October 12, 2012

Out: Birthers - In: Ringers (Updated & Bumped)

UPDATE: It appears this conspiracy is busted!

New hi-res image:


(Thanks, Pierre!)

My bullshit detector is crying: Bullshit. Severe and utter bullshit.

The thing about human nature is this: when you want to believe something bad enough then you start seeing everything as "evidence" of the thing you want to believe.

For instance, that Barack Obama is a super-secret Muslim. Is it any wonder that the source of this startling "revelation" is WND -- the same people who even after Obama released his birth certificate continued to claim -- and claim to this day! -- that it's a forgery?

It's the same mindset that gave us 9/11 Trutherism. No matter how much evidence to the contrary, there are millions of people who believe that 9/11 was an "inside job". Why? Because they want to believe that it was an inside job.

Okay, so let's look at the "evidence" that Obama's ring has Arabic script on it which reads, "There is no God but God".

Here are the images that WND uses that show the first part of the Shahada. The image is exactly as published on WND, only shrunk to 70% of size to fit on our pages a little better.


Do you see what WND is doing? They've taken a very grainy photo and overlayed it with the Arabic script in such a way as to suggest to the reader what they should be seeing. And because it's not clear what we are seeing, the mind's natural tendency is to see the thing suggested.

It's a common trick. A simple optical illusion. See this page for similar examples. Such optical illusions are amplified when a suggestion is made to the observer as to what they are supposed to see.

In the example above of Obama's ring, the script is overlayed in such a way as to suggest to the observer what ought to be seen.

Further, notice that the first image of the ring in the upper right hand corner labeled "original" isn't in fact the original. Instead, someone at WND blacked out parts of the ring that they didn't want the observer to see. The actual original is the one in the lower right corner.

This actually makes a big difference in the second "but God" script inasmuch as what appears to be a simple gap from the change of one design to another design in the ring is used as part of the script.

Here are the two actual original photos, but with no suggestive outlines.


But let me make another suggestion and see if the script I suggest below is as plausible or more plausible than the one suggested by WND. I've taken the original photos -- back to 100% zoom this time. Unlike the WND "analysis", notice that I compare both original photos, including the side angle photo they published but which they -- conveniently -- didn't use when they "found" the alleged Arabic script.

As you look at my alternate design, think about the power of suggestion on the way we see things that aren't clear. Also, please excuse the shaky outline of my analysis. I'm doing this in my spare time and, to be honest, I never did have much of a steady hand. I also blew the image up to 300% in order to see if I was missing anything, and then reshrunk the image back to the original WND size. This explains why the commentary I overlayed is a little fuzzy.


What I'm suggesting is that this is nothing more than a grainy photo of a ring with a simple pattern on it and since the people at WND already believe that Obama is a Muslim, they are seeing patterns in the ring that aren't there.

Further, the un-named Duke Arabic expert was probably shown the WND image with the text. That is, he was given the very images published by WND but which were manipulated in such a way as to lead whoever is seeing them into seeing what WND wanted them to see.

As a Ph.D. myself, I can readily attest to the fact that we are every bit as human as any one else.

But before you say, "Rusty, he's an expert!" let me remind all of you about the experts in academia constantly telling us that global warming is about to destroy everything. Even experts can be mislead.

I'll also note that the only expert willing to go on the record for the Blaze's story:

While the Duke scholar seemed certain of the Arabic script present on the ring, Harvard University’s Dr. Ali Asani, a professor of Indo-Muslim and Islamic Religion and Cultures, told TheBlaze that the images of Obama’s ring were not clear enough to make a determination.

I’d actually have to see it much closer to see exactly what it says,” Asani said.

I agree. But only if it says anything at all. It doesn't look, to me, like it says anything.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 12:01 PM | Comments |