Science is the enemy of ignorance. It is little wonder, therefore, that Donald Trump is an enemy of science. On Tuesday Trump re-established his mistrust of science in two anti-science tweets in succession. In his first anti-science tweet of the day, Trump wrote: “Patrick Moore, co-founder of Greenpeace: ‘The whole climate crisis is not only Fake News, it’s Fake Science. There is no climate crisis.'”
First, Patrick Moore is not a co-founder of Greenpeace. He was an early member who was later booted out. Second, climate science is not “Fake Science.” In fact, there is no such thing as “Fake Science.” Referring to science as “Fake Science” is like referring to reality as “Unreal Reality.” It’s an instant oxymoron. There is such a thing as pseudoscience, however. Pseudoscience hijacks the language of science in order to deceive the ignorant. Donald Trump is a proponent of pseudoscience. Anthropogenic climate change is established science that is supported by 97% of climate scientists. Donald Trump lacks the credentials to contradict these scientists.
In his second anti-science tweet of the day, Trump said: “Airplanes are becoming far too complex to fly. Pilots are no longer needed, but rather computer scientists from MIT … I don’t know about you, but I don’t want Albert Einstein to be my pilot. I want great flying professionals that are allowed to easily and quickly take control of a plane!”
Actually, I would board a plane piloted by a young Albert Einstein if he received and passed all the usual training necessary to become a commercial pilot, and I would do so with confidence. I wouldn’t go anywhere near a plane piloted by a man like Donald Trump, who has a reputation for never checking his facts, never reading, and is too arrogant to listen to anything anyone says.
Airplanes are precisely as complicated as they need to be. Onboard airliner computers have built-in redundancy checks and sophisticated software tested by engineers over millions of hours that make aircraft safer and safer year by year. Donald Trump, on the other hand, is an ignoramus with an opinion. Donald Trump is beloved by his base precisely because of this kind of tripe. Science makes them angry because they don’t understand it. When someone like Trump attacks science, someone they look up to in their misplaced zeal, they feel vindicated. Ignorance is Donald Trump’s best friend.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.