I used the non-specific words “wildly implausible” directed at commenter John here on this forum to described his speculation on various fraud scenarios in Hawaii. I actually did a calculation once on the probability that Obama was born in Kenya, given the fact that his literary agent said otherwise in a brochure of biographical information about several authors. (I came up with a generous 0.000007.)
Well that crazy Christopher “Lord” Monckton has crunched his own numbers on whether Obama’s long form birth certificate is legitimate, reports WorldNetDaily. His answer is 0.0000000000000000000016.
Monckton’s argument basically assumes probabilities for various anomalies in the long form PDF, and then multiplies them all together. Monckton obviously is not a mathematician (his college degree is in Classics) because he makes some obvious mistakes. I spotted two right off the bat: his numbers are wrong and his math is wrong.
First, unless two outcomes are independent (not correlated), you can’t simply multiply the probabilities. My article (linked above) actually shows how correlated events are properly treated. Let me give an example: what is the probability that someone is a male freemason. I’ll just make up the individual probabilities and say that the chances that someone is a man is .5 and the chance that someone is a freemason is .0001. You can’t multiply those probabilities and get .00005 because all freemasons are men (the two are correlated).
The second big mistake is to assign a probability to certain characteristics of the certificate PDF. For example, Monckton says that the chance that the registrar date stamp is in a separate clipping region is 1 in 100. This is a made up number. In fact given the hardware and software combination, the chances should be 1 or 0 for a given document since the process is algorithmic.
The big fallacy, and I don’t know a formal name for it, is to take any event that already happened and then assign a probability to it having happened. Say the winning lottery number is 1 4 6 9 18 21 22 5 7. It makes no sense to say that the odds against that number coming up were a zillion to one and conclude that the lottery must be rigged.
Monckton is fairly unfamiliar with the facts, for example, he assigns a 1 in 25 chance to the certificates being out of sequence (numbers matching birth order) in “error.” However, we know that the certificates were not in time sequence for anybody. If anything they were in alphabetic order by last name, and Obama’s number is correct. The neonatal death is the only one out of alphabetic sequence (much higher) and the birth was at a different facility. He also assigns a probability to Obama’s father’s birth date being wrong, but Obama Sr. put different birth dates on a host of government forms. We don’t know if it is wrong or not, but we do know that Obama Sr. used both dates.
Monckton’s analysis is just pseudomathematical gobbledygook, perfect for birthers.
When a facsimile of Obama’s birth certificate was scanned to PDF by a Xerox WorkCenter machine, the registrar’s stamp was separated into a separate clipping region. So the probability that would happen is around “1.”