Science in Trump’s America

Science is under attack from the White House, but it also seems to be increasingly doubted by wide swathes of society.

Science isn’t obvious. It’s not obvious that the Earth is 4.5 billion years-old, that it’s shape is an oblate-spheroid or that the Sun is a nuclear fusion reactor. It isn’t obvious that a hydrogen atom contains one proton and one electron, anymore than its obvious that one disease is caused by this while another is caused by something else.

The facts of science aren’t obvious, and people doubt them, ignore them, and reason without them, which is exactly what we heard from President Trump when he pulled us out of the Paris Climate Accord.

I was surprised that his speech lacked the usual bad science of climate-denial, like references to data on cooling and temperature moderation; in fact the speech was almost entirely science-free, which is disconcerting in its own way. When climate-deniers use bad science it’s at at least an indication that they feel the need to back up their arguments with some science. Not so with Trump.

Trump arms shrug John Minchillo AP
Credit: John Minchillo AP

Continue reading “Science in Trump’s America”


Trump’s Trump Problem

Why is it that this administration can’t handle a controversy or scandal without creating more problems for itself?

A week ago we saw the resignation of White House communications director Mike Dubke.  Dubke told CNN that the people he’s leaving behind at the White House Office of Communications are, “the hardest working men and women in the American government,” which sounds like he’s sticking up for his former staff, as if to say, ‘this isn’t their fault.’  He may be right. In the wake of this story breaking I heard an MSNBC correspondent say something to the effect that the White House’s problem isn’t the communications strategy, or the need for a “shake up,” it’s actually the President himself.

And it occurred to me that the President’s problem is also himself. In a certain sense that’s obvious. But it isn’t to Trump. He seems genuinely not to understand why people react to him the way they do. He seems to truly believe he’s being unfairly persecuted.  Continue reading “Trump’s Trump Problem”