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Doomer Logic Glitch

General discussions of the systemic, societal and civilisational effects of depletion.

Doomer Logic Glitch

Unread postby JohnDenver » Tue 31 Aug 2004, 06:07:09

Doomer Logic Glitch:
--> R.Heinberg
--> D.Pfeiffer
____________________________

The doom argument in a nutshell:

(1) World oil production will peak, therefore
(2) Oil consumption in the US and other countries will peak, therefore
(3) The economies of the US and other countries will go down the toilet.

The glitch is between steps (1) and (2). Who says a world production peak means US consumption has to go down? That's not necessarily true. Maybe world production starts declining, and US consumption doesn't, or even goes up. After all, the US is rich, and the schoolyard bully.

Obviously this situation can't go on forever, but it's certainly a good stopgap, and I don't see anything to really prevent it from happening.

Or consider Canada. The world peak is irrelevant there, because their production's going up, and it's going to keep going up for quite some time with the syncrude. So their economy's not going to crash, and the party's still on! No threat to crappy debt money up there. Don't run for the hills, just move up to Vancouver.

{note to self: frame as geopolitical dynamics wrt supply/demand; EE}
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Re: Doomer Logic Glitch

Unread postby Tanada » Thu 09 Mar 2017, 12:33:13

This was the oldest topic I could find on the theme of doomer vs cornucopian world view differences.

I think it is useful because once upon a time the board had a fairly good balance of viewpoints, you had the folks who always see blue skies and fair winds, the folks who see nothing but storm clouds, and the folks who see storms, but a path to the future through the storms. AKA Cornucopians, Doomers and Moderates.

If you can't think of anyone you respect who has a different world view than the one you hold then you are by definition close minded.

In debate training the key issue is to make everyone state what they believe the opposition view is, and then defend that view using logic and rational discussion. If you can not state the opposition view in a calm rational manner and defend it then you really do not understand what the opposition view is.

So here is your challenge, if you think the world is about to end then you must state why it will not end soon and defend that position logically.

If you think the world is going to be smooth sailing for as far as the eye can see then you must state what the immediate threat to civilization is, and why we will be destroyed by it.

Are you up to the challenge?
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Re: Doomer Logic Glitch

Unread postby pstarr » Thu 09 Mar 2017, 12:41:37

The doom argument in a nutshell:

(1) World oil production will peak, therefore
(2) Oil consumption in the US and other countries will peak, therefore
(3) The economies of the US and other countries will go down the toilet.

Perhaps his simplistic assumptions explain his demise?
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Re: Doomer Logic Glitch

Unread postby evilgenius » Thu 09 Mar 2017, 13:13:02

Well, there is precedent for believing that the US will maintain its consumption rate, or increase it, as oil production wobbles. All you have to do is look at how the US has interacted with developing nations in Africa, Central America and South America. In most cases they haven't allowed the Export Land Model to impact how resource producing countries use their own oil or other natural resources. Instead they have instituted policies designed to support centralized regimes which sell those resources on. When various countries could have adopted the US model for growth, using their own resources to develop integrated economies based upon their own use of their own resources, they haven't. It isn't necessarily the case that there is a conspiracy to implement or institutionalize corrupt regimes. It's more likely that the US has been acting according to its own interests. They got rich first and, therefore, have largess to offer that is too tempting for those in charge in underdeveloped places in the world to ignore in favor of the more painful path of concerted development of their economic, political and legal structures.
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Re: Doomer Logic Glitch

Unread postby onlooker » Thu 09 Mar 2017, 13:29:25

Okay, here goes my rendition of the Optimist point of view on both Economy and Environment going forth. With relation to the Economy, I have heard various arguments. First that we will be able to transition to a Alternative/Renewable infrastructure. That still plenty of Coal and Nat. Gas exists to assist this transition. By we, it is meant mostly rich countries. That the resources and time still exist to do so. That hardships will manifest but the worse will be in poor countries who are too overpopulated and resource scarce. So after a certain die off, civilization can and will endure albeit with a smaller population and with less materialistic expectations.

Now as for the AGW optimists well my interpretation of their argument is that well Pstarr claims in fact global warming will be a boom for plant growth because of the extra carbon that will stimulate growth. Tanada, I think believes that while certain areas will be uninhabitable, certain other areas in the colder regions can transition to a climate more appropriate for growing crops and that people are very resourceful and tend to adapt well to moving around as that comprises much of our history. So, we will move to where it is worthwhile to move too. In time, I think optimists are saying that we will adapt to whatever climate regime finally reigns as we will be able to maintain a certain level of technology and knowledge that will allow us to continue to take advantage of knowledge gained over many many centuries. I do not claim these scenarios are not possible only that I see the doomer perspective as more probable.
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Re: Doomer Logic Glitch

Unread postby Tanada » Thu 09 Mar 2017, 13:48:52

onlooker wrote:Okay, here goes my rendition of the Optimist point of view on both Economy and Environment going forth. With relation to the Economy, I have heard various arguments. First that we will be able to transition to a Alternative/Renewable infrastructure. That still plenty of Coal and Nat. Gas exists to assist this transition. By we, it is meant mostly rich countries. That the resources and time still exist to do so. That hardships will manifest but the worse will be in poor countries who are too overpopulated and resource scarce. So after a certain die off, civilization can and will endure albeit with a smaller population and with less materialistic expectations.

Now as for the AGW optimists well my interpretation of their argument is that well Pstarr claims in fact global warming will be a boom for plant growth because of the extra carbon that will stimulate growth. Tanada, I think believes that while certain areas will be uninhabitable, certain other areas in the colder regions can transition to a climate more appropriate for growing crops and that people are very resourceful and tend to adapt well to moving around as that comprises much of our history. So, we will move to where it is worthwhile to move too. In time, I think optimists are saying that we will adapt to whatever climate regime finally reigns as we will be able to maintain a certain level of technology and knowledge that will allow us to continue to take advantage of knowledge gained over many many centuries. I do not claim these scenarios are not possible only that I see the doomer perspective as more probable.


That doesn't seem like a very optimistic view, you are still expressing an expectation of massive die off especially in poor countries. That is not at all what I hear from Cornucopians like Oilfinder/CopiusAbundance or the former member the Anti-Doomer. Please try again.

For the environment you did a fair job of stating my position, however I am a moderate on the issue so again, not a really optimistic projection of what the future holds.

Also while you attempted to state the positions of the optimists you did not offer anything to support why those positions might be more correct compared to other views.
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Re: Doomer Logic Glitch

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Thu 09 Mar 2017, 13:54:39

I was a Doomer for a couple of years. Michael Ruppert's movie Collapse was what inspired this, and I read and watched everything I could on the topic, from Hubbert to the IPCC reports.

Understand as well that I have always believed (from the age of 9 anyways, or about 1960) that human overpopulation was THE problem. It then follows that the damaged environment, the oil peak, sea level rise, polluted oceans, AGW (if real), etc etc are all symptoms of the real problem of human overpopulation.

I believe that the oil peak has happened and that within 50 years, everyone will know and understand what the oil peak means. Let me reproduce a blurry image from Hubbert's paper:
Image
Hubbert of course knew nothing of the Internet and how it frequently exaggerates everything out of proportion. My actual beliefs about the oil peak (which I believe happened in 2008) are as follows.

1) There is a probability of 0.1 that an oil panic will happen in the next 10 years. As more time passes after 10 years, the probability of a panic about petroleum increases.
2) The probability of an oil panic will peak at about 0.9 in approximately 50 years. My date for TEOTWAWKI is therefore 2047 to 2067.
3) You need first plan, then begin and end your preparations for TEOTWAWKI in the coming decade, before 2027.

There is of course lots of information above and beyond Hubbert's initial insight (which was all about conventional wells):
Image

But I do not understand the import of this. In fact what I actually believe is that the true state of oil availability is entirely a secondary concern, the real trigger event is the worldwide human panic that will ensue when everyone everywhere realizes what this oil shortage means.

Predicting the date of this panic with any accuracy is impossible, there does not exist a calculus of human behavior. My probabilities above are SWAGs (scientific wild-assed guesses) based on my 60+ years of observing humans. I pretend to no special knowledge, anybody else's SWAGs would be as good as mine, after an equal amount of obsession about this topic, of course.

In stating my position in terms of probabilities (which really and truly is how both engineers and weathermen think) I have actually avoided taking a position of course. I can't be proved wrong, at worst I have made a correct prediction with the wrong timing.

What I am actually hoping for is that a miracle will happen, and we will find a substitute energy source that will obsolete oil/gas/coal, and that this will buy us enough time to solve the problem of overpopulation. Unfortunately, my gut says that is "probably" not gonna happen.
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Re: Doomer Logic Glitch

Unread postby Revi » Thu 09 Mar 2017, 14:26:49

We are a culture that is using up natural capital to produce an industrial economy, and we are going to have to figure out some other way to live after a lot of it is exhausted. Maybe we'll figure out some kind of a sustainable economy, but we haven't done it so far, so I'm not too optimistic about our chances now. Reading about the colonization of this country it hit me that it's always been a commercial colony, from the very beginning. We are just here to service the corporations that are using up that capital. The idea that we might have to do something different is a novel one. Here in Maine it's the trees that are the big crop, but further west they are doing mountaintop removal, fossil fueled agriculture and fracking to hold the whole thing up.
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Re: Doomer Logic Glitch

Unread postby asg70 » Thu 09 Mar 2017, 16:02:29

I don't think it's defensible to be a long-term no-dieoff optimist considering the trend-lines of limits to growth. Those who drone on about "nature batting last" are ultimately correct even though in the immediate term the peak oil doomsaying has turned out to be a bust.

The rhetoric here is in the dead-cat-bounce stage where there are literally only a few die-hard peak-oilers who have latched onto ETP as their new religion and not much else of any consequence being discussed.
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Re: Doomer Logic Glitch

Unread postby Cog » Thu 09 Mar 2017, 16:30:34

Since I'm sort of a cornie I'll see if I can do the peak oil doomer argument.

The ability of mankind to grow its civilization to a point where it can support 7 billion people is directly related to the availability of energy. In our exploration and utilization of energy we have found a source that is nearly perfect for our needs. That being oil. A compact and energy dense source that fuels construction, mobility, and makes growing huge amounts of food possible. We have come to rely on affordable oil and built our entire civilization around it.

But now for the bad news about oil. It is not limitless. As such, there comes a time when its increasingly difficult to find and exploit it. Whether you use the ETP model which relies on increasing amounts of energy to exploit it or the supply/demand model of increasing prices, what you are measuring is difficulty(expense) or diminishing returns. So a civilization and a population that relies to a large extent on oil, to continue its existence, is in fact doomed when they can't do so anymore. That slide downwards may be slow or might be fast depending on how governments deal with that fact but its inevitable. Such a die-off will likely impact parts of the planet differently but the end is the same for all. We simply can't have the world we have presently constructed without an abundant and somewhat inexpensive supply of oil. We have not found anything that can substitute for it.
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Re: Doomer Logic Glitch

Unread postby onlooker » Thu 09 Mar 2017, 16:32:20

I am not too familiar with the views of Oilfinder or the former member the Anti-Doomer.Copious Abundance seems almost trollish with his exclusive good economic news on just one thread. I am discounting the overly cheery projections like precisely NO die off. You can say we are directly/indirectly already witnessing premature deaths ie. die off
stemming from overshoot consequences. So while I can understand the reasoning Tanada behind setting up this format of discussion, some arguments seem in my opinion indefensible. Like the view of Kaiser that some of us will end up living in Space. That possibility is fast disappearing as our civilization declines. So the merits of those who espouse hope and optimism should always be taken seriously. Hope should never be extinguished. But, I cannot assume a role or validate arguments that are fanciful, not well thought out or unrealistic. The precautionary principle requires that we practice caution in evaluating circumstances. The most I am assertively willing to concede is that die-off may not be catastrophic, that some aspects of modern civilization can follow us through the bottleneck and that timing is difficult to gauge especially of the more dire climatic consequences. Finally, that while we humans possess some flaws that have been instrumental in having reached this devilish predicament, we also have qualities that could collectively allow us to navigate almost any challenges
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Re: Doomer Logic Glitch

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Thu 09 Mar 2017, 18:37:59

KJ - "...the real trigger event is the worldwide human panic that will ensue when everyone everywhere realizes what this oil shortage means.". I'll use your statement but there were many others to pick on. Billions of folks today "realize" what an oil shortage means...they are dealing with such a shortage today. Yes: there are billions who have little to no access to a significant volume of oil. They are the folks who can't afford much oil at $50/bbl. OTOH there are a great many who can pay that price as witnessed by the near record volume of il being purchased today.

Obviously I'm taking about the constant use of generalities by doomers, moderates and cornies. There is no "global economy"; there is no "affordable price of oil'; nor is there an "unaffordable price of oil". I could go on but I think folks get the point. It seems many debates boil down to efforts to switch from generalities to specifics. But each generality is composed of different specific components that naturally don't hold true to the generality.

Take your generalization: so you mean everyone will "panic" when X happens? First, I'm sure you agree that "panic" can mean whatever a person decides it means: riots in the streets around the world or just mass depression? But skip that specific: what would X be to bring about either? oil prices shoot wy up and hold at that level indefinitely? I know a lot of folks who would not panic but actually celebrate such a development. that events would have a great positive effect on the global economy, right? Well, at least one portion of the global economy, right?

IOW many of the arguments result from relativism; the doctrine that knowledge, truth, and morality exist in relation to culture, society, or historical context, and are not absolute. IOW there is no such thing as a high or low price of oil in absolute terms. Nor is there a glut of oil nor a shortage of oil in absolute terms. As such isn't arguing about whether there's an oil glut or not just a waste of space here?
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Re: Doomer Logic Glitch

Unread postby MD » Fri 10 Mar 2017, 01:42:10

There's a real "logic glitch" for all extreme ideologies. As soon as you run to the edge of the "political spectrum", in any direction, you become subject to confirmation bias and hypocrisy.

I agree with Tanada's premise that you should take and defend the opposing side as an exercise of understanding. The natural result of that effort is: you will be driven to the center, and moderation in all things.

Once you understand your enemy, you cannot help but "love" him.
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Re: Doomer Logic Glitch

Unread postby Ibon » Fri 10 Mar 2017, 07:30:25

There is the imagined doom and then there is the reality of living through and adapting to increasing constraints. Humans always do better living through hardships then imagining those very same hardships.

If you look at all the conveniences of modern life enabled by fossil fuels and technology there are many many layers to peel back before you get to the core where survival is threatened.

There are silver linings when we scale back our consumption and peel away some of the most crass and undignified aspects of living in opulent times. Indolence recedes, individual entitlement recedes. Appreciation of your family and friends and community flourishes.

I am an optimistic and at times even embrace the idea that hell is not whats coming but what we will leave behind as resources increasingly become constrained.

Carrying capacity varies so enormously in bio regions around the world. Human cultural response does as well. I am sure that regional die-offs are inevitable going forward just as I am confident that there will be regions of our planet where humans will find a stable equilibrium eventually with consumption and population and a balanced use of technology.

I contain the sometimes contradictory elements of being doomerish/optimistic/moderate all at the same time because the outcome will be a mixed bag of all three depending on where you look.

We tend to look for singular outcomes when the outcome will most likely be varied. As it always has been.

This idea of peak oil as a singular common denominator that will funnel all of humanity through the bottleneck of die-off was a foolish notion. One that for awhile I also embraced.
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Re: Doomer Logic Glitch

Unread postby chilyb » Fri 10 Mar 2017, 09:33:52

Hi Tanada,

Questions:

"So here is your challenge, if you think the world is about to end then you must state why it will not end soon and defend that position logically."

I assume by "soon," you are talking about human generations, not "soon" from a geological perspective?

And "world about to end" meaning the end of our current global industrialized civilization, to be replaced by something else, or the extinction of humanity?
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Re: Doomer Logic Glitch

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Fri 10 Mar 2017, 11:36:26

ROCKMAN wrote:KJ - "...the real trigger event is the worldwide human panic that will ensue when everyone everywhere realizes what this oil shortage means.". I'll use your statement but there were many others to pick on. Billions of folks today "realize" what an oil shortage means...they are dealing with such a shortage today. Yes: there are billions who have little to no access to a significant volume of oil. They are the folks who can't afford much oil at $50/bbl. OTOH there are a great many who can pay that price as witnessed by the near record volume of il being purchased today.

Obviously I'm taking about the constant use of generalities by doomers, moderates and cornies. There is no "global economy"; there is no "affordable price of oil'; nor is there an "unaffordable price of oil". I could go on but I think folks get the point. It seems many debates boil down to efforts to switch from generalities to specifics. But each generality is composed of different specific components that naturally don't hold true to the generality.

Take your generalization: so you mean everyone will "panic" when X happens? First, I'm sure you agree that "panic" can mean whatever a person decides it means: riots in the streets around the world or just mass depression? But skip that specific: what would X be to bring about either? oil prices shoot wy up and hold at that level indefinitely? I know a lot of folks who would not panic but actually celebrate such a development. that events would have a great positive effect on the global economy, right? Well, at least one portion of the global economy, right?

IOW many of the arguments result from relativism; the doctrine that knowledge, truth, and morality exist in relation to culture, society, or historical context, and are not absolute. IOW there is no such thing as a high or low price of oil in absolute terms. Nor is there a glut of oil nor a shortage of oil in absolute terms. As such isn't arguing about whether there's an oil glut or not just a waste of space here?


RM, sometimes we forget that the public at large is not immersed in the day-to-day ebb and flow of petroleum, as are professionals like you and peak oilers like the forum members here. For example almost everybody I know and am related to, does not know the meaning of "oil peak". The few I thought would appreciate the knowledge let me talk for a few tens of minutes and now will change the subject. One of my friends who in my opinion was best-equipped to understand the topic doesn't give it a thought after our first conversation, and now changes the subject. "Why should I even think about oil?" he said, "When at any moment a giant asteroid or comet could strike the Earth and cash in all our chips, as one did for the dinosaurs?"

You see, the panic already happened, in 1973, and it was severely annoying, with the odd/even days to fill your vehicle tank. But it got fixed, before the government even distributed the gasoline rationing stamps.

That's it, that's all the panic you are ever going to get, right up until the time that somebody has to abandon an empty vehicle on the street because the station that the line was for ran out of gasoline before he filled his tank. Then he will realize that he cannot even retrieve his car, because there are not any operating tow services either.

Then, just as quickly as that, the USA will panic - and you had better pretend to be a retired rice farmer, so you don't get lynched. Later that month, only National Guard vehicles, and carriages drawn by horses and mules will use the streets of Texas.

You see, the panic happens after the reality of no more oil sets in. The day before the panic, they will still be selling 3/4-ton pickups with thirsty V8 engines.

You could get a soap box and stand on it, and tell everybody that you are a PO.com member and saw it all coming. But I'll not do that.
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Re: Doomer Logic Glitch

Unread postby onlooker » Fri 10 Mar 2017, 11:59:47

I like and agree with what Rock and Ibon stated alluding to relativism, semantics and what I have heard described in this way. Collapse will not be symmetrical or homogeneous in either time or space.
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Re: Doomer Logic Glitch

Unread postby AdamB » Fri 10 Mar 2017, 12:17:43

Tanada wrote:So here is your challenge, if you think the world is about to end then you must state why it will not end soon and defend that position logically.

If you think the world is going to be smooth sailing for as far as the eye can see then you must state what the immediate threat to civilization is, and why we will be destroyed by it.

Are you up to the challenge?


If memory serves, Monte was once happily banning folks like John Denver, for daring to even discuss alternatives, as you are laying out in this challenge. It strikes me that the very idea that you are asking this question is quite illuminating, considering the history of how those with dissenting views were treated in the past.

And my other comment is that logic never worked back then on peak oilers, if only because they weren't interested in debate, but rather as Monte demonstrated, breathless speculation on how weez all about to die!

So of what use is logic on those with a proven track record of avoiding it, or worse yet, applying it to their own thinking? Has anyone here ever convinced a Jehovah Witness (when they stopped by to attempt a conversion) to become Catholic?
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Re: Doomer Logic Glitch

Unread postby AdamB » Fri 10 Mar 2017, 12:21:10

pstarr wrote:
The doom argument in a nutshell:

(1) World oil production will peak, therefore
(2) Oil consumption in the US and other countries will peak, therefore
(3) The economies of the US and other countries will go down the toilet.

Perhaps his simplistic assumptions explain his demise?


Perhaps his ability to debunk nearly all peak oil claims in real time was? Perhaps, like the interest of many, the reality of post peak oil (you being the current advocate of us being a decade past peak now) we now face in terms of glut, low prices and copious abundance was enough to laugh off the predictions of yet another round of oil-malthusians, same as the 1970 oil-malthusians, without a new idea to their credit. Examined critically and objectively, that would be a perfect reason why this topic vanished from view in the world at large, and folks who figured this out far in advance like John as well?
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Re: Doomer Logic Glitch

Unread postby AdamB » Fri 10 Mar 2017, 12:23:22

Tanada wrote:Also while you attempted to state the positions of the optimists you did not offer anything to support why those positions might be more correct compared to other views.


Current reality not being sufficient?
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