18237772_10155266045752350_5426834072615069460_o Sorry, I couldn’t resist the memory. This is about Out of the lab and into the field? by ATTP, who as usual is far too polite about Out of the lab and into the field by Dan M. Kahan & Katherine Carpenter, Nature Climate Change 7, 309–311 (2017) doi:10.1038/nclimate3283. I convincingly demolished this as a load of toss based merely on the rather short abstract, but was uneasily aware that some kind person might mail me the article itself, and so it was. Thank you, you know who you are. Since we’re on “out of”, I feel I should recommend Straight outta Compton, to whose sound I wrote this post3: You are now about to witness the strength of book knowledge1.

Anyway, what of the bloody text itself? It starts very badly, with “Decision scientists4” but we must try not to laugh. The next silliness is not to mention the most recent US presidential campaign, which resulted in the victory of a candidate who has declared climate change a hoax. Trump has said any number of things he doesn’t take seriously. Taking them all seriously is foolish. Why hasn’t the new ‘science of science communication’, achieved more? Because it’s a load of toss, probably. The greatest enemy of effective science communication is the tyranny of the plausible. Oh, bullshit. The greatest enemy is the failure to understand the people you’re trying to talk to.

The first bit that begins to make sense is …it was commonplace to believe that public confusion about climate change was a consequence of ‘bounded rationality’, a term that refers to the tendency to over-rely on forms of reasoning that are rapid, intuitive, and emotional. But that account turned out to be untrue. On the contrary, the members of the public most polarized on climate change (and other controversial issues) are the ones most proficient in the dispositions and skills essential to comprehend scientific evidence. Individuals endowed with these critical reasoning skills, experiments suggest, are not using them to form beliefs that are true. Rather they are using them to persist in beliefs that express their membership in and loyalty to opposing cultural groups, a dynamic referred to as cultural cognition. That’s a reasonable statement, though I’m not sure it is due to “decision scientists”, and it gets no points for novelty.

Unfortunately, that seems to be it. It’s a bit thin, but it gets them a Nature citation, so I guess that’s a win for K+C.

Notes

1. And don’t forget Joan Crawford.

2. Via Forbes, the surprisingly interesting quote “If you delegate tasks, you will raise up doers. If you delegate authority, you will raise up leaders”.

3. Which post is hardly a paragon of complex reasoning, but it did take me a while, so I listened through several repeats. Try it. You don’t get the full effect until about the 6th time round.

4. I probably shouldn’t have mocked “decision scientists”, because wiki assures me that decision theory is a respectable thing. I know little about it.

Comments

  1. #1 Russell
    2017/05/07

    Unfortunately , some of the people you’re trying to talk to may be members of The National Academy of Public Administration , which , as with Civil Servants, kind of gives the game away.

    Their discipline is Ruling.

  2. #2 Steve Bloom
    SF Bay ARea (between the heatwaves)
    2017/05/07

    This —

    “On the contrary, the members of the public most polarized on climate change (and other controversial issues) are the ones most proficient in the dispositions and skills essential to comprehend scientific evidence.”

    — is crap once one examines the survey upon which it’s based. The conclusion actually supported is more like “a little scientific knowledge can be used to rationalize the denial of science.” Andy by a little, we’re talking about the sort of knowledge a high school graduate with no particular interest in science might have acquired.

  3. #3 Everett F Sargent
    United States of the Strongman
    2017/05/07

    Are you saying that ‘the new ‘science of science communication’ itself is a load of toss?

    I do like the 97% vs 99.94% battle though …

    “Studies of the consensus on anthropogenic global warming based on literature surveys give higher and more consistent results than opinion polls. Five literature surveys that used (or could have used) rejection as the criterion of consensus (11-15) agree closely. They comprise 54,195 articles from 1991-2015 and reveal an average consensus of 99.94%. An estimated 155,000 authors wrote those articles and that does not represent all who wrote about AGW, but only those found using specific search terms. (See Powell 2017, Bulletin of Science, Technology, and Society, in Press.)”
    http://www.jamespowell.org/

    As to Trumpkin 100% FUD packer, if you know what I mean.

  4. #4 David Appell
    United States
    2017/05/07

    I often wish I could understand your posts and series of abbreviations and British terms and references to people named things like PoWasserT or DA or AT14.

    [I don’t think I used any undefined abbreviations here. ATTP is obvious, as is K+C -W]

    But I never really get past that slang.

  5. #5 David Appell
    2017/05/07

    I’m sure it’s my problem.

    SO never mind.

  6. #6 Arbiter Elegantiae
    Heart of Darkness
    2017/05/07

    Please do not say “oh, bull sh*t” in this respectable forum. Go sit in the corner with a dunce cap on your head.

    [Sorry. I will try harder. I blame listening to NWA -W]

  7. #7 RttB
    United Kingdom
    2017/05/07

    Wots in your box? (Under the fishy muppet card.)

    [Nothing entertaining. The red thing is a RF-connector-protector. The brass thing is an RF connector. The black things are little plastic legs -W]

  8. #8 Raymond Arritt
    Feeling blue in a red country
    2017/05/07

    Bullet successfully dodged.

    [By some margin. Now it is safely over I think we can say that they’d have had to have deliberately dodged in front of the bullet if they’d wanted death -W]

  9. #9 Everett F Sargent
    United States of Coal
    2017/05/08

    Someone thinks they know Trumpkin, while someone else totally knows they know Trumpkin and his ilk (e.g. Mr. Burns of the EPA) …

    EPA chief promises to recuse himself from lawsuits, advocates for coal
    https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2017/05/epa-chief-promises-to-recuse-himself-from-lawsuits-advocates-for-coal/

    “Coal comments

    Publicly, Pruitt went on Fox Business’ show Varney & Co. last Wednesday to defend the use of coal on the American grid. According to The Hill, Pruitt initially commented that the US was already “leading the world” in reducing its “CO2 footprint.” He added that “utility companies across this country need fuel diversity. You need solid hydrocarbons on-site that you can store, so when peak demand rises, you’ve got solid hydrocarbons to draw on.”

    “What would happen if we had an attack on our infrastructure when you’ve diverted to natural gas almost exclusively and you don’t have coal there as a safeguard to preserve the grid?” Pruitt reportedly asked. “I mean, it’s a smart strategy for this country to invest in technology and innovation, burn coal, burn natural gas, use renewables, make sure we advance nuclear. But it truly needs to be a part of the fuel diversity with utilities across the country.”

    Coal burning is one of the most polluting energy sources on the US grid today, and an abundance of cheap natural gas and wind installations, combined with Obama-era regulations on emissions, have relegated the coal industry to a smaller slice of the overall US energy makeup. That said, coal still made up more than 30 percent of US electricity generation in 2016, according to the Energy Information Administration. Many countries have been moving to close older coal-burning plants and replace them with newer and more efficient sources of electricity without suffering grid instability. In April, the UK had its first full day without burning any coal.

    The Trump Administration has promised to support coal despite its economic and health-related issues, not to mention its contribution to climate change. Pruitt recently stated in a CNBC interview that he “would not agree that [CO2 is] a primary contributor to the global warming that we see,” without offering any explanation for contradicting an overwhelming amount of evidence to the contrary. Pruitt’s Department of Energy counterpart, Secretary Rick Perry, recently called for a review of the US energy grid to asses threats to “baseload power” that come from coal retirements, despite utilities and grid operators saying in recent months that coal retirements have not threatened grid reliability.”

    FUD packers!

    [I can’t bring myself to care too much about Pruitt advocating for coal (particularly when his argument are stupid), because coal looks like it is on its way out all by itself -W]

  10. #10 Phil Hays
    Americanistan
    2017/05/08

    “This page is being updated.

    Thank you for your interest in this topic. We are currently updating our website to reflect EPA’s priorities under the leadership of President Trump and Administrator Pruitt.”

    I’m sure that the new priorities will be science based.

  11. #11 Phil Hays
    Americanistan
    2017/05/08

    “Trump has said any number of things he doesn’t take seriously. Taking them all seriously is foolish.”

    It is hard to see what can be taken seriously. And what needs to be taken very seriously.

    Other than the corruption and incompetence. That part is pretty clear.

  12. #12 Eli Rabett
    https://rabett.blogspot.com
    2017/05/08

    “Trump has said any number of things he doesn’t take seriously. Taking them all seriously is foolish.”

    There are a number of Trump voters wondering what happened to their loved ones after not taking Trump seriously. Eli recommends equivalent care with the strong and stable Ms. May

  13. #13 angech
    2017/05/09

    In April, the UK had its first full day without burning any coal.
    must be summer
    coal looks like it is on its way out all by itself –
    Adani opening up a 20 billion coal mine in Australia for India
    is this really a coal demise?

  14. #14 Everett F Sargent
    United States of the Strongman! Part Deux
    2017/05/10

    Way OT but …

    Trumpkin fires FBI Director Comey

  15. #15 Phil Hays
    Americanistan
    2017/05/10

    The firing of Comey:

    “A powerful, independent person Mr. Trump did not appoint and whose investigation he clearly feared has been summarily fired. Given his volatility and vindictiveness, his Nietzschean ethic and his overpowering narcissism, this is exactly what one would expect of Mr. Trump.

    [Ha ha, you get zero points for predicting the past. If the NYT wants to claim they expected this, they need to point to where they said so in advance -W]

    The fear many Trump critics have had is that he is, as I put it just after the inauguration, a transgressive personality and a man of illiberal tendencies who was unlikely to be contained by norms and customs. He would not use power benevolently but unwisely, recklessly, and in ways that would undermine our democratic institutions and faith in our government.

    In firing James Comey, that is precisely what Donald Trump did.”

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/10/opinion/where-are-the-republicans-james-comey.html

    [I’m not supporting Trump. But all those Dems now whinging about Comey being fired are in a poor position, because they moaned so much about how rubbish he was for the Hillary problem -W]

  16. #16 rconnor
    2017/05/10

    > “But all those Dems now whinging about Comey being fired are in a poor position, because they moaned so much about how rubbish he was for the Hillary problem” –W

    I see you’ve taken a page from the Kellyanne Conway School of Critical Thinking.

    It’s possible to hold the position that Comey should have been fired at the time for his handling of The Emailzzz and also hold the position that the President firing the FBI director in charge of investigating possible collusion between his campaign and Russia is wrong and concerning. Those aren’t contradictory thoughts.

    [Of course they aren’t contradictory -W]

    This isn’t difficult.

    [Indeed. So when you find yourself teaching your grandmother to suck eggs, the intelligent person pauses for a moment in order to wonder if they’ve interpreted things correctly -W]

  17. #17 Phil Hays
    Americanistan
    2017/05/10

    Might start with this:

    “Beyond that, Mr. Trump has continued to demonstrate impulsivity and narcissism, an affinity for conflict and vindictiveness. Which leads to my main worry about Mr. Trump: His chronic lack of restraint will not be confined to Twitter. His Twitter obsessions are a manifestation of a deeper disorder.

    Donald Trump is a transgressive personality. He thrives on creating disorder, in violating rules, in provoking outrage. He is a shock jock. This might be a tolerable (if culturally coarsening) trait in a reality television star; it is a dangerous one in a commander in chief. He is unlikely to be contained by norms and customs, or even by laws and the Constitution. For Mr. Trump, nothing is sacred. The truth is malleable, instrumental, subjective. It is all about him. It is always about him.”

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/21/opinion/sunday/why-i-cannot-fall-in-line-behind-trump.html

  18. #18 Phil Hays
    Americanistan
    2017/05/10

    Or maybe this:

    “Mr. Trump’s virulent combination of ignorance, emotional instability, demagogy, solipsism and vindictiveness would do more than result in a failed presidency; it could very well lead to national catastrophe. The prospect of Donald Trump as commander in chief should send a chill down the spine of every American.

    For Republicans, there is an additional reason not to vote for Mr. Trump. His nomination would pose a profound threat to the Republican Party and conservatism, in ways that Hillary Clinton never could. For while Mrs. Clinton could inflict a defeat on the Republican Party, she could not redefine it. But Mr. Trump, if he were the Republican nominee, would.

    Mr. Trump’s presence in the 2016 race has already had pernicious effects, but they’re nothing compared with what would happen if he were the Republican standard-bearer. The nominee, after all, is the leader of the party; he gives it shape and definition. If Mr. Trump heads the Republican Party, it will no longer be a conservative party; it will be an angry, bigoted, populist one. Mr. Trump would represent a dramatic break with and a fundamental assault on the party’s best traditions.”

    https://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/14/opinion/campaign-stops/why-i-will-never-vote-for-donald-trump.html

    [http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2017/04/26/perspective-its-not-a-war-on-science/ -W]

  19. #19 Raymond Arritt
    2017/05/10

    > [All those Dems now whinging about Comey being fired are in a poor position, because they moaned so much about how rubbish he was for the Hillary problem -W]

    Hmm. Even Bill Kristol, hardly a whinging Dem, says “One can be at once a critic of Comey and alarmed by what Trump has done and how he has done it.”

    [Yes of course. And I’m sure lots of Dem-types will now be saying “when we said we thought Comey was rubbish, what we meant was that we didn’t like what he did to Hills but we were keen for him to do something to Trump”. All I’m talking about is how this will play politically -W]

  20. #20 Everett F Sargent
    United States of the POTUS from Idiocracy (2006 film)
    2017/05/10

    [Ha ha, you get zero points for predicting the past. If the NYT wants to claim they expected this, they need to point to where they said so in advance -W]

    can trump fire comey?

    https://www.google.com/search?q=can+trump+fire+comey&num=100&source=lnt&tbs=cdr%3A1%2Ccd_min%3A%2Ccd_max%3A5%2F7%2F2017&tbm=

    200+ hits before 2017-05-07 (websites today with their daily sidebars really do hose a proper temporal search though)

    Trumpkin, Ha-Ha-Ha.

  21. #21 Phil Hays
    Americanistan
    2017/05/10

    Ah yes, how will this “play politically”?

    Let’s see what the NY Times said, almost two months ago{

    “The most important checks on the Trump presidency come from inside it. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is reportedly conducting at least three investigations related to Russia, the election and the administration. Whatever one thinks about his pre-election maneuvers, the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey (a former colleague of mine at the Justice Department), has proved to be an independent actor, and he has every interest in pursuing the cases wherever they lead.

    Mr. Trump could fire Mr. Comey on a whim, but that would not kill the F.B.I. investigation. Rather, just as President Richard Nixon hastened his impeachment with the Watergate-related firings known as the “Saturday Night Massacre,” canning Mr. Comey would only heighten the public’s and Congress’s suspicions about Mr. Trump’s guilt and increase pressure on the F.B.I. and others to get to the bottom of the Russia matter.”

    [That seems reasonable -W]

  22. #23 Phil Hays
    Americanistan
    2017/05/10

    Suppose Trump gets away with firing Mr Comey on a whim.

    Next up is Speaker Ryan. While I can’t say I like or agree with the Speaker, he is the next check to the Putin-like powers that Trump openly wants.

    I will not cheer for Ryan’s downfall, should it happen while Trump is President.

    [Trump can’t fire Ryan on a personal whim. It isn’t within his powers -W]

  23. #24 Phil Hays
    Americanistan
    2017/05/10

    So I went over to Red State, solid Republican press, and found this:

    ” “This scandal is going to go on. I’ve seen it before,” McCain continued. “This is a centipede. I guarantee you there will be more shoes to drop, I can just guarantee it. There’s just too much information that we don’t have that will be coming out.”

    If Trump intended to disrupt the FBI investigation, McCain said, it wouldn’t work.”

    Centipede dropping shoes? Oh my.

    http://www.redstate.com/sweetie15/2017/05/10/mccain-guarantee-will-shoes-drop-russia-investigation/

  24. #25 Kevin Thomas O'Neill
    United States
    2017/05/11

    Phil – Since I actually live in the district represented by Paul Ryan I nearly snorted coffee all over my keyboard reading your comment.

    Paul Ryan is an ideologue that believes in any means to achieve his ends. He consistently lies, misrepresents, and otherwise misleads on virtually every issue he addresses. You’ll note that his ‘budgets’ are filled with (magic) asterisks and that he has explicitly disallowed the CBO to score them by their usual methods.

    In this case Trump is just a means to an end. Ryan doesn’t care if Trump is wholly innocent or wholly guilty. Trump will sign anything they can put in front of him. That’s all that’s required.

    And Ryan has (finally) addressed the Comey firing; Lapdog Ryan Sides With Trump. Surprise, surprise.

  25. #26 JD Ohio
    Ohio
    2017/05/11

    The faux outrage over the possible attempts of Russia to manipulate the US elections is humorous. The US has a long history of manipulating the elections of other countries. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2016/10/13/the-long-history-of-the-u-s-interfering-with-elections-elsewhere/?utm_term=.bf25552cbd79 It is not good that another country tries to intervene in US elections, but it is not an unexpected consequence of international rivalries and jostling. If the Russians did influence the election (in my mind in a minimal way), then it is counterbalanced by the Left Wing media’s unremitting assaults on Trump and its comparatively kid-glove treatment of the corrupt Clinton. (To get this out of the way, at election time, I felt that if Trump was elected that there was a 90% chance that he would be a disaster, but I felt that if Clinton was elected that there would be a 100% chance that she would be a disaster because of her intrinsic corruptness.)

  26. #27 angech
    2017/05/11

    Paul Ryan is going down, don’t know when.
    Do know why. He did not support Trump properly during the Republican campaign, like Cruz and McCain.
    Phil surely a Clinton victory could redefine the Republicans, That is what a political party is supposed to do after a loss.
    This is not Watergate. There are trails everywhere now on decisions at the top.
    Either the CIA and FBI were effective and competent , that is they spied on Trump and Hilary but are allowed to deny it or they spied on them and then released the information on Trumps associates. Can you explain in any logical way how they otherwise got the dirt on Flynn?
    Then they released it, a clear breach of their duties somewhere.
    Still, as Eli has said, the ends justify the means if it helps your worldview out.

  27. #28 Kevin Thomas O'Neill
    United States
    2017/05/11

    angech – “Either the CIA and FBI were effective and competent , that is they spied on Trump and Hilary but are allowed to deny it or they spied on them and then released the information on Trumps associates.”

    Umm, no. The story they’ve told is consistent: they were investigating the Russian hack of the DNC and that led them to Trump associates. Just as the investigation of the DNC hack obviously led them to DNC emails. No spying necessary.

    Nothing in there says they spied on Trump. Nothing in there says they spied on Hillary. You’ve just made that up. It’s not an inherent alternative to ‘effective and competent’.

  28. #29 Everett F Sargent
    United States of Objectivism
    2017/05/11

    KTO

    “And Ryan has (finally) addressed the Comey firing; Lapdog Ryan Sides With Trump. Surprise, surprise.”

    At my end came out looking like …

    “Ayn Rand has (finally) addressed the Comey firing; Lapdog Ryan Sides With Trump. Surprise, surprise.”

    I really don’t know how that could have possibly happened (well Dr. WMC did mention something ’bout Paul being the illegitimate aborted bastard child of Ayn and Lafayette Ronald Hubbard or some such).

  29. #30 angech
    2017/05/11

    “The story they’ve told is consistent: they were investigating the Russian hack of the DNC and that led them to Trump associates.”
    Sounds like a sub plot from Maxwell Smart.
    So the CIA and FBI were ineffective and incompetent?
    I doubt it.
    They should be watching everyone close to Trump, Hilary and Obama. That is their job. 24/7.
    They should not be leaking to the press one side against another. That is worse than the Russians.

  30. #31 Phil Hays
    Americanistan
    2017/05/11

    As #25 points out, Ryan has very little support across the aisle, and for clear and good reasons. And other than a counterweight to Trump, I can’t say I disagree. Still, as counterweight to Trump, I hope that Ryan holds the Speaker’s chair for a day longer than Trump is President. Or maybe an hour.

  31. #32 rconnor
    2017/05/11

    > “All I’m talking about is how this will play politically” – WC

    Take a step back.

    A head of state firing the person in charge of investigating possible collusion between associates of that head of state and an adversarial foreign power, that attempted to and, to a degree, was successful at tampering with the democratic process, is a serious and concerning situation.

    The fact that politicians will politicize the situation, from both sides, is both obvious and (intentional) unnecessary noise. Your comment on Dem’s whinging just turns the volume up on that noise and, whether you intended to or not, appears to diminish the severity of the situation.

    > “Of course they aren’t contradictory” -W

    Indeed. So when you find yourself trying to play the rational contrarian, the intelligent person pauses for a moment in order to wonder if repeating Kellyanne Conway’s speaking point is a good way to go about it.

  32. #33 Eli Rabett
    https://rabett.blogspot.com
    2017/05/12

    Think about what happened in Korea. Compare and contrast.

    [Nothing obvious springs to mind. Perhaps you should blog it, if you think there are interesting parallels or perpendiculars to be drawn -W]

  33. #34 Eli Rabett
    https://rabett.blogspot.com
    2017/05/13

    The electoral reactions in France and Korea were amplified by disgust at Trump and what is happening in the US. In Korea Trump’s blathering about North Korea and South Korea paying for the THAAD missile system helped the winner, Moon Jai-in’s whose views are diametrically opposed. MJ wants to restart talks with the North, rubbishes the ideas of the missile system let alone paying for it, etc. Trumpism was also a significant part of the background in the French election

    [I don’t think Trumpism was significant in the French election, except as yet another (though important) manifestation of the “dislike of elites” sweeping the world. And Hillary is more one of those (political) elites than Trump. In fact the French seem to have managed to elect the best possible of their candidates, in which they’ve clearly done better than you lot -W]

    {Enjoy yourself, you get your chance in a month or so for revenge on the Brexit vote}

    [I live in South Cambs, which always elects a conservative, regardless of my vote -W]

  34. #35 Phil Hays
    Americanistan
    2017/05/13

    #27 seems to be a Trump supporter. Read what written, carefully.

    Notice that the reason Speaker Ryan will be fired isn’t anything Ryan has done. Or said. Or written. Just a lack of loyalty to Trump personally. Ryan is loyal to things other than Trump. You might disagree with some or all of those things. I do.

    Trump demands loyalty, and is loyal to no one, no party, no idea, no promise, no country, no religion. Nothing other than the greatness of Trump.

    The Republic has a need for people that are not loyal to Trump. We have a Republic, if we can keep it. What did Benjamin Franklin say again?

    “We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.”

    [“Ryan is going down” is a very weak prediction. All political careers end eventually, so it is essentially a meaningless statement. I don’t think Trump will fire Ryan -W]

  35. #36 William M. Connolley
    2017/05/13

    Since people want to talk politics, but I don’t want to write another pol post yet, I’ll point you at Why Trumponomics won’t make America great again from the Economist, subtiutled The impulsiveness and shallowness of America’s president threaten the economy as well as the rule of law. Everything there you need to stoke up your fears: “DONALD TRUMP rules over Washington as if he were a king and the White House his court. His displays of dominance, his need to be the centre of attention and his impetuousness have a whiff of Henry VIII about them. Fortified by his belief that his extraordinary route to power is proof of the collective mediocrity of Congress, the bureaucracy and the media, he attacks any person and any idea standing in his way… Just as dangerous, and no less important to ordinary Americans, however, is Mr Trump’s plan for the economy. It treats orthodoxy, accuracy and consistency as if they were simply to be negotiated away in a series of earth-shattering deals. Although Trumponomics could stoke a mini-boom, it, too, poses dangers to America and the world… Though he claims he is a free-trader, provided the rules are fair [ha ha, just like all the other “free trade but…” folk -W], his outlook is squarely that of an economic nationalist.”

    [Also, Timmy’s G 7 Warms To America’s Trade Rhetoric As They Realise Trump And Mnuchin Don’t Mean It.]

  36. #37 Tom Fuller
    United States
    2017/05/13

    Sorry, call me back when the Economist headlines coverage of the French leader’s approach to economics with the suitable title.

    Trump is evil and should go. He’s also amazingly boring.

  37. #38 Hank Roberts
    except when he's wrong, of course
    2017/05/13

    “… Here is the big problem. What if the election was effectively stolen? Under the current presidential succession structure, if Donald Trump were impeached and removed from office, Mike Pence would replace him. But if the election had been stolen, Pence’s place as president would be no more legitimate than that of Trump. After Pence—Paul Ryan, the speaker, followed by Orrin Hatch, the president pro tem, followed by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. If voters’ collective desires were subverted by foreign interference and a party’s collusion, none would have a legitimate claim—especially since the control of the Senate, at least, would have been affected by the Russian role….”

    https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/03/rewriting-the-rules-of-presidential-succession/520860/

  38. #39 Raymond Arritt
    A place where my vote doesn't count
    2017/05/13

    #35 (WMC), Trump cannot fire Ryan. That’s not how the system works. It’s not even clear that Trump would have much power of persuasion in trying to convince the Republicans to get rid of him.

    [I know that Trump can’t fire Ryan in the way that he could fire Comey. I don’t know if he could do something analogous – take a strong dislike to Ryan and want him gone and lean on enough people to have it happen. Maybe; but since I doubt it as a scenario I’m not desperately interested in the details -W]

    #37 (TF), There’s a school of thought that Trump should stay. If he’s impeached the presidency goes to Pence, who is even farther to the right than Trump. The policies would be the same but Pence has more of a nice-guy persona. The idea is that Trump’s antics will stimulate Democrat turnout in the midterms and pull independents across the divide in a way that Pence would not.

    [Trump is looking a bit iffy at the moment I have to say. Does anyone think he’s due to be impeached Real Soon Now? If you do, I remind you of the bet offered in http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2017/01/21/swept-with-confused-alarms-of-struggle-and-flight-where-ignorant-armies-clash-by-night/ -W]

  39. #40 Raymond Arritt
    2017/05/14

    The core issue is what would constitute an impeachable offense. Nixon would almost certainly have not been impeached in today’s debased and hyperpartisan U.S. political climate.

    In the past year the Overton window of American politics has been pushed so far that I doubt garden-variety bribery, obstruction of justice or treason would be accepted as grounds for impeachment. Maybe Trump would be impeached if he confessed to murdering Melania in a crime of passion. But even then, there could well be arguments that this was a personal failing unrelated to the President’s ability to carry out the duties of his office.

    [Sadly true -W]

  40. #41 David B. Benson
    southeastern Washington state
    2017/05/14

    The Donald has violated the emoluments clause so any time that a majority of the House of Representatives wants there is an empeachable offense.

    [I think that is doubtful, as I’ve said before -W]

  41. #42 Phil Hays
    Americanistan
    2017/05/14

    #39. Vice President Pence is indeed far right wing. Trump, on the other hand, isn’t on the political scale as Trump has no real political beliefs, other than the awesomeness of Donald Trump.

    Pence might not be a good President, but is one of the 200 million or so Americans more qualified than Donald Trump to be President.

  42. #43 Hank Roberts
    except when he's wrong, of course
    2017/05/14

    Seeing Pence hovering behind Trump in all the publicity photos makes me think he expects to step in and knows what he’s going to do. Search on theocrat, plus his name.

    He seems to know God wants him to step in and will find a way.

  43. #44 Hank Roberts
    except when he's wrong, of course
    2017/05/14

    Or search:

    “I’m a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican — in that order”

    — which Pence has said frequently.

    Remember, most forms of birth control cause abortion (failure to implant) of a baby human being. Want a population boom? Put God in charge of the FDA.

  44. #45 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    2017/05/14

    Remember, most forms of birth control cause abortion

    I’m not sure if you’re being sarcastic or not, but that’s false.
    Condom, dutch cap (diaphragm), spermicidal creams, pills that stop ovulation (but not implantation), vasectomies, tying a woman’s tubes. None of those stop pregnancy by preventing implantation.

  45. #46 Andrew Dodds
    United Kingdom
    2017/05/16

    Indeed. Trump is evil but fundamentally incompetent at government, which helps to nullify him. Pence is evil but may be competent.

    Although that’s a problem for the Republicans.. any of them sane enough to be generally competent at getting stuff done will be filtered out by the batsh**t insane Republican base before they get near government.

  46. #47 angech
    2017/05/16

    Excuse me while I step out of the eel bucket, straighten my tie and go back to the cubicle.
    Dilbert is no longer funny

  47. #48 Mal Adapted
    High dudgeon
    2017/05/16

    angech:

    Dilbert is no longer funny

    You too, huh? On that much, we agree. Sunday’s strip was full-blown AGW denial, in full public view. In it, Adams accuses climate scientists of:

    – Claiming AGW “will lead to a global catastrophe”;
    – Ignoring compound uncertainty in climate and economic models, and cherry-picking projections.
    – Shutting down Dilbert’s skepticism (of economic models) by calling him a “science denier”.

    Adam’s ‘climate scientist’ doesn’t sound like any I know. That strip was a big step over the line for me.

  48. #49 Russell Seitz
    www.vvatttsupwiththat.com
    2017/05/19

    Chill, Mal-

    Adams can be restored to funny by a trifling investment in science editing:

    https://vvattsupwiththat.blogspot.com/2017/05/why-science-journals-arent-published-in.html

  49. #50 Hank Roberts
    and a bit more
    2017/06/07

    So is the problem that economists can’t control economic choices, any more effectively than climatologists can control climate-modifying choices?

    How economics killed the antibiotic dream
    By Tim Harford BBC World Service, 50 Things That Made the Modern Economy
    6 March 2017

    http://www.bbc.com/news/business-38828079

  50. #51 Hank Roberts
    but for those who didn't click, excerpts
    2017/06/07

    “… ignorance hasn’t been the problem.
    We know the risks, but face incentives to take them anyway….
    … My only incentive is to care about whether dosing my pigs seems to increase my revenues by more than the cost of the drugs….”

    “This is a classic example of the tragedy of the commons, where individuals rationally pursuing their own interests ultimately create a collective disaster.”

    Ah, it’s rational thinking that’s the problem?

    See also Kessler syndrome. What? Clean uncluttered vacuum in Earth orbit is an overused commons? Ayup.