Tris Mamone wrote a new post, EPA’s Scott Pruitt wants to set up opposing teams to debate climate change science 3 years, 2 months ago
By Jason Samenow
Multiple scientific assessments have concluded that man-made climate change is real and poses risks to human health and the environment. Even so, Scott Pruitt, the Environmental Protection […]
A debate won’t do any good anyway. In 1860 at the Oxford Union, Huxley wiped the floor with Wilberforce; that was 157 years ago, and the Christians are still banging on about creation and a new earth.
@OP – Scott Pruitt, the Environmental Protection Agency administrator, told Breitbart News on Monday that he would like to essentially re-litigate the science of climate change.
Pruitt, Dimbart, and their followers, are stupid enough to think that scientific evidence can be generated by litigation produced by scientifically illiterate lawyers or political panel games!
Arguing a scientific issue by two team debate assumes there are only two sides worthy of arguing and that the outcome of the debate indicates anything regarding the state of science on the subject. I do worry though that the weight of the Climate Change argument is more and more being portrayed as a number of scientists game. The end to end argument from data to conclusion should be open to inspection, scientific argument and scientific challenge and the only rebuttal be also by proper scientific argument. Nothing is ever too big to be scientifically challenged. The history of science is littered with over thrown hypothesises. At the same time challengers should review rebuttal of the past be sure they are not just repeating already rebuffed arguments with no new scientific evidence.
I’ve heard it said that blasphemy laws are only needed for bad ideas.
Jun 9, 2017 at 7:21 pm
At the same time challengers should review rebuttal of the past be sure they are not just repeating already rebuffed arguments with no new scientific evidence.
That is important when dealing with reputable science and reputable scientists.
But when we are talking about Scott Pruitt and Breitbart we are not even talking about peer-review, scientific arguments, or competent scientists mistakenly repeating “rebuffed arguments”.
We are talking about scientifically illiterate, pseudo-science promoting, wilfully propagandist journalists, and conspiracy theorists, wasting scientists time and misleading the public!
A tactic merely. Pruitt and the other appointees are agents of destruction seeking to pursue short term monetary gain at all costs.
The proposed debate will serve to propagate the illusion that climate change deniers have legitimate scientific arguments. This will help the Republicans to get legislation passed without fear of appearing callous; the motivation behind this scheme is their commitment to maintain the fossil fuel industry, an industry to which Pruitt and others like him, have strong ties, an interest in.
The sooner we realize that we are dealing with vicious and nefarious kleptocrats, gangsters in business suits, the better.
Jun 9, 2017 at 3:20 pm
How scientific! Let’s squash all debate.
Scientifically illiterate conspiracy theorists, are not capable of participating in peer-review-level scientific debates!
Of course you want this to be debated; you’re clearly biased (which is quite human; we all are to some extent or another), and so you want the false debate to continue.
“In fact global warming has stopped and a cooling is beginning. No climate model has predicted a cooling of the Earth – quite the contrary. And this means that the projections of future climate are unreliable,” writes Henrik Svensmark.
“There is no credible data nor any credible scientist who would make this claim,” says John Abrahams. “Perhaps Cliff Clavin from Cheers might say this but not even the few contrarian scientists would agree that this statement is correct.”
Several of the other scientists we spoke to agreed that this claim is simply bizarre.
Get it? Is it penetrating? No credible data! That’s not good enough for you, is it? Read more and argue less. I’ll do the same.
John Abraham is a professor of thermal and fluid sciences, University of St. Thomas School of Engineering.
Jun 10, 2017 at 5:13 am
“In fact global warming has stopped and a cooling is beginning. No climate model has predicted a cooling of the Earth – quite the contrary. And this means that the projections of future climate are unreliable,” writes Henrik Svensmark.
“Village idiot conspiracy theorist makes-up temperature data”, contradicting ALL the scientific measurements from the professional agencies of several countries, and then demands parity with real scientists, when he is not even competent at school level climate science, meteorological weather monitoring, or geography!
Crooked political appointee, wishes to promote this “useful idiot” as a propagandist’s manipulating tool, in pursuit of vested interests’ agendas!
One thing that really annoys me about this climate discussion is the often cited claim that “97% of climate scientists agree that man-made climate change is real”. Where does it come from? Surely the number can’t be that low?! 97 % sounds way too low among credible scientists. Also, I’ve seen that number for at least a decade. If it has ever been that low, it must have been in the 90s, so surely by now the number must be at least 99.9%, right? Every time I see the figure “97”, I feel it gives too much credit to the climate change deniers. The remaining 3% is a huge number for them to cling on to. The mixed bag of public climate deniers contains a small group of scientists with poor publication records and a money trail leading to fossil fuel companies and Republican billionaires, and people who are not even scientists. I can count the number of these kooks on my fingers. So how on earth can these people represent 3%?
If someone could help me by explaining where that “97%” comes from, I’d be very thankful. It’s mystifying to me.
@#3 – Of course including the terms “Breitbart” and “peer-review” in the same speech on sources, does indicate science illiteracy!
Any informed scientists who found Breitbart articles claiming parity with peer-reviews in scientific journals, would fall about laughing! 🙂
What next? Flat-Earthists reviewing NASA’s proposals for space projects?!
But it’s like I said at #1: you can prove things until you’re blue in the face, exhausted by constantly having to regurgitate and attribute facts and peer reviews which are commonplaces in the scientific world, but it won’t make any difference, they’ll still stick to the bible, mercenary so-called scientists from the mining and chemical industries and the well-known fact that god minds his children. They’ll love smart answers which contain no logic or fact, revel in ad hominems (if that’s the plural), and know that a mixture of hard-headed, down-home commonsense and the bible will give them all the truth they’ll ever need.
This photo of Pruitt is the quintessence of The Stupid Face. It is at once self satisfied, and at peace with its own vacancy. I would be interested to see stupider. Anyone? Or have I just won?
I’ll see you one Pruitt and raise you one Devos
Its good, Laurie, I’ll give you that.
Bit too animated for true vacancy, but I can see the appeal. The ultimate test for me is the twitching in my smacking hand…. Pruitt got both going.
That went right past the slapping twitch, right past fist clenching to full on head nodding. I felt a Glaswegian Kiss coming on.
Not stupid, I fear, Ollie. Calculating, psychopaths rather.
Making fun of the way people look. That’s a Trumpish level of pettiness. Trump is just a carnival barker. What’s your excuse?
Jun 11, 2017 at 7:10 pm
Making fun of the way people look.
That’s a Trumpish level of pettiness.
Trump is just a carnival barker. What’s your excuse?
The need for a bit of comic relief, in the face of the crass stupidity of carnival barkers posturing as competent leaders!
Mockery of pompous asses and stooges who are resistant to reason, is fair game, although facial expressions/body language, while communicating, do reflect the emotional reactions or levels of comprehension, of the speaker.
Clear perceptions of the difference between talking to the organ-grinder and talking to the monkey, are important!
Trump is not a carnival barker, skepticj; he’s the president of the US; he is a man to be feared and to be taken very, very seriously!
New game: most annoying face (MAF): I have a Nikki Haley; anyone want to…ah hell, I forgot the lingo…see me?
Found a better one.
This photo of Pruitt is the quintessence of The Stupid Face.
Making fun of the photo is not calling Pruitt stupid, though I shall do so very shortly. It could be yours or my passport photo or that unfortunate one from school.
As it happens, and with sweet consonance, Pruitt is not only catastrophically stupid and in a way that he is utterly and dangerously unaware of but then along comes this pic….
The sequence of understanding is all important here. You and I are probably not stupid and the occasional unfortunate photo would be uninteresting to others and never stand as proof between skeptics of actual stupidity on our parts. But Pruitt we know for a fact fits Dunning and Kruger’s archetype to a tee. So no, its not making fun of people because of how they look, Its grimly noting how some people are and how they occasionally look the part.
I recently saw something truly noteworthy regarding this topic.A very simple statement:
When are we going to stop asking politicians if they believe climate change and start asking them if they understand it?
Crooked, I’d “Like” that post 10 times over if I could.
Here in Britain our lame-duck PM, Theresa May (lameness caused by self-inflicted injury), has just put Michael Gove in charge of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Michael Gove is a well-known climate sceptic who, as Secretary of State for Education some years ago, tried to get climate change removed from the school curriculum.
Trump must be proud of her.
Darn, after a couple of excellent posts I’m lowering the tone of this place again…
This has its priorities the right way around as we can see by the excellent quote from Martin Luther King right at the top.
I don’t think it is helpful to characterize such people as Pruitt and DeVos as stupid, although making fun of these people has its place, is salutary; but they know what they are doing; I said once and I shall say it again: Pruitt may know quite a lot about climate science and may know the facts – and he may not. What’s important is that he doesn’t care if he lies; it’s a way of life; he is serving the interests of the corporations who are effectively bribing him and others. These are nefarious people; their stupidity is not important in so far as they were hired because it was believed that they showed promise of being effective; what is important is that they not be allowed to be effective.
Speaking of Dr. King, I would encourage everyone to listen to his Drum Major sermon in its entirety. King did use the Bible in his sermons, but there is nothing in his speeches that is superstitious; his message is profound, human, and entirely relevant. The sermon is about the destructive and selfish desire, the basic impulse which so many of us have, to be first, the best, number one. (The complete opposite of Trump’s America First.) “This impulse applies to nations too,” King says finally and goes on from there. The sermon builds to a climax, is the most moving, powerful, and important speech I have ever heard. The religious allusions work, are not offensive. Trust me.
It’s a long speech, his last sermon. I do hope people will check it out. It’s available on YouTube.
I am a strong atheist, but…
I ask you to put your intense dislike – justified to a large extent – of all things religious in your shirt pockets and listen to this amazing speech. Again, the religious allusions work, are not offensive; nor are they pernicious (but King was highly unique in that regard). This needs to be heard. (The last five minutes were played at his funeral.)
It takes a bit of patience.
I don’t think it is helpful to characterize such people as Pruitt and DeVos as stupid, although making fun of these people has its place, is salutary; but they know what they are doing;
This is painfully and exactly wrong as MLK knows. They may think they know what they are doing. Stupid is a valid concept and at this level of consequence it is dangerous for too may people. The stupid know what they are doing with greater certainty than most. This is an Idiocracy run by a clever enough psychopath..
Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity
To complete this I think calling Pruitt a liar is far less productive. Sincere but stupid. This is not a conspiracy of liars but a convention of the deluded and the everyday dull led by a few liars.
No, I disagree with this, Phil; it is not about stupidity; that may be part of it, but only part. If that were the case a little education would clear that right up. (They can’t be that stupid.) No.—These people are not amenable to facts and have no interest in doing what is right, have no interest in that – and not because they are incapable of understanding or appreciating the facts. They are greedy, and dishonest (insincere), bad people. I think these people are simply corrupt – and perhaps fanatical. Stupidity, with all due deference to King, is not, in my opinion, a crucial issue here; that misses the mark.
Stupidity does play a role, and King is right in a general sense; but it doesn’t apply here. Many of Trump’s staff members and appointees and colleagues, friends, surrogates, supporters etc., are indeed stupid and deluded. Of course. But it is too easy and a touch naive to call Pruitt stupid; he is, first and foremost, a corrupt man, as I said before, as is Price and Trump himself. Corrupt, not stupid – although one can certainly be both. I see no evidence of significant stupidity in Pruitt’s case or in Pence’s case – or in Bannon’s. Bannon spent years trying to discredit climate science. He’s a Harvard graduate and made a fortune. Give me a break.
As for the characterization of Trump’s cabinet members as deluded, that’s another matter. That seems unfounded, is certainly dubious, questionable; they may indeed be deluding themselves about a lot of things; I am quite sure they are, on some level. No way to really know for sure how much of a role that plays. One would have to have them undergo psychiatric treatment first.
Let’s agree to agree on this: they’re sick.
(Phil, you are under no obligation whatsoever to do this, but if you have some free time and are interested in hearing a tremendous sermon, and one that is very relevant to what is happening now, please listen to that King sermon in its entirety and let me know what you think. You are a student of the human animal; it’s an interesting study in Man at his very best.)
phil rimmer #36
Jun 13, 2017 at 2:05 am
This is not a conspiracy of liars but a convention of the deluded and the everyday dull led by a few liars.
. . . and the leaders are the worst sort of liars of all!
The sort which don’t care if their statements are true or not, as long as they are manipulative in pursuit of their own agendas!
I haven’t a clue what you mean. Who are “they”? and who are the leaders? You always find fault with the “leaders” (a small and vague minority) and seem to want to see everyone else as victims (the biddable and the dull). You might be right about the voters being biddable and dispossessed; but now it’s the leaders too who are being led? The leaders are stupid and being led by a small group of liars who are leading them? What’s next? — Who is leading the leaders of the leaders, the Devil? All the Republican in the House and Senate voted these agents of destruction in. Those Republicans are considered leaders. Are they all stupid? Pruitt holds a cabinet position and may be said to be in a leadership role. Trump himself is being led by others, I am sure.
Pruitt and the rest of them are not stupid; that gets us nowhere; and if you are unwilling to acknowledge that there is wickedness and vice in the word (in the form of greed, selfishness, mendacity and oppressive exclusivism, for example), and within the US government at the present time, and insist on calling these well educated, experienced yet nefarious reactionaries stupid, then you have presented nothing but a platitude. We have a fundamentally different understanding of the situation.
I think some of them are stupid. It is, however, a conspiracy of liars and thieves, not a mere convention of the dull and deluded. A bit of both, but mostly the former.
(But perhaps we are talking about different people. You say “they”. Who are “they”? The voters? But we’re talking about the administration.)
I have never disagreed with you more. Well maybe I have. By the way, you wrote something recently on another politics thread; I never agreed with you more.
I don’t disagree with King when it comes to people in general, as opposed to Trump’s administration: but it’s incomplete; ignorance is not the sole source of hatred, greed, and bigotry. Neither is “stupidity”; hatred, greed, and bigotry can make it virtually impossible to overcome one’s own ignorance.
From today’s NY Times:
A coterie of Republicans is planning to have the Senate vote before July 4 on a bill that could take health insurance away from up to 23 million people and make changes to the coverage of millions of others. And they are coming up with the legislation behind closed doors without holding hearings, without consulting lawmakers who disagree with them and without engaging in any meaningful public debate.
There is no mystery why the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, is trying to push this bill through quickly. The legislation would repeal major provisions of the Affordable Care Act. Opening it to scrutiny before a vote would be the congressional equivalent of exposing a vampire to sunlight.
That is one mistake Mr. McConnell, a master of the Senate’s dark arts, is. . .
This is NOT stupidity, and I do not attribute this to delusional thinking. These assholes are calculating and conniving. Your analysis and characterization of these politicians as stupid and deluded has very little merit, if I have understood it correctly. Very little merit.
Jun 13, 2017 at 9:13 am
And they are coming up with the legislation behind closed doors without holding hearings, without consulting lawmakers who disagree with them and without engaging in any meaningful public debate.
There is no mystery why the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, is trying to push this bill through quickly. The legislation would repeal major provisions of the Affordable Care Act.
Opening it to scrutiny before a vote would be the congressional equivalent of exposing a vampire to sunlight.
I think he would come under my category of “the worst sort of liar who does not care if what he says or promotes is true or false”, but simply advances his agenda by any means.
He would also come under my category of “organ grinder”, whereas Trump’s PR parrots trotting out “alternative facts” (disparaging Obamacare, green technologies, constitutional requirements, etc.) would come under my analogue category of “monkeys”, and Phil’s category of “stupid, deluded, and the everyday dull”, followers!
Dan. This may be a disagreement over numbers.
I think there are clever liars who lie at the heart of this administration. They are of course psychopaths and the essence of the problem that post hunter-gatherer, post-agrarian, societies have to deal with. Democracies still haven’t learned all the tricks to manage this asset safely.
Administrations working on reason populate themselves with the competent. Administrations in the hands of psychopaths don’t want too many of their own sort, they want biddable and sufficiently disingenuous folk to offer a suitable patina of homely reason to the electorate. Competence is not the issue.
Never has the USA fielded such an array of the vacuous and the incompetent for its administration. Intelligence everywhere is being fired….all the way down the chain.
I’ll be frank, though. I have never liked the conspiracy of the malicious as a portrayal of the right or the religious in general. But then I have never bought into the American predilection for judging folk malicious. Its a gospel of despair and reflected in your punitive treatment of folk. But then again you (Americans! not you, Dan) laud the psychopaths too often and their use of vacuous glove puppets too often decieves…..
I agree with that, Phil. I am not entirely sure from whence this minor disagreement arose, or what we were disputing. (Is that grammatically correct? “From whence”?) I thought you were saying that the hard right in America was basically stupid; and while many of them might be (and I don’t mean the pubic, the voters) I don’t think that that is useful or accurate; we are dealing with something other and something darker than stupidity. I would agree with your suspicion of the word “malice”; I don’t think that the right or the religious right are simply malicious; I did admit that some if not many are deluded, and if I said otherwise I’ve reconsidered; deluded is right in the case of many amongst the religious right.
But my overall point, which I still maintain, is that the Republicans who want to, say, repeal the ACA in order to give huge tax breaks for the top whatever percent, are not delusional; nor are they to be characterized as stupid. They are immoral, Phil. If you don’t like the word immoral – although I think you’re okay with that concept – find another one that you do like. Greed and mendacity and selfishness, etc., are moral failings.
Sorry if I (again) misconstrued. I think your last comment was spot on. But I don’t agree entirely with this from Alan (although I agree with him 99 percent of the time):
“Trump’s PR parrots trotting out “alternative facts” (disparaging Obamacare, green technologies, constitutional requirements, etc.) would come under my analogue category of “monkeys”, and Phil’s category of “stupid, deluded, and the everyday dull”, followers!”
(I kind of like “monkeys” in this context, although it is of course somewhat insulting to monkeys. Monkeys are fascinating and beautiful creatures.)
They are neither stupid nor dull. Some may be deluded, some may not be; who knows what these people tell their kids at night. They may believe wholeheartedly in global warming! They are professional liars, prostitutes. The deputy press secretary lied about Comey being hated within the FBI! One example out of many of treachery – on the level of domestic terrorism – guided by something other than stupidity. I have no doubt that they are sinister! A far more fruitful and accurate (and disturbing) characterization.
But my overall point, which I still maintain, is that the Republicans who want to, say, repeal the ACA in order to give huge tax breaks for the top whatever percent, are not delusional; nor are they to be characterized as stupid. They are immoral, Phil.
Yep. I think so. But do they think themselves immoral? Are they intentional liars?
The point is this new administration consist of an increased number of the barely competent and the completely inadequate. These are notably lower IQ folk. They have drunk the Cool Aid. They believe in what they are doing unlike the fewer number at the top. We can argue each case for degree. I chose Pruitt as the exemplar, of this shocking degradation in officials.
Jun 13, 2017 at 10:55 pm
They are professional liars, prostitutes.
The deputy press secretary lied about Comey being hated within the FBI!
One example out of many of treachery – on the level of domestic terrorism – guided by something other than stupidity.
I have no doubt that they are sinister!
I think it can be explained as simply as, “revenge by unprincipled habitual liars”, with ad-hominem attacks on honest and competent people carrying out actions such as investigations, which threaten to expose them, their schemes, or their incompetence.
WE see similar actions by their sponsors in the AGW denial and creationist campaign groups from which many of them were recruited.
But do they think themselves immoral? Are they intentional liars?
People like Hitler and ISIS members do not consider themselves immoral. No one does, Phil. The judgment must be made by others; not by the perpetrators.
They are, for the most part, intentional liars. An unintended lie is not a lie; it’s a falsehood.
Sorry Dan. I didn’t make this clear. These are separate questions to be asked in sequence.
Flipping this to what psychopaths think (rather than my question about the deluded..)
Psychopaths don’t think of themselves as moral (or for that matter immoral) beings. Might is right. Hitler didn’t think himself moral but He thought what he did was needful. Morals are for wusses. They know to make the right noises in public, though.
Psychopaths are nearly always intentional liars, because of the above.
The deluded cannot but spout falsehoods though they may care deeply about the morality of their position. Attacking them as intentional liars, of acting in bad faith, and behaving like psychopaths subverts any engagement with them. Psychopaths are not to be argued with, whilst the deluded may over time be re-luded, even morally mollified.
We must discern this difference or lose efficacy in our remedies. Intention is crucially important.
You bundle folk up into one, way too much for me.
Flipping this to what psychopaths think…
I didn’t flip. I had no idea if you were talking about the deluded, the liars, or the psychopaths; but you said that people may not know that they are immoral and that is what I responded to.
Psychopaths don’t think of themselves as moral (or for that matter immoral) beings. Might is right. Hitler didn’t think himself moral but He thought what he did was needful.
Not true at all. Might is Right, loathsome as it is, does constitute a guiding principle, a species, a mode, of morality. Hitler may have considered himself supremely moral.
Morals are for wusses.
In the minds of psychopaths, I presume.
Psychopaths are nearly always intentional liars, because of the above.
But are all liars psychopaths?
The deluded cannot but spout falsehoods though they may care deeply about the morality of their position. Attacking them as intentional liars, of acting in bad faith, and behaving like psychopaths subverts any engagement with them.
I merely said that an unintentional lie is not a lie, but a falsehood; you’re putting words in my mouth. I myself am not clear who is deluded and who isn’t.
Psychopaths are not to be argued with, whilst the deluded may over time be re-luded, even morally mollified.
Yes, for sure. There is “deluded” and “delusional”. The latter is a form of psychosis. This adds to the confusion. And I’d imagine that psychopaths can be rehabilitated too in some rare cases. Many forms of psychopathology, I might add.
We must discern this difference or lose efficacy in our remedies. Intention is crucially important.
The deluded, the psychopaths, the liars (who are psychopaths). Hard to sort this all out. I wanted merely to express criticism of the characterization of the Republicans in Trump’s administration and in Congress as stupid. The stupid are not morally reprehensible. The selfish and the greedy are. The deluded are not morally reprehensible either.
You bundle folk up into one, way too much for me.
I do nothing of the kind. You divide folk into too many and cannot seem to condemn anyone as immoral except the psychopath. How do you decide who is a psychopath and who is a morally bad man? Can you distinguish between the two? Does calling someone a psychopath exclude holding that person responsible? (And forget extreme cases like Hitler; let’s stay with Trump’s team.) I am sensing a pattern; I think you need to see all people as basically good or as victims (deluded, deranged, ill, dispossessed). I suspect that the Koch brothers are neither deluded, stupid, nor mentally deranged; they are sinister, nefarious, greedy men. (An argument can be made that they too are psychopaths, but I’d be interested in how one arrives at that conclusion. By the way, I happen to think that Trump is a sociopath, which is a form of psychopathology, and that Bannon is a psychopath. I base that on my observation that his – Bannon’s – ideas are fundamentally unsound and yet he believes them. Not a liar. Perhaps delusional – as opposed to deluded…)
Does calling someone a psychopath exclude holding that person responsible?
WTF? Do you attend to anything I say about psychopaths?
cannot seem to condemn anyone as immoral.
I think the religious condemn themselves to great immorality. Do you attend to anything I write about morality and the religious?
There is condemnation aplenty from me. But this is crass and obvious stuff. Fixing things needs much much more.
I am sorry about these perpetual misunderstandings, Phil. I think they are, to a certain extent, inevitable – given the amount, the sheer volume, of ideas that we have exchanged, combined with this fragmentary and discontinuous mode of discourse, where we will discuss a topic and then weeks, months, go by. — Not to mention your singular way of expressing yourself coupled with my most unreliable and inconsistent memory.
I thought you were questioning the immorality of the immoral when you said that they do not consider themselves immoral. And I have assumed that the word “psychopath” was meant to imply a medical illness; in my opinion medical illnesses like schizophrenia do mitigate the situation to some degree. Sociopaths are responsible, but even that is, from I have heard, genetic. So the question of moral responsibility is a complex one – and, moreover, when I am presented with multifarious categories such as the deluded, the psychopaths, the followers, the liars, the stupid, the indoctrinated, the dispossessed, etc., it is hard to know just who and what we are talking about.
But that aside, I am sorry I misconstrued, and I do not want to present straw-men, but, like you, am in search of the truth and wish to engage in an honest and productive exploration of ideas.
I agree that the religious are steeped in immorality; but (and I think you will agree with this, or ought to) I do not think that the religious are immoral because they are religious. That has to be examined very closely, and on a case by case basis, as does everything else. That is, I believe, what you said. “The deluded cannot but spout falsehoods though they may care deeply about the morality of their position. Attacking them as intentional liars, of acting in bad faith, and behaving like psychopaths subverts any engagement with them.” Is it possible that you get confused yourself? That’s no disgrace, you know.
I hope you are well, and that your work is going well. I enjoy and appreciate your erudition, and appreciate your comments very much for the most part (to the extent that I am able to comprehend them); and I appreciate your style of writing which at times has (what I hope you won’t mind me calling) a poetic quality.
But then I have never bought into the American predilection for judging folk malicious. -Phil
Malicious is a questionable term, as I said, and a straw-man. How about immoral? The Republicans, people like Mnuchin, are not stupid, are not incompetent; they are plutocrats, immoral, kleptocrats. They favor tax breaks for the wealthy while at the same time want to deprive millions of much needed social and cultural services and programs, like affordable healthcare. If that is not immoral than morality does not exist.
Pruitt and Price et al. are immoral. Not stupid at all. Very competent. Pruitt is good at what he does, going after the EPA and colluding with and taking money from the fossil fuel industry.
I still think my criticisms of your points have some merit. The various characterizations you’ve presented on this thread are still questionable to me, although I may have gotten a few things wrong.
“Stupid is a valid concept and at this level of consequence it is dangerous for too may people. The stupid know what they are doing with greater certainty than most. This is an Idiocracy run by a clever enough psychopath.” -Phil #45
Trump is a psychopath. Psychopathy doesn’t incapacitate as other psychoses can, being a mere absence of remorse or empathy. As Simon Baron Cohen characterises it they are a double zero on empathy. Not only do they lack an automatic visceral empathetic response, failing to wince at another’s painful injury, (like aspie me when younger) but they intellectually have no access to sympathy (if you can remember the standard usage of the term). They, intellectually, simply don’t care.
Stupid psychopaths commit crimes and get caught and some end up as clinical. Psychopaths who have additional problems with deluding psychoses commit bizarre and horrific crimes. This is the common if incorrect vision of the “classic psychopath”. Jack the Ripper. No, psychopaths are simply indifferent to concern for others emotionally or intellectually. Clever psychopaths go into industry and politics where their concentration goes up from 1% of the general population to 4 or 5% of those particular populations. They walk amongst us mostly without notice. I know two and suspect a few more.
I do not think that the religious are immoral because they are religious.
And I think this is indeed the case if religion causes folk to start moral deliberations from the standpoint of dogma. I am arguing precisely this case with a Christian. He’s finding it very uncomfortable. Moral dogma turns off our humanity, abdicates our responsibility from our day job of moral study and authorship. It is also the case if it leads you to intellectually abuse a child by indoctrination, stealing her adult choices. Such wicked acts as using moral dogma and indoctrinating children against their ability to choose are presented with the beatific smiles of the virtuous.
What to do? Calling them immoral won’t work. Criminalising and punishing is not a moral building process as the USA repeatedly demonstrates.
Education, leading children out of the narrow old ways into choice is the only solution, that and reducing inequality so they are less manipulated by the psychopathic. Meanwhile continually complaining about and detailing their moral failings may help broadcast this possibility.
Pruitt’s role needs a clever man or woman in it. He is ignorant of even the basic facts of his role. He doesn’t even comprehend his own ignorance. He was put there by a calculating and conniving man. The wickedness here is his boss’s. The facts of the case are essential to pressure for his removal.
My “poetry” if fancy words and the occasional internal rhymes constitute poetry, are a verbal tick. I just have to do it. Its my stimming behaviour. My use of terms is, though, fastidious. I define them repeatedly and consistently. When not adding self entertaining flourishes, absolute clarity of what is being intended is essential. I rail against your non-standard, anti etymological usages often enough, for goodness sake.
I may yet be too aspie to make much progress here. Apologies if so.
“The stupid know what they are doing with greater certainty than most.”
You recognise this as a restatement of Dunning Kruger?
The right wing masses are anxious when poor and selfish (an indicator of the lower slopes of psychopathy) when comfortably rich morphing into psycopathy when uber rich.
The poor are manipulated into believing everyone (but the uber rich) are stealing from them, though it is in fact the uber rich stealing. Stealing is important to keep them anxious and biddable.
Your “poetry” comes out from time to time. Not often. But you do have a poetic flair. Nothing negative implied.
This conversation is getting convoluted. I meant that the religious are not immoral because they are religious per se. Of course I agree with all your other points about the crimes of the religious. I wasn’t born and I didn’t join this site yesterday.
Because I am not omniscient I cannot always determine who is ignorant and who is immoral, etc.
I have listened to any number of people who are in favor of deregulation and repealing the ACA, etc., who are stupid (and yes, exhibit the Dunning-Kruger effect); and clearly there are those that are just serving the interests of the wealthy at the cost of great suffering. Some may be sociopaths or psychopaths; some may be just immoral. Some are immoral and happen to be psychopaths too; some are psychopaths and capable of empathy and compassion; many people can be two things, exhibit profound contradictions, have dual personalities; some are, I believe, just selfish and impoverished people: corrupt, greedy – and yet they would not be diagnosed as psychopathic, would not pass the test (and that term covers a broad range of symptoms and types). — I can’t easily put people neatly into these categories (and before you cry straw-man again, let me say that you are probably not doing that either).
Your above comment was quite good indeed.
some are psychopaths and capable of empathy and compassion
Does not compute….
This all seems an attempt at muddying the waters.
Jun 15, 2017 at 5:22 am
I have listened to any number of people who are in favor of deregulation and repealing the ACA, etc., who are stupid (and yes, exhibit the Dunning-Kruger effect); and clearly there are those that are just serving the interests of the wealthy at the cost of great suffering. Some may be sociopaths or psychopaths; some may be just immoral.
It is a feature of those right-wing deregulators, that as a matter of dogma and policy, they under-fund, under-staff, and under-train the operators of public service regulatory mechanisms, to promote the public perception that regulations are cumbersome, ineffective and dysfunctional.
There was a classic case of this from the UK Tory government, who cut the budget, and the staffing of the UK border control agency, and tried to patrol thousands of miles of coast with navy 3 patrol boats where 12 were needed.
They then launched a campaign to blame the regulations of the European Union for the UK illegal immigration problem – followed by offering brexit as a “solution”.
After being challenged and exposed, they ordered the building of 8 more patrol boats! – while the gullibles, directed by the propagandist junk media. voted for brexit!
These deregulators sound outright immoral to me. It just wouldn’t occur to me to call them stupid; nor am I inclined to assume that they are all psychopaths or inclined to explain it that way. That’s just one aspect, one approach. Hard to know what to make of it. — I think we’re talking about vice, and the disease of the Right: greed and insensitivity, two of the oldest vices know to Man. Anything to add to this difficult discussion Phil and I have been having?
Does not compute?
Maybe you mean sociopaths. They are notorious for their lack of empathy. I know a classic sociopath. He is a cruel, enormously selfish, and despicable man, and yet even he he does have some feelings, cries during sentimental movies, loves his daughters, etc. I am not sure what your definition of a psychopath is. But I don’t think it necessarily means incapable of empathy. One can be a megalomaniac or a fanatic or a compulsive thief – all forms of psychopathology – and still be able to feel and exhibit warm feelings towards animals, people…
Nothing in the DSM about psychopaths not being capable of empathy. (Don’t get me wrong; I am not anxious to go out and meet a bunch of bona fide psychopaths.) And they group personality disorders into five subdivisions now, for what that it’s worth.
Antisocial/Psychopathic, Avoidant, Borderline, Obsessive-Compulsive, and Schizotypal types.
Antisocial/Psychopathic types have inflated grandiosity and a pervasive pattern of taking advantage of other people.
Trump isn’t antisocial. Is a compulsive murderer obsessive compulsive or a psychopath or both?
If I am muddying the waters I’m doing it to myself. That’s how I think: I question. And I stop questioning when (if) an answer satisfies me. (Some questions must remain unanswered. I was trying to get that guy Avi to recognize that.)
I have to go.
See you tomorrow or whenever.
Is a compulsive murderer obsessive compulsive or a psychopath or both?
As I said up the page, neither of these, particularly. An element of psychopathy possibly but crucially psychotic.
And what has sociability got to do with anything?
Clever psychopaths are adroitly sociable. They act whatever is needed even down to their sexuality.
Those with antisocial personality disorder (the DSM term) are called that not because they are sulky and unpleasant or whatever but because they care nothing for the outcomes of others…..
That sounds right.
I looked up “psychopath” because, to be honest, I don’t know the precise definition of the word, how you are using it, or how it is different than “sociopath”. The sociopath is often charming at times. The psychopath… What is a psychopath? I still don’t know. You use the word a lot.
And I just don’t see how you or anyone can start making these distinctions about Trump’s band of right-wing zealots like that: this one is a psychopath, that one is a liar, this one is stupid… You see what I mean?
There is no single or simple definition of how psychopathy differs from sociopathy, they are just blurred definitions on a scale of disorder. I tend to use psychopath to mean a sociopath who has, or is capable of, or who wants to cause actual physical harm to another but it’s not a particularly valid distinction. Trump is clearly a sociopath but exactly where he falls on the scale is pointless to debate about without a proper evaluation by trained mental health professionals.
I would however recommend people read the wiki article on narcissism. The dozen or so classic indicators it lists describe Trump perfectly. Every single one applies to him exactly and he clearly suffers from each of them to a very profound degree. In fact I doubt if any of us have, or ever will, encounter another person so profoundly narcissistic as Trump. He’s off scale on every marker.
Narcissism also blurs into sociopathy though as both are characterised by lack of empathy or feeling for others and an inability to see the world from anyone else’s perspective. I would therefore say that some degree of sociopathy is a necessary subset of the advanced and malignant narcissism that Trump suffers from (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) but that profound narcissism is not necessarily always a subset of sociopathy.
Hi, A.S. (and Phil):
That sounds pretty good, Arkrid. I am quite sure that sociopathy is a form of psychopathy; but not all psychopaths are sociopaths. Your distinction sounds very sensible. But sociopaths do inflict tremendous harm – it just isn’t physical harm. (Personal note: my ex-brother-in-law is absolutely a sociopath so I know whereof I speak. Believe me.)
I think most psychiatrists who are worthy of the name understand the limitations of the DSM.
Narcissistic personality disorder is marked by regular outbursts of anger, according to an MD diagnostician I know who has been in private practice for many years. Is that in the wiki article? I’ll check it out.
The tough question that I have been asking or trying to ask has to do with where responsibility ends and the diagnosis of a disorder (or of stupidity) begins. They are not mutually exclusive, but can be. — I would not send a schizophrenic to death (if I believed in capital punishment – which I don’t). I would not be too quick to condemn or attack a stupid person for denying climate science, etc.
Jun 15, 2017 at 11:33 pm
I am quite sure that sociopathy is a form of psychopathy; but not all psychopaths are sociopaths.
The other way round. All psychopaths are sociopaths but to a more pronounced degree. Not all sociopaths are psychopaths however.
I have heard (read) otherwise.
What your article states is the complete opposite of what my understanding of the difference is and what I have heard from more reliable sources than healthyplace.com. I think I shall research this a bit more, however. (If what you say is true than my brother-in-law is a psychopath and a sociopath, but more of a psychopath. He has every single trait listed except physical aggressiveness.)
My assumption is that the editor missed a simple error, and the two words got mixed up. I am almost certain that that is what happened.
From your link:
While sociopathy can only be diagnosed at the age of 18 or above, the following must be present before the age of 15 for the diagnosis:
Repeated violations of the law
Pervasive lying and deception
Reckless disregard for safety of self or others
Consistent irresponsibility in work and family environments
Lack of remorse
Psychopathy can be thought of as a more severe form of sociopathy with more symptoms. Therefore, all psychopaths are sociopaths but sociopaths are not necessarily psychopaths.
According to the Society for the Study of Psychopathy, psychopath traits include:
Lack of guilt/remorse
Lack of empathy
Lack of deep emotional attachments
“If a person is stupid, we excuse him by saying that he cannot help it; but if we attempted to excuse in precisely the same way the person who is bad, we should be laughed at.” –Schopenhauer
I certainly think Trump is narcissistic. This usefully marks him out most in some ways adding that infantile behaviour so familiar to mothers in the supermarket wishing they hadn’t spoiled the brat. His psychopathy, like all clever enough psychopaths doesn’t present so obviously.
I use the word psychopathy because Professor Simon Cohen does in Zero Degrees of Empathy. It is the first and uncontentious word used to describe this lack of empathy in pathological terms. In popular parlance it has become muddled with other traits (psychosis etc.). Jack the Ripper is the Psychopath of the popular imagination, though he was much more than a psychopath. This means that when little Johnny exhibited “Zero Degrees of Empathy” rather than label him (correctly) as a psychopath the psychiatrist will soften the blow with “sociopath” a term mostly meaning naughty. DSM V steps aside from all this with a new coining in Antisocial Personality Disorder to go with all its other “descriptive” coinings, thereby creating a different potential misunderstanding.
Psychopathy is though unambiguous as a term and Psychopath is good enough to stand for a person with that pathology. It offers the greatest clarity in clearly talking about this double deficiency in empathy and its concealment among the clever. This is exactly the aspect that impacts moral judgement-calls in a way that may still be called wilful. Full blown Psychopaths walk abroad, freely and are hugely successful. They are why I have said they are probably our number one social problem at this stage of civil and democratic development.
This double lack is the interesting point for me, not semantics. But I will continue to use psychopath to connote one with psychopathy to the exclusion, at least, of empathy for all third parties.
Stupidity, ignorance of the science say, is an even easier call.
With Pruitt the most guilty party is the one who appointed a DK to a technical role.
According to Arkrid’s two lists, sociopathy is virtually identical to, is as as serious if not more serious, than psychopathy.
I have no interest in splitting hairs or turds, in “semantics”. I, like you, are in search of meaning and understanding. These concepts seem to have blurred edges.
Zero empathy = a psychopath. No disagreement from me on that one.
(Ex brother-in-law, that is.)
With Pruitt there is no one guilty party, but a vast range of parties, parties with long histories of collusion with big business and manipulation of the public. I don’t distinguish between Pruitt and his hirers. They are all part of the same movement. Are there differences? yes; but who wants to split turds? These are essentially bad people. All of them. Not stupid, not deluded. No reason to assume that they are anything but corrupt and greedy, and reactionary. I’d have to probe their minds to come to the conclusion that this is about IQ.
That’s it for me for a while. I write too much.
They are all part of the same movement. Are there differences?
Yes, in why you can justifiably fire them or pressure to have them fired.
This stuff matters in politics. It doesn’t if you are just griping to the taxi driver.
Trump fires people; no one else is firing anyone; and you can’t fire this sick right wing movement.
Trump just made an announcement about reversing what had been long overdo, Obama’s reversal of some of the policies that were strangulating Cuba. This was done merely to throw red meat into the cages of the Floridian savage Republican beasts who support him.
I don’t care who is a narcissist or a psychopath or a liar or deluded, don’t want to split turds. Turds need to be flushed down the toilet, not pinched and examined, or split. None of them are psychotic and they know what they are doing. Shame! Shame! Shame!
So what am I not getting this time, Phil?
That’ll be fifteen bucks, my friend. Round the block a couple of times just like you asked and right back here.
My point is that you are diagnosing these nefarious, right-wing kleptocrats instead of just saying that they are bad people and need to be ousted. I don’t see the point in trying to determine what their “disorders” or shortcomings are.
They are not psychotic. They know what they are doing. What does it matter if one is stupid and one is a narcissist and one is deluded and another is a liar and another is taking bribes because of all of the above…
They know what they are doing and need to be held accountable and called out for what they are: greedy Plutocratic oligarchs, agents of destruction.
If someone is stupid or nuts, truly nuts, then it is important to identify that; but I don’t see that as worthwhile or warranted. All of the Republicans are supportive of this healthcare bill. So are you going to waste your time diagnosing all of them or just conclude, like me, that they have to be ousted and the Trump people / voters need to be educated to the extent that that is possible.
Please tell me what I am missing, if you can. Make it simple and clear.
Smart right wingers can see that science incompetence is unwarranted in state officials charged with its proper management. They may want unfettered market economies applying to everything and not take your view that this is immoral and monstrous applied to healthcare or the environment. BUT what they do will always be better for cleaving to evidence and reason. We can make common cause over that
How do you make things better? How do you actually eat a Republican elephant? How do you do a Sander’s and solve a problem, steadily working with your opponents? What do you say to a rabid (but clever) rightist that may actually persuade her to vote more rationally next time?
I can take you round the block one more time while you gripe about everyone on the right, and bring you right back here or we can make some progress in finessing our arguments, winning allies, doing politics, recognising that the if you cut off the head of the group that lauds loyalty and submission to authority then a much bigger transformation is possible. Or isolate underlings, people with their specific failings, to win over others on the opposing side. Whatever you feel, don’t fight them all over issues you stand no hope of gaining traction on. Fight the key ones the right way. Then move on. Repeat until done.
This has never been a part of the problem. Ever.
My point is that you are diagnosing these nefarious, right-wing kleptocrats instead of just saying that they are bad people and need to be ousted.
We did that back in January and February and in March, April, May, now June. So now what more and better ammunition do we have? What additional arguments can we make to voters? (We have to turn this around at the mid terms.)
You may utterly forget what I say back in January or last month, but its still there, still on record and I still agree with everything I said then and all the interim confirmations I gave you that you seem to have forgotten about.
If I change my mind on the general badness of right wing views (outside of times of dire emergency) I promise I will tell you about it very clearly and you may take me out and shoot me as already half demented. Promise.
Now. Where to, Bub?
Okay, that was pretty good, Phil. Thanks. I see what you’re saying now.
One little remark:
“What do you say to a rabid (but clever) rightist that may actually persuade her to vote more rationally next time?”
That’s where my pessimism comes into play. They are so goddamned recalcitrant and their loyalty to this party (this radical insurgency) is as implacable as a sales tax. The cleverer ones want lower taxes for themselves. Perhaps an even worse crash or a terrible healthcare bill that will cause pain amongst the Trump people/voters just might have some effect, along with widely publicized proof that it was the free market philosophy that caused it – and under Trump. I certainly hope reasoned “arguments” and “doing politics” could bring these folks around, can work just as well. I think it can with some. But how many? I’ll answer that: as many as possible.
One has to be patient – and smart. It’ll take months, years, perhaps decades (if we make it that long), to turn things around. An ongoing process.
Not psychotic. I said that because psychopathy and stupidity are almost valid excuses for this barbarism; it almost seemed to me like you’re letting them off the hook. Anyway, that’s why I said that.
Thanks again for clarifying, my patient friend. It gets as foggy as London in my head sometimes.