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Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Truthers and Birthers

This came up on a conservative email list I belong to, where a bunch of people are still insisting that Barack Obama has not proven that he is a natural born citizen of the United States. There are a fair amount of similarities between 9-11 "Truthers" and "Birthers":

1. Insistence that the missing document is the key. Folks who debate creationists frequently refer to this as "the god of the holes"; wherever there's a hole in evolutionary theory, this is where god resides. For a long time, Truthers insisted that WTC-7 was the key, because the government (in the form of NIST) had not provided an explanation for its collapse. Of course, NIST released its report on WTC-7 this summer, and so the "Truthers" are back to pointing at other holes and/or trying to prove NIST wrong. So it is with "Birthers"; the missing birth certificate is the smoking gun.

2. Unwillingness to accept other forms of evidence. There were numerous eyewitness accounts of the damage to WTC-7, and abundant evidence that the Fire Department was well-aware of the possibility of collapse of the building hours before it fell. Similarly, the "Birthers" are unwilling to accept the Certificate of Live Birth. They are unwilling to accept the Honolulu Advertiser birth announcement from 1961. They are unwilling to accept the word of a Hawaii state official that Obama was born there.

3. Multiple, contradictory theories are embraced. The "Truthers" say that a refueling tanker hit WTC-2, or maybe it was a missile, or a fighter plane, or that nothing hit the Tower, it was all done with computer graphics. "Birthers" claim that Obama might have been born in Kenya. Or maybe he was born in Hawaii, but his Indonesian stepfather changed his citizenship to Indonesian. Or maybe he was born in Hawaii but because his father was British, he has dual citizenship and is not a natural-born US citizen.

4. Conspiracy theorists often believe in multiple theories. Phil Berg and Alex Jones, who are pushing the "Birther" crap, also push 9-11 Troof. Jerome Corsi, who's a "Birther" also peddled the North American Union nonsense as well.
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