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#87- Triggered A Conversation with Scott Adams

 
Jewish_Bacon
 
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Jewish_Bacon
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19 July 2017 08:42
 

There is a lot I disagree with Scott and sometimes Sam, but I really just wanted to comment to thank both gentlemen for keeping the conversation civil.  There were many awkward and frustrating moments in the conversation, but kudos to both for staying calm.  Sam did get triggered at some points haha.

On a side note did anyone feel like Scott was using Trump as a way to validate his own persona or ideas.  I felt like the whole praising Trump thing was less about Trump, and more about Scott getting to show how smart he is by predicting election results and understanding the Trump voter.

 
sentryjs
 
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sentryjs
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19 July 2017 08:53
 
G Cento - 19 July 2017 07:15 AM

After Harris describes Trump in the 38th minute, Adams asserts that Harris just revealed his cognitive dissonance. Beginning in the 39th minute, Adams claims that “the most classic [cognitive dissonance tell] is to imagine that you can know somebody’s inner mental processes.” He goes on to explain: “If you imagine that in [Trump’s] mind he’s thinking this or in [Trump’s] mind he’s hollowed out or in [Trump’s] mind there is no depth; if you imagine that those are in there, I would say that is entirely imaginary and almost certainly a tell for cognitive dissonance.” This accusation struck me immediately because it so obviously revealed Adams’ own dissonance. Throughout the discussion to that point, Adams had repeatedly made clear that Adams is doing exactly what he accused Harris of doing, i.e. Adams repeatedly imagines what is in Trump’s mind. Adams’ conclusion that Trump is some sort of persuasive genius is in fact entirely premised on what Adams believes is in Trump’s mind. In minute 16, Adams claims that some of Trump’s most outrageous policy positions and campaign pledges are really “pacing” for the purpose of eventually pulling people on the far right to the center. How can Adams possible know that this is what Trump is doing? He certainly can’t without claiming he knows Trump’s mind. He certainly can’t without assuming the existence of some level of depth within Trump’s mind. In minute 18, Adams describes the Trump pledge to deport 12 million undocumented people, recognizes that to people on the left the pledge is impossible, cruel, etc., and then expressly states at around 18:50: “But when I heard [the pledge], I said to myself (and I said publicly a lot of times) HE DOESN’T MEAN THAT.” Adams does not know whether Trump meant what Trump said or not. This is Adams fully attempting to imagine what was in Trump’s mind. Adams has effectively created Trump’s genius out of Adams’ own imagination about what might or might not be in Trump’s mind and what might or might not be motivating Trump.

Came here to say this, thanks for pointing it out. Currently listening and just passed the 39th minute you describe and so far all that comes to mind from this conversation is a quote by Sam, “If someone doesn’t value evidence, what evidence are you going to provide to prove that they should value it? If someone doesn’t value logic, what logical argument could you provide to show the importance of logic?”

 
Tullok
 
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Tullok
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19 July 2017 08:57
 

My biggest take away from this discussion is that Scott has little regard for moral issues and sees everything from the perspective of furthering ones own ambitions.  This is precisely what Sam is most critical of Trump for doing.  Scott cares little for truth, honesty, morality, especially doing the right thing even if it is disadvantageous and these are probably Sam’s most cherished core values.
Sam, and I would have hoped all of us, will never accept a situation where I am holding the President to the same standard as a used car salesman and I am saddened to hear Scott doesn’t mind doing so.  Perhaps common ground can simply not be found from an amoral person and a moral person.

 
After_The_Jump
 
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19 July 2017 09:02
 

@whatabouttism

- When Scott discounted analogy, Harris should of shut down all of his analogies (there were many);

And Scott’s discounting of analogy was peculiar given his entire “Two Movies” thesis is one giant analogy.

 

 
Bushwicked
 
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Bushwicked
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19 July 2017 09:18
 

Scott qualifies himself as an accurate predictor of the future and a wizened sage because he predicted the Trump presidency. We should recognize that this is not an adequate qualifier for anything, and additionally reveals his deep seated bias by stating that he “put his entire career on the line” for publicly supporting the Trump presidency. Why he believes he put his career on the line wasn’t explained, but it clearly reveals that he has a lot on the line and will be a Trump apologist for his own self-interest.

[ Edited: 19 July 2017 09:31 by Bushwicked]
 
Gecko
 
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Gecko
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19 July 2017 09:19
 

I felt huge discomfit with this podcast. Scott appeared to present an egocentric, amoral and at times unethical world view in pursuit of a goal, and he has admiration for this.  Am I being naive, idealistic - is this what we aspire to? I would want much more from a leader, especially of my country - I want much more from myself.
It was a struggle to listen to and I don’t understand Scott’s arguments - “Trump is a great persuader, he reveals one thing to Putin and yet under the hood he is f@cking him…”. What the heck, are we are just unthinking morons who should not even consider that Trump is actually in over his head and floundering? AB testing with the public… it’s all so dishonest and playing with the public - because he can - what rubbish or plain evil. Ok I am angry.

 
Horkthane
 
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Horkthane
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19 July 2017 09:32
 

The think the proof of this conversation will be in the outcome of the Trump presidency.

Broadly Scott makes the case that Trump is an amoral person who manipulates to get what he wants.  And now what he wants is to make America great again.  So we all win.

Sam’s argument is that the tools Trump uses are simply too amoral to work in politics.  They will so thoroughly debase and devalue the office of the president as to render Trump’s tool’s useless even as he employs them.  It’s a death spiral instead of a virtuous cycle.

Scott makes a lot of predictions about the future that I think we can all judge the accuracy of in 3.5 years.  He predicts Trump will drag the right to the center on climate change.  He predicts that Trump is going to end up fucking Russia once we no longer need their cooperation dealing with ISIS.  These things are either going to happen, or they won’t. 

If think think of Trump as Sam thinks of Trump, these sound like utter impossibilities.  Were they to actually occur, you’d feel like you are going insane.  I’m not sure how you’d even reconcile your worldview, or your view of Trump, were he to achieve these outcomes.  Perhaps you’d make the claim they happened in spite of him, rather than because of him.

I’d be equally let down if everything Sam says turns out to be true, and Scott doubled down on his master persuader hypothesis.  Trump continues to fuck the environment, sow fruitless chaos diplomatically, and his entire presidency is a wasted 4 years.  How do you square that with Trump having the best tools for the job?

Nobody will have won this non-debate debate until we see how things turn out.  Sam makes a strong case.  Scott’s sounds like pure wishful thinking.  However, Scott’s world view has proven to be more accurately predictive.  So only time will tell.

 
Theseus
 
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Theseus
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19 July 2017 09:35
 

Is it just me, or has Adams simply taken Trump’s “Winning”, and substituted his own word “Persuading” in an attempt to obscure exactly the amoral opportunism that’s being criticized? It seems to me that the basic question that Adams needs to answer given his thesis is, “If Trump is a master persuader as you say, how do you rule out the possibility that he has simply persuaded you that he is the kind of person you think he is?”

[ Edited: 19 July 2017 10:10 by Theseus]
 
DanDubya
 
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19 July 2017 09:39
 

I would say this was probably one of sam’s least effective persuasion/debate discussions - albeit I think he still did quite well.  I guess it more lies with Scott Adams’ ability to debate and deflect, which he did surprisingly well for a few topics/points (trying to defend Trump seems like an impossible task).  I generally find that Sam mops the floor with this type of debate, and it was interesting to see him break down to vulgarities on occasion, which was definately a bit surprising. Overall a very entertaining discussion - I still give the victory to Sam if anyone is counting.

 
After_The_Jump
 
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After_The_Jump
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19 July 2017 09:47
 

@DoOrDoNot

to date I have seen no viable evidence of any interference, let alone interference that had meaningful influence on the outcome of the election. All parties suggesting this and trying to keep the, in my opinion the ‘fake news’ lens, focused on this, should very swiftly bring forward some evidence that supports the claim, currently this is just not news because it’s just an allegation, evidently an unfounded allegation, or just ‘fake news’.

The evidence is conclusive according to every one of our intelligence agencies.

Yes, our intelligence agencies could release every cable, email, phone call, etc. they’ve amassed to further show their proof of their conclusion, but doing so would give Russia a huge amount of information in regard to exactly how we’re tracking their attempts to sabotage our elections.

I would openly laugh at anyone who suggested that America had never influenced, or attempted to influence, another nations elections.

This obfuscates the point of concern. To make it clear what the point of concern is - you said you’re from/in Scotland. Let’s say Scotland’s intelligence agencies concluded unanimously that the United States had been engaged in a covert attempt to influence a Scottish election. Let’s say the person the United States wanted to help usher into power in Scotland wins the Scottish election and immediately downplays the conclusions of Scotland’s intelligence agencies and then began offering high ranking United States officials concessions that Scotland doesn’t even offer its allies, let alone an identified foreign adversary.

That’s the situation we have here - we have a President of the US trashing his own intelligence agencies and embracing a foreign adversary the likes of which those intelligence agencies have said tried to put this guy in power.

It should be taken into account that the administration has many checks and balances, to the degree that the use of ‘presidential decree’ becomes a problem because the congressional wheels turn to slowly for effective governance, people voted on ‘drain the swamp’ because the political landscape is a well known swamp

And Trump is the epitome of all the qualities that have made the political landscape a swamp. He’s self centered, self interested, ignorant of basic civics, and has virtually no interest in policy details. The way to “fix the swamp” isn’t to put one of the worst possible actors in charge of it.

If Trump can reduce the size of the administration, walk American foreign aggression back a good few steps, reduce the deficit some and not accidentally start a world war then most of us will be happy.

First, “reducing the size of the administration” is an empty goal - the focus should be on effectiveness, not “size”. Regarding the other points you mentioned: again, it’s an issue of probability. Trump regularly displays having virtually no in-depth knowledge regarding ANY of the issues of importance that face the nation, and he celebrates that ignorance with garish exuberance. While it may be *possible* for someone who knows nothing about policy, civics, or governance in general to guide the ship into a better place, it seems highly unlikely. Consider most recently the healthcare bill debacle. Members of his own party were coming away from meetings with him about it saying he simply doesn’t understand the landscape of healthcare, and Trump himself only ever seemed focus on the political implications of getting ‘a bill’ done, no matter how ill informed or ill guided that bill may be. This isn’t the kind of leadership that has the best chance of leading to positive results, no matter how ‘outsider’y’ or ‘different’ it is.

For me, the question in front of us is a simple one: can someone who makes virtually no effort to understand the things he’s in charge of effect positive change for and within those things?

 

 
Citizen of the Universe
 
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Citizen of the Universe
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19 July 2017 09:48
 
G Cento - 19 July 2017 07:15 AM

After Harris describes Trump in the 38th minute, Adams asserts that Harris just revealed his cognitive dissonance. Beginning in the 39th minute, Adams claims that “the most classic [cognitive dissonance tell] is to imagine that you can know somebody’s inner mental processes.” He goes on to explain: “If you imagine that in [Trump’s] mind he’s thinking this or in [Trump’s] mind he’s hollowed out or in [Trump’s] mind there is no depth; if you imagine that those are in there, I would say that is entirely imaginary and almost certainly a tell for cognitive dissonance.” This accusation struck me immediately because it so obviously revealed Adams’ own dissonance. Throughout the discussion to that point, Adams had repeatedly made clear that Adams is doing exactly what he accused Harris of doing, i.e. Adams repeatedly imagines what is in Trump’s mind. Adams’ conclusion that Trump is some sort of persuasive genius is in fact entirely premised on what Adams believes is in Trump’s mind. In minute 16, Adams claims that some of Trump’s most outrageous policy positions and campaign pledges are really “pacing” for the purpose of eventually pulling people on the far right to the center. How can Adams possible know that this is what Trump is doing? He certainly can’t without claiming he knows Trump’s mind. He certainly can’t without assuming the existence of some level of depth within Trump’s mind. In minute 18, Adams describes the Trump pledge to deport 12 million undocumented people, recognizes that to people on the left the pledge is impossible, cruel, etc., and then expressly states at around 18:50: “But when I heard [the pledge], I said to myself (and I said publicly a lot of times) HE DOESN’T MEAN THAT.” Adams does not know whether Trump meant what Trump said or not. This is Adams fully attempting to imagine what was in Trump’s mind. Adams has effectively created Trump’s genius out of Adams’ own imagination about what might or might not be in Trump’s mind and what might or might not be motivating Trump.

Yeah, good point. I thought this as well. He’s assuming that he knows what Trump is doing and thinking. There is no proof either way (if we are to assume that you can’t know what someone is thinking) and his assumption about Trump’s ‘genius’ is not falsifiable, as Sam pointed out. He can (and probably will) post rationalize anything that Trump did or will do to fit into that theory. I think Sam said that the only way to prove that theory wrong is for Trump to be impeached which is a rare thing to happen to any president. I imagine that Scott is hedging his bets by coming up with some rationalization if that were to happen. I’m surprised that even though he knows about how motivated reasoning works he fails to apply it to himself. I guess knowing IS only half the battle.

 
Wanderer
 
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19 July 2017 10:13
 

I’m slightly playing devil’s advocate here, but I want to say that as a liberal (and a scientist), I found the first hour of this very informative.

I think Adams’ claims of Trump’s proficiency are true in an exceptionally narrow sense. In the same way a mayor who was a city planner is really good at laying out a metropolis and has great success that way - but knows fuck-all about how to finance it or how to convince people to help him pay for the amazing improvements he can make. Trump *is* a good persuader of people - but that doesn’t make him fit to be president, not even close.

Further, having spent a fair amount of time in business and among their corporate elites, I completely understand this “emotional truth” argument Adams makes. These people are utterly devoid of ethics of almost any kind and nearly all are willing to provide enough gray area to encourage someone else to partake in unethical behavior while providing them with plausible deniability. It’s why I didn’t succeed - I just wasn’t able to willingly screw people over.

The defect Sam claims is the magnetic opposite of the defect they will claim and it comes down to worldview. If you spend a lot of time debating epistemology and ethics, you have a reference point in reality that isn’t located anywhere near their reference point - which is “do everything legally available to make money.”

We - on the ethical left - have to solve this communication breakdown one way or another. It is permeating through our political system.

 
 
DNAP2010
 
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19 July 2017 10:26
 
CHCalfonzo - 19 July 2017 03:39 AM

Wow, that was an infuriating conversation to listen to! I agree with what Sam said in the preamble, Scott seemed to come across calmer and more yogi like, but it did not hide how vacuous most his claims were. He seemed to be playing games, perhaps an exotic type of hypnotism like Sam suggested, instead of facing and rebutting the damning evidence that Sam presented in a reasoned way.

I agree with Scott with regard to Trumps skills as a persuader, he has a good point there, but he seems to completely ignore the result of this persuasive ability and how Trump chooses to use it in such a caustic fashion. He exudes a quasi form of nihilism where the truth doesn’t matter, we should simply focus on the result. In that sense he fits squarely on the extreme political left (which Sam quite rightly derides), yet he chooses to defend a president who is harbouring the most extreme right wingers in the US political system. This is a very odd position to stake out.

I agree that it was frustrating. Adams played great language games, but did not once adequately defend Trump. At best, he (completely incorrectly, by my estimation) lauded Trump’s “persuasion” skill, but only ever accomplished the feat of anointing him as a shady snake oil salesman who successfully sold to half the country. Not a defense. Just a characterization. And he was wrong, anyway. I completely agree with Sam - he’s not even particularly persuasive.

He kept saying Trump is skilled, but I don’t see it. He *lost* the popular vote. He says he wasn’t playing that game, but this suggests a level of competence Trump clearly hasn’t demonstrated – as if he could’ve won a different game. And as for “getting things done” by winter, there’s no evidence of that, either. Adams has no grounds for giving Trump so much credit. There’s no proof that Trump’s ineloquent blabbering is intentional. He can’t form a cogent sentence. He’s one of the most inarticulate speakers to which I’ve ever listened. No one can prove that this an act. We can only go by the word he actually uses. There’s no reason to assume he’s some genius in his private life that only puts on the red hat and goes full philistine for the cameras.

In addition, Adams defended Trump’s licensing/branding tactics. Well, he should own (in the colloquial sense) what he licenses. That’s a weak defense. He signs off. It’s no coincidence that all the deals he licenses are unethical schemes that either go bankrupt or get sued. He is responsible for his image.

Also, a zebra *is* a horse, in the sense that it’s in the Equidae family. It’s a wild, African horse. Analogies are good for informing or persuading. Ironic that Scott dismissed them while praising Trump’s less artful tactics of communication.

 

 
After_The_Jump
 
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After_The_Jump
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19 July 2017 10:27
 

@ Wanderer

Trump *is* a good persuader of people - but that doesn’t make him fit to be president, not even close.

I think it’s probably more accurate to say that Trump gave ignorance a microphone at a time when ignorance is having a renaissance.

Because yeah, he persuaded a lot of people, and they are objectively the least educated people in the country on aggregate.The issue here isn’t one of Trump having some kind of other worldly persuasive skill set. Rather, it’s the exact opposite - it’s that his skill set is remedial in nature, and it played to a throng of people operating on equally remedial intellectual levels.

Hypothetical: if, at the moment Trump turned 18, he could have been functionally partitioned from his father’s money, his father’s name, and his father’s political influences, does anyone actually think Trump’s “skill set” makes him a billionaire? Does anyone actually think Trump ‘persuades’ anybody without the mountains of cash standing behind him? Is he ever in a position to use his wealth as his number 1 qualification to be President?

 

 

[ Edited: 19 July 2017 10:29 by After_The_Jump]
 
Ingenuity Gap
 
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Ingenuity Gap
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19 July 2017 10:35
 

Scott is just a more stylish Donald Trump. At core he’s as narcissistic and empty as the insane clown in the White House. Read his blog if you think I’m exaggerating.

 
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