Thursday, January 26, 2017

Philosophy professors hate Trump

Philosopher Massimo Pigliucci likes to write about pseudoscience, but also tells us:
I’ve been giving a lot of thought about the rise of Trump, and even though I rarely write about explicitly political matters on this blog, this will be one of the exceptions. I think it is necessary. WARNING: unusually strong language ahead, ...

The guy is not a political ideologue, ... He is simply a narcissistic and pampered bully, ignorant to the point of ridiculousness. ... Republican takeover ... is an unqualified disaster. ...

Please, don’t tell me I’m “biased.” If by that you mean I have reasoned, empirically informed opinions about values and politics that are different from yours, sure, I’m biased. And proud of it.
Then what follows is a lot of name-calling and obscenities.

No, I would not say he has reasoned, empirically informed opinions on Trump. I could not find any.

He is from another country, and does not appear to know much about American politics or Trump. He has probably never even met a Trump supporter, so I do not expect much from him.

Nevertheless he writes with the same over-opinionated certainty with which he writes about the philosophy of science.

Just think about that when you read philosophers of science like him. I don't say that he has to agree with Trump, but if he understands Trump less than 50 million voters and still has extremely strong opinions, then he is someone whose opinions should be disregarded.

I have criticized Pigliucci before for having anti-science and leftist-biased opinions. He is worse than I thought.

Here is an ex-philosopher ranting against Trump. I am sure that there are many others.

Update: Texas professor Scott Aaronson also suggests that Trump is another Hitler, and complains:
Today, we learned that Trump is suspending the issuance of US visas to people from seven majority-Islamic countries, including Iran ...

To the Trump regime, I make one request: if you ever decide that it’s the policy of the US government to deport my PhD students, then deport me first. I’m practically begging you: come to my house, arrest me, revoke my citizenship, and tear up the awards I’ve accepted at the White House and the State Department. I’d consider that to be the greatest honor of my career.
He is an American citizen, married to an Israeli. No one is threatening him or his students. He and Pigliucci do not have much loyalty to the USA.

Aaronson is essentially arguing that the USA should let in any quantum complexity theorist who wants to come here and pursue his useless research program. The comments are moderated, and they are all Trump-haters praising Aaronson.

Update: I am informed that Aaronson deleted this comment:
Quantum complexity is an almost entirely useless field. It would have some minor theoretical interest if quantum supremacy were demonstrated, but that is speculative and we do not need very many people in the field. We train too many students for the available jobs.

Trump was elected President of the USA. Every postdoc job given to an Iranian takes one away from an American. Trump's policies favor Americans, not countries that breed terrorism. We do not need any more Iranians in the USA.

Scott, you are pursuing your personal interests, against those of American students, against those of Amerian voters, and against those who are trying to limit the expansion of Islamic terrorism.
That must have hit a sensitive spot.

Where are the professors who are willing to stick up for the Americans who have their careers derailed by these anti-American leftists like Pigliucci and Aaronson?

Update: LuMo has a more detailed criticism of Aaronson:
Most importantly, there just isn't any "universal human right" to work as a postdoc in the U.S. – for anyone, even members of nations that are much more friendly towards America than Iran. Whoever is acting as if he were assuming that such a right exists may get rightfully burned because his assumption is idiotic. The inability to get the postdoc visa may be a personal inconvenience for the Iranian student – and indirectly for his adviser Aaronson – but it's just complete rubbish when this personal inconvenience is presented as a flaw in the new system of policies. Aaronson is pretending that he is defending some deep values but in reality, he's only defending his personal interests.

And the problem isn't really serious, anyway. There are other places outside the U.S. where one may be hired as a postdoc in similar fields.
Motl himself is an ex American postdoc who now lives in Czechia, I think.


  1. Roger,
    I have noticed there is a very strong 'I am a citizen of the world' meme that academics and pseudo intellectuals favor amongst themselves. Of the dozen or so people I have encountered with this belief, none of them have ever been more than a tourist staying in very western hotels and enclaves while abroad, and know next to nothing about any other countries politics and cultures...and often not very much about how their own government and economy work. While I understand that people 'feel bad' about how others live in other parts of the world, I have yet to see much more than upset feelings and guilt about the matter. If you ask these aspiring international citizens what they intend to actually 'do', like moving to said poorer countries, and actually working to try and help improve the get a very long winded and emotionally tortured 'no.' I'm actually not very surprised, much of the same ilk that bashes America today were the same kind of lot who thought European national socialist parties of the early twentieth century were 'effective' and to be emulated.

  2. One wonders why so many scientists feel a need to march against Trump, if they the scientists are somehow mis-, mal-, or un-informed. My two cents' worth is that Trump is a classic example of what (in a different, though aspectually similar political context) is termed a "Red" as opposed to an "expert". (Hence the Red baseball cap?) An "expert" is someone like Roger, who respects science and its methods. A "red" is someone who by contrast elevates personal relationships (often, cronyism) over and above science as a dispute resolver. Trump is not a scientist, and surrounding himself with biased scientists doesn't make him one. The lame excuse you hear from political theorists seem to boil down to "Politicians aren't scientists -- Maybe the politician's engaging in a counterintelligence exercise to make the adversary think (x, y, or z) ... So don't judge him on the basis of 'intelligence only', because intelligence is for pure scientists, not for political types."

  3. Jon Burdick,
    My favorite disdainful comment about trump was actually said by a neocon pundit, something to the effect of 'he (Trump) makes money by selling things'. Good grief. We have an entire class of human beings in Washington DC that thinks building and making things is just passé and beneath them...when they can simply just make up taxes and take someone else's money instead. Of course to be fair, the chattering political classes of DC actually do produce something, pure unadulterated bullshit.

  4. Speaking of Professors who hate Trump,
    Peter Woit has lost his mind. I will post his comment, then mine.

    Abby yorker,

    Thanks, that was badly worded and now fixed.

    Hard to imagine how a military coup would work here, but I have to say, seeing what has happened to the political system in this country recently, you start to understand why in many places a military coup may seem like one of the better options. "

    My response to Peter Woit:
    Your words:
    “Hard to imagine how a military coup would work here, but I have to say, seeing what has happened to the political system in this country recently, you start to understand why in many places a military coup may seem like one of the better options.”

    You have lost your mind. I have lost all respect for you. College is supposed to be a place where people are exposed to new ideas for consideration…and here you are advocating a military coup over a policy the previous president passed into law.
    I seriously think you should consider moving to some other country where there is only one political party, you’d fit right in.

    Here is a quote for you to consider carefully:

    “The crime of seditious conspiracy is committed when two or more persons in any state or U.S. territory conspire to levy war against the U.S. government. A person commits the crime of advocating the violent overthrow of the federal government when she willfully advocates or teaches the overthrow of the government by force, publishes material that advocates the overthrow of the government by force, or organizes persons to overthrow the government by force. A person found guilty of seditious conspiracy or advocating the overthrow of the government may be fined and sentenced to up to 20 years in prison. States also maintain laws that punish similar advocacy and conspiracy against the state government.”

    Think twice.

  5. Yes, Woit has lost his mind. I think that he is an immigrant from some Eastern European country, and has a distorted view of America from living in New York and talking to academics all day, but that is little excust.