“Science is science.” That is one of Donald Trump’s brilliant answers to the 2016 Science Debate‘s Top 20 Science, Engineering, Tech, Health, And Environmental questions. The rest of his answers are mind-numbing.
Trump and Sarah Palin must have gone to the same word salad school, because he certainly sounds like herin a “sciency” way. The GOP’s top man is a master at blurring a person’s brain by weasel-wording and tossing in broken logic links.
All four presidential candidates could respond to the science questionnaire. Science affects voters’ lives as much as any other issue. Both Republican and Democratic presidential candidates have answered these questions, since 2008. Green and Libertarian candidates joined the candidates in 2016.
None of Trump’s answers make sense. Trump is like the kid who tries to BS his science teacher into believing he knows something about the test, when he knows nothing. The GOP candidate does not limit his Trump-speak to science. He uses it for every issue.
The first science question concerns “innovation.”
How does the U.S. maintain its leadership in innovation? Trump says innovation is a great by-product, explore space, and balance the federal budget. What? Take a look at what he says:
‘Innovation has always been one of the great by-products of free market systems… Similarly, the federal government should encourage innovation in the areas of space exploration…there are increasing demands to curtail spending and to balance the federal budget.’
Science is a long-term investment. So with the budget constraints, what are your science and engineering priorities? Trump says the question is “exactly correct.” Let’s go into space and advance science and engineering. Let’s get everybody together and figure it out. He says:
‘The premise of this question is exactly correct..that’s why we must have programs such as a viable space program [for] the advancement of science and engineering in a number of fields. We should also bring together stakeholders and examine what the priorities ought to be for the nation.’
3. Climate Change
How does Trump view climate change? He says give everybody water, get rid of malaria, and increase food production. Okay, and what does that have to do with climate change? He responds:
‘…Perhaps the best use of our limited financial resources should be in dealing with making sure that every person in the world has clean water. Perhaps we should focus on eliminating lingering diseases around the world like malaria. Perhaps we should focus on efforts to increase food production.
How will Trump protect the ever-diminishing biodiversity “[food, fiber, medicines, clean water and other products and services.]” Trump said that presidents have too much power, special interests are running rampant, and save the fish! Check this out:
‘For too long, Presidents and the executive branch of our federal government have continued to expand their reach and impact…unelected officials who have been writing rules and regulations that cater to special interests and that undermine the foundational notion of our government that should be responsive to the people…In a Trump administration, there will be shared governance of our public lands and we will empower state and local governments to protect our wildlife and fisheries.’
5. The Internet
So how will Trump prevent cyber attacks, provide national security, and privacy? Trump promises he won’t spy on us. Well, that is a relief. Then, he winds his words in an infinity loop of confusion:
‘The United States government should not spy on its own citizens…As for protecting the Internet, any attack on the Internet should be considered a provocative act that requires the utmost in protection and, at a minimum, a proportional response that identifies and then eliminates threats to our Internet infrastructure.’
6. Mental Health
Mental illness is stigmatized and costs the country $300 billion a year. So what would Trump do about it? He wants to involve families, examine the subject, and develop a comprehensive solution:
‘Any mental health reforms must be included in our efforts to reform healthcare in general in the country. We must make the investment in treating our fellow citizens who suffer from severe mental illness. This includes making sure that we allow family members to be more involved in the total care of those who are severely mentally ill…This entire field of interest must be examined and a comprehensive solution set must be developed so that we can keep people safe and productive.’
So, what does Trump see happening with energy for the next eight years? The Republican candidate says be independent, go with Canada and Mexico, and be safe. Don’t worry, it isn’t you. This is just part of the Trump crazy-speak. He says:
‘It should be the goal of the American people and their government to achieve energy independence as soon as possible…Further, with the United States, Canada and Mexico as the key energy producers in the world, we will live in a safer, more productive and more prosperous world.’
U.S. kids rank just above Lithuania in education, and that country ranks the lowest of all countries. So what will Trump do about it? He likes privatization, not doing what the cities are doing now, and platitudes:
‘…we must allow market influences to bring better, higher quality educational circumstances to more children. Our cities are a case-study in what not to do in that we do not have choice options for those who need access to better educational situations. Our top-down-one-size-fits-all approach to education is failing.’
9. Public Health
We improve people’s health by ceasing drinking and smoking. And both vaccinations and water fluoridation plus disease control are important. So why does Trump’s answer give us a headache? He responds:
‘…In a time of limited resources, one must ensure that the nation is getting the greatest bang for the buck…we ought to focus on is assessing where we need to be as a nation and then applying resources to those areas where we need the most work. ‘
Water problems range from aging infrastructure to aquifer depletion. Trump says water is important. Let’s build infrastructure, and we need water:
‘This may be the most important issue we face as a nation for the next generation. We must explore all options…this must be a top priority for my administration.’
11. Nuclear Power
Nuclear power works well, but the side effects are really nasty. But Trump says it is good, he will make it safer, blah, blah, blah. Blah, blah. Blah.
‘We can make nuclear power safer, and its outputs are extraordinary given the investment we should make. Nuclear power must be an integral part of energy independence for America.’
He says the government should not centralize agriculture. Let it be part of the free market, and by the way, this involves national security:
‘The implication of your question is that there should be central control of American agriculture by the federal government. The agriculture industry should be free to seek its best solutions through the market system…the production of food is a national security…’
13. Global Challenges
In a global economy, how do we manage that which does not respect borders: the economy, public health, and the environment? Trump says the U.S. is on the “proper trajectory economically.” What the hell does that mean? Trump tosses out free-floating ideas with no context:
‘…make sure that the United States is on the proper trajectory economically. For the past decade we have seen Gross Domestic Product growth that has not provided adequate resources to fix our infrastructure, recapitalize our military, invest in our education system or secure energy independence..’
What scientific regulations would Trump insure? He said that science will whisper the answer in our ear:
‘Science will inform our decisions on what regulations to keep, rescind or add. A vibrant, robust free market system will regulate the private sector.’
How would Trump stem international viruses such as Ebola, Zika, and measles? He said to make a PSA:
‘We should educate the public on the values of a comprehensive vaccination program. We have been successful with other public service programs and this seems to be of enough importance that we should put resources against this task.’
Trump is a gifted word-weaseler. When he was asked about space, the GOP candidate gives us this prime example:
‘Space exploration has given so much to America, including tremendous pride in our scientific and engineering prowess…The cascading effects of a vibrant space program are legion and can have a positive, constructive impact on the pride and direction of this country…All humankind benefits from reaching into the stars.’
Opioids are a huge problem in the U.S., creating tragic losses of lives affecting families and the circle of people around them. Trump says he will stop opioids from coming into the country. It is a big problem, and this is his murky method of paying for everything:
‘We first should stop the inflow of opioids into the United States…this is a national problem that costs America billions of dollars in productivity, we should apply the resources necessary to mitigate this problem. Dollars invested in taking care of this problem will be more than paid for with recovered lives and productivity that adds to the wealth and health of the nation.’
18. Ocean Health
Trump tends to take the question, then send it back as his answer. But he will listen to the people:
‘My administration will work with Congress to establish priorities for our government and how we will allocate our limited fiscal resources. This approach will assure that the people’s voices will be heard on this topic and others.’
Trump’s Great Wall Of The U.S. between our country and Mexico and his harsh deportation stance make this an important, though constantly shifting, aspect of his campaign:
‘Immigration has been one of the cornerstones of my campaign. If we allow individuals in this country legally to get their educations, we should let them stay if they want to contribute to our economy…As for the H1-B PROGRAM, we cannot allow companies to abuse this system.’
20. Scientific Integrity
Given Trump’s proclivity for telling whoppers, his response to scientific transparency and accountability is particularly interesting:
‘Science is science and facts are facts…I will make sure this is the culture of my administration.’
How did Trump do? He got an “A” on the BS-ometer and an “F” in science.
Click on the following link to the complete Science Debate Questionnaire.
H/T: Science Debate.