Dilbert’s Creator on Trump’s Black Magic

Hat tip to Praetorian

Reason magazine, always a favorite of mine (I am not a Libertarian but I love Libertarians and Objectivists) interviewed Mr. Scott Adams, the cartoonist famed for Dilbert. He is not a Trump supporter, but he has a theory to explain Mr. Trumps popularity.

I thought Mr. Adams’ remarks insightful and mildly interesting, but I thought that what he unwittingly revealed about his own philosophy very interesting.

Being a philosopher, the comment of most interest to me was Mr. Adam’s remark at the end, as the credits roll. He says that he (and I assumed Dr. Andreassen as well) are merely Moist Robots or Meat Robots, creatures incapable alike of reason and free will.

He actually uses the term Meat Robot to describe himself, thus eliminating, if we take him seriously, any need to take seriously anything he says.

If no human is governed by reason, then what are we to make of the sentence “no human is governed by reason” when uttered by one who confesses himself to be unreasonable in so saying?

If the statement is reasonable, then by it is own account it is not reasonable. Only if it is not reasonable can be reasonable.

Mr. Adams then says (and this is the most revealing sentence ever spoken about the nature of nihilism): once you realize that an alternate explanation (that is, a model that fits all the given data) exists, your own confidence in your own reason is weakened, and then YOU ARE FREE.

That is nihilism in a nutshell. Reason is tyranny.

He means, I assume, conscience is tyranny, and he regards it as liberating not to exist as a rational creature responsible to an incorruptible higher power or higher principle for his immoral actions.

I will not point out that every high school student knows or should know that many alternate models for any set of facts can exist, such as the heliocentric versus the geocentric, and that other, philosophical, considerations, such as the elegance of the model, or the least number of assumptions, is what scientists use to chose between models. Nor does the fact that science progresses from less accurate to more accurate models somehow undermine anyone’s faith in reason rather than amply and abundantly confirm it.

This kind of ignorance about the very basics of the scientific method is commonplace among nihilists as well as among science worshipers (ironically, there is a large overlap between the two groups).

Mr. Adam is simply a Mark I, pure-quill- straight-up nihilist.

He can explain Mr. Trump’s appeal only in terms of the magic of rhetoric as potent as hoodoo, that is, how Trump’s message is being delivered, but not in terms of what is being said, nor whether what is being said agrees with the voters or with reality.

This is like explaining the joy of a new bride getting her engagement ring in a pretty gift wrapped box by saying she likes the gift wrapping, not that she likes the ring and certainly not that she likes the boy who gives the ring.

A nihilist can only explain things in terms of an arbitrary human ability to create reality, because, of course, nihilism says that there is no truth aside from manmade truth. This is the theory that we humans create reality out of nothing, like the God in Genesis.

In a related story, man has created four more elements. However, the article in the Guardian newspaper accidentally used the word ‘manmade’ which contains the forbidden m-word, and rewrote the article. A great breakthrough for science reported on by creatures more backward than cavemen.

I am not kidding.

• This article was amended on 4 January 2016. The reference to the new elements being “manmade” was changed to “synthetic” to follow Guardian style guidance on the use of gender-neutral terms.

The word ‘manmade’ has bad joojoo for them, because they cannot distinguish between the word that means male and the word that means human being. That would require reason, and a certain relinquishment of the claims that mankind makes all things, including allegedly unfair social relations between the sexes by means of magic words that bless or curse.

Nihilists are best understood not as a philosophy, or even as members of an abortive religious cult, but as practitioners of black magic.

Except that, unlike real black magic, theirs does not work.