My Daughter

My Daughter
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Monday, February 27, 2006

The Devil's Advocate II

Sure oil production will peak... so what?
by Aaron Dunlap

There are two basic reasons why peak oil is quite irrelevant... & here they are:

I'm a big fan of deductive reasoning... For those of you who don't know about deductive reasoning, it's that "scientific method" stuff you missed while flirting with during science class in school.

Here's how it works...

All pregnancies end. You are pregnant. Therefore: Your pregnancy will end. I don't need to know about your specific pregnancy, to know yours will end.

One of my favorite examples of this comes from William of Occam, many years ago. Willy said: "All things being equal, the simplest explanation, tends to be the right one."

Sounds reasonable... So...

Reason #1 - The GrandPa Factor

My grandfather was born in 1902 in Indian Territory, Oklahoma. He taught me many things during our time together... how to fish the lake with a cane pole... how to bet the inside straight... & how to live a fulfilling life.

But he taught me something even more important than the tiny treasures of a 6 year old boy... without even knowing he did it.

Through listening to his stories, & seeing his long life in a complete arch, one thing seems obvious... That for all our faults... people can be clever little buggers. Imagine watching your world go from horse, to steam, to cars... to the moon! Who could have predicted, back in ole '02, that men would play golf on the moon one day... the very idea would get you laughed right out the door back then.

And yet that is exactly what happened...

In fact, if I look back on our collective human history, I can see the same pattern... over & over again.

What seemed fantasy at the time, eventually came to pass. So let's go back & see what our friend Willy might say about this.

What seems more reasonable?

1) Humanity will hit a brick wall called peak oil, and suffer terrible, if not permanent destruction, because there isn't any viable energy alternative?

or

2) Humanity will repeat the same pattern it has for countless generations. Innovating in the face of crisis beyond the imagination of current thinking.

My own grandfather's life demonstrates this concept nicely.

While I can't tell you specifically what will replace oil... logic says I don't need to.

I only need to understand that if humanity fails to innovate our way out from under oil depletion, it would be the first such human failure in our history!

It's more reasonable to project that unforeseen developments, spurred by the pressure of rising energy prices, will meet our energy challenge in unpredictable ways... solved!

#2 - The M. Lynch Equation

The more complex any issue has become, the more difficult it is to predict the outcome. It's because the initial conditions are all but impossible to quantify accurately, and these specifics vastly affect the outcome. A tiny difference in beginning conditions, will radically alter the equation and how things play out.

This makes efforts at predicting peak oil, an exercise in futility. Given the vastly complex nature of the energy issue, efforts in prediction are of little use... the crystal ball has a crack in it.

So you can live in peak oil fantasy-land as long as you like, but given my two observations, you will be waiting a very long time indeed. In fact you may need to pass on your myopic belief to your descendants to carry on the charade.

The facts speak for themselves. Peak Oil simply cannot be predicted with any accuracy. So you might as well predict it will rain beer tomorrow.

And my grandfather's wisdom shows that all things being equal... we will innovate and prosper...

Always have...

http://www.peakoil.com/fortopic17814.html