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Sunday, June 19, 2005

Endless Oil : Views Differ

Big Gav linked to an Australian gov't report called "Is the world running out of oil? A review of the debate". This overly balanced reporting reminds me of Paul Krugman's example of the logical extreme for a headline after BushCo declares the world flat: "The Shape of the Earth: Views Differ."

I get irked as well when anyone brings up the Simon-Ehrlich bet in an irrelevant context. I call this "Simonizing" an issue. Like coating an old junker with a shiny new coat of wax, it misdirects the gullible into believing that your argument actually contains meat underneath the surface. Why anyone would think Erhlich's prediction of diminishing returns on precious metals would have anything to do with oil depletion puzzles me. You can at least recycle metals. (but then again I wonder why Ehrlich didn't pick oil or at least helium for the sucker's bet)

At this point, I would classify using the Simon-Ehrlich bet in an oil depletion context to saying the Boston Red Sox would not win another World Series after early last century, all the while knowing they finally one last year, but framing it as the "losing streak continues!"

I know this is hopeless, as the Simonizers will eventually switch to pointing out the plight of the Chicago Cubs, and then to the White Sox. and then the ...

3 Comments:

Professor Blogger Big Gav said...

Aarrggh - I blanked out that Simon-Ehrlich stuff as I read through the document - it always annoys me - maybe I shouldn't have linked to something that raises that red herring yet again.

At least they didn't include any Lomborg quotes...

12:50 AM  
Professor Blogger Mark Plus said...

Has anyone else noticed that Simon would have lost 10-year bets on many commodities prices if he had made them in 1995?

7:51 AM  
Professor Blogger WHT said...

The way of the sucker's bet. He should have waited it out.

7:08 PM  

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