One of history’s most abused abbreviations is UFO, which stands for, just to remind everyone, Unidentified Flying Object. The irony of the misapplication of the shorthand is it has come to represent precisely what it is not. To say that a thing is “unidentified” and then immediately insist that it is therefore an extraterrestrial spacecraft is to identify it. Naturally, this inherent contradiction is lost on the weak minded propellerheads who insist that Earth’s skies are lousy with space aliens who, for reasons that ought to baffle the true believer but I’m not surprised they do not, wish to remain hidden. But not so hidden that the true believer isn’t “certain” that they exist. And so on.
It’s like insisting that since there were 50 unsolved murders in New York City last year, say, then the unsolved ones must have been committed by space aliens. Or insisting that because one cannot figure out how a stage magician did a trick it must therefore be real magic. (Never mind that many, if not most, stage magicians are skeptics.) This is what Drs Dunning and Kruger have in mind when they speak of people with cognitive biases and measurably low abilities overestimating their own cognitive powers. Their “reasonings” just don’t square with reality.
What does all this have to do with Trump supporters? Yes, I know, stupid question. But this is how fools are easily fooled. That the latest example of such errant tomfoolery happened in a court of law in Arizona ought to have an appropriately chilling effect on us all. Lawyers for Donald Trump actively solicited affidavits from wing nuts who will swear under penalty of perjury that they have witnessed voter fraud during the 2020 presidential election. The lawyers are throwing out the affidavits that they can prove are fraudulent and only submitting the ones they can’t disprove. In other words, the ones left over are the space aliens they have been looking for.
It all happened in Maricopa County, Arizona, where lawyers for the Trump campaign were trying to stop the certification of election results. In questioning Trump campaign attorney Kory Langhofer, Judge Daniel Kiley gave his reasoning for rejecting affidavits claiming fraud: “The fact that your process for obtaining these affidavits yielded affidavits that you yourself found to be false, does not support a finding that this process generates reliable evidence. This is concerning. The fact that you solicited affidavits, some you know are false, some you don’t know if they’re false or not, you exclude the ones you know are false and submit the others. How is that a process of gathering reliable evidence?”
It’s not. It’s called data mining, or bias confirmation. It’s how sloppy researchers reach dumb conclusions about questionable theories.
By the way, the tool the lawyers used to eliminate false affidavits is called a “captcha.” You’ve probably seen one before. It’s a box you tick to prove you’re not a bot. Or a series of pictures in which you’re supposed to identify the ones that contain traffic lights. It’s that crude.
This is part of the “firehose of evidence” lawyers are desperately seeking to “prove” that rampant election fraud took place in the 2020 election. Thankfully, people like Judge Kiley are adjudicating this nonsense, and not a bunch of MAGA-hat wearing, gun-toting cretins.
Just in case you’re wondering why Trump’s lawyers are not being more specific about the “mountain of evidence of election fraud” they’re assembling, it’s because they’re privately embarrassed by it. Even they know it’s crap. But they’re hoping enough people don’t look too closely at it. Unfortunately, the ones whose job it is to examine the evidence closely are judges, and unlike the aforementioned MAGA-hat wearing, gun-toting cretins, they are nobody’s fools. So don’t worry. When it comes to examining the evidence, we’re in good hands. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.