Michael Shermer: The Importance Of Skepticism

As humans, the way we process and react to information is influenced by both the biology of our brains as well as our social and cultural norms. We've talked many times here at PeakProsperity.com about the influence -- conscious and subconsious -- that our beliefs exert on our actions. Our past podcasts on behavioral economics have delved into this in detail.

But just because we believe something, that doesn't make it true. Which is why the scientific process is so important: when followed without bias, it enables us to understand reality as it truly is. And such accurate understanding of the facts allows us to make more useful decisions.

In this week's podcast, Chris speaks with Michael Shermer, monthly columnist for Scientific American and founding publisher of Skeptic magazine, about the importance of cultivating a questioning mindset:

By skeptic, I just mean the scientific approach to claims and most scientists are skeptical by nature. Not by human nature, but by dent of their training because science starts with the hypothesis. It starts with the idea that whatever your claim is it’s not true until you prove to us otherwise. An example I use that everybody is familiar with…if you think you have a drug to cure AIDS or cancer or whatever, you can’t just send it to the FDA and ask for their approval without submitting your studies. Where are the peer-reviewed studies? Where are the journal articles? Where is your epidemiological evidence? Where is the controlled double blind experiments or something? You can’t just assert that something is true; you have to actually prove it. The FDA will not grant you permission to sell your drug until you prove to them that your drug is real. It’s always like that. You think Bigfoot is real? That’s nice, prove it. Show us the body. You want to name a new species in biology, you actually have to have a physical specimen that we can all look at. Grainy photographs, blurry videos and anecdotes about things that go bump in the night…that’s not evidence in science.

We start skeptical and then we go from there. It’s not like skeptics and scientists are curmudgeons and don’t believe everything. Just watch any science show, pick up any science book, there’s tons of things that scientists believe from the Big Bang Theory to quantum mechanics, to evolution germ theory of disease, plate tectonics in geology…tons and tons of theories that are believed in that sense because the evidence is there. Another analogy I make is are you a global warming skeptic or are you skeptical of the global warming skeptics, which would make you a believer? Skepticism is not just you go into it and you don’t believe anything period. It just depends on the particular claim and the evidence for it. I might be skeptical of global warming; I once was. Now I lean towards skepticism of the global warming skeptics because I think the evidence for global warming is pretty strong so that’s kind of a way to think about it.

By reason and science, I mean that the idea that we should try to solve problems in a rationale, systematic way…that really began with the scientific revolution and the enlightenment. It begins with Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Newton and the idea that the universe is knowable…it’s governed by natural laws we can understand. From there it just trickled down into biology and economics. The original economists were really scientists working in areas unrelated to the economy. Francois Canet, the advisor to King Louis XIV in France, he’s the guy that coined the term “laissez-faire”…leave them alone. He said the economy is like blood flowing through the body; it needs to flow openly, freely, and if there’s too many obstructions it’s causing disease. Too many taxes cause disease of the economy. That’s where that idea comes from. The idea that an economy or a colony is governed by principles that we can understand and apply…that’s what we’ve been doing for centuries.

Click the play button below to listen to Chris' interview with Michael Shermer (35m:41s).

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://peakprosperity.com/michael-shermer-the-importance-of-skepticism/

Shermer would have a lot more credibility as a skeptic if he would examine his fabled 97%.
Why do at least 97 percent, and perhaps as high as 99.9 percent of climate scientists say
it’s [Human cause of Global Warming] real?
-10,257 Earth Scientists were sent an invitation
– 7,054 scientists did not reply to the survey (leaving 3203 respondents)
– 567 scientists surveyed did not believe man is responsible for climate change (leaving 2636)
– Only 157 of the remainder were climate scientists (of 2636)
– The “97%” is only 75 out of 77 subjectively identified “specialists” or 2.3% of the 3203
who participated in the survey out of 10,257 invited. What’s interesting is that 3% of the
invitees didn’t think the earth had warmed since the Little Ice Age.
So the 97% is 75 of 77, but it is really only 48% of the 157 and only 2.3% of the 3203.

There are two forms of proof.

  1. Inductive Proof.  "I Have seen 1000 swans. They were all white. Therefore all swans are white"
  2. Deductive Proof   " Men build airships. I am a man.Therefore I build airships"
Oh well. So much for proof. What about Evidence? 

" Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof." Carl Sagan regretted starting that meme. No they don't,  they require evidence. 

Don't let them tell you they know everything. They don't. 

Conversations with Prof. Muellenburg. (Physics. )

Open minded skepticism is the essence of the scientific method ,  according to Dr.Tom Campbell.  One is forced to keep an open mind until one is confronted with evidence to the contrary.

Closed minded  skepticism  leads to pathological dogmatism.  (For instance a belief in Phlogiston.)

Closed minded skeptics are hoist on their own petard. They are not skeptical of their own dogma.




OK, against my better judgement, i'll bite. What does that have to do with the price of milk? Joining your theme of purely anecdotal wisdom, here's my favourite;
[quote=Max Planck]

A scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.


What does the 'truth' look like in 20 years time? And what guilt burden is associated with a generation that went on a credit splurge and a petroleum binge? Do people not have to overcome that first?

I've never had a problem accepting the effects of atmospheric conditions. Since I first became interested in the solar system I noticed that Venus had a higher surface temperature than Mercury despite being further from the Sun. To satisfy my curiosity I looked at why that would be the case and noticed the difference in atmospheric conditions of the planets. Mercury's atmospheric pressure at the planet's surface… trace. Venus' … 92 bar. Turns out that Mercury has a tiny atmosphere in comparison with the other planets. Mercury's atmospheric composition, 42% oxygen, 29% sodium, 22% Hydrogen, Carbon Dioxide… trace. Venus' atmospheric composition, 96.5% Carbon Dioxide, 3.5% Nitrogen. 

There was also a question knocking around about what we can do about climate change in another forum. And if we can't do anything about it then why worry? My guess is that everyone is running their own race on their own terms. But why should that mean that we can't discuss the data? If ignorance is bliss then why come to Peak Prosperity? My guess is that CO2 emissions will only come down when Homo Sapiens (Sapiens?) run out of carbon to burn. What the planet looks like then… who knows?

Skeptics have to be open to examining actual evidence. Simply promulgating talking points of 'true dis-believers' is not skepticism it is activism. (If you want to debate AGW, Stan, come back over to the climate thread)
As an actual publishing scientist who does work on climate issues (heck I have even played one in cartoon form) and posts here under my real name I can guarantee that the vast majority of scientists who truly work on the subject of climate change consider the existence anthropogenic global warming (AGW) settled science. There is plenty of room for skepticism about many aspects of the process and how it will impact the world but you'd have as much luck pretending gravity didn't exist as you would disavowing AGW.

But don't just believe me, you can go here and click on any of the scientists images and get their name and quote (link). I and others provided materials in prior years (scroll down in this if interested - link). These are real scientists, not numbers in a throw away quote.

Beyond that you can look at numerous scientific meetings, like the annual American Geophysical Union (AGU) meetings that bring together 24,000 (2015) Earth and Space Scientists in one place, and see how many (if any) sessions or abstracts exist for those claiming AGW doesn't exist. Good luck in your search.

Ultimately it doesn't matter how many scientists are in which camp about AGW, what matters is the strength of the actual evidence that each brings to bear. It is telling that there is not a single (not one!) alternative 'theory' that can explain existing climate observations (not models - measured values).

A skeptical mindset is critical in evaluating the world around us but a real skeptic is always open to accepting the thing that they are skeptical about if the necessary evidence can be provided to address their questions. Not posing those questions or being willing to set any threshold for acceptance of the answers is not skepticism, it is obstructionism.

Just a little scientific sarcasm to brighten up the day.  So much cockroach milk and potentially no humans to consume it!  How's that for "spilled milk under the bridge"?  Wait, is that what they call a mixed "metaphor"?

As an alternative, I was also thinking that CO2 emissions may come down when we run out of "Homo Sapiens (Sapiens?)"  To wit, one of my favorite quotes, from a former colleague…"overcome by events" is the default outcome.  Where's that mothership when you need it?

It took me a while to sort out my belief system. Being heavily scientifically minded, when younger I always associated myself with Atheism because I equated materialism with science, and by default with Atheism. The world follows a series of set natural laws and rules, which can be known through science, and this ultimately will be able to explain how the universe works through material reductionism. The only limit to this is how far science can see given our technology of the time.
…so I believed. The problem with this world view was that the more I learned through science, the more my natural skepticism made me increasingly uneasy about this belief system, like I was having to run around trying to plug leaks for all these observations that just didn’t seem to be supported by that world view. In the end I had to let go of Atheism when I was faced with the question: do I want to be a scientist, or an Atheist?

Today, I would say that my belief system is Scientific Skeptic. It is actually an anti-belief system and has some common philosophies with eastern religions like Buddhism, although I wouldn’t call myself a Buddhist. I don’t believe IN anything, except what can be demonstrated by observation. Beyond that, anything is POSSIBLE. It is inverse. I hike with a friend who thought it was ridiculous that I would tend to think that ESP is real since several times I have had thoughts of people pop into my head from nowhere and then instantly later the phone rings and it’s that person. In fact, it happened this afternoon. She says, “How can you believe that, you’re a scientist!”. It seems she doesn’t understand how science works and equates science with material reductionism… Science cannot disprove my observations.

In the interview Michael says that the scientific method works by scientists needing to PROVE something before it is accepted by science. I’ll cut him some slack because he was speaking off the cuff in an interview, but what he said isn’t correct. Science cannot PROVE anything. Science can only DISprove things. It is not possible to prove that a relationship that you previously observed will not be true tomorrow or somewhere else and represents eternal TRUTH. All science can do is disprove the hypothesis, and one then has to revert to the null hypothesis, which asserts that there is no relationship between those objects. Then the hypothesis has to be modified, reduced in scope, or rejected. This is how the scientific method works. One might think this limits science, but to the contrary it makes it very powerful, which I argue is why so many people are afraid of what the findings of science may implicate for their belief systems… this makes science powerful because it can also use evidence to estimate the LIKELIHOOD of a given hypothesis being disproven, and also be used to disprove alternative hypotheses.

It was asked in the interview what a belief is. My definition of a belief is that it is “a set of accepted rules and behaviors by which objects that we have created in our minds interact with each other.” It is dualistic. It uses nouns and verbs. “An atom does this”. “A population of lemmings interacts with the ecosystem in this way”. ”A car is a hunk of stuff you sit in which moves you down the road at speed”. “God created the universe”. “Genes randomly mutate to create genetic diversity” The point is that WE create the objects in our heads. There is a subject and a predicate.

Because science is about DISproving assertions or hypotheses, I like to use it to do just that – to disprove commonly held beliefs. Some people like my friends think you need to have a completely airtight and thorough alternative explanation to be able to disprove certain beliefs but you don’t. Even one observation will suffice, if it is so critical to the belief being held that the belief cannot continue given the disproving observation. “You only need one”.

Here are some of the commonly held beliefs that I have found through scientific scrutiny to be false and not supported by scientific evidence:

It is interesting that Michael mentioned Munich, since that also seems to have been a hoax. It was filmed by Richard Gutjahr who also filmed the Nice “attack” a couple weeks previous. It is not statistically possible for a “local reporter” to be standing by with his camera rolling immediately before two such terror attacks separated by hundreds of miles. This implies that it was staged. If it was staged then ISIS didn’t do it and it was a hoax. No way around that.

Recent machete attack in Germany: supposedly two people were killed by ISIS but the footage clearly shows that there was not a drop of blood on the machete lying on the ground with a chalk outline around it and the suspect lying on the ground in handcuffs only meters away. Not possible.

Nice, France truck attack: Close-up footage of the truck being towed away shows not a drop of blood on it, and it is white. Poor quality video footage of the carnage afterwards clearly shows mannequins were used. No footage is in existence showing anyone getting run over by a truck despite the thousands of onlookers that must have been present if 300 of them got run over, all wielding smart phones with video.

Orlando night club shooting: TV footage mistakenly broadcast which shows the “rescuers” putting the “wounded” back down on his own two feet, then stepping away and laughing, as soon as they thought they were off camera. No explanation for this.

Sandy Hook, etc etc, insert your terror attack [here]; most are fake. If they did one hoax it doesn’t take much to assume they have a whole hoax “program” going on. In fact, it would be unreasonable to assume that they ONLY did one hoax, if they could pull off one.

9/11 was done by al Qaeda. It was actually an inside job. Reams and reams of evidence supporting this, the most compelling to me is the free-fall collapse of Building 7.

Moon landings: I summarized here the evidence which disproves that Apollo 15 could have landed on the Moon, from NASA’s own mouth.

Natural selection of random mutation is the driving mechanism for evolution. This is what really pushed me into a different belief system. I set out to strengthen Atheism but in my quest for evidence I found none. Simply put, there is no evidence at the genetic level which shows that new desirable traits upon which natural selection can act can arise out of random genetic mutation. There are two problems: 1) it is not statistically possible, given the natural mutations that we see in populations, for new functional genes to be created out of this that can actually encode for a new protein and phenotypic trait – the whole “irreducible complexity” problem. Secondly, even if such mutation rates were possible, it would turn the rest of your genome into Swiss cheese by the time you got a beneficial mutation. I challenge anyone with knowledge of genetics to do a rudimentary statistical analysis and you will quickly see how utterly absurd the proposition is. It’s not that the evidence exists but isn’t very clear, or is inconsistent. It’s that THE EVIDENCE SIMPLY DOESN’T EXIST. The fundamental core of the entire Atheist belief system HAS NOT A SHRED OF EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT IT, unless something has come along in the last few years since I went searching, which I highly doubt.

When I point this out to Atheists they respond with the typical avoidance behaviors, and I then usually soon get banned form the forum. Atheists are just like everyone else… Does this mean evolution is wrong? No. Does it rule out natural selection as one of the driving forces for evolution? No. It merely shows that the emergence of new traits must be governed by additional as-yet unidentified “processes”. The theory of evolution needs to be modified, opened up to new ways of thinking. Unfortunately, scientists are the ones stifling discovery here because they think that an admission of this debunks the whole theory of evolution, which it doesn’t. It only implies that deterministic material reductionism as an over-arching philosophy for understanding how the universe works needs to be re-evaluated, which the vast majority of scientists are unwilling to do, especially biologists. They also have in instinctive gut reaction to anyone pointing these facts out as being on some religious agenda and shut off discussion. It’s really unfortunate.

What causes new traits to emerge in the genome then? I don’t know; many people would call it God, which is fine. I don’t believe in that because I don’t believe in the existence of duality. I believe in inspirational consciousness, which is what the scientific method guides in a reverse belief system. The inspiration for new hypotheses comes from our consciousness. No one knows how this works and I don’t think we ever will. These hypotheses are new proposals for understanding how the world works by piecing together all the previous scientific knowledge about how all the other objects we’ve created work, and then making that into something more than the sum of its parts – and a new hypothesis is born. I ask: why does the emergence of new consciousness (hypotheses) need to be limited to abstract thoughts in our brains? If it’s all “one” then there is no reason why inspirational changes cannot also occur at the genetic level as well, because these are small enough to not follow materialistic determinism and instead are impacted on the level of quantum mechanics, as scientific evidence shows our consciousness is. No one intuitively understands quantum mechanics because it can’t be understood: it is not deterministic with cause and effect relationships between defined objects, which is how our dualistic logical brains create order out of the universe.

Here are some of the commonly held conspiracy theories which I have found to be false:

Chemtrails: no evidence whatsoever other than white lines in the sky, no whistleblower mechanics working on the planes, no technical or biological plausibility for how this is even remotely possible, let alone likely.

The assertion that global warming is not real. Won’t talk about it here, it is covered well in the interview.

Flat Earth. LOL.

Probably my least favorite part was here, when Shermer said:

"I think markets can solve the solution…people like Elon Musk, electric cars, whatever. If there’s a way to make money capturing carbon dioxide, some entrepreneur will do it [laughs] so I say…Katie, bar the door, let people have at it…solar panels, whatever." 
This is techno optimism, a form of faith in Science.  Shermer's beliefs seem to include the  myth of Progress. He should read some of John Michael Greer's work. Nobody seemed to like JMG when he was interviewed last time, but maybe PP should give him another shot, particularly as his new book is coming out.

I would like to hear Shermer's take on the official 911 story. 

The climate change debate dominates comments about a conversation that covered a broader range of topics.
I use to get hot and bothered regarding the AGW debate, until I decided my personal climate needed to cool down.

Now I largely ignore the fuss and pay attention to the thermometer where I am at.  My personal observation is that it has gotten document-ably warmer where I live over the last 30 years.

Couple that with the less complicated topic of peak oil/peak energy and it is darn difficult to argue that it is unnecessary to be frugal when it comes to energy consumption.

Nits are being picked here.  Current consumption practices are jeopardizing humanities future and doing damage to the planet, whether you believe in AGW or not.

Climate change or variation?

“When even the brightest mind in our world has been trained up from childhood in a superstition of any kind, it will never be possible for that mind, in its maturity, to examine sincerely, dispassionately, and conscientiously any evidence or any circumstance which shall seem to cast a doubt upon the validity of that superstition. I doubt if I could do it myself.” 
- Mark Twain


I wish it were just a simple process of looking at the data and accepting it at face value. Unfortunately, climate change and the potential horror that will be unleashed as a result are extremely emotionally charged. It is very difficult for those susceptible to common advertising to discern potential from an imminent calamity. If they were prohibited from voting, I would consider the information for what it is and let it be. Since you mentioned my post, I'll repost it here. I admit that it is strongly worded, but I put out two more polite requests earlier and heard nothing. (As of this writing, I've still heard nothing.)

If there isn't any solution, why agitate people with the constant drumming? So, carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are increasing. What can be done about it? So, sea levels look like they're rising. What can be done about it? So, species are going extinct at phenomenal rates. What can be done about it?

Do you think I enjoy harping about it? No! I really want a solution that is attainable. My problem is that I just can't see one! I'm convinced that the earth (Gaia) will find a solution to this problem. I suspect it will be something similar to advice my mother gave me: "Feed a fever. Starve a cold." As soon as the infection (human overpopulation) is under control, the fever will stop. It might take centuries for the fever to subside, but that isn't even a 24 hour bug to Gaia.

If the real problem is human overpopulation, then any society wide solutions will fail. Perhaps we should focus on individual solutions. What can you do to avoid the peril that will strike the masses? Isn't that better than nothing? For instance, Mark wrote a post on the Climate Change thread pertaining to sea level rising 1.2 meters and impacting 1 billion people who live that close to current sea level. If I lived that close to sea level, I'd seriously consider moving to higher ground before the herd realized it and real estate values plummeted. It isn't going to change the end result, but it will save me the expense of having worthless real estate that is (literally) under water.

If it were as innocuous as that, I wouldn't waste my time writing about it. Unfortunately, the worry warts keep the angst machine running at full speed. Other chicken littles are drawn to the doomer porn like moths to a candle. Because they can only wring their hands and sweat bullets, they're prime fodder for a charismatic charlatan who claims to know the way out of this predicament - it will be based on smoke, mirrors, and hope … and naive fools will swallow it. The answer will include One World Government with the charismatic charlatan in control. If that happens, kiss freedom goodbye forever.

I've kept this discussion in this thread because of the freedom aspect. I'll give the climate change brain trust another week to at least address my concerns. If crickets are the only sound, I'll move the show to the climate thread.



Mark's quote was the salient part of his first paragraph in comment #79 where he and rhare were sparring. I take him at his word and I agree that it is past time to debate whether or not AGW is factual. We now need to debate what, if anything, to do about it.

I've been questioning Mark for 3 years about what can be done about it. Our first spat occurred toward the end of the Fourth Turning thread: https://peakprosperity.com/podcast/82232/neil-howe-fourth-turning-has-arrived?page=3#comments. [Note that comment #150 on the previous page was a link from jgritter of a Guy McPherson article that jdye51 referenced.] That diverted the thread from T4T and started the conversation down the ole' AGW path. Mark bloviated and chastised me for my incorrect usage of words. Then, invited me to debate AGW on the climate change thread. In post #157, I said,

Over the years, I've seen and admired Mark's ability to leave impressions without personally committing to anything. Imagine my shock when he actually said it is time to debate what to do about AGW. (Frankly, I think he was just trying to shut down rhare.) So, I called him out on it. I'm sure he'll never make that mistake again. Professorial types don't like to be pinned down. After all, it's hard to be beaten and maintain an inflated self image.

Like I said, if it weren't for the side effects, I wouldn't care what the climate change brain trust writes about. Unless something can be done about the impacts of climate change, it merely amounts to worthless fear mongering.


PS - Mark, Do you really think I'm going to drop this meaty bone?

Hello Grover,
It is not a question about not wanting to be 'pinned down' on something it is being intellectually honest enough to avoid pretending that I have 'answers' since neither I nor anyone else on the planet has the 'solution' to this predicament we face. The issues are so unimaginably big and convoluted that the IPCC tasks hundreds of scientists with making the world's biggest book report on 60,000 papers every 6-7 years to simply summarize what we think we know. Short of the obvious, slowing down intentionally making things worse with our continued greenhouse gas emissions, there is precious little that is obvious about how to respond to or manage the situation. Anyone have a cure for peak oil or our current economic woes? They are more acute problems for society but relatively minor in significance by comparison over the longer run. The world economy can crash and burn and we will cobble it back together again in some form or other within months to a year. Peak oil/energy can progressively send us back toward the stone age over centuries but humans survived without it before and can do so again, while the rest of nature will actually improve for all of our troubles. Climate change will make our economic and energy problems worse and we will be living in a climate that no human being has ever (!) experienced at a time when every species on the planet is stressed and trying to move to more appropriate locations. I do not claim to know how this will play out but it is not a recipe for stability or harmony.

Whatever we do personally is our own choice, personally I like Les Phelps take on the matter. However, what we do as a society requires a debate because it is a question of collective values more than 'techno-cures'. There are no ready-made solutions coming in nice gift wrapped boxes, we have to make decisions that will require changes and sacrifices if we want to provide more options to the people who come after us. So far we have been collectively deciding to do nothing in the hopes that this predicament could be debated away somehow. At this point we know that is not a viable option and we are collectively delaying action in the hope of clear leadership. Throwing up our hands and saying don't bother me until you have solutions is like sitting in the middle of the desert and refusing to move until you can be certain in which direction the nearest water is located. We don't know were it is other than it is certainly not here. What we need to do is start moving to see if we can find it elsewhere. In terms of global climate change we need to just start doing something, anything, and then evaluate if it is making enough of a difference or if we can do more or need to change direction? As we do so more and more options or clearer paths will open before us because we will learn and grow.

P.S. I have been writing more on the actual impacts that we need to be managing over on the climate thread. Interestingly, I find that there is much less interest from people about the real day to day impacts we need to manage than the big picture gee whiz science.

i submitted a link to the 8/2 digest in the hopes of eliciting a comment on a theory i read about, that seems fascinating but hard to believe.
a couple weeks ago i discovered a youtube channel called suspicious 0bservers, they have interesting videos of sun spots, earth weather, and earth seismic activity. i've been watching their videos, apparently the working hypothesis is that the sun's solar flares / CMEs can cause earthquakes here on our own humble planet.

the idea seemed hard to accept - how could a stream of charged particles from the sun do any more than cause some pretty colors in the sky (northern lights)?

but, if i'm understanding the concept correctly, the earth's core is both liquid and highly magnetized, and the earth resides in the sun's magnetic field, and fluctuations in that field can cause shifts to occur here on earth.

and they seem to have data which shows a high correlation between solar activity and earth seismic activity, here is the associated website space weather news:


also: http://www.suspicious0bservers.org/

has anyone come across this theory before?

It would be fascinating to assemble this group of people and hammer these things out one topic at a time.  We could start with easy stuff and then get to AGW and atheism at the end.  Imagine the conversation. . .

If you want to play around with the ideas of CME stimulated quakes and correllations between quakes and perigee/apogee/full moons/syzygy , the current website for that would be
The science is in the super-beginning stages (stamp collecting) but that doesn’t make it any less a science, rather it makes it lest respected. It also makes the whole field subject to non-scientific stuff as well, so read everything with a huge grain of salt.
This was the heir to Jim Berkland’s syzygyjob.com; as he approached his death through old age, he stopped maintaining his website, and one of his associates started up earthboppin in parallel.
Jim Berkland was a usgs employee who nonprofessionally but very publicly predicted several great quakes, including the World Series quake, and got slapped down as a result.
I fully encourage you to start reading about it; it is a beginning science, so it’s one of those fields where it’s just as hard to make a dent, but conversely, it’s easy to make a dent and be famous if you luckily stumble on the right formula; and you can push the field through simple hard work and maybe become a household name one day. So if you want to do it, go for it.

"The Inklings"

Mark Said:  " we have to make decisions that will require changes and sacrifices if we want to provide more options to the people who come after us."
OK so here is the sacrifice we all need to make…if we all lived equally on this planet,  consumption would drop as would pollution. There are 7.4 Billion people and 241Trillion dollars of wealth to divide equally… so that gives each of us a nice $32,567.00 to work with. I guess my wife and I'll get 1/8 acre of land with a 250 square foot cabin on it and a scooter to get around. That should leave us some money for food and clothes. No travel more than 60 miles from home.  Anyone else want to join this plan?    We all have to leave our  $300,000.00 homes multiple cars etc. and all the energy it takes to maintain that standard of living.


system for exploitation on the way up, what is the best system for the remedevalization?

Hi Spencer,
You called it techno-optimism. James Howard Kunstler has given talks about collapse aka "The Long Emergency" at places like Google Headquarters. He says those techies are in denial, telling him "Dude, we got all this technology…" True dat. We have tons of technology. But what they don't understand is that fossil fuels are the feedstock for almost all of this technology. We haven't been looking forward, we haven't been planning. Or. more precisely, we have been planning for a world that will stay the same, instead of the one that is already changing.

Kunstler again has pointed out that Capitalism is the system that is the most efficient (best) for exploiting fossil fuels on the way up Hubbert's Peak. But on the way down… you know where I'm going with this, market forces - can we count on market forces to save us? Let me put it this way: The Tesla vehicle is not likely to survive the next recession.