Birtherism Is Alive and Well

by John Sides on February 6, 2012 · 7 comments

in Public opinion

…the percentage of respondents who accept the Birther myth is, if anything, even higher than it was before Obama released his long-form certificate.

Adam Berinsky, writing at Model Politics.  He is referring to Republican respondents in that passage.

{ 7 comments }

Andreas Moser February 7, 2012 at 8:01 am

I noticed that conspiracy theorists cannot be persuaded by facts at all.
I recently tried to point out why another conspiracy (the claim of 12,000 US troops being stationed on Malta, ready to move to Malta) must be wrong. And I live in Malta. But if you read the comments on my blog post, you will see how conspiracy theorists will take any argument to turn it around and somehow fit it into their idea: http://andreasmoser.wordpress.com/2012/01/17/12000-us-soldiers-on-malta/ – They also don’t mind changing their conspiracy theory quite a bit along the way.

Andreas Moser February 7, 2012 at 8:02 am
Andreas Moser February 7, 2012 at 8:17 am

I also love to make up completely new conspiracy theories, e.g. this one about Mitt Romney being a foreign spy: http://andreasmoser.wordpress.com/2012/02/01/true-identity-of-mitt-romney/ and then waiting to see how long it takes for it to make the rounds.

Pretendous February 7, 2012 at 8:35 am
Christian February 7, 2012 at 10:45 am

That is not really surprising. It is called “The Backfire Effect”

If you encounter evidence that contradicts your beliefs it can happen that you do not change your beliefs, but ignore the evidence. This seems to be a classic example.
http://youarenotsosmart.com/2011/06/10/the-backfire-effect/

Andy Rudalevige February 7, 2012 at 12:26 pm

The comments at the end of Adam’s post are worth reading, for a sense of the argument (if that’s what it is) and the mindsets involved.

Realist Writer February 7, 2012 at 12:30 pm

For those who want to insult followers of conspiracy theories…keep in mind that:
1) Conspiracy theories are created equally by both sides of the political divide, and serve a purpose in making the “base” more alert:
http://themonkeycage.org/blog/2011/08/29/the-origins-of-conspiracy-theories/

2) Many conspiracy theories are ‘mainstream’ (such as the idea that JFK was killed by more than one person)…therefore, you can’t blame personal ‘defects’ for the popularity of these theories:
http://lesswrong.com/lw/5ku/what_causes_people_to_believe_in_conspiracy/

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