I still enjoy checking in on Scott Adams (the Dilbert creator) to see his rival narrative concerning Trump. (Here’s a good example.)
However, I often find Adams carelessly pontificating on things when I suspect he isn’t nearly committed to the principle as his writing suggests.
The best recent example is his post, “How to Evaluate a President.” Adams opens like this:
Steve Jobs. Bill Gates. Mark Zuckerberg. Richard Branson. What do they all have in common, aside from wealth?
They all succeeded without the right kind of prior experience. Apparently they knew how to figure out what they needed once they started. I’ll bet they are all systems-thinkers, not goal-thinkers.
Adams then goes on to argue that Trump is a systems-thinker, and that’s the way to interpret the rocky start to his Administration.
To then give a more concrete example of what a systems-thinker does, Adams writes:
But in any case, as I often say, goals are for losers. Systems are better. As I describe in my book, a good system is something you do every day that leads you to better outcomes, not specific objectives. For example, going to college is a good system even if you don’t know what job you might later want. Any time you learn something valuable, that’s a system. Networking with important people is a system. And so on.
Does everyone see the problem? The four people Adams chose–namely Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Zuckerberg, and Branson–did not finish college; Branson apparently didn’t even finish high school. (See here and here.) And this isn’t just ironic; Adams’ example of “going to college to help you get a job later on” is exactly wrong for his broader point.
For a different example of Adams not taking his own pontification seriously, in this post he writes: “On the conservative side, morality is usually seen as coming from God. I’m not a believer, so I see morality as a set of rationalizations for our biological impulses. Luckily, we evolved with some instincts for taking care of each other. “
So my question: If Adams doesn’t believe in an objective moral code, then why does he think it’s lucky that we have instincts to take care of each other? Would it make sense to write, “Luckily, our taste buds evolved to let us know how delicious ice cream is”?