By Randall Hoven
May 3, 2011
I wish to assist in the currently ubiquitous endeavor of understanding what, exactly, is wrong with the minds of conservatives. Why do they believe crazy things? Why don't facts, logic, and evidence convince them of anything? In this endeavor, I will journey into the heart of crazy darkness: the birther movement. Follow me on my journey into the very mind of a birther -- mine.
At the outset, I must confess that I was not a full-blooded birther. When asked if I thought Barack Obama was born in the US (at the annual Birther Convention), I said "yes," to a volley of hoots and howls. But when asked if I definitely believed he was born on US soil, I said "no," and they let me enjoy the hors d'oeuvres. That made me just a BJG (Birther, Junior Grade). I thought it possible that he was born elsewhere, like Kenya, a belief held by only 62% of Americans at the time.
How could I believe such a thing, despite all the evidence to the contrary? All I know about facts and evidence and stuff is what I learned about the scientific method in grade school. And learning Euclid's geometry from Jesuits and then the hard sciences to get through engineering school. And having to do mathematical proofs in high school, college, and graduate school. But I never took a philosophy course. Heck, I didn't know what "epistemology" meant until I was in my 40s. Even now, I get it mixed up with "etymology," "entomology," or "episiotomy" more than half the time.