David Gelernter — Trump’s Science Advisor?

Two months ago we wrote Who Will Be Trump’s Science Advisor?, in which we said:

[F]or those who are concerned about what a Trump administration would mean for science — a legitimate concern considering that Mike Pence, his Vice President, is a creationist — Trump’s appointment of director of the OSTP [Office of Science and Technology Policy] is a key thing to watch for.

[…]

Okay, now we’ll make a prediction. Trump’s science advisor: (a) won’t be a creationist; and (b) won’t be in denial about climate change.

We haven’t seen any news stories or even speculation about this subject, until today. In the Yale Daily News, the daily newspaper of Yale University, we read: Yale professor under consideration for Trump advisor role. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

Yale computer science professor David Gelernter ’76 is being considered for the job of science advisor in the incoming administration of President-elect Donald Trump, the Washington Post reported Wednesday.

Here’s that story in the Washington Post: David Gelernter, fiercely anti-intellectual computer scientist, is being eyed for Trump’s science adviser. [*Begin Drool Mode*] Ooooooooooooh! [*End Drool Mode*] He’s “fiercely anti-intellectual” — whatever that means in an academic context. We’ll get back to that in a moment, but let’s return to the Yale Daily News, which says:

According to the Post, Gelernter — who caught the attention of students and faculty when he appeared on Fox News in October to express his support for Trump — is a leading expert in the field of parallel computation, a type of computing in which multiple processes are executed at the same time. He is also the author of several books, including “America-Lite: How Imperial Academia Dismantled Our Culture (and Ushered in the Obamacrats),” which argues that top universities are to blame for the erosion of traditional American values.

[*Gasp*] — he appeared on Fox News, and his political views are unpopular in academia. He must be some kind of monster! One more excerpt:

Yalies were given a taste of Gelernter’s political views in a segment of Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor” last fall in which he called the University “an intellectual ghetto,” citing the overwhelming support for Hillary Clinton LAW ’73 on campus. On the show, Gelernter expressed disgust at Trump’s treatment of women, but added, “We need somebody who is not scared to make big changes.”

Okay, now let’s see what the Washington Post says:

Gelernter met with the president-elect at Trump Tower in New York City on Tuesday, according to press secretary Sean Spicer.

[…]

In 1993, Gelernter was seriously injured by a letter bomb sent by Ted Kaczynski, the anti-technology terrorist known as the Unabomber.

[…]

In his 2013 book, “America-Lite: How Imperial Academia Dismantled Our Culture (and Ushered in the Obamacrats),” he condemned “belligerent leftists” and blamed intellectualism for the disintegration of patriotism and traditional family values. He attributed the decline in American culture to “an increasing Jewish presence at top colleges.” (Gelernter himself is Jewish.)

[…]

He has expressed doubt about the reality of man-made climate change — something that 97 percent of active researchers agree is a problem. And his anti-intellectualism makes him an outlier among scientists.

Okay, dear reader, that’s all we’ve got so far. If the Washington Post story is accurate, he’s quite a clunker. Go ahead and discuss it, but remember — at this point he’s just a name that’s being considered.

Copyright © 2017. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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12 responses to “David Gelernter — Trump’s Science Advisor?

  1. And his anti-intellectualism makes him an outlier among scientists.

    But not an outlier in the history of America, which has been given to several notable waves of anti-intellectual fervour, as documented by Richard Hofstadter.

    The term “Alt-Luddite” seems an appropriate term here…

  2. Michael Fugate

    On Gelernter’s Wikipedia page there is this quote from 2015 interview with Bill Kristol: “They [students] know nothing about art. They know nothing about history. They know nothing about philosophy. And because they have been raised as not even atheists, they don’t rise to the level of atheists, insofar as they’ve never thought about the existence or nonexistence of God. It has never occurred to them. They know nothing about the Bible.”

    So blatantly false, that it discredits almost anything he says about culture and universities.

  3. Unfortunately, a computer scientist, one specializing in parallel computing, makes me think of the Salem Hypothesis.

  4. Michael Fugate

    Another thing, for someone who is math-oriented how he can not realize that compared to 1965 there are 3.5x more students in college now and adjusted for population size it is 2.5x. This coupled with all the other changes in the world means that today’s college students are drawn from a different pool. It really is another in “the kids these days” arguments that old people have been grumbling about since God was a boy. Grow up!

  5. I just hope that all those gosh-darned college kids get off his lawn.

  6. Say not thou what is the cause that the former days were better than these? for thou dost not inquire wisely concerning this.
    Ecclesiastes 7:10

  7. Trump appears to reward loyalty by giving his sycophants a piece of the government to destroy. It is very possible that he will reward Gelernter by giving him an opportunity to get back at all those elite scientists, people whom Trump probably distrusts as well.

  8. Just when you thought things couldn’t become any more bizarre. Rick Perry told the Senate committee today that he will rely on the science in order to understand the issue of global warming….. Since Rick was a big supporter of MCLeRoy, the dentist from hell, this is going to get very interesting.

  9. “Rick Perry told the Senate committee today that he will rely on the science in order to understand the issue of global warming”

    Since Perry doesn’t have even the slimmest clue about what science actually is or how it works, the results of his “study” are quite predictable.

  10. SC, do you still consider Trump and Co.’s science denial merely “goofy”?

    Some real (not alternative) facts courtesy of Scientific American:
    1. Trump ordered EPA to remove its climate change web page.
    2. Trump restricted news from scientists at USDA and EPA.
    3. National Park Service workers are anonymously posting climate change data, fearful to ID

    I am growing more anxious every day I see this clown tell us how “unbelievable and great” everything is going to be. Maybe I should take some soma to feel better.

  11. Thursday in Philly he mentioned “clean beautiful coal.” Tell me SC, how is that belief any less absurd than a belief in an intelligent designer?