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Monday, May 24, 2004

Myth Mills

Philip Stott of EnviroSpin is the successor to John McCarthy of the the almost by-gone sci.environment UseNet groups. Each an emeritus professor with a focus on debunking environmentalists, they both contribute to the myth mills concept. Looking back, McCarthy had the oddest reputation; the co-inventor of the Lisp programming lanuage, he basically ranted and raved against greens via a technology (the fledgling Internet) he knew fairly well.

The myth mill (aka advocacy organizations) concept can be used to advance political and commercial interests. To lock onto the main idea of advocacy organizations as Dave Johnson of Seeing the Forest points out, do not focus on single issues, instead advance policies that can put people in power who can then wipe out other ideas with a pen-stroke.

Moderate/progressive money works to accomplish specific objectives rather than affect overall public attitudes and politics. The Right's organizations change minds and affect politics, and the result is votes for Republican politicians, who then accomplish the goals of the ideological movement. So all the money that is poured into environmental organizations, for example, is becoming more and more ineffective as the Right's politicians and judges wipe out all the environmental gains. I always use the example of a philanthropist spending $500,000 a year on programs for an old-growth redwood grove. Maybe hiring a biologist, or funding lawsuits to protect from logging... Ten years later a politician might order the area logged "to protect against fires" or one Federalist Society judge might decide that resources should be used for corporate profit -- and the $5 million is WASTED (and the trees are gone.) So the Right's understanding that funding advocacy organizations is an investment pays off.

Well, now Prof. Stott is going after Peak Oil (tremble). Using the "Never Cry Wolf: Why The Petroleum Age Is Far From Over" article in the current issue of Science, he tries to counter-doom the Luddites with his usual flair. Not surprisingly, the only facts he brings to the table are the proven oil reserves. Pretty weak. I suggest he align with the myth-makers who believe that some sort of underground machinery creates oil continuously. I am waiting with anticipation that he use the proof that oil reserves in the Gulf (near Eugene Island) actually increase over time; see Peak Oil Fraud for more ranting.

Well we can always look to Mars via Bush's aborted (?) space plan. The funniest comment I heard on this, was the idea that it would be much cheaper to tunnel underneath the earth until we reach the Middle East and get oil that way, than use space travel to retrieve oil from Mars.


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