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Trump and Climate Science (Master Persuader Series) - Dilbert Blog

Trump and Climate Science (Master Persuader Series)

Warning: What follows should be viewed as entertainment, not truth. I’m going to spin a few brains today. History suggests that 20% of you will not like it one bit. So if you don’t want your worldview challenged, better stop here. This is written with commercial-level persuasion, just for entertainment, to see if I can change some hard-to-change minds. If you don’t want your mind changed, don’t read on.

Let’s say that last year you believed Trump was a big, dumb clown who inherited his money, talks like a 4th grader, and has no real skills. A lot of people held that view until approximately… this week.

You probably don’t think Trump is an idiot now. It all changed over the holidays. (I call that The Turn, which is my own persuasion lingo. That’s the moment your perception of reality flips 180 degrees.)

Today, you probably think Trump has skills in this one area that involves manipulating the attention of the public. But if you are a science-loving Democrat, there’s a good chance that Trump’s statements about climate change seem maddeningly ignorant to you, and completely disqualifying for the job of president. Trump said in 2015, after announcing his candidacy:

“Climate change is a hoax.”

Gulp.

I hope I don’t need to tell you that Trump’s opinion on climate change disagrees with the overwhelming consensus of the scientific community that considers climate change science a fact, not a hoax.

Here I pause to acknowledge that a big chunk of my readers, and many Trump supporters as well, doubt the science of climate change and point to a smaller group of scientists as evidence. But I think the dissenters also agree with the statement that the scientific community is mostly on the other side. 

Let’s say you’re a Democrat who isn’t loving the idea of Hillary Clinton as president, but you can’t pull the lever for a big, dumb clown who doesn’t even believe in climate science. You don’t want that type of role model in office, and you don’t want to live in a world that is destroyed by climate change. If you don’t want Clinton as your president, you might be kinda screwed on your choices.

So I thought I would help you out. From here on, I am speaking directly to people who might like Trump for the economy and for national security, but can’t get past his scientific ignorance on climate change.

Do you think I can change your mind?

If you have followed my Master Persuader series since August, you know that I used that set of skills to make nine spookily accurate predictions in 2015 about Trump’s rise, as well as the fate of the other candidates. That makes me the best pundit of last year. Let that sink in for a minute. None of it was luck. I showed my work all along the way.

Also, it looks like my prediction on Clinton’s health is spot-on, according to this article. I was not the first to make this observation or prediction, but you can add it to my record. I only mention my track record to establish my credibility for what follows.

My spooky predictions might impress you, but still, you assume there is no way I’ll talk you into thinking Trump’s “hoax” statement is anything but ignorant and deeply irresponsible to the planet.

Challenge accepted.

But all I plan to do today is sow some doubt. You won’t change your mind about Trump’s opinion right away. If you trust climate change science, The Turn comes later for you. I’m just setting the table for that to happen later, to borrow Trump’s negotiating term.

If you have followed my Master Persuader series, you know my hypothesis is that Trump has mastered the art of persuasion to such a degree that he can create or destroy illusions at will. He can make you care about certain topics, discount certain evidence, and change your priorities. He can move crowds to passion, dominate the news industry, dominate the Republican party, and negotiate like no one you have ever seen.

But he ain’t no scientist. 

He has no science background at all, as far as I know. When Trump talks about science, he is WAY out of his league. His credibility on the topic of science is zero, and should be. It isn’t his thing.

A Master Persuader is only an expert on psychology, and only on the applied level. That skill set is good for running a business, and apparently it works well in a presidential campaign too. But it is far from science. 

So I think we can agree that Trump has world-class skills in negotiating and persuading, but he should keep his opinions away from science. That is NOT his field.

But I’ll tell you one thing a Master Persuader can do better than just about anyone: He can spot a hoax.

That doesn’t mean Trump is right. All I’m saying is that if your question is about science, don’t call Trump. Call a scientist. Then call lots more scientists to make sure the first one was right. Do NOT call Trump about science.

But if you want to spot a hoax, you might want an expert who operates in the third dimension, where reason is an illusion and cognitive dissonance is the landscape. That person is trained to filter reason from illusion. He is also trained to know how persuasion influences large groups, such as the scientific community, and science-loving voters. That guy is Trump. And he says climate change is an illusion.

Science is the expert on science, but Trump is the expert on hoaxes. From your perspective, science probably wins that fight. You know science is reliable but this hoax-spotting idea sounds far-fetched.

Here I remind you that I used my understanding of Trump’s persuasion skills to be the only accurate pundit in 2015. That seemed equally far-fetched until I did it right in front of you. This post uses that same set of skills.

If it gives you any comfort, Trump also said, “Maybe some climate change is manmade, but not all.” To my ears, it sounds like he accepts the data but not the complicated climate models that predict where things are heading. 

Do you know where hoaxes hide? Answer: In complicated prediction models.

I don’t know if Trump is right about the hoax part, or that the Chinese are behind it:

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The Chinese conspiracy doesn’t sound like the whole story to me, but I do buy the notion that China would be happy if the United States tied its feet together so it couldn’t compete. Trump deals with the Chinese enough to have heard inside rumors about their strategies. But my guess is that he’s making a Master Persuader assumption based on odor, not fact. And when it comes to odor, you have never seen a bloodhound with a better nose.

I’m no expert on climate change, but my understanding is that aggressively moving toward clean energy is the right path whether you want to fix the climate or just breath clean air. So ask yourself how much it matters to you that Trump believes the complicated prediction models are not credible?

Then ask yourself how sure you are that an expert at spotting hoaxes got this one wrong.

Update: Watch a younger Trump spot this Ali G hoax and walk off. 

I know you are not yet persuaded. Wait until later in the election cycle when you hear pundits begin to talk of Trump as “unopposed” because Clinton’s stamina has waned to the point of national embarrassment. When that happens, remember how you doubted this post. Then come back and give it a second read.

See what I did there?

[For new readers, I am not endorsing Trump or anyone else. I am not smart enough to know who would do the best job as president. My interest is in Trump’s persuasion skills.]

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