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Tooth Fairy Syndrome

Young children believe in fairy tales like the tooth fairy. Despite having no direct evidence of the tooth fairy’s existence, they believe what other children and adults tell them. They are told the false logic that the result they see (money under their pillow) is proof that the tooth fairy exists. We don’t fault young children for their lack of critical thinking skills. We teach those skills later in life.

Yet here we are today when almost half of all adults believe in massive voter fraud when not one of them can point to any actual evidence of it. In fact there are very few tiny isolated cases. In fact all of the large number of citizens who are involved in every aspect of the election process and in the verification process of election results profess publicly that there is no widespread fraud and that vote counts are valid in their districts. Professionally trained independent auditors test and retest every aspect of the election system and report their findings of fair and accurate election results.

The field of psychology tells us that we trust what we see to be true and tend to distrust what we don’t know. An election volunteer or politician knows that their own election results in their own district are valid based on what they see, yet they may distrust the election results in another district that they don’t see. Of course the people in the other district see it oppositely. That’s just the nature of the human mind. Yet as strong as that psychological tendency may be, it has absolutely nothing to do with the legal and logical standards of determining fact vs. fantasy.

Now the latest theory floating in the minds of the doubters is that fraud is “undetectable” sort of like fairy dust. Our society has a well established legal processes and set of standards for differentiating between fact and fantasy. Again and again, suspicions of voter fraud fail to meet any legal standard of evidence. This belief holds no more standing than a belief in fairy dust. Election results are legally and logically established as fact, and belief in fairy dust is established as fantasy. It really is that simple and clear. Yet some seem to suggest that we should redefine the standard of what is a fact and what is evidence to accommodate their fantasies. That seems to be the underlying argument of people in the media now led by spokespersons like Ted Cruz.

We have failed as a society to teach critical thinking skills to large numbers of adults. The influence of public propaganda clearly outweighs the ability to discern fact from fantasy in millions of people. We see disturbing examples of the effects of this failure in our lives every day.

Those of us who were inundated with heavy training in logic, science, mathematics, critical thinking, statistics and the science of auditing are publicly criticized as “elitists”. It’s a sad state of affairs. I’m sorry but it is no longer cute or endearing for adults to believe in the tooth fairy. It’s not an accepted standard of society even it it might be harmless. But believing in the fantasy of election fraud is not harmless. In fact, it’s downright unseemly and dangerous.

Author’s note: I am pleased to serve some clients as a certified election campaign treasurer reporting to the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission. I worked for a year as a CPA auditor providing public assurance of utility rates. During undergraduate and graduate school I worked in medical research, including a laboratory position. Academic training in the fields of science, business and law included statistics, data analysis, internal control, auditing, and critical thinking. I notice that the combination of this diverse experience heightened my appreciation of the underlying academic and legal standards of science, math and logic that support the data driven results that we hold up as truth.