I talked about why so many people get sucked into conspiracy theories about Obama’s birth certificate in my article, “Any fool can see.” I have become somewhat jaundiced in my view of a birther’s ability to evaluate evidence and to change their mind. That view might be biased by the fact that people don’t engage in publicity campaigns to advertise their mistakes. The appearance of discussion of the Xerox 7655 theory in birther web sites is encouraging and the Cold Case Posse’s silence (two months now) is causing suspicion. All that’s missing is a simple-to-understand YouTube video explaining the result, or a high-profile birther with some integrity looking at the evidence and publishing their findings to put a serious cramp in the consensus birther view. (Also see Reality Check’s article Xerox for dummies.)
I think that the real importance of the work of scientist and blogger NBC in debunking birther claims of document forgery is not for the present, but for the future. Conspiracy theories persist long beyond their relation to current events. I think that the identification of the Xerox 7655 as the source of the technical artifacts of the PDF version of the President’s birth certificate effectively removes them from the table and makes it likely that birtherism will have no long-term place in the pantheon of conspiracy theories.