An interesting parallel between Intelligent Design and Birtherism

As I wrote that title, I realized that it's probably insufficiently informative - there are, after all, multiple parallels between Intelligent Design proponents and the crackpots dedicated defenders of the Constitution who continue to insist that Barack Obama is not eligible to be the President. Both groups, for example, have a blind devotion to a concept that has no actual basis in reality. Both appear to be remarkably skeptical toward the enormous amounts of evidence challenging their views while simultaneously demonstrating a remarkable credulity toward any evidence that might possibly be remotely construed as supporting their views, and both demand that they be proven wrong beyond an unreasonable doubt.

As obvious as the parallels between the two groups are concerned, I was actually struck more by their use of a similar tactic. Earlier today, I was watching the insane train wreck that is Orly Taitz reading through court documents in some of the not-yet-laughed-out-of-court still pending birther suits. One paragraph from one of the many motions filed caught my eye:

Defendant Barack H. Obama was a candidate for United States Office of thePresident. However, to assume such office, Defendant Obama must meet the qualifications specified for the Office of the President of the United States, which includes that he must be a "natural born" citizen. Defendant Obama has failed to demonstrate that he is a "natural born" citizen. There are, and have been, other legal challenges before various State and Federal Courts regarding aspects of lost or dual citizenship concerning Defendant Obama. Those challenges, in and of themselves,demonstrate PLAINTIFFS' argument that reasonable doubt exists as to the eligibility of the Defendant Obama for the office of President.

Is it just me, or is that remarkably similar to the logic that the ID folks use when they make their case to school boards: "We disagree with the vast majority of people with actual knowledge of the subject matter, therefore there is obviously a legitimate controversy about the topic."?

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I think your final paragraph nails it. I suspect that the two camps (birthers and ID folks) have an intersection of considerable size.

Pretty standard stuff for denialists of all stripes.

The one that came first to mind is the anti-vaccination crowd.

By D. C. Sessions (not verified) on 05 Oct 2009 #permalink

"There are, and have been, other legal challenges before various State and Federal Courts regarding aspects of lost or dual citizenship concerning Defendant Obama."

Most of those challenges, of course, having being filed by the same individual who filed this one.

The biggest parallel is that they are both framing the "debate" so that their opponents have to prove something to them. Everybody else has to prove that Obama is eligible to be President. Everybody else has to prove that evolution accounts for the diversification of life on the planet.

They on the other hand are not obliged to prove anything. This asymmetry means that they can sit back and continuously move the evidential goal posts. They can always come up with an excuse to ignore evidence that contradicts their beliefs.

By Chris Noble (not verified) on 05 Oct 2009 #permalink

They have demonstrated that doubt exists; they have not demonstrated that said doubt is reasonable.

By Bill Gascoyne (not verified) on 05 Oct 2009 #permalink

The birthers, the tea baggers, the screamers, and the deathers continued extreme minority presence will become tiresome to mainstream America, if it has not already done so. To all the birthers in La, La Land, it is on you to prove to all of us that your assertion is true, if there are people who were there and support your position then show us the video (everyone has a price), either put up or frankly shut-up. I heard Orly Taitz, is selling a tape (I think itâs called âMoney, Lies and Video tapeâ). She is from Orange County, CA, now I know what the mean when they say âbehind the Orange Curtainâ, when they talk about Orange County, the captial of Conspiracy Theories. You know Obama has a passport, he travel abroad before he was a Senator, but I guess they were in on it. In my opinion the Republican Party has been taken over the most extreme religious right (people who love to push their beliefs on others while trying to take away the rights of those they just hate) and thatâs who they need to extract from their party if they real want to win. Good Luck, because as they said in WACO, âWe Ainât Coming Outâ. I heard that she now wants to investigate the âRepublican 2009 Summer of Loveâ list: Assemblyman, Michael D. Duvall (CA), Senator John Ensign (NV), Senator Paul Stanley (TN), Governor Mark Stanford (SC), Board of Ed Chair, and Kristin Maguire AKA Bridget Keeney (SC).

I suspect you would also find that birthers and IDiots share a common geography.

-Everybody else has to prove that evolution accounts for the diversification of life on the planet.-

Done. What do you think we have been doing for the last 150 years?

By Richard Eis (not verified) on 05 Oct 2009 #permalink

We are all adults here, and as adults we know there are consequences for are actions, so if you do not agree with his policies, you can a) do nothing, b) support him, c) not support him, d) protest and picket, its your choice, live the dream! As for Orly Taitz, to this point she has not been successful because she does not have any proof, documentation supporting her claims except her wild rants. I would not bet the farm on this one. She has a mail-order-degree get someone with real credentials (Harvard, Yale Law School) not a crazy Russian immigrant with dual US/ Israel citizenship (where are her allegiances?). Have you even thought of who is paying for all these legal filings, her travel and all her wigs? Sorry she has no juice because she does not have any proof, documentation supporting her claims except her wild rants. I heard they are now playing the victim card as well. Please, feel sorry for us the âBirth Certificateâ that we built our entire case around and that we have been dancing around turn out to be a big âFakeâ. Her material might work on âFake Newsâ but not in a Court of the United States.

Done. What do you think we have been doing for the last 150 years?

"Prove" in this context means get Creationists to accept. As long as creationists put their fingers in their ears then it hasn't been "proved".

The key point is that they appoint themselves to be the ultimate arbiters of science.

By Chris Noble (not verified) on 06 Oct 2009 #permalink

Very interesting, and exactly parallel to a blog I wrote about a month ago about global-warming deniers. The same sort of overlap that you describe for birthers/intelligent-design groups is present in the global-warming deniers: An ability to ignore evidence and base their beliefs on faith, on what they want to be true. Here's a link for those interested.…

Craig...I followed your link. The antiscience is strong in your commenters. Must be discouraging for you to be over-run by the climate equivalent of woo. I posted a quick comment and encouraged any readers to head on over to (run by real climatologists) and present their "evidence" there.

By Daniel J. Andrews (not verified) on 07 Oct 2009 #permalink

Various versions of missing in the point are in play. One is that science consists of an ongoing conversation about what the accumulated information means; "proving" anything to everybody, let alone anybody isn't the point. Science is not a belief system, it's a method, as well as a body of tradition.
Second, neither "birthers" nor creationists are necessarily stupid. They are people who have certain concerns and they have reasons for those concerns. They deserve to be treated with respect. It's possible, even a good idea, to take someone seriously even if they're factually wrong.

By Caroline Ailanthus (not verified) on 07 Feb 2010 #permalink

Don't you see that these birthers are exactly like the birchers, the Creationists, anti-global warming crowd and the like caroline?

For this group, facts are whatever fits their view. If no fact will oblige, let's make it up.

You know we're in trouble when a dishonest schill like Amity Schlaes, or Jerry Bower get more "serious" press than a Nobel in Economics or a professional historian of finance. Or when James Ihnofe invoke God to tell us (how lucky can we be?) that global warming can't be true.