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February 19, 2006

Dude, What Were You Thinking? Peak Oil

Scott Adams is a smart guy. His novels were interesting, and his Dilbert is a smart comic. Usually. Today's Dilbert, however, is just dumb.

Posted by Jonathan at February 19, 2006 06:04 PM  del.icio.us digg NewsVine Reddit YahooMyWeb


Actually I've heard he's a big time intelligient design supporter.

Posted by: Charyn at February 19, 2006 09:35 PM

He actually says he doesn't believe in ID. See, for example http://dilbertblog.typepad.com/the_dilbert_blog/2005/11/intelligent_des_2.html.

But he has written some muddled things that have provoked a lot of heated discussion on the topic. See, for example PZ Myers at Pharyngula: http://pharyngula.org/index/weblog/comments/scott_adams_just_cant_stop_typing_i_guess/

At least some of the time, he's kidding. See, for example http://dilbertblog.typepad.com/the_dilbert_blog/2006/01/evolution_not_c.html

As for the rest of the time, who knows. He does enjoy jerking people's chains, but that strip today was unhelpful nonsense.

Posted by: Jonathan at February 20, 2006 12:34 AM

Dilbert and Dogbert are both correct. Dilbert will no longer be funding terrorists himself, but, as Dogbert points out, other countries will buy the oil and provide the financing. Oil *and* terrorist financing are frangible.

Posted by: Dave Moorman at February 20, 2006 10:43 AM

Terrorist funding is also fungible, their _causes_ however are not. Demand is fungible, there will be new demand created for any saved elsewhere in an economy predicated upon consumption. Denial is not fungible, it all relies upon the refusal to accept responsibility for the specific horrors created by this lifestyle.

Posted by: fralso at February 20, 2006 11:05 AM

What's asinine, Dave, is Adams' suggestion that the reason we need to conserve is out of a patriotic duty to prevent money from going to countries that fund terrorists. Adams sets up that straw man and then attacks it, but it's completely beside the point.

Conservation is of critical importance, and it has nothing to do with terrorism. It has to do with peak oil, global warming, and other forms of pollution. It has to do with the fact that we are furiously consuming an irreplaceable resource.

The point of driving a Prius instead of a Hummer isn't so that you'll be buying oil from nice people instead of bad people. It's so you'll be buying LESS of it. Fungibility's got absolutely nothing to do with it.

Posted by: Jonathan at February 20, 2006 12:28 PM

You're right about the reasons for conservation, Jon. But Scott Adams wasn't talking about that - he was talking about conservation as a means of fighting terrorism and pointing out that it would not be very effective. That's true. I guess your response to the cartoon depends on whether you look past its particular reality tunnel or not.

One positive outcome of the Bush presidency may be that he's so out of touch with reality that people begin to define for themselves what reality looks like free from governmental spin. By the way, there is a review of recent books on the future of energy at the Guardian:


Posted by: Dave Moorman at February 20, 2006 08:41 PM