My Daughter

My Daughter
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Friday, December 30, 2005

The Importance of Being Earnest

Earnest was my grandfather's name.

Almost everyone loves and respects their grandparents of course, but he was, bar none the best example of how to live your life as I have ever encountered. Seen through the loving granddad-colored glasses to be sure, but I have never met anyone who knew him, who didn't think the exact same thing.

Earnest

- Heartfelt, serious and diligent, emotionally intense and solemn.

A pretty good description really. All things considered, I can only hope to live a life that reflects these values.

And why am I writing this on my depletion blog?

Because that's what I think is missing from many of our discussions about our collective future.

Absent an earnest treatment of this complex and world-changing topic, what's left is a cursory & misleading characterization of the challenges we face.

As a pessimist, it's tempting to think in terms of problems, rather than solutions; & the opposite is true as well I think. If we are to be heartfelt, serious and diligent, emotionally intense and solemn as we approach depletion issues, it demands that we remain open to the widest range of thinking considered realistic. True "due diligence" must include the ideas any one individual might find objectionable.

How inclusive of opposing viewpoints is the argument?

This is a yardstick for the "earnest" appraisal of the topic by the author(s).

Or lack thereof...

Or put in the colloquial euphemistic jargon of Southern Texas...

"The more ya think you're right... the less I'm gonna trust what you say."

And finally, here's an example of exactly what I mean.

http://www.peakoil.com/fortopic15992.html

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Carolus Obscurus said...

Aaron,

Your blog is great food for thought – a cut above the others, anyhow. Congrats.

Above you refer to Smil’s recent peak-oil bashing article.

I have a ‘cut-the-crap’ approach to the anti-peakists (I’ve read most of them). Before reading, I check the index. Is there any reference to Malthus, Soddy, Georgescu-Roegen, Catton, Hardin, Hubbert, or Daly? If not, I find it hard to take them seriously since they haven’t even addressed the most intellectually challenging theorists of ‘the other side’.

There’s normally no reference whatsoever to any of these classics in the ‘business-as-usual’ literature (though in ‘Energy at the Crossroads’, Smil does actually devote two pages to Georgescu-Roegen – and fairly recapitulates his line of reasoning without actually endeavoring to refute it. And Lynch at least acknowledges the existence of Hubbert’s peak, to give him his due.)

Elsewhere, nada – apart from the occasional bash at ‘neo-Malthusianism’. For example, Yergin’s 700-page blockbuster ‘The Prize’ doesn’t even mention Hubbert although most of the book is devoted to the American oil industry – what one might call the dynamic silence of the establishment. So ‘The Prize’ is one of those white-knuckle rides with high-octane thrills but little substance: this happened, then that happened, he said, she said. Goes down well with the general public, though.

Ditto for Huber, Odell and co.

Do you know of any exceptions, I mean any anti-peakists who really have made some contribution to knowledge rather than produced the noise one associates with empty drums? If you do, please let us know … I have sought, but I have not found.

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