“Birthers” a majority among Republicans

Well, this is a sad observation about the power of evidence to convince people of facts: a Daily Kos poll shows that fewer than half (42%) of Republicans are convinced that Obama was born in the U.S. (28% believe that he was not born in the U.S. and 30% are unsure).

Now how do you suppose those “birthers” manage to explain Obama’s original birth announcement in the Honolulu Advertiser, and all the other evidence for his birth in Hawaii?  It must be a conspiracy: people planted that announcement in the newspaper way back in 1961, anticipating that some kid named Barak, born outside the USA, would grow up to be elected president.

58% of Republicans don’t accept good evidence.  That’s truly an “unscientific America”!  Does this mean that people’s willingness to face facts is affected by their preconceptions and biases?

Naah, it must be those atheist-scientists whose shrillness has driven Americans away from accepting evidence, and who just won’t shut up.

48 Comments

  1. bueller007
    Posted July 31, 2009 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    Being a birther is not quite as stupid as seeing the Virgin Mary in bird shit on a truck window, but it’s close.

  2. J.J. E.
    Posted July 31, 2009 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    Just a little nit-pick. This is an independent poll conducted by Research 2000 commissioned by Daily Kos. The reason I bring this up is because unscientific polls in Daily Kos “diaries” are quite popular. This this poll shouldn’t confounded with one of those unscientific ones. Research 2000 is a respectable independent outfit with a good track record, and the poll should be taken as seriously as any other scientific poll conducted by telephone. (Research 2000 isn’t quite as good as some others like Survey USA, but still good in its own right)

    • J.J. E.
      Posted July 31, 2009 at 10:16 am | Permalink

      Ugh. Word salad above. In case it wasn’t clear, the post presents a good polling outfit. I’m just saying this to defuse misconceptions or comments of people who might assume it was a DKos diary poll, which it isn’t.

  3. hempenstein
    Posted July 31, 2009 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    This reliable source relates evidence suggesting that in one evolutionary quantum leap, pigs may have grown wings: Bill O’Reilly and Ann Coulter have apparently denounced the birthers:

    http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09212/987645-153.stm

    • J.J. E.
      Posted July 31, 2009 at 10:41 am | Permalink

      One possible interpretation of this is even worse than air raids from porcine kind: O’Reilly and Coulter are in the top half of reasonableness in the Republican party. (And despite his protestations to the contrary, O’Reilly is clearly sympathetic to the Republican party.)

  4. Robocop
    Posted July 31, 2009 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    I posted here some time ago but it has not shown up. I’ll try again (and apologize in advance if it turns out to be a double post).

    How do we know that (a) the poll respondents have even seen the evidence; and (b) that the poll is otherwise valid and reliable? Note too that apparently 21% of atheists believe in God….

    http://religions.pewforum.org/pdf/report2religious-landscape-study-key-findings.pdf

  5. Hongkongjohn
    Posted July 31, 2009 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    haha, good point Jerry!

    I love your blog.

  6. Wes
    Posted July 31, 2009 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    In other words, 58% of Republicans are dumbshits.

    • SeanK
      Posted July 31, 2009 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

      I think that’s low-balling it a bit; I’m sure the actual number is much higher. :)

  7. Posted July 31, 2009 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    It gets worse. Obama is also from the planet Kolob.

  8. Posted July 31, 2009 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    OK, let’s be a bit fair here. (First off, I can’t find the actual poll results–the link from the HuffPo article doesn’t detail this result). If we take the results as legit, there are three data points: 42% say Obama is a citizen, 28% say he isn’t, and 30% ARE NOT SURE. What isn’t clear (and thus the reason I went looking for the actual results, not just HuffPo’s article about them) is why those folks aren’t sure. Are they unsure because they are ignorant on the issue? Or are they unsure because they are not convinced of the veracity of the reports they’ve seen thus far? Either way, “unsure” seems like an honest answer that should not be lumped in as a “birther”. Therefore your title “Birthers among the majority” is disingenuous, I think. It could be said “Among those expressing an opinion, ‘birthers’ are outnumbered 2 to 3 among republicans”.
    Now, I completely agree about your assessment as it applies to the 28% who are apparently idiots.

    • J.J. E.
      Posted July 31, 2009 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

      Poll here

      \ Y N ?
      D 93 4 3
      I 83 8 9
      R 42 28 30

      Only half as many Republicans as Independents (and even less than Dems) believe the best evidence we have. 3x the number of Republicans deny it as Independents and 7x as many as Dems. And a full 30% of Republicans “just don’t know” as oppsed to only 9% independents or 3% Dems.

      Willful ignorance, or simply dissembling because they sense that to say otherwise would sound as stupid as it is.

      • Posted August 2, 2009 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

        Now that I’ve seen the rest of the results, and especially the difference between Dem, Rep, and Ind, I’ll have to agree–58% of republicans are idiots.

  9. Posted July 31, 2009 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    Kolob?! The hell you say. That is just a conspiracy. He was actually born on Xconl. They just planted documents to make it appear he is from Kolob. Sneaky buggers.

    Why are Republicans so proud of being the party that celebrates wanton stupidity?

    • hempenstein
      Posted July 31, 2009 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

      The Know Nothing Party blended into the Republican Party in the mid-1850’s. The Birthers could easily assume the mantle of the KNP – there seem to be some pretty reasonable parallels.

  10. NewEnglandBob
    Posted July 31, 2009 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    58% of a shrinking minority of wackos is no surprise to me.

    The explanation was on Stephen Colber the other night when he had the ignorant birther head who is a california lawyer, real estate broker and massage therapist on.

    See it here

    • SLC
      Posted July 31, 2009 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

      Actually, it is my information that Ms. Taitz is a dentist by profession.

    • NewEnglandBob
      Posted August 1, 2009 at 7:22 am | Permalink

      I stand corrected. Attorney, Real Estate Developer and Dentist.

  11. Posted July 31, 2009 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    Obama is not an American? That explains why he has done nothing about the economy and is letting communist countries fire nuclear weapons at will.

  12. Posted July 31, 2009 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    “It must be a conspiracy: people planted that announcement in the newspaper way back in 1961…”

    I totally believe it.

    I recall that Kent Hovnid did state with a straight face that scientists were deluded by Satan after all.

    Planted all those dinosaur bones you see.
    :D

  13. JoeT
    Posted July 31, 2009 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    See, here you thought you were being sarcastic blaming atheist scientists for the birthers. But Eric Cantor has done you one better. It’s the fault of Chris Matthews, MSNBC and liberal bloggers!!

    http://tinyurl.com/ns2rbq

  14. jen
    Posted July 31, 2009 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    Apparently, we are supposed to believe that back in 1961, when the grandparents in Hawaii got the news that little baby Barack had been born in Kenya, they put notices in the newspapers saying that he’d been born without mentioning that it didn’t happen in town …. And we’re also supposed to believe that he got someone to issue him a birth certificate that falsely shows Honolulu as his place of birth, and got the Director of the relevant state agency to lie for him.

    And on top of all the rest, some of the more rational Republicans are starting to realize this craziness makes them look bad. So now they’re claiming that all this media attention is not a result of the birthers’ screaming so loud but is instead a Democratic conspiracy to make Republicans look like nuts ….

    • NewEnglandBob
      Posted July 31, 2009 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

      …more rational Republicans are starting to realize this craziness makes them look bad…

      As opposed to all of their other craziness. They seem to have a bottomless chasm of it lately.

      …conspiracy to make Republicans look like nuts…

      They did that job all by themselves.

    • Mike Hoyt
      Posted September 3, 2009 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

      We don’t have to try to make the Republicans look like a bunch of nuts, theyre doing a good job of that by themselves.

  15. KP
    Posted July 31, 2009 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    Don’t 20% of people also believe in UFOs? So the real point is, you can get 2 or 3 out of 10 people to believe almost any unsubstantiated BS you can come up with.

  16. TheBlackCat
    Posted July 31, 2009 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    and got the Director of the relevant state agency to lie for him.

    It’s worse than that, they got the Republican governor of Hawaii to lie for him as well, somehow. And it isn’t the parents who submit the birth notices to the newspaper, it is the hospital, so they had to either get the hospital and/or two competing newspapers from the time involved in the conspiracy.

  17. articulett
    Posted July 31, 2009 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    I’ve heard it suggested that we should ask birthers to produce a birth certificate for Jesus: http://www.sodahead.com/question/515223/can-anyone-produce-a-birth-certificate-for-jesus-if-not-is-he-an-illegitimate-savior/

  18. Posted July 31, 2009 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    Yes, “unsure” can hardly be counted as “birther.” The title is misleading.

    What is more, who even knows what the “not born in the US” category means? Some who don’t know and don’t care will just pick the “anti-Obama” category for no reason other than that it’s anti-Obama.

    And who answers poll questions these days? That’s an increasingly important question for all polls, as people tire of responding to them.

    Honestly, polls have to be analyzed (with skepticism) as to what they mean, not taken at face value.

    Glen Davidson

    http://tinyurl.com/mxaa3p

    • Mike Hoyt
      Posted September 3, 2009 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

      John Mccain was not born in the USA either, he was born in Panama. And this is real, not a joke.

  19. articulett
    Posted July 31, 2009 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    I wonder if there are any birthers who are not religious?

    It seems that no amount of evidence ever can satisfy those who prefer belief over truth.

    I do blame faith for unscientific America. What other institution glorifies crazy like religion does? birther delusions are on par with religious delusions as far as I’m concerned. There are only so many ways to lie to oneself when one’s beliefs are not supported by evidence.

  20. Thanny
    Posted July 31, 2009 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    It doesn’t matter where Obama was born. His mother was a US citizen, so he was a natural born US citizen, period. She could have given birth in Shanghai or Timbuktu, and it wouldn’t make a legal difference.

    So evidence that he was born in Hawaii is irrelevant.

    • J.J.E.
      Posted July 31, 2009 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

      Technically this isn’t true. Until 1986 a parent had to be a US citizen and live in the US 10 years (5 of those years acted the age of 14) before that person could confer citizenship on their offspring. Obama’s mother was 18 y 8 m when he was born dontcha know? So, he wouldn’t be elgible for citizenship because hecwas born 4 months too early. Oh, and now, only 2 years need be after the age of 14, so 16 to mothers can have citizen children not just 19 to moms. Yes the birthers are relying on this law to prove their case. Not they know it of course…

      But seriously, everybody is just hangin’ out at U Hawaii and the decide to travel to Kenya while mom is very pregnant, pop out BHO, return to Hawaii and then soon therafter move to Seattle. Hjust how plausible is that Kenya jump? Birthers have a real problem in credulity.

  21. nick bobick
    Posted July 31, 2009 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    “Birthers” are so yesterday; now it is all about “deathers”, and I am surprised it hasn’t been blogged about more (if any).

    In the past two days, less rational of my relatives and acquaintances, have been sending me emails about how Obama’s health care package includes provisos for “assisted suicide” for Seniors. It gives me a reason to vent my wrath by replying to them with scathing remarks about their level of intelligence.

    Here is part of one of the missives:

    “Senior Citizens Death Warrant

    I would like to say at this time to all of you who think this does not affect you, YOU WILL BE OLD one day and it will be too late to do anything but wave goodbye.” and

    “I got this today and am sending it on. If Obama’s plans in other areas don’t scare you, this should.
    Please do not let Obama sign senior death warrants.”

    What can I say: the stupid just gets stupider.

    nick

  22. foxfire
    Posted July 31, 2009 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

    Just out of curiosity, what would one call those of us who accept that Obama meets the constitutional qualifications to be POTUS? non-birthers? un-birthers? anti-birthers? birther denialists?

    Darn it, there appears to be a need to Coyne an adjective here…..

    (running to hide in Lurk)

    • NewEnglandBob
      Posted July 31, 2009 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

      There is a word for that: “sane”.

      • foxfire
        Posted July 31, 2009 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

        Well that is a given (and “adjective” in my initial post should have been “noun”).

  23. Joshua Slocum
    Posted July 31, 2009 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

    The term of art is “birfer.” Much funnier, much less dignified. As it should be. Just sayin’.

  24. SMo
    Posted July 31, 2009 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

    LOL, nice zinger at the end! :)

  25. Evolution SWAT
    Posted August 1, 2009 at 12:44 am | Permalink

    Is there more evidence for Obama’s birth or Jesus’ birth?

    Many of these Obama doubters claim to know with certainty that the son of the creator of the universe was born of a virgin about 2,000 years ago…

    Which birth has more evidence?

    • Posted August 1, 2009 at 10:52 am | Permalink

      That’s a thought – what makes people so sure Obama was born at all? Yes there are pictures of him, but how do we know those aren’t holograms? We don’t!

  26. MadScientist
    Posted August 1, 2009 at 1:36 am | Permalink

    Oh no, we’re surrounded by morons! And probably outnumbered too.

    Is that poll really representative of Republican members though? Why do I feel like I’m on the set of Blazing Saddles and welcoming the new mayor?

  27. Peter Beattie
    Posted August 1, 2009 at 2:31 am | Permalink

    There was an article recently in the “Guardian” by George Monbiot that summed it up quite neatly: “evidence is the enemy”. (“Denialogues and Politically Transmitted Diseases“)

  28. AdamK
    Posted August 1, 2009 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    Obviously the militant atheist scientists invented a time machine.

  29. hempenstein
    Posted August 1, 2009 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    But if the birfers truly believe he wasn’t born in Hawaii, and they feel that they’ve found their calling with this, who are we to be judgmental*? There must be a way to accommodate their beliefs.

    *Is there really only one e in that??

    • articulett
      Posted August 1, 2009 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

      Yes, one e (don’t be judgmental about how Firefox spells judgmental.)

      So, if we don’t accommodate the birthers or we deride them shrilly, are we in danger of making them even more unscientific?

      • Derek
        Posted August 1, 2009 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

        “So, if we don’t accommodate the birthers or we deride them shrilly, are we in danger of making them even more unscientific?”

        Yes.

        Birfism and acceptance of the legitimacy of Obama’s presidency are, after all, just different ways of knowing. It would behoove us all to not alienate Birfists by resorting to shrill and militant tactics to promote the legitimacy of Obama’s presidency. If anything we should follow the example of people like Ben Shiller who are Birfists, and acknowledge the legitimacy of Obama’s presidency.

    • Posted August 1, 2009 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

      Judgmental is the preferred spelling in many dictionaries – it’s preferred US spelling I think while in the UK it is judgemental. Unless it’s the other way around. Odd because that ought to make the g hard as in goat…but there you go. Or geo.

      • Hempenstein
        Posted August 1, 2009 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

        Thanx for pointing that out, Ophelia! US word mavens must be so afraid of being judgemental they’ve let a spelling in that makes no sense.


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