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The Dirty Secret of Catastrophism Exposed

The Dirty Secret of Catastrophism Exposed thumbnail


If you are a reader of this blog, you may have been wondering what fun is there in writing every day about catastrophes to come: peak oil, abrupt climate change, mega financial collapses, etc.  Why would anyone want to engage in that? Isn’t that a lot of stress?

Good questions; and I think I can confess to you our (the catastrophists) dirty secret. First of all, you have surely noticed that most of the leaders of the “catastrophist movement” are male. So, I can tell you that it is all a trick to seduce women. It works like this: first, we convince our female target that the world is going to end soon. Then, why should she oppose having a little fun with us before it is too late? Simple, isn’t it? But, before you think ill of me, let me also tell you that, a) I never tried that, b) it never works, and c) the lady is normally so stressed by the news of the impending doom that she fails to provide her best performance.

That’s a joke (of course!!) (*). It came to my mind while reading some recent news about Guy McPherson, the main proponent of the idea of the “Near Term Human Extinction” (NTE), who has been accused of being a sex predator for having abused of a follower of his, a woman in distress. About this story, let me say first that I stand by the rule that everyone should be assumed to be innocent unless proven guilty. Then, I can tell you that I see the near-term extinction of humankind as not impossible, although unlikely. This said, I think it is interesting to examine this story in some detail.

First of all, the row that erupted among the NTE followers was truly amazing for its verbal violence. Some people turned on Guy McPherson with a glee and a vehemence that I can only understand as the result of deep grudges that existed well before the story became known. McPherson’s own defense, then, was weak and probably counterproductive. He didn’t deny the accusations against him, rather, he erased his facebook page as if he was ashamed of something. Then, he vaguely spoke of “trolls” and “the deep state” having framed him, and that surely didn’t strengthen his position.

Clearly, there was a lot of stress to be vented out in the NTE group. Not surprising: if you go around saying that humankind will go extinct in a few decades at most, it has got to have some effect on your nerves. One of the reactions to such a situation is for people to find some solace in being together with other people who share the same ideas. It is human but, in the case of the NTE group, it seems to have taken a certain “cultic” aspect. At least, I noticed that, in many cases, NTE-oriented people tend to close all arguments with the statement that “Dr. McPherson said so”. That doesn’t mean that the NTE idea has generated a suicide cult or something like that; it is just that a strong reliance on a charismatic leader it is typical of these cases. Not rarely, cult leaders tend to misbehave in various ways, even though we have no proof that Guy McPherson did.

Within some limits, all of us, the catastrophists, may fall into the “cultic” trap and form tight groups of like-minded people. I notice it with what I write on this blog. Although I believe that our civilization is going to start declining in the near future (see my work on the “Seneca Effect”), I am far from being a hardcore doomer and sometimes I try to say that things are not so bad as some people say. In that case, I am often heavily criticized, apparently for denying the core ideas of the group (the cult). This effect is especially strong when I argue that renewable energy in the form of PV and wind can help us mitigate the unavoidable future decline. Some people seem to take this position as a personal insult and react consequently.

Again, it is understandable: for some people, it is less stressful to remain inside a group of like-minded people rather than venturing outside it. Yet, this is not good for one’s mental health. We are not necessarily doomed and we can still do something and help others to mitigate the effects of the future decline. For this, we don’t need to retreat into a cult. We just need a little help from our friends.

(*) It is a version of the joke of the multiple, mutually exclusive excuses of the lazy schoolboy for not having done his homework. It was because, a) he lost it, b) his dog ate it; and, b) he didn’t know it was assigned. (h/t Dmitry Orlov)

Cassandra’s legacy by Ugo Bardi

61 Comments on "The Dirty Secret of Catastrophism Exposed"

  1. Apneaman on Mon, 2nd Oct 2017 6:35 pm 

    Yabut killer deniers, clog, rockman et al, tell me CO2 is good fer da planet. What does earths history say?

    New evidence that Siberian volcanic eruptions caused extinction 250 million yrs ago – October 2, 2017

    “This new evidence of a nickel fingerprint at the time of the extinctions convinced the scientists that it was the volcanic upheaval in Siberia that produced intense global warming and other environmental changes that led to the disappearance of more than 90 percent of all species.”

    Read more at:

    I’m going to make a documentary all about it.



  2. Theedrich on Tue, 3rd Oct 2017 3:26 am 

    Ah, another nihilist post.  Unfortunately, the writer does not measure up to the stature of a Nietzsche or other major figures who have realized that the earth and its history are finite, and that the traditional religious reasons given for life are false.

    Without repeating myself for the umpteenth time, let me try to explain, in the briefest way possible, the reason the White race should not commit suicide.

    #1:  There really is an aspect of reality which is variously called the “paranormal,” the “spiritual,” “woo-woo,” the “metaphysical,” the “transcendent,” or what have you.  Yes, all kinds of intimidated sciency types like to deny its reality, because the slightest admission on their part would result in the cessation of their government grants, the disapproval of their peers, and many other social and personal miseries.  And it must be remembered that even the most cerebral of dwellers in the hard sciences is still human.  The Argumentum ad Verecundiam, or appeal to authority, is a logical error and worthless in determining the truth of anything.

    #2:  Pain.  All living creatures, from bacteria to humans, can distinguish between what advances their lives (e.g., food, proper environment) and what does not.  Among animals with central nervous systems, pain (both physical and psychological) plays a major part.  Pain is a psychic signal, moderated through nerves and biochemistry but not in itself limited to physics and chemistry, which alerts a creature to a threat of some kind.  Life forms without CNSs (e.g., starfish) have some similar mechanism, also psychic.  That is, some kind of mind in or connected to the being is given a warning about a threat to its existence.  A related feature is the self-repair functions typical in life forms.  Artificial intelligence computers will never be able to experience pain, no matter what kind of analogous programming a machine may be provided with.

    #3:  Life forms are MATTER, just like the earth beneath our feet.  The difference between “dead” matter and “live” matter is that life LEARNS.  That is, it has a cognitional aspect, which might be termed a mind.  Thus, when this living matter, no matter how primitive, recoils in pain or in rejection to something adverse to its existence, it is actually signalling the WILL — the VOLITION — of matter itself.  In short, it is expressing the determination of physical matter — that is, of the cosmos — to BE.  This is the true answer to the question of why there is something rather than nothing.  It is because the cosmos WANTS to exist.

    Thus mind, volition and learning are our origin, our nature and our destiny.  We are part of a much larger, cosmic, drama in which we are driven to live, i.e., to learn (and not just in academic ways).  Just because we cannot have whatever idiotic mirage of “happiness” the media dangles before us, it does not follow that we should commit genosuicide the way our multibillionaire masters think we should.  Our moral imperative is also not to sacrifice ourselves for some subhuman.  It is to live and survive.

  3. Dredd on Tue, 3rd Oct 2017 9:19 am 

    In every case of 26 civilizations, the doomers were correct, and the propagandists were wrong:

    “In the Study Toynbee examined the rise and fall of 26 civilizations in the course of human history, and he concluded that they rose by responding successfully to challenges under the leadership of creative minorities composed of elite leaders. Civilizations declined when their leaders stopped responding creatively, and the civilizations then sank owing to the sins of nationalism, militarism, and the tyranny of a despotic minority. Unlike Spengler in his The Decline of the West, Toynbee did not regard the death of a civilization as inevitable, for it may or may not continue to respond to successive challenges. Unlike Karl Marx, he saw history as shaped by spiritual, not economic forces.”

    (Beware of the Sycophant Epidemic – 2).

  4. Duncan Idaho on Tue, 3rd Oct 2017 9:38 am 

    “Many intellectuals in the social sciences and humanities do not concede that Earth scientists have anything to say that could impinge on their understanding of the world, because the “world” consists only of humans engaging with humans, with nature no more than a passive backdrop to draw on as we please.”
    – Clive Hamilton

  5. fmr-paultard on Tue, 3rd Oct 2017 9:54 am 

    imagine a few bumpski against tiki torch like in charlottsville. a few hundred dead tard nazi extremist supremacist preachers would be nice. now that’s the ultimate test of gun grabbing legislation.

    President Trump should resign if he even thinks of gun control. He got money, he had power, now he needs to go for integrity.

  6. Apneaman on Tue, 3rd Oct 2017 6:17 pm 

    Guy McPherson makes for a convenient whipping boy since Ugo posses the balls go after highly respected working climate scientists and biologists who are publishing ever more dire papers with ever more dire data and of the ever growing dire consequences speak for themselves.

    New Climate Risk Classification Created to Account for Potential “Existential” Threats
    Researchers identify a one-in-20 chance of temperature increase causing catastrophic damage or worse by 2050

    “A new study evaluating models of future climate scenarios has led to the creation of the new risk categories “catastrophic” and “unknown” to characterize the range of threats posed by rapid global warming. Researchers propose that unknown risks imply existential threats to the survival of humanity.

    These categories describe two low-probability but statistically significant scenarios that could play out by century’s end, in a new study by Veerabhadran Ramanathan, a distinguished professor of climate and atmospheric sciences at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego, and his former Scripps graduate student Yangyang Xu, now an assistant professor at Texas A&M University.”

    “When we say 5 percent-probability high-impact event, people may dismiss it as small but it is equivalent to a one-in-20 chance the plane you are about to board will crash,” said Ramanathan. “We would never get on that plane with a one-in-20 chance of it coming down but we are willing to send our children and grandchildren on that plane.”

    Bardi has a serious hopium addiction. Full of shit. Notice the timing? Peer reviewed paper from one of the worlds leading and most respected senior climate scientists comes out speaking of ‘catastrophic’ consequences and a few days later Bardi attacks McPherson and imaginary cults. Even attacks the word “catastrophe”. I’ve seen this before after papers with dire warnings and consequences hit the press. A few days later, hopey progressives start looking for a whipping boy. Sure thing Ugo. Tell yourself it’s all crazy Guy McPherson his fringe followers and a handful of malcontents who are just CRAZY doomers and there is not an ever growing number of scientists, with all the data, giving a doomy message of their own. Tell yourself.

    I call it the McPherson effect. Watch for it, you’ll see.

  7. Apneaman on Tue, 3rd Oct 2017 6:29 pm 

    More Top Men

    Trump’s Pick for EPA Safety Chief Argued Kids Are Less Sensitive to Toxins

    “Michael Dourson, the toxicologist who will be the subject of a confirmation hearing on Wednesday for what many consider the second most powerful post at the Environmental Protection Agency, has been hired by industry to consult on at least 30 of the chemicals he may be responsible for reviewing if he assumes office.

    Dourson’s consulting company, Toxicology Excellence for Risk Assessment, or TERA, was paid by Dow Chemical, CropLife America, the American Chemistry Council, the American Petroleum Institute, Koch Industries, and other companies and industry groups to study dozens of chemicals. The evaluations TERA produced consistently failed to recognize threats that were clear to scientists and regulators not on the companies’ payrolls.

    If confirmed as director of the EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, Dourson will be in a position to set safety levels for many of the same chemicals his company was paid to defend, including nine pesticides scheduled for scrutiny and 20 industrial compounds that may be evaluated under the recently updated chemical safety law.”

  8. DerHundistlos on Tue, 3rd Oct 2017 7:44 pm 

    @ Dredd

    Thanks for the link to your blog and count me in as a regular.

  9. Boat on Tue, 3rd Oct 2017 8:19 pm 

    Theedrich on Tue, 3rd Oct 2017 3:26 am

    #1: There really is an aspect of reality which is variously called the “paranormal,” the “spiritual,” “woo-woo,” the “metaphysical,” the “transcendent,” or what have you.

    It is because the cosmos WANTS to exist.

    Your matter, the cosmos are matter. You yearn, no proof the cosmos yearn. As far as a telescope mounted on a spacecraft has gone, yearning is local. No afterlife no hope no dream. Get over it.

  10. Theedrich on Wed, 4th Oct 2017 1:20 am 

    Too bad, Boat.  It would be nice if you knew what you were scribling about.  You clearly have no knowledge whatsoever of the intricacies of bioevolution or astrophysics, let alone of the transphysical underpinnings of which biologist Rupert Sheldrake speaks.  Please spare us the blather.  And by the way, I mentioned nothing about an “afterlife” which you somehow think is important.

  11. makati1 on Wed, 4th Oct 2017 2:50 am 

    Boat is just another brainwashed religious slave. He has not thought thru the possibility of this being the ONLY life he will ever experience. There is no “after”. No Heaven. No Hell, just nothing. Like a burnt out bulb that is only minerals to return to the earth. No spirit sentience. Nothing.

    Live your life like it is the only one you will get, because it is. Blink!

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