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08/28/2010

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Edward  Boyle

http://www.rationaloptimist.com/blog/oil-runs-out

Here he shows what he thinks of the oil spill. He seems to really see glass 99% full all the time. "What Me worry?".

Tony

I just have a message ("You'll need Flash 9 or better to view this video file. Download it now") instead of the interview. Is there another link to view the interview? I'm running on Ubuntu (Linux) and have Flash 10.1 installed so I don't know why I get that message.

But I did find a Q&A article in which Ridley claimed that the latest research showed that happiness increases with income. Now, all of the research that I've seen up to now (and there have been several studies in the past few years) indicate that this just isn't true, beyond some modest level. How can people so thoroughly fool themselves?

Of course, you know he's full of bullshit when he answered this question:

Q: Do you see any limits to growth?

Matt Ridley: No I do not. Growth is not the consumption of resources. It is the combination of atoms, electrons and thoughts in ways that help supply us with what we need and I see no theoretical limit to the number of ways we can do this (I owe this idea to Paul Romer).

Frank S. Robinson

Ridley's critics (like Mr. Weddle here) are quite simply in denial about the big picture: 1) life has gotten hugely better for the average human over the past few centuries; 2) there are powerful reasons for that, which are continuing to operate; and 3) more freedom is better than less, not only because it is morally preferable, but also because it makes people better off, with more rewarding lives. 
These are Ridley's basic messages. And also mine, in my own book: THE CASE FOR RATIONAL OPTIMISM (Transaction Books, Rutgers University, 2009), which makes quite similar points and arguments, but develops the case for optimism over a rather broader range of subject areas. See http://www.fsrcoin.com/k.htm

Tony

Frank, can you point to any data that corroborates your claim that life has gotten hugely better for the average human, over the past few centuries? If so, what do you think the recent trend is (say, over the last decade or two)? What are the powerful reasons for that, which continue to operate? Does your third point imply that people are generally becoming freer? If so, please list your rationale.

Have you read any of the articles in this blog? Many, or most, suggest the opposite of what you're claiming. Can you refute anything Dave Cohen has written?

alex

Hmm. Matt Ridley does have a very good brain. What he says may go against the grain here but cannot be dismissed as it has in this blog.

Tony

Oh, I think much can be dismissed from a man who thinks that growth has no limits. So, I'm not sure what Alex means by having a "very good brain".

evgueni

Your doom-saying is no more justified than the techno-optimism that you correctly identify as based on faith. You are presenting a classical false dichotomy. There is a 3rd position, the only intellectually honest one at this time - we do not know if technological and organisational progress will more than offset the cost of transitioning away from carbon energy sources. It may, or it may not. You neglect to acknowledge this.

It is also ironic that you appear to have bought the AGW nonsense. You do need to have a fairly technical or scientific background to identify this for what it is - another religion. If you rely on your political compass alone, you will surely dismiss the truth when you hear it from the 'wrong' people, and accept a lie when it is repeated endlessly by the 'good guys' who mean well.

Tony Weddle

evgueni, are you suggesting that economic growth may have no limits (just as the Rational Optimist does)? Transitioning to less dense energy sources, or any other energy sources, will not make the unsustainable sustainable, even if they could replace fossil fuels at the same utility and scale.

"AGW nonsense"? Do you think that the climate scientists providing us with the excellent science (the minor IPCC errors were nothing to do with the science) do not have a scientific background? Religions are not based on evidence, AGW is.

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