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New Proof that 20% of Americans are Below Average

The recent poll results that nearly one in five Americans believe (incorrectly) that Obama is a Muslim is just more evidence that a small but significant percent of Americans will believe just about any cockamamie story.

Of course, it doesn’t help when you have people like Rev. Franklin Graham (son of Billy Graham) spouting nonsense like this on ABC:

I think the president’s problem is that he was born a Muslim, his father was a Muslim. The seed of Islam is passed through the father like the seed of Judaism is passed through the mother. He was born a Muslim, his father gave him an Islamic name.

Nevermind the truth — that Obama’s father was an atheist, not a Muslim. Not to mention that if being given an Islamic name makes you Islamic, then everyone named Jesus (or David or Ruth) must be a Jew. And if the seed of Islam is passed through the father and the seed of Judiasm is passed through the mother, then what is the child of a Muslim man and a Jewish woman? Or as PZ Myers speculates, are the offspring of Muslim women with Jewish men automatically atheists?

The Washington Post points out some other crazy ideas that polls show are believed by 20% of the population, including that socialism is superior to capitalism, that torture is a good idea, that states have the right to secede from the US (what civil war?), and that aliens from outer space have made contact with humans. In fact, 20% admit to peeing in swimming pools, which shows you just the kind of people we are dealing with here.

I won’t say what kind of people, but it is interesting that if you only consider conservative Republicans, 34% of them believe Obama is Muslim. That’s one third who believe a lie. Not reported was what percentage of Fox News viewers believe this nonsense.

UPDATE: I take it all back. The Guardian has proof that Obama is a closet Muslim.



  1. ebdoug wrote:

    The Luo are basically animist. Obama’s grandfather wanted to better himself so went into town and got a job as a cook with the English. (Demeaning himself because in Kenya the men don’t cook.) The English called him the derogatory name of “boy”; hence he was not enamored of the English. He taught himself to read and write in English. Along comes the Muslim Religion that doesn’t demean him as “boy” so he adopted the Muslim Religion and put Hussein in front of his African name. He then named his son Barack Hussein Obama. African, Muslim, African. His son eschewed the Muslim religion and became an Atheist. That is the Father’s side. Obama’s mother was raised by non practicing Methodist and non practicing Baptist. Obama attending two schools, each for two years in Indonesia. His mother felt he wasn’t being educated in the “public school” which was heavily Muslim so she moved him to Catholic school. You can tell he has been to Catholic school because the children are taught to read an “a” as a long “a”. When he is reading from a telepromter, he will say “A”. When he is talking without it, he uses short “a”.
    Two of mine learned to read in Catholic school for the better education. I had to work on the long “A”. “Dreams of my Father” and “The Bridge”

    Sunday, August 22, 2010 at 6:58 am | Permalink
  2. Jim Schneider wrote:

    This doesn’t surprise me a bit. Especially given the statistical realities of the normal distribution on the bell curve 49% of all Americans are by definition, “below average”.

    Sunday, August 22, 2010 at 7:23 am | Permalink
  3. Iron Knee wrote:

    Before I get any more comments, the title of this post was meant as an ironic joke. By definition, half of any diverse statistical population will be below average (Garrison Keillor notwithstanding).

    Of course, you could easily interpret the title as saying that Americans are below average compared to (say) the entire world population. But even I won’t go there.

    Sunday, August 22, 2010 at 10:28 am | Permalink
  4. ZJD wrote:

    Now the question needs to be addressed: where, oh where, would people get the silly idea that Obama is a Muslim? Or that he wasn’t born an American citizen? Or that he wants to turn the U.S. into a socialist dictatorship in which all Americans are stripped of their constitutional rights?

    Actually those are easy questions to answer; any crazy theory can be thought up by anyone and spread by anyone else. I suppose a better question would be: what kind of social-media complex would have to exist for such baseless theories to be widespread enough and repeated often enough to be believed by a substantial minority of the population? I have an idea…

    Sunday, August 22, 2010 at 11:18 am | Permalink
  5. JTK wrote:

    Many people who observe social interactions have come to the conclusion that 15-20% of people are cranks. I think this is just another example of that phenomenon.

    Sunday, August 22, 2010 at 2:28 pm | Permalink
  6. ebdoug wrote:

    ZJD: Let me guess, does your idea have anything to do with Karl Rove, Rupert Murdoch and the Saudi Arabian Prince telling Glenn and Sean what to rant?

    Sunday, August 22, 2010 at 4:04 pm | Permalink
  7. Jonah wrote:

    Buried underneath the issue of whether obama is or isn;t a muslim is the question of why does it even matter. The world is getting flatter every day and for the country’s sake i hope the majority soon wakes up to that fact.

    Monday, August 23, 2010 at 3:19 am | Permalink
  8. patriotsgt wrote:

    I think Obama would like to say he’s not anything. I think he’d like to say he’s a spiritual person, not muslim, christian or any other religion. However, that would be political suicide in America. Obama chose to stick with christianity because he had to. If he had chosen any other religion we would not be having this conversation, because he would not be President. Americans are ready to elect a black or women president, but not a non-christian president.

    Religion’s are all man made clubs, intrepreted by man, run and funded by man and therefore by default corruptable. If you want to be part of the club, follow the rules of the club, give money to the club and you are a member. I’d rather see people live by spiritual principles then religious rules. More doers and less sayers.

    Monday, August 23, 2010 at 7:41 am | Permalink
  9. Hassan wrote:

    I do not know what Rev. Franklin Graham is talking about, no muslim (from liberal to ultra-conservative) believe that “seed of Islam is passed through the father”.

    We definitely believe all humans are born on clean good nature from God (called fitrah), and no sin upon them. And their surrounding/parents make them jew/christian/whatever.

    So in that sense even Rev. Franklin Graham was born as muslim. (from islamic perspective).

    Monday, August 23, 2010 at 2:01 pm | Permalink
  10. Iron Knee wrote:

    Clearly, it is Graham who doesn’t know know what he is talking about.

    Monday, August 23, 2010 at 2:53 pm | Permalink
  11. BTN wrote:

    Concening “crazy ideas”:

    “socialism is superior to capitalism” -> Creating safety nets for the poor (socialism) is a good idea. Also, corporations work towards their self-interest, not the gernal public’s. When they get too big and powerful, they have too much influence. Capitalism only works within the right framework. Supporting big business that should go bankrupt – without wiping out their stock holders – is a bad idea (US-style capitalism).

    Sunday, August 29, 2010 at 11:54 am | Permalink
  12. BTN wrote:

    Also, I wish people would conduct their own fact-finding (Obama/Muslim) as opposed to just believing what they hear

    Sunday, August 29, 2010 at 11:55 am | Permalink
  13. Iron Knee wrote:

    BTN, the issue wasn’t whether or not socialism was better than capitalism. Please let’s not get into that debate. The issue was that just because 20% believe an idea like “Obama is Muslim” doesn’t mean that the remaining 80% are swayed by that idea.

    In fact, the idea that aliens have made contact with us isn’t so crazy if they actually have made contact with us.

    Unfortunately, for many people, what they hear *is* their version of fact finding. If they hear something repeatedly, then they believe it must be true.

    Sunday, August 29, 2010 at 12:38 pm | Permalink