Saturday, April 30, 2011

Shaving Babygate Theories With Occam's Razor - Megan Carpentier, please take note

By Ennealogic

Thanks to a rather vitriolic post by Megan Carpentier of the Guardian, in which she asserts that "Trig Truthers" are bitter, misogynistic and ill-informed to boot, I got to thinking about one of her more outrageous statements: "In the stubbly nether regions of the internet untouched by Occam's razor, a dedicated group of (mostly) men seeks to prove that the Palin family drama is more soap operatic than the family has already acknowledged."

Apparently Ms. Carpentier is unaware that I, and many co-researchers, fellow bloggers and commenters who contribute to the ever-growing body of knowledge about the fraud that is Sarah Palin, are mothers and grandmothers. We "Trig Truthers" are hardly misogynistic. We seem to be considerably more aware than she is about the bizarre soap opera phenomenon that is Wasilla's Palin family. That Ms. Carpentier brags having used the word, "vagina," three times in her story does not comfort me into accepting she understands the babygate dilemma at all. Razors and vaginas and nether regions oh my!—this is not about shaving pubic hair, this is about a pregnancy hoax, and if Ms. Carpentier had spent any time at all learning about the details of the story instead of dashing off a "cracking piece," she just might have been able to add something to the discussion instead of serving to spiral the question further into silence.

A very old razor

Let's examine two theories of how Trig Palin came to be Sarah's "son" and see what we can most reasonably infer when taking Occam's Razor into account. Perhaps Occam's Razor doesn't apply to babygate at all but if it does, the essence of how that principle might be stated goes like this: In cases where two alternate theories produce the same outcome, the simpler one is to be preferred until additional facts emerge.

Sir Isaac Newton restated the rule as, "We are to admit no more causes of natural things than such as are both true and sufficient to explain their appearances." I think this is a good formulation because it maintains that explanations need be both true and sufficient. Yet! Are the observations for Theory #1, below, even present, much less true and sufficient?

Another formulation states, ""If you have two theories that both explain the observed facts, then you should use the simplest until more evidence comes along." The validity of any theory depends on "observed facts." So which of the two is actually the better theory?

Theory #1 - According to Sarah's versions of the story, she gave birth on a Friday morning to a 5-week (or 7-week) premature Down syndrome baby, at Mat-Su Regional Medical Center (or maybe in Anchorage), after taking two flights from Texas to Alaska and driving in the snow for another hour, and after leaking amniotic fluid (or not) since early the previous morning. She subsequently brought the preemie to work with her on the following Monday for show and tell.

Documentation of Live Birth (missing from evidence)

A certified Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (not available at Mat-Su Regional Medical Center)

Theory #2 - Sarah Palin was not pregnant in at all in 2008, but perpetrated a birth-story hoax which she initiated publicly on March 5, 2008 and carries through to this day. The Down syndrome child has been adopted by the Palins.

Trig Palin on 18th April, 2008: "A 5-7 week premature infant"

For Theory #1 we should expect to observe:

a birth certificate
an announcement entered by the hospital
pictures of a 5-7 week premature infant taken within a day or two of birth
an explanation of how the attending Family Practice doctor (CBJ) came to the conclusion that it was okay for Sarah Palin to travel by air and car for 11 hours without getting checked out along the way
an honest explanation of why and how the hospital - its directors, staff and doctors - agreed to induce this multipara, 44 yr-old with a high risk pregnancy in a facility that doesn't even have a level 1 NICU instead of stabilizing and transporting her to a facility in Anchorage equipped to handle such deliveries
a further honest explanation of how such an infant was permitted to be handled by her son's military buddies and the elder Heaths within a day of his birthing, and then brought into a public office environment just three days later
entries in the then governor's daily schedule dating what should have been frequent pre-natal visits
medical records evidencing pre-natal visits and tests
empirical evidence in the form of statements, e-mails, images and video from media, colleagues, friends and other community members supporting the fact of Sarah's 7-8 month pregnancy
and a consistent story of how, when and where the birth happened

    For Theory #2 we should expect to observe:

    photographic and video evidence of a lack of a pregnant belly both before and after Sarah Palin's pregnancy announcement
    empirical evidence in the form of statements from media, colleagues, casual bystanders, community members and airline personnel that she did not appear pregnant even just before the announced birth date
    an unexplained reluctance to allow questions or provide documentation regarding the birth
    occasional hostility and a flippant attitude toward anyone questioning the story
    confusion, hesitation, and inconsistencies in her telling of the birth and pregnancy stories
    a less-than-motherly caring demonstrated toward the Down syndrome child she claimed she was desperate for

    In my opinion, there is currently, and quite simply, insufficient evidence to warrant accepting Theory #1. Remember, a theory must be explained by observed facts. But there was no birth certificate released. There was no hospital announcement, nor any explanation explaining the high risk delivery in a sub-par medical facility. Nor has there been an explanation for the presentation of (and public showing-off of) a chubby-cheeked baby who was supposed to be 5-7 weeks premature, jaundiced, with a hole in his heart. No contemporaneous governor's calendar entries have been unearthed, nor has there been any confirmation of pre-natal testing and visits. The documentary trail with any suggestion at all that Sarah Palin was pregnant consists only of:
    1. the mysteriously appearing and disappearing "Gusty" photos,
    2. a video shot by Elan Frank wherein Sarah Palin drums on an apparently jelly-filled square-shaped pillow of a belly for a few seconds but also is shown jauntily going up and down stairs and easily bending over, and
    3. the very recent recollections by an unnamed friend of an unnamed source who saw Sarah with a pregnant belly at a gym when the location, date and time are not given.
    After taking a look at Theory #2 and the evidence on file for each observation (see links below), we should also remember that Sarah Palin is a skilled liar. If the soon-to-be-released book by Frank Bailey, et al, is anything like the leaked manuscript, we learn over and over again how facile a liar Sarah Palin is, and how she proceeds from one lie to another without a hint of remorse. We also learn how secretive she is, and how she compartmentalizes various lies, never bringing everyone fully into the loop. Her lies are not only normal lies, they are odd lies—lies that don't need to be told.

    So, in spite of Ms. Carpentier's clever phrase-turning, Occam's Razor apparently works to shave away the fatuous assertions in her article, at least for anyone who has taken the time to actually look at the facts:
    Sarah Palin, apparently, couldn't have just gotten pregnant the way the rest of the world does and she couldn't have delivered a baby the way the rest of the women of the world do. She couldn't have had and recognised a few Braxton Hicks contractions after bearing four children, and gotten on a plane to have the birth of her fifth, special-needs child in her hometown, and had it all be perfectly above board.
    No, she couldn't. And the body of evidence that says she couldn't has nothing to do with misogynistic men trying to peer into her "mysterious lady parts."

    To review the evidence on file for Theory #2, please see Politicalgates' collection. For an honest appraisal of both theories, read Brad Scharlott's research paper. Or just Google, "Palin pregnancy hoax." And then with an open mind, read.

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