Monday, April 26, 2010

Finding out

I was told in all seriousness yesterday that 1) Barack Obama was born in Indonesia, 2) that he is not a citizen of the United States, 3) that he has refused to tender his birth certificate to the proper authorities to prove he's a US citizen, 4) that he is fighting 20 lawsuits to make him show his birth certificate. There were some more, including the charge that he's a chain smoker.
My reply, since I'd never heard any of these charges, was that we first have to determine that the items under discussion were factual. My motto, which I sometimes even follow, is "Let's answer questions of fact before we discuss questions of value."
When I got home after the discussion, I went to my trusted friend Google, and typed in Obama and birth certificate. Just those three words. Up came all the answers to my questions, which were: 1) Barack Obama was born in Hawaii, as I had thought, 2) he is most definitely a citizen of the United States (He had a dual citizenship but gave up the other in 1982), 3) his birth certificate is readily available -- and in fact there were several images of it, and 4) who cares? I couldn't find anything on the lawsuits but then I didn't look too hard.
What bothers me is not that people are believing things that are not true but even ridiculous (Do you honestly think that the Democratic National Committee would have let Obama run had he not had and presented a birth certificate?), but (where was I?) that people don't even check when it's the easiest thing in the world. In a world glutted with information, people still prefer ignorance over knowing.

6 comments:

Bee's Blog said...

I've heard these stories.

The problem is the hatred of the perpetrators.

RexTemples20144 said...

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Jacqui Binford-Bell said...

What totally amazes me in this information age is the persistence of information which is not merely incorrect but impossible for a reasoned individual to believe.

I have finally gotten rid of all those people that forwarded e-mails about the end of the world by recommending they check it with snopes.com or urbanlegends.com before forwarding to me.

Is it that these people so want to believe in something they are willing to ignore all evidence to the contrary? I have some very intelligent friends (normally) that persist in believing the Mayans predicted the end of the world in 2012 and not just that they saw no need to project their calendars forward more than 400 or so years.

美岑 said...
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On both your houses said...

I plan on holding an "end of the world" party in 2012, so we can all get together when it doesn't happen and say "nanner nanner nanner."

Bee's Blog said...

I heard yesterday that a well known Irish Catholic 'seer' has been told by a higher power that Icelandic volcanic ash is the beginning of the end. Maybe we ought to start that party now - either that or I'll go to bed until it's all over!

BTW, can you read Chinese?? You probably can!