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When You Argue with Fools…

Today, the White House released President Obama’s birth certificate, ostensibly to quiet the debate and steer people into focusing on issues that really, you know, matter.

It won’t make any difference.

The President’s birth certificate has been repeatedly shown — it didn’t quiet a crowd which was obsessed with believing that Barack Obama is the ultimate Other — an alien, a Muslim, a Kenyan terrorist, or the anti-Christ. Showing the certificate again accomplishes nothing but to lend energy and credibility to conspiracy addicts.

It’s the same with any other conspiracy group. Show footage of planes hitting the World Trade Center and you’ll hear claims that the images were either photoshopped or were holograms. Bounce lasers off reflector dishes of the moon to prove that mankind once set up camp on our natural satellite and you’ll encounter the claim that lasers can be intercepted. Show fossil evidence for transitional species and you’ll find Creationists who simply ignore it with sheer force of denial. Link to papers proving Andrew Wakefield falsified his  anti-vaccine “research,” and you get hit with charges that you have been paid off by pharmaceutical companies.

The burden of proof was on the birthers. The White House had no business getting involved, and all we’re about to witness is the unflagging power of conspiracy addicts.

6 comments to When You Argue with Fools…

  • tai_fung

    I have to disagree here. I think the axiom you refer to in your title is wonderful for everyday life. The problem is — this is POLITICS.

    President Obama took the opportunity to portray himself (whether you agree with him or not) as the “adult in the room.” His popularity is falling, and he had the opportunity to say, “I’m trying to work, and there are idiots out there distracting me. So here. Here’s my frakking birth certificate. I’m going back to work, get a life.”

    He KNOWS he wouldn’t allay the suspicions of the lunatic fringe. But he was able to portray himself as trying to solve real problems, and put the GOP on the defensive for coddling birthers as well.

    This is politics. It’s not about winning arguments, in person or on the internet.

  • gwen

    I was forced against my will to watch that episode. I’m sure my blood pressure was much higher that Dr. Novella’s. Oprah, and anything associated with her bullsh*t drives me nuts. Dr. Novella did a great job, but I’m afraid he made no dent in the brains of the ‘true believers’ coming to worship at the altar of Oz’s humongous ego.

  • Jim Shaver

    Brian, I have to agree with Tai. By going out of his way to release the “disputed” birth document, and by making the corresponding public statements, President Obama made Donald Trump look more like a baboon than he already did (didn’t think that was possible, huh?). The fact — as you have exasperatedly expressed — that some of the “birthers” won’t be satisfied is irrelevant. The difference is that now more than ever, no serious presidential candidate can publicly sympathize with these conspiracy theorists.

    I predict that Trump will backpedal on the birth argument while patting himself on the back, will continue to question and denegrate President Obama’s education, upbringing, and other things, will continue to demand and receive undeserved media attention, and will never run for president.

  • Brian Trent

    Hi Jim and Tai,
    I respect the disagreement. My objection wasn’t one of strictly philosophical distinction, but of politics as well: I don’t think it scored any points for him at all. His detractors will simply say that he took too long to do it, or they will deliberately misconstrue his comment on how the debate was “silly”. Politically, philosophically, I thought it was a bad move. However, we shall see…

  • I love how Obama raked Trump across the coals at the Correspondents’ Dinner. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9mzJhvC-8E

  • gwen

    Who is Donald Trump to decide who is, and who is NOT ‘Ivy League’ material? And if Obama should be disqualified from the presidency because of an African father, should Trump be excluded by a Scottish mother?? Or is it the citizenship of the penis that matters???

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