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The Rise and Fall of a Gullible Man

26-Jun-2008

I am endlessly amazed at the gullibility of the human race. Every time I think that people cannot believe something more inane, I am proved wrong again.

What set me off on a rant this time, was the unveiling of Barack Obama’s new website, www.fightthesmears.com. Now, let me say right now, that I support McCain for president (something I am reconsidering in light of his flip-flop on off-shore drilling). However, Obama launched this website because of persistent emails making such credible claims as Obama is a closet muslim; Obama was sworn into the Senate on a Koran; Obama’s wife called white people “whitey”; Obama refuses to say the Pledge of Allegiance, and so on.

I’ve seen these emails. When I received them, I laughed, and hit the delete button. But people actually BELIEVE this drivel. Are people really that stupid?

Every day I read the latest urban legends on www.snopes.com. Most of the items that this web site exposes to be untrue, would require a person to completely suspend any hint of intelligence they may posses in order to believe them. Yet, believe them, they do.

I can understand people being conned. People want to believe that something good is happening to them, and are therefore psychologically predisposed to being conned. But the silly urban legends, and these amazingly foolish rumors about Obama, people believe even though they have nothing to gain by believing it.

My theory is that people believe what reinforces their bias or chosen position. I guess people feel better if they made a decision, and have data to prove their decision correct; even if that data is total crap.

Skepticism makes one credible – gullibility makes one a fool.

Oh, and despite the email claims otherwise, Obama DOES wear a lapel flag pin. I am posting the picture here to prove it.

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2 comments

  1. There is a very interesting article in the New York Times concerning the relationship between memory and misinformation.

    You can find it here:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/27/opinion/27aamodt.html?ex=1372305600&en=2bb9e9c384a1c7fe&ei=5124&partner=permalink&exprod=permalink


  2. Thanks rutherfordl; that is one *fascinating* article. It certainly explains the maxim “if you tell a lie often enough, it becomes the truth”.



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