According to mainstream political scientists, Trump is the Republican Presidential nominee. But is he something more ... Reptilian?
Ancient Aliens is a paragon in its use of inductive reasoning to make some really entertaining episodes. Here is the general structure of an episode:
- Premises: it presents a set of facts, which are usually true or difficult to disprove, about cool ancient stuff like temples, observatories, places of burial, etc.
- Conclusions: it then uses those facts to create a good story about how those facts prove a theory (ancient aliens) to be plausible, and because many of those facts are (likely) true, therefore, the ancient alien theory must be true, too.
[Editor’s notes: Reptilians are just one type of alien species. However, some scholars contend that they are not extraterrestrial aliens, but are rather “native aliens” that are the descendants of the dinosaurs, much like Dinohattan in the Super Mario Bros. movie.]
However, the conclusions in Ancient Aliens often do not come from the premises. Rather, the conclusion is where the show starts: that there are ancient aliens. The premises are then sought out to prove this conclusion to be true. In other words, the show first starts with the theory of ancient aliens and then looks for evidence to prove it is true (see, confirmation bias in “I Like It When I’m Right, Except When I’m Wrong”).
Furthermore, because the show works with many hypotheticals (“millions of people believe the Earth has been visited by aliens in the past; what if it were true?”) it means the show doesn’t necessarily have to prove the theory correct, just construct enough plausible evidence to sound like it might be. And, sometimes the appearance of truth matters more than the actual truth.
Sometimes the appearance of truth matters more than the actual truth.
In “Using SWOT Analysis to Tell a Compelling Story” I quoted Kahneman and Tversky: “A good story is often less probable than a less satisfactory… [explanation].” Well, even though a good story is less probable than a less satisfactory explanation, good stories are often something we’d prefer to believe. And so we do.
How Ancient Aliens Explains the Rise of Trump
The weird thing about Ancient Aliens is that it can help us explain the rise of Donald Trump and his supporters: do you start with facts and draw a conclusion, or start with a conclusion and find some facts?
Oversimplification is a common mistake people make when trying to understand Trump’s supporters. Two common rationales I hear are “they are poor and uneducated” and “they are racists.” However, even if those rationales are true, they both fail to adequately explain the reasons for Trump’s support. Everyone has their reasons, and usually these reasons are multifaceted and interconnected.
Instead, we can use Ancient Alien’s framework (conclusion then premises) to understand the foundation for Trump’s rise. We can use Trump’s own language to describe the reasons for his support: “Make America Great Again.” This is the primary conclusion: that Donald Trump will make America great again.
The premises that support this pro-Trump conclusion can be broadly grouped into three categories of values: religious beliefs, fundamental rights, and the authority of power. And these core values can help explain the reasons for why someone might support Trump.
For example, the next time Trump goes on a twitter tirade, see if you can identify which of these premises is applicable. Then, see how someone might twist those tweets to support the conclusion that Trump will make America great again.
There is one primary difference, however, between Ancient Aliens and the rise of Trump: the former attempts to explain the past, while the latter attempts to predict the future. However, both use favorable facts to support their individual conclusions: that either ancient aliens did visit the Earth in the past, or Trump will make America great again in the future.
Is Trump a Reptilian?
So, will Trump make America great again? Did ancient aliens really visit Earth? Is Donald Trump one of "them?" Do they continue to meddle in human affairs today? And to what end: an election where Trump wins, or one where he loses?
I suppose the answers to these questions really depend upon which aliens are our allies, our enemies, and if we are being used in some extraterrestrial proxy-war between alien species, like the Reptilians and the Greys.
Only time will tell.