15 pm #

    Keith: And furthermore, much of the argument of Creationists (for lack of a better term) resolves around confusion of abiogenesis with evolution. They spend an extraordinary time arguing against evolution when evolution is totally silent on how life began, it only discusses how live, once it exists, changes. There is simply no room for the necessity for supernatural intervention in evolution; evolution is quite thoroughly and conclusively explained via natural processes.

    I suppose you could argue that a supernatural being set up conditions on Earth to favor the evolution of life forms into their current state (or some future state of perfection), and perhaps giives things a nudge now and then by sending asteroids to crash into Earth or fiddling with the earth’s axes That seems to be really reacching. Such discussions are completely out of the purview of science and into the domain of metaphysics.

    I’m just curious how a believer in traditional theology would cope with clear and unambiguous evidence of extraterrestrial life forms that were of a higher intelligence and higher moral development than humans. That would seem to contradict the biblical statement of man being made in God’s image and having dominion over all things.

  53. avatar
    Sef September 18, 2011 at 7:16 pm #

    Keith: Yeah, that’s a real problem with the theory. I don’t know how they’ll get around that one.

    Sometimes I wonder about Ben Stein’s intelligence.

  54. avatar
    CarlOrcas September 18, 2011 at 7:19 pm #

    charo: The real trouble with the above statement is that it fails to take into account the following regarding the issuance of a concealed weapons permit in Texas:

    But nothing about citizenship which is the primary qualifier to vote.

  55. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy September 18, 2011 at 7:29 pm #

    The question is not what is so stringent about a concealed weapons permit, but what is WRONG with a student ID.

    charo: The real trouble with the above statement is that it fails to take into account the following regarding the issuance of a concealed weapons permit in Texas:

  56. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy September 18, 2011 at 7:33 pm #

    It is a remarkable coincidence that you were writing that, while I was writing this:

    http://www.obamaconspiracy.org/2011/09/the-birther-chip/

    Scientist: Well, you could implant the microchip under the skin.

  57. avatar
    Scientist September 18, 2011 at 7:37 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy: It is a remarkable coincidence that you were writing that, while I was writing this

    Coincidence? I think not…

  58. avatar
    charo September 18, 2011 at 8:12 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    The question is not what is so stringent about a concealed weapons permit, but what is WRONG with a student ID.

    Whether a student ID should be acceptable has nothing to do with the acceptance of a concealed weapons permit when the conditions for getting a permit are that stringent. If the weapons permit requirements had the same level of scrutiny before being issued as a student ID and the student ID were rejected, then your comparison would make sense.

  59. avatar
    Expelliarmus September 18, 2011 at 11:45 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy: The question is not what is so stringent about a concealed weapons permit, but what is WRONG with a student ID.

    The fact that they are not standardized & pretty easy to fake.

  60. avatar
    DCH September 19, 2011 at 10:42 am #

    “No race has ever been close enough for voter fraud to matter?”

    No, it is in the realm of possibility but not plausible. The GOP found 86 cases of voter fraud in 10 years in the entire US.

    In FL the early voting period has been reduced to 8 days from 14 – for no good reason other then the fact the a large number of citizens voted that way in 2008 and voter turnout increased (the GOP does not do as well with high turnouts). Also our new voter ID laws does NOT cover absentee voting. Why is that one must ask?

    The voter fraud method is too difficult and a logistical nightmare. You need a lot of individuals posing as others to show up at the right polling locations to accomplish anything and it would constitute a large conspiracy.

    Conversely by creating barriers to voting , like Voter ID does you can ‘cleanly’ shift results by reducing the vote.

  61. avatar
    JoZeppy September 19, 2011 at 10:54 am #

    charo: There is no affirmative right to vote in the Constitution. Discrimination is illegal though.

    Both the XV and XIX Amendments refer to the “right” to vote, so I would argue that yes, there is an affirmative right to vote (and with all rights, one can only be deprived of them with due process of law).

    charo: No race has ever been close enough for voter fraud to matter?

    There is probably more evidence to show that more elections have been influenced by affirmative efforts to keep people from voting under the guise of voter fraud. There is just no evidence to support the notion that voter fraud is a problem anywhere, and far more evidence to support that people legally entitled to vote are being kept away from the ballots.

  62. avatar
    JoZeppy September 19, 2011 at 11:00 am #

    Steve: The only side I ever hear of the voter ID argument is the one that says that it doesn’t seem unreasonable to be expected to produce an ID to vote.I’ve never really known how to counter that argument, though I have heard that in Wisconsin, along with the vote ID requirement, some DMV offices in heavily Democratic areas have been closed.

    25% of African Americans do not have ID
    18% of Americans over the age of 65 do not have ID
    15% of poor Americans do not have ID

    Now consider the ability of the poor and elderly to get ID? Are they going to spend the money and time to get an ID just to vote? Can a state make a requirement that a person get ID at a cost, in order to vote, or is that the same thing as a poll tax, which is unconstitutional?

    Considering there is no evidence at all that there is a voter fraud problem anywhere, this is just a new attempt at modern Jim Crow. Keep the people you don’t like from the voting booth.

  63. avatar
    DCH September 19, 2011 at 1:23 pm #

    “Keep the people you don’t like from the voting booth.”

    Yes that is the simple intent. There is no other explantion.

  64. avatar
    sponson September 19, 2011 at 2:37 pm #

    Not that anyone cares anymore, but I continue to contend that the purpose of Trump’s “candidacy” was to personify the “birther” issue with him and then take it down in flames with him, thus immunizing the “actual candidates” such as Michelle Bachmann etc. that are on the extreme right from having to deal with harassment on the issue from birthers.

  65. avatar
    jayHG September 19, 2011 at 4:02 pm #

    sponson: Not that anyone cares anymore, but I continue to contend that the purpose of Trump’s “candidacy” was to personify the “birther” issue with him and then take it down in flames with him, thus immunizing the “actual candidates” such as Michelle Bachmann etc. that are on the extreme right from having to deal with harassment on the issue from birthers.

    Ah, no. It was Trump’s ego being sucked in by loony birthers. Plain as that. Trump is so full of himself that he actually got wind of this, and when he got flooded with birfers saying GO TRUMP, he got all excited and thought that these were normal people and VIOLA, he made a complete fool of himself.

    He’s now wondering how he could have been so gullible, but is too egotistical and embarassed to say so…….

  66. avatar
    jayHG September 19, 2011 at 4:03 pm #

    Which is also why he (Trump) is saying absolutely nothing. He’s hoping that folks will forget he ever was all gung ho birther himself, and maybe he can slip back into the race and win cause with Trump, he never does anything where he doesn’t win………..(snark)

  67. avatar
    Keith September 19, 2011 at 7:09 pm #

    jayHG:
    Which is also why he (Trump) is saying absolutely nothing.He’s hoping that folks will forget he ever was all gung ho birther himself, and maybe he can slip back into the race and win cause with Trump, he never does anything where he doesn’t win………..(snark)

    He is in Oz at the moment talking at sycophants about how he wants them all to be rich.