If a large segment of a society believes in hocus pocus, then the irrational inevitably affects reality.
Wars have been fought in the name of religion, i.e., the worship of supernatural beings that do not exist. People in some parts of the world still wear talismans to ward off "the evil eye."
Not too long ago, the United States of America invaded one middle-eastern country seeking revenge for an attack that emanated from an entirely different middle-eastern country. This, in search of weapons of mass destruction that did not exist.
Such phenomena, in part, explain the power of the birthers in Arizona politics. When cynical politicians such as Sheriff Joe Arpaio launch investigations into the political equivalent of the chupacabra, and otherwise sane politicos such as Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett feel the need to curry favor with delusional idiots, then fantasy has overtaken us, illogical thought trumps reason, white is black, up is down, and gravity no longer exists.
Of course, the law of gravity is still in effect, and some here in Sand Land know this, but, for the time being, a majority of Arizonans have given themselves over to the irrational. And because these people, sadly, can vote, they alter our reality in numerous, deleterious ways.
(For a dissection of how the nuts of Mesa's Red Mountain Tea Party tie-in to this topic, check this week's column.)
It is magical thinking, for instance, to accept the notion that if you rid the state of brown people all crime will go away. And yet, those who support Senate Bill 1070 often assert just that, though their assertion is contradicted by any truthful analysis of historical FBI crime data.