I, for one, do not find it odd that a party that can debate the idea that the earth is 6,000 years' old is also capable of believing that a birth certificate is not a birth certificate. The criterion is not empirical evidence but dogged, reactionary hostility to anything libruls believe. We have left the realm of reality and entered the world, previousy exclusively occupied by the pomo-left, of identity as truth. "We are right because we are white" is no different in logic than "we are right because we are black" which is perilously close to where the academic left went in the 1990s. A reader adds:
To sustain belief in the birther conspiracy, one must first believe that Obama's short-form birth certificate, which satisfies State Department requirements for passport issuance, is nevertheless a rare example of undisclosed fraud. Then one must conclude that the Honolulu newspaper announcements of Obama's birth are exceptionally rare examples that actually occurred in a faraway land, which must be particularly uncommon in a remote locale like Hawaii. In order to be a birther, one must have blind faith in the exceedingly improbable.
If Palin's story about her Incredible Journey to deliver Trig is true, for unnecessary travel she will have surely outdistanced every other Down Syndrome mother in labor by a factor of much more than 10, and possibly more than 100. Throw in the fact that a golden shot at the White House hung in the balance (and that no other such mother would have had similarly glorious opportunities), and one quickly realizes that the official Trig narrative is exceptionally unlikely. In order to believe the official story of Trig's birth, one must have blind faith in the exceedingly improbable.
The scientist is very rarely able to obtain positive confirmation of hypotheses; her contribution more often comes from eliminating improbable alternatives. This is essentially the value of statistical inference. There's something almost comforting about the Republican Rump's hostility toward science and also their willingness, in the case of Obama birtherism and belief in Palin's account of Trig's birth, to accept the wildly improbable without criticism. Those folks in the Republican Rump may be nuts, but at least they are internally consistent in their nuttiness.