Influence people

Friday, July 14, 2017

Snake on a Plane

The stunning lies and Orwellian distortions that dribble from our president's mouth bother me less than his illogic.

The former are signs of a scheming mind; the latter, of an idiotic one.

This week, aboard Air Force One, a reporter asked Trump to recall the way in which
he questioned Putin about Russian meddling in our November election during last week's G20 Summit.Trump replied, "Somebody said later to me, which was interesting. Said, let me tell you, if they were involved, you wouldn't have found out about it. Okay, which is a very interesting point."

More clearly said, "The Russians are so effective at clandestine interference, you cannot detect them. We have detected interference. Therefore, they could not have interfered in our election."

Philosophers call this kind of argument 
"proof against disproof."

Because Russian interference can never be detected, there is no possible basis for determining whether Trump's conjecture is either true or false.

Sigmund Freud drove philosophers nuts in the last century by using similar reasoning to defend his famous
theory of the unconscious.

Your choice of a spouse, Freud said, shows you secretly wish to marry your mother or father. That is a fact you can neither confirm nor dispute. Why? Because any confirmation or dispute would be conscious, while the choice is unconscious.

The Russians didn't interfere in our election. That is a fact you can neither confirm nor dispute. Why? Because we have detected interference, and you cannot detect Russian interference.


  1. You know, there is another point of view on this one.
    Possibly, without any direct meddling in the election at all, but with the appearance of implied meddling - the Russian's goal all along could have been purely to disrupt and redirect the greater American agenda, government, and politics.
    And if that was their goal, they have done a masterful job of it.

    1. Mike, thanks for you comment.

      I have no inside knowledge of the Russians' activities. (The only time I was ever invited to a secret meeting in a hotel, it turned out to be an Amway meeting.) But one thing I do know: the president's claim has no meaning.

      The late Carl Sagan told a story about a fire-breathing dragon that lived in his garage. It was invisible and silent, floated in the air, and breathed heatless flames, so you could not possibly prove it did, or did not, exist.

      Sagan asked, "If there's no way to disprove my contention, no conceivable experiment that would count against it, what does it mean to say that my dragon exists?"

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