Thinking doesn't make it so
Nora Ephron skewered power-of-positive-thinking experts and cornucopians in one fell swoop in a recent HuffPost:
So I had lots of fun saying that I was going to do something about the oil crisis and talking about ethanol. Nobody really understands ethanol. Nobody really understands it takes more energy to make ethanol than it actually saves. But who cares? It sounds good and therefore it's good.So what could it hurt to add my own bit of positive thinking to the mix? A commenter at TOD named "memmel" claimed climate change models had approximately the same level of complexity as oil depletion models. No way! I contend that scientifically modelling peak oil actually shows orders of magnitude less complexity than predicting global warming. Consider this self-help motto:
- Oil Depletion: An exercise in extraction of fluids from a container.
- Climate Change: An exercise in non-linear fluid dynamics of N-dimensionality.
I know it has nothing to do with coming up with new forms of renewable energy, but for this small corner of the simulation universe we can hold out hope to make sense out of nonsense and extract signals from the noise. As Robert Rapier indirectly points out, why use empirical formulas while we have a fighting chance to use some real theory?
Thanks monkeygrinder for the pep-talk.