Friday, June 21, 2019

“Scientifically” vs. “just words”

Donald Trump, yesterday: “It’s documented scientifically, not just words.” An odd sentence, in several ways:

It misunderstands science: “knowledge or a system of knowledge covering general truths or the operation of general laws especially as obtained and tested through scientific method.” Answers supported by evidence are not necessarily answers to scientific questions.

It bespeaks extraordinary hypocrisy, because Trump so often dismisses science, as in his statements about global warming and vaccinations.

It reduces language to a medium in which anyone can say anything, without evidence, free of any obligation to truth. “Just words”: language as a medium not of inquiry and knowledge but of lies. Of course, that’s the way Donald Trump has treated language for many years.

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