Thursday, July 06, 2017

Stephen Hawking: Donald Trump Might Destroy The World!!!

Trump is so horrible that no claim about his horribleness is too hyperbolic!!!!!111
He is literally the devil!!!!
OTOH, still not as crazy as the Obama Antichrist thing...according to which Obama really was the devil... Or...a very evil being anyway... Jeez...Satan and the Antichrist are...ah...two different guys, right? Or no? My uh...apocalyptic monster theology is a little weak once we leave the Cthulhu mythos behind... 
OTOOH, nobody sane believed the Antichrist thing...whereas it's Stephen freaking Hawking saying the destroy-the-world stuff...
OTOOOH...there is probably some chance that the Trump-climate-change-tipping-point thing could be true...


Anonymous Darius Jedburgh said...

It's a bit of a strain to squeeze some of these stories into your 'Maybe the left's dishonesty is worse than Trump's!' narrative, Winston. Hawking did talk a bunch of smack about philosophy a while back, but here he's talking about climate change, and science is, you know, his thing. I'm not seeing the symmetry with calling Obama the Antichrist.

Even apart from the climate change angle: Donald Trump is basically in charge of dealing with a belligerent, armed-to the teeth North Korea, and the idea that he might destroy the world is clearly hyperbole? You might want to recalibrate your priors on that.

3:11 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Listen, Jedburg...

Actually my tone might not have come across as I intended... It's seems pretty much right to say:
The anti-Trump hyperbole is getting ridiculous.
It still pales in comparison to anti-Obama hysteria (which wasn't justified at all).
Though it was all loonies saying the Antichrist stuff...
...but *Stephen Hawking* saying the Trump-will-end-the-world*that's* a strike against the Blue Team...
...though there *is* some chance SH is right...

I dunno...that all seems right to me, man.

And: I think it's misleading to appeal to the fact that SH is a *scientist*... He's a *physicist*...not a *climatologist*. He probably knows about as much about climatology as he knows about philosophy...and we saw how that came out...

10:02 AM  
Anonymous Darius Jedburgh said...

He probably knows about as much about climatology as he knows about philosophy

This strikes me as extremely implausible.

10:13 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Well, I don't think I'm really committed to the comparison--I'm not sure it's false--but the force of it is: I doubt that SH knows much about climatology. Or, rather: It's unlikely that SH knows much about climatology. Gotta say, that seems right to me...but...empirical question.

10:18 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

I mean, maybe it doesn't really matter, because I'm under the impression that the *tipping point soon* thesis is pretty popular in climate science... So I don't think he's saying anything inconsistent with the consensus of experts...but he himself is not an expert, so I don't know why his pronouncement should matter. And even that might not matter if I weren't skeptical about climate catastrophism.

10:23 AM  
Anonymous Darius Jedburgh said...

Right, so

(i) How many divisions has Stephen Hawking? (This is a version of what you asked me to keep telling you...)

(ii) Concerning how many of Trump's pronouncements people are outraged about is the worst one can say, 'It's true that this is the consensus of the experts, but he's not an expert himself?'?

10:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So Hawking is definitely full of shit here. The consensus is something like 4-6 degrees under current emissions, if memory serves, Hawking is saying a 180 degree warming is possible. No one is expecting a runaway greenhouse effect like that. Basically he is saying pigs can fly, except stupider.

Unless we take him seriously, but not literally...

10:58 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

You and your "reason" and "logic"...well, you can prove anything with logic...

Yeah, I think you're probably right, though this post is really just a bit of eye-rolling at anti-Trump hysteria. Seems to me that when you get to this point, a bit of eye-rolling is permissible.

I certainly don't think this is a question about who's worse, Trump or Hawking...not at all. It just strikes me a bit ridiculous that somebody is making headlines when his professional opinion is really no weightier than that of Bill Nye the Science Guy. Hawking is just a kind of celebrity in this context, whereas the story doesn't treat him as just reporting on the consensus--it seems to want us give his opinion more weight than that.

No matter how I look at it, "STEPHEN HAWKING SAYS TRUMP TO DESTROY WORLD" just strikes me as funny.

But, then, it's also because I expect the consensus of experts to lean alarmist itself.

Still, that's all just a bunch of stuff about why I find it humorous...I think if we're scoring this as a serious disagreement, you win.


11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I definitely think it is an interesting example of how droolingly stupid hyperbole (I really hope Stephen Hawking didn't actually mean that was possible, because it is just so dumb) is interpreted differently by the media.

Hawking is a Smart Guy (tm), so obviously now we need to start worrying about the end of life on earth.

Which I think you are pointing out as well.

And going back to the serious but not literal distinction, it seems the media is willing to make the distinction for credentialed experts but not vulgar businessmen. And clearly a lot of people outside the professional class do the opposite, because they no longer trust the experts.

4:11 PM  
Anonymous Darius Jedburgh said...

Winston, I regard pointing out your errors as a sorrowful duty. It gives me no pleasure at all.

But seriously... for my part, I can see how HAWKING SAYS TRUMP TO DESTROY WORLD is sort of amusing in the current (ahem) climate. Still, doesn't he have more standing than just a celebrity here? It's as if Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson had said Trump's destroying the world?

Although Johnson does a surprisingly good job in Central Intelligence. I mean, comedy is hard!

Now I don't know what to think.

10:38 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...


No, no, I bitch about it, but I need such checks *desperately*--obviously.

But, as Anon points, out isn't some eye-rolling permissible...or even the face of EARTH TO BECOME LIKE VENUS SAYS GENIUS? I mean...250 degrees?

[Insert my standard bitching about counterproductivity arguments] But...even if we just look at this from a kind of American-liberal-ish political perspective... I think that's the kind of (according to me) nuttiness that's making people like me skeptical.

11:13 AM  
Anonymous Darius Jedburgh said...

Right. But your up-close looks at the nuttiness should make the person most like you non-sceptical about the stuff that matters. And the stuff that matters is the cloud of issues surrounding the grotesque, venal moron who's actually running the world.

It's not just that the behavior of a section of the media (and remember we're only talking about a section, a section virtually screened out in much of the heartland) is nowhere near as consequential. It's also that, qua nuttiness, it's entirely independent of what's freaking out a very large number of members of previous Republican administrations -- notably that of W (whom I now regard as a towering statesman, by the way) -- and leading someone of Robert Mueller's judgment to suppose that there's a great deal here very much in need of investigation.

2:23 PM  
Anonymous Darius Jedburgh said...

Relatedly, pre-emptive remark: The 'Donald Trump Jr during the election campaign met a lawyer close to Russian govt who promised dirt on Clinton' story is currently the main headline at The Wall Street Journal. Thus any claims of bias on the part of media outlets for giving this story prominence come more or less pre-refuted.

12:11 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

I never know what to think about such arguments--that is, basically: A is so much worse than B that you shouldn't be criticizing B...even though B is, admittedly, pretty much crap.

I mean, are we agreed that Hawking's Venusification argument is dumb?

Does that leave only disagreement about the validity of the form of argument I describe above?

8:05 AM  

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