Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Ever-Changing Credentials of "Dr. Ron Polarik"

If you've been exposed to Birthers for any length of time in the past several months, you've seen the name "Dr. Ron Polarik." So let's take a moment to look back on the precise credentials that "Dr." "Polarik" has claimed for himself over the past year.

When he first appeared on the scene, in his very first Townhall post, Polarik described his experience thusly:
June 13, 2008:
"I've been working with computers, printers, and typewriters for over 20 years, and given a set of printed letters, I can discern what kind of device made them."

That was Polarik's full resume for over two months. He briefly expanded it eight weeks later, in mid-August:
August 14, 2008:
"As a handwriting analyst, I can say with some certainty, that two people wrote on this record book."

A new skill, but no specific claim of higher education. That first came another two weeks after that, coincidentally a mere couple of weeks after TechDude was exposed as a fraud:
August 27, 2008:
"Little did he [Neal Krawetz] know that I have a Masters in Statistics"

OK, a Masters in Statistics. I'm not entirely sure how that's relevant at all to image analysis, but sure, why not.

In case you want to think this was a typo, he repeated it the next day. And again in an attempted comment on Krawetz's site.

However, in a comment that Polarik made a month earlier on Krawetz's site, on the exact same subject, he fails to mention any Masters in Statistics.

A little over a week later:
September 6, 2008:
"Little did he [Neal Krawetz] know that I'm also a Statistician with a Masters in Experimental Psychology and a Doctorate in Instructional Media. I don't like to flaunt it, y'know."

Now the Masters degree is in Experimental Psychology, statistics is mentioned without citing a degree, and, for the first time, he claims a doctorate in Instructional Media.
September 10, 2008:
"What was particularly irksome to me, as someone with a Doctorate in Experimental Psychology, is implying that I don't understand "basic physics," "

Now the Masters in Experimental Psychology is a Doctorate in Experimental Psychology.
September 12, 2008:
"I’ve been working with computers for 40 years. I’ve been a graphic artist for 50 years. My first “personal computer” was an S-100 I built in 1977, followed by a TRS-80, a Commodore 64, Apple I & II, IBM PC, Original Macintosh, Timex/Sinclair 1000, and lots of IBM and Unix mainframes along the way. Ive done programming in CP-M, ASP, Basic, Visual Basic, C and its variants, Java, Javascript, VBScript, Plato, DB2, HTML, SPSS, SAS, Minitab, StatPro, and everything Microsoft.

"My PhD is in Instructional Media and Experimental Psychology (dual major)."

"Well, yes, I did lie about my experience. It’s so much greater than I initially reported. I figure that credentials don’t mean squat if you cannot use your brain."

Back on August 28, Polarik criticized Neal Krawetz's credentials on this ground: "Nowhere will you find ANY specific or related experience in 'analyzing computer-generated images'". Now look at Polarik's claimed resume above. Can you taste the hypocrisy?

Also note how readily Polarik is willing to cop to lying in order to concoct a reason why it took him almost three months to mention he had multiple doctorates, as opposed to his original resume of "working with computers, printers, and typewriters."
December 18, 2008:
"I am an expert in Hawaiian Certifications of Live Birth,"

If you're willing to be generous, you could take this to mean that Polarik achieved expertise in Hawaiian COLBs between June and December. Sure, it's an obscenely narrow field to consider oneself an "expert," and I'm not sure he's claimed to have ever held more than one physical COLB (Michele's), but if the claim is that he's wasted more time obsessing over a Hawaiian COLB than anyone else, he might be right.
December 21, 2008:
"Krawetz and his crowd like to taunt me with "Krawetz is a Real PhD with a Real Name and is a Real Expert," but I got my Masters degree before Krawetz was born, and my Doctorate while he was still in grade school."

Significantly here, Polarik says "Masters degree," not "degrees." Even though between August and December he will have claimed three very different Masters degrees.

Also, Krawetz is approximately forty, so Polarik's numbers suggest that he is at least in his early-to-mid sixties. Combined with his earlier claim that he has been a graphic artist for 50 years, either he's counting back to his teenage days for that figure, or he got his "Masters degree" when he was closer to thirty, and he's now pushing seventy or more.

I welcome readers to watch Polarik's video and decide for yourself whether the pixel-faced guy in the video looks like a senior citizen.

Finally, we have the resume Polarik presented as part of his 'Declaration of XXXXXXXXXXXX' (not an Affidavit, as often claimed; it's not signed, dated, notarized, witnessed, or styled as an "Affidavit." And, of course, it's anonymous):
December 2008:
"I hold a PhD in Instructional Systems with 25+ years of
post-doctoral work experience, and a Masters Degree in Educational Research, Design, and Testing. I have worked with computers and computer printers, plotters, and optical/digital scanners, typesetting, offset printing, and automatic typewriters, for over thirty (30) years.

"In my professional career I have held positions as a Computer Programmer, Web Designer, Media Consultant, Research Director and Statistician. I have testified as a Statistical Expert in Governmental hearings over the last twenty (20) years.

"I began working with computers on or about 1969 and with graphic arts since 1965. I have worked with document image scanners since 1982 and with digital images and digital editing software since 1987. I have received professional training in the use of Adobe Photoshop and Image Ready software with a particular focus on creating web graphics. I have also worked with laser printers since 1986."

Now he adds plenty of mentions of digital imagery experience, which he apparently didn't consider important enough to mention back in September. His original claim in June of 20 years of computer work has also now doubled to 40 years.

But that's not the big reveal here. That would be the naming of Polarik's THIRD Masters Degree, this time in "Educational Research, Design, and Testing." (Fun Fact: Googling "Educational Research, Design, and Testing" produces only a handful of webpages, all of which are quoting Polarik.) Plus, his doctorate in "Instructional Media" is now a doctorate in "Instructional Systems."

Finally, I can't put a specific date on it, but Polarik's Townhall blog, The Greater Evil, has a one-sentence biography stating: "I have studied the Arab-Israeli conflict for 30 years." Strangely, I've never seen "Polarik" mention this bit of alleged expertise anywhere else. It seems likely that this was written when the blog was created in June 2008. It also provides an explanation for why the blog is titled "The Greater Evil," as that would fit a blog intended to be about the Arab-Israeli conflict more than about Obama's birth certificate.

So to recap JUST the specific claims regarding degrees from educational institutions, from June 2008 through December 2008:

Jun. 13, 2008 - Aug. 26, 2008: None.
Aug. 27, 2008: Masters in Statistics
Sep. 6, 2008: Masters in Experimental Psychology, Doctorate in Instructional Media
Sep. 10, 2008: Doctorate in Experimental Psychology
Sep. 12, 2008: PhD in Instructional Media and Experimental Psychology (dual major)
Dec. ??, 2008: PhD in Instructional Systems, Masters Degree in Educational Research, Design, and Testing.

Two different doctorates (or possibly three, depending on how accurately Polarik can name his own doctoral programs). Three different Masters degrees. And zero schools. Polarik learned his lesson well from TechDude's crash-and-burn: if you're too specific in your made-up credentials, you open the door to having those specifics discovered to be false. Better to be impenetrably vague, and not open the door to verification and exposure. If people will believe that a Iowa scam artist has a mysterious and elusive Kenyan birth certificate, then they certainly won't have any problem accepting a mere doctorate from an unnamed school.

However, when creating a false resume, it helps to be more consistent than Polarik. People may notice when new degrees appear out of thin air, or when previously claimed degrees disappear, or when a Masters suddenly becomes a Doctorate (which, in turn, then disappears entirely). People may notice when a three-times-over doctor admits to having trouble making his rent. And if you're going to initially claim that the reason for your early secrecy was a reluctance to flaunt your credentials, perhaps you shouldn't then suddenly start putting "PhD" after your name and calling yourself "Dr." at every opportunity. Consistency isn't hard when you're telling the truth, but it's the key to being an expert liar. The irony is that while Polarik insists that he is an expert but not a liar, it's the opposite that's true.

I'll give Polarik this: in his pixelated video statement, he cites his among his credentials that he's "done a lot of work with reading web pages." And I have no bones with his assertion that he's read a lot of web pages. Granted, "reading web pages" is not the kind of credential you'd normally expect to hear cited by someone with three doctorates, but it does sound like the kind of credential someone with no doctorates might make up.


  1. What does this have to do with the Anylisys?

    I didn't see any refutation of any of his anylisys that is what is at issue.

  2. The question of whether a source is credible is *always* at issue. And Polarik is not a credible source.

    That said, enjoy: http://barackryphal.blogspot.com/2009/07/polariks-faked-forgery.html