Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Trump is simply too stupid to understand the science

Trump likes to boast that he's "like, really smart." He goes even further, stating, "I think that would qualify as not smart, but genius." I've been reading his statements for many years, going back to the time I first saw him on 60 Minutes in 1985, and my conclusion, based on his own words, is that he's not very smart at all. Based on what I've seen, I would peg his IQ at about average - right around 100.

But worse than that, he's not well educated. I think this goes to his ego. When he comes across a topic he can't understand, he simply ignores it and makes up something to satisfy his need to feel superior. In short, he's not smart enough to understand science, so he rejects it. And, this is why he isn't just a climate change denier, he's a climate change hater and is bent on a war on science. Science makes him feel inferior, so he's going to do all he can to destroy it.

His most recent statements, in a British ITV interview, is a perfect example of his complete lack of understanding of science. In this interview, he stated, "There is a cooling, and there’s a heating." Really, Mr. President? Which one is it? Cooling? Or, heating? You can't have both. The planet is either heating up, or it isn't.

Doubling down on that lack of understanding, he simultaneously appeared to refer to the the false claim about global warming and climate change phraseology when he stated, "I mean, look, it used to not be climate change, it used to be global warming. Right? That wasn’t working too well because it was getting too cold all over the place.”

Actually, it still is global warming. Back in the W. Bush administration, there was concern about how the public was getting concerned about 'global warming,' and it was decided to start referring to it by another name that sounded less dire. So, the Republicans began referring to it as 'climate change.' This is known as the Luntz memo. Anti-science people like to claim scientists changed the name because there was no warming. In fact, it was the deniers who changed the name because there was too much warming. Scientists have adopted this extra term because it covers more than global warming - ocean acidification, for example.

And, no, it isn't getting too cold 'all over the place,' as Trump stated. In fact, according to NASA and NOAA, 2017 was the second or third hottest year on record. According to NOAA, the five hottest years ever recorded have occurred since 2006. What is alarming about that figure is that there was no El Nino in 2017 to boost the atmospheric temperature. This is the new normal, as they say. 

Not having been satisfied displaying his ignorance, he went even further and stated “polar ice caps were supposed to be gone by now,” but instead they’re “breaking records.”

No, and no.

While some individuals made claims ice caps were supposed to be gone by now, the vast majority have been stating we should expect an ice-free Arctic Ocean during the summer sometime around the 2040 - 2050 time frame. I happen to think it will first occur in the 2030s. Which illustrates the point I'm making - even the pessimistic scientists haven't been predicting an ice free Arctic Ocean by now.

And, as for the 'breaking records,' he's not only wrong, he's very wrong. The minimum extent for 2017 was the eight-lowest minimum in the satellite record and was 1.58 million square kilometers below the long-term average. Even Antarctica is below average and experienced it's fifth lowest maximum extent this past September (summer time in Antarctica). Arctic sea ice extent is declining at a rate of 13.2% per decade.

It's bad enough when your neighbor, or coworker, or someone in the bar isn't smart enough to understand the science. But, when the President of the United States isn't, it's a serious problem. 

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