When I was in high school my math teacher presented a “mathematical proof” that 1 = 2. The object of the lesson was to demonstrate how errors can be made in a proof, not some profound flaw in arithmetic. By the same token when a birther publishes a “forensic proof” that President Obama’s birth certificate is a forgery (given the many confirmations and certifications of it) the most likely to be fruitful approach is to look for a flaw in the proof. This is the case with the latest from Paul Irey, a man who is no stranger to fallacious proofs that Obama’s birth certificate is a forgery.
We know from the work of NBC, Kevin Vicklund and Reality Check, that President Obama’s published long form birth certificate PDF file has hallmarks of having been scanned to PDF on a Xerox WorkCentre model (probably a 7655) and then rotated and saved using Preview on a Mac computer. The logical approach to determining whether Obama’s birth certificate image is a scan of a real document or a “computer-generated forgery” would be to compare it to a real document scanned on a Xerox machine and rotated and saved on a Mac (or to compare it to a computer-generated forgery) and look for differences. For some reason, birthers prefer not to do either of these. They prefer to compare the PDF to what they imagine a real scanned document would look like and draw conclusions that only a serious expert in the field could do. (They also look at other birth certificate images created at different times, under different conditions, and with different technology.)
Interestingly a birther actually came up with the flaw in Irey’s latest claim (“New Additional Evidence Proving Obama Birth Certificate and PDF Document a Computer Made Forgery – The Smoking Gun – by Paul Irey”) that part of the border edge of Obama’s certificate is missing. The commenter “therak” said at the Las Vegas Guardian web site July 29, 2013:
Give me the recipe. Explain not only the Xerox Workcentre 7655 model… but what software and what SETTINGS to achieve ALL THE NOMALIES (sic) seen in the birth certificate. I notice the explanation tries to say a feature called “Edge Erase” causes the clipping mask that hides information (to explain that anomalie (sic)). Uh… hate to break it to you… but “Edge Erase” Deletes (OR CROPS) information… not HIDE it… thus that excuse doesn’t work.
Irey removed the clipping mask added to the PDF by the Mac Preview, but as “therak” says, the Xerox “edge erase” feature deletes information, about a tenth of an inch of the border, and that cannot be recovered. So when Irey compares the photograph of the actual birth certificate taken by NBC News’ Savannah Guthrie to the scanned PDF version, indeed part of it around the edge is missing, exactly as it should be. The difference between the scan and the photograph is also evidence that the photograph is not derived from the scan.
Irey also claims that various birth certificates have different printed widths, but I showed long ago that at different times birth certificates were photocopied with different reductions (all modern copy machines reduce images to some extent to prevent photocopying currency).
Irey further says: “… I have taken a top right section of 10 assorted sheets from a ream of the [security] paper to show that the cut is always close to the vertical basked weaves along the right side of the paper.” The first basic question one might ask is, what does “top right” mean on a piece of security paper? I mean, how do you know it’s not the “bottom left”? Of course, there is no way to make such a distinction. I looked at more sheets of the security paper (I have a box of it too) and what Irey says is not actually true in general (it’s not even true for the images Irey shows in his report!).
Some of us were stunned when Paul Irey said on Reality Check Radio that he knew Obama’s birth certificate was a forgery before he even looked at it. All this time he has been trying to prove a false statement, and that is logically impossible. Birthers make the jump from anomaly to forgery, analogous to making the jump from 1 = 2 to “arithmetic is wrong.” They need to first look long and hard at their proofs before jumping to conclusions.