Chris Martenson's Crash Course and Collapse Theory Generally

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Chris Martenson's Crash Course and Collapse Theory Generally

Post by Zapata » Sun Sep 05, 2010 4:29 am

Hi, this is my first post.

I've been a fan of Shermer for some time and generally consider myself a skeptic, but with an avid interest in many things that should arouse skepticism. (Grail bloodlines, UFOs, all that good stuff). I really want to believe- I know that about myself- but have learned to temper my interests with critical reasoning, and Shermer was a big influence in my ability to do so.

So here's the deal- I've recently discovered Chris Martenson and his crash course- it's basically a flash presentation on the possible collapse of civilization as we know it. Now, I know how that sounds- people have been predicting the end of the world for millennia, and we're still here. But this presentation is so well thought out and reasoned that... well, I just don't know.

First, I want to make crystal clear that this is not spam- I do think that what he's saying may be of the utmost importance, but my purpose here is not to try to convince people of that, I'm here for critical reasoning from the outside... I mean, he's got his own forum (where I am also Zapata, by the way) but everyone there is already a convert. I'm hoping for some thoughtful, informed criticism.

I should also mention that I have read Collapse by Jared Diamond and seen the movie Collapse featuring Michael Ruppert... anyone familiar with both both figures can surely attest to the fact that the former maintains the highest standards of academic integrity, and the latter somewhat... ahem... less so.

So, if you're really interested you should go watch the thing:

http://www.chrismartenson.com/crashcourse

I'll give you a rundown, but I really can't do justice to his... I don't know... his tone of reason.

His claim is that "The next 20 years are going to be very different from the last 20 years." He presents you with the 3 "E"s: Economy, Energy, and Environment. He explains a few things first, like exponential growth and a "hockey stick" graph.

First he explains the economy is such a way as to present it as an Faustian bargain, the center of which cannot hold- basically like the US is just ordering new credit cards and using them to pay off the minimums on the previous ones... we're just printing money and our debts are now larger than our assets- that the US economy is insolvent and well on its way to bankruptcy. He does this very well, but, not having a background in economics, I have no idea if what he's saying is true.

Second is energy, which is basically peak oil. Again, with great reason he does not claim to know when oil will peak, or that it really matters, only that it is a fact that it will at some point, if it hasn't already. He makes a very simple and convincing argument that this is something we should be concerned about.

Third is the environment. Interestingly he states quite clearly that he's not going to talk about global warming, I assume because he does not want to alienate those who are still not convinced. He basically talks about the planet being finite and humans continuing to grow exponentially, and that's a problem that we can already see clear signs of, in fish stocks, deforestation, etc.

So, he concludes, these three problems are all catching up with us at the same time, and there's a very good chance that it's going to hit the fan in the next few years.

Like I said, i can't do justice to his presentation.

Is anyone familiar with the Crash Course, or willing to go check it out and chime in on the validity/ invalidity of his claims?

Thanks,
Zapata

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Re: Chris Martenson's Crash Course and Collapse Theory Gener

Post by Lance Kennedy » Wed Sep 08, 2010 12:52 am

Hi Zapata, and welcome.

I am not familiar with this course, and really do not want to spend time on it. However, it reminds me of previous similar prognosticators. Dr. Paul Ehrlich, for example, who wrote a book called "The Population Bomb", released in 1968. In that, he predicts global famine due to overpopulation within 10 years of book publication.

Clearly it did no happen. Why not? Ehrlich's logic was fine. What he did not take into account was human progress. In the mean time food production per acre doubled. Hence no global famine.

A similar deal was the Club of Rome with their "Limits to Growth" published in 1973. Among other things, they predicted the world would run out of oil by the year 2000. Where did they do wrong? In exactly the same way as Ehrlich. They did not take into account human progress. We are now able to obtain far more oil from underground reserves than we could in 1973.

There are literally hundreds of people every year who try to repeat the efforts of Ehrlich and the Club of Rome, trying for greater success. In my opinion, they continuously make the same error. It is easy to predict, for example, that the world will run out of Uranium in X years, by dividing the proven Uranium reserves by annual useage. However, it is a bull$hit argument, because it does not take into account improvements in Uranium extraction. Currently humans can economically extract Uranium from ores above 80 parts per million purity. However, there are vast reserves of Uranium at levels lower than that. Billions of tonnes of granite, for example, have 20 ppm Uranium

Just because a resource cannot be tapped today, does not mean it will not be tapped tomorrow. When this is taken into account, the predicted disasters seem a lot further off.

There may be disaster in the world's future, and some things are inevitable, such as peak oil. However, human ingenuity is pretty damn good at finding alternatives, as well as improving resource extraction.

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Re: Chris Martenson's Crash Course and Collapse Theory Gener

Post by OlegTheBatty » Wed Sep 08, 2010 1:27 am

Economics enters into it too. As a resource becomes scarce, the price rises, further motivating alternative practices, including new technologies, and practices which were ignored in the past due to being less efficient economically.
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Re: Chris Martenson's Crash Course and Collapse Theory Gener

Post by Zapata » Wed Sep 08, 2010 2:12 am

Lance,

Okay, well first let me thank you for replying at all.

So on the point of former prognosticators: I know, and that's why I mistrust my logic and am looking here for someone to show me where he goes wrong.

Your basic argument, (If I may?)

Human ingenuity has solved our problems in the past
Therefore human ingenuity will solve our problems in the future

I don't mean to misrepresent you, only to cut to the meat. Is my representation valid?

If so, then I would answer that the premise is filled collapsed civilizations, and that, even if the premise was sound, the conclusion still would not necessarily follow, and as evidence I would show you any given "hockey stick" graph.

But, more importantly, the author is not disagreeing- he'll be the first to tell you that we can overcome our impending problems with human ingenuity.

See, that's what makes his arguments so seductive- he goes to great lengths to tell you these are issues he believes deserve some very serious consideration... not telling you what to think. For example:

My third belief is that we do not lack any technology or understanding necessary to build ourselves a better future. Rather, we only lack the political will, which really is a reflection of the fact that “We the People” have not yet raised our voices in unison for real, substantive change. So the good news is that we already have everything we need; the bad news is that we might not deploy it fast enough.

Remember, these are simply my beliefs right now, and I reserve the right to change them if new information suggests that they are wrong.


That's just in the first two minutes...

http://www.chrismartenson.com/crashcour ... ee-beliefs

I hope I can get you to at least watch that first chapter and see what kind of a guy you're dealing with... he's not out on the street corner with the sign that says, "The End of the World is Nigh!" It's apolitical... he really does not lean exclusively to the left or right, but draws (subtly) on elements of both.


... Imagine he's scientist- he has a theory, the implications of which do not please you. He publishes it in a journal and now it is for you to poke holes in.

I am a tentative supporter of his theory... but I still adhere to the scientific method. If there are holes to be poked I honestly want to see them!

That's why I posted here.

Thanks,
Zapata

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Re: Chris Martenson's Crash Course and Collapse Theory Gener

Post by Lance Kennedy » Wed Sep 08, 2010 2:34 am

Zapata

I have a problem here. New Zealand has relatively slow internet. This means that watching video takes bloody forever, and is full of stops and starts. Is his course available in text, instead? That way I can look at it without wasting oodles of time and getting totally bored out of my skull.

Note that I am not denying that there will be problems in the future. Of course there will. Just that those problems tend to be exaggerated by would-be prophets. I have more faith in humanity than that. We have encountered many such problems in the past, and overcome them.

1. Economy. the 1929 crash was worse than the current problems, and the world recovered.
2. Environment. Global ozone layer depletion. We fixed it.
3. Energy. We now have numerous methods of generating electricity, including nuclear and wind, which are non carbon emitters.

I could discuss in detail the research and development that is now under way in these three areas, but we would be writing a Ph.D. thesis - there is so much material.

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Re: Chris Martenson's Crash Course and Collapse Theory Gener

Post by Zapata » Wed Sep 08, 2010 2:37 am

OlegTheBatty wrote:Economics enters into it too. As a resource becomes scarce, the price rises, further motivating alternative practices, including new technologies, and practices which were ignored in the past due to being less efficient economically.


Okay, again, not to misrepresent you, can we boil that down to:

The market will take care of it.

(Is that fair?)

Because he makes a pretty good case that the economy is more of a problem than a solution.

Look, I learned more about the US economy in this guy's presentation than I did in 4 (dragged out over 7) years in college. (Yeah, yeah, I went to a hippie school.)

I really wish someone would watch it and explain to me why what he's saying is not true... explain it to me like you're Bill Bryson or Jared Diamond, because economics is not my forte.

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Re: Chris Martenson's Crash Course and Collapse Theory Gener

Post by Zapata » Wed Sep 08, 2010 3:35 am

Lance Kennedy wrote:Zapata

I have a problem here. New Zealand has relatively slow internet. This means that watching video takes bloody forever, and is full of stops and starts. Is his course available in text, instead? That way I can look at it without wasting oodles of time and getting totally bored out of my skull.

Note that I am not denying that there will be problems in the future. Of course there will. Just that those problems tend to be exaggerated by would-be prophets. I have more faith in humanity than that. We have encountered many such problems in the past, and overcome them.

1. Economy. the 1929 crash was worse than the current problems, and the world recovered.
2. Environment. Global ozone layer depletion. We fixed it.
3. Energy. We now have numerous methods of generating electricity, including nuclear and wind, which are non carbon emitters.

I could discuss in detail the research and development that is now under way in these three areas, but we would be writing a Ph.D. thesis - there is so much material.


Lance, I PMed you about getting you the original flash...
'
1. Economy. the 1929 crash was worse than the current problems, and the world recovered.


Similar but very different in some very important ways. As I've said economics are not my forte, but his basic point is that our economic problems will coincide with our environmental and energy problems, and that's why it's different this time.

2. Environment. Global ozone layer depletion. We fixed it.


Kind of but not really... but general point taken. Again, he's not saying we can't fix these problems.

3. Energy. We now have numerous methods of generating electricity, including nuclear and wind, which are non carbon emitters.


Yes, but we have to ramp it up, like seriously... like Manhattan Project serious... serious like a your left arm suddenly went numb serious. I mean, that's Martinson's point and I think I believe him... Diamond is saying it, too, in his book, Collapse- but as an anthropologist.

http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/jared_diamond_on_why_societies_collapse.html

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Re: Chris Martenson's Crash Course and Collapse Theory Gener

Post by Zapata » Wed Sep 08, 2010 3:54 am

Lance, oh, yeah, also you can read it there on the same page as the video, sorry I missed that.

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Re: Chris Martenson's Crash Course and Collapse Theory Gener

Post by Lance Kennedy » Wed Sep 08, 2010 6:48 am

On ramping it up seriously.

That is always a very debatable point. A lot of people always get this bit between their teeth and tell us that we are already in the last days. Frankly, I cannot tell you yes or no on that. I have been a part of a number of debates on exactly that topic, and the only conclusion I can draw is that we do not bloody know!

As far as global warming goes, for example, the world is warming, as a global average, at less than 0.1 C per decade. In the last interglacial period, 120,000 years ago, the world warmed to between 2 and 3 C more than it is today. At current rate of warming, it will take us another 200 to 300 years to get to that point. So how urgent is it that we fix global warming? Ask 100 experts and get 100 different answers.

Peak oil is likely to be more urgent. However, not as much as many people state. For example : natural gas is a much more abundant resource than normally stated. Natural gas can be converted to liquid fuel. Methane to methanol to heavier hydrocarbons. I know this because we here in NZ are doing it.
http://www.methanex.com/ourcompany/loca ... aland.html

A recent New Scientist article pointed out that there is a heap of natural gas in non orthodox sources - primarily in the interstices of various rocks. Nevertheless extractable. This will double proven resources to, at current offtake, about 120 years.

It is never wise to assume a resource is running out until technology has hit a dead end. And we are far from that point.

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Re: Chris Martenson's Crash Course and Collapse Theory Gener

Post by Squishua » Wed Sep 08, 2010 7:12 am

I see from the website that they offer $30/month membership, and even Chris Martenson "consultations" to the tune of $500/hour. And of course books, DVDs, seminars...

How interesting. :-/
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Re: Chris Martenson's Crash Course and Collapse Theory Gener

Post by Zapata » Wed Sep 08, 2010 7:34 am

Okay, so I'd really like to actually talk about the points made in the Crash Course, and once again, I'll mention that's why I registered here.

I don't want to talk about global warming... I consider it like talking about evolution at this point.

Methane is among many things that should be investigated... If you listened to the guy for 5 minutes you'd know he'd agree.

But the last sentence:

It is never wise to assume a resource is running out until technology has hit a dead end. And we are far from that point
.
Basically your last sentence sums up his entire overall point, but reversed: no, he is saying, it is not wise to assume your resource is not running out until technology has hit a dead end.

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Re: Chris Martenson's Crash Course and Collapse Theory Gener

Post by Zapata » Wed Sep 08, 2010 8:14 am

Squishua wrote:I see from the website that they offer $30/month membership, and even Chris Martenson "consultations" to the tune of $500/hour. And of course books, DVDs, seminars...

How interesting. :-/


Yeah, he's trying to make a living off of it... that sort of thing troubles me, too.

But obviously this is also a site created by a person who wants to make a living and enlighten people at the same time... right? Jared Diamond wants to sell books about the collapse of civilization with a stern warning to the occupants...

Did you check the guy's resume?

http://www.chrismartenson.com/about
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chris_Martenson

If he wanted to make money, what would be a safer bet for a guy like him?

Seriously, will anyone make attempt a critique of the actual information contained in the presentation?

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Re: Chris Martenson's Crash Course and Collapse Theory Gener

Post by numan » Wed Sep 08, 2010 7:03 pm

'
Lance Kennedy wrote:There may be disaster in the world's future, and some things are inevitable, such as peak oil. However, human ingenuity is pretty damn good at finding alternatives, as well as improving resource extraction.

Tell that to the Romans, after their aqueducts were cut---or to the Maya Indians, after their ecosystem collapsed.

What you are writing is whistling in the dark, and closely allied to religious faith!

All the evidence, such as it is, clearly points in the opposite direction.

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Re: Chris Martenson's Crash Course and Collapse Theory Gener

Post by Lance Kennedy » Wed Sep 08, 2010 7:33 pm

Numan, very recklessly, said :
"All the evidence, such as it is, clearly points in the opposite direction."

There is, in fact, a lot of evidence pointing towards the human ability to adapt. In the last 100 years we have :
improvements in medicine, preventing pandemic disaster,
improvements in agriculture, preventing famine,
improvements in refrigeration, preventing ozone layer diaster,
improvements that stopped acid rain,
improvements permitting more extraction of uranium and other minerals.
etc.

I would say that Numan is totally, 100% wrong. There is heaps of evidence pointing to humanity's ability to innovate to solve problems. Sure that may be limited, but making specific predictions that detail how humanity will fail ....
Well those predictions would be most reckless.

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Re: Chris Martenson's Crash Course and Collapse Theory Gener

Post by OlegTheBatty » Wed Sep 08, 2010 7:45 pm

Lance Kennedy wrote: but making specific predictions that detail how humanity will fail ....
Well those predictions would be most reckless.


I wouldn't say reckless. An accurate description of the problem is the first step in solving it. The reckless bit is proclaiming that we won't find a solution.

The Mayans could not find a solution because they believed their problems were due to pissed off gods, not climate change.

Knowing that peak oil is coming gives us time to develop renewable alternatives. Beats the bejabbers out of praying the gods will give us more oil reserves.
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Re: Chris Martenson's Crash Course and Collapse Theory Gener

Post by Zapata » Wed Sep 08, 2010 8:07 pm

Hey, guys, there is clearly evidence for both scenarios.

There are a number of civilizations that have collapsed, and who, perhaps more importantly, should have seen it coming. The story of Easter Island, for example, boggles the mind- they knew they needed the trees to survive, and yet they cut down every last one of them to roll big rocks around on them- they must have seen it coming for years, and yet they didn't change their social structure to adapt.

And all those examples Lance gives are valid, and the kind of thing that we need to be working on.

But let's be clear about peak oil- it's not really important when it actually peaks, what matters is when the world's markets perceive that demand has outstripped supply, and that could happen tomorrow. And when that happens the price of petrol is going to go through the roof.

Now let's take a couple of Lance's examples and imagine them in a world where oil is much more expensive:

Mining uranium to produce electricity with nuclear power- as you point out we are getting less and less uranium out of more and more ore (likewise with all precious minerals). We dig huge pits with huge machines and truck huge loads of ore to huge processing plants- all with fossil fuels. If we had to do all that with the electricity from the nuclear plant we were refining for, would we still get more than a unit of energy out for every unit put in?

Improvements in agriculture- Again based on two basic things: 1. Fixed nitrogen, derived from petroleum, 2. Massive machines, running on petroleum. All food is oil.

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Re: Chris Martenson's Crash Course and Collapse Theory Gener

Post by Zapata » Wed Sep 08, 2010 8:18 pm

but making specific predictions that detail how humanity will fail ....
Well those predictions would be most reckless.


1 Matrinson is not making specific predictions, he is pointing out several major problems which seem to be headed to coincide in the next decade or two... we can already see the beginnings of some of these issues.today.

2. Trying to get people to start thinking about these changes seems like the opposite of reckless to me.

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Re: Chris Martenson's Crash Course and Collapse Theory Gener

Post by landrew » Wed Sep 08, 2010 8:24 pm

It's not really so difficult to see a crash coming, most of the time. I'm sure the Romans talked about it, and what should be done, the Anasazi, the Mayas and the others who were seeing the end of good times coming, but desperate times are not the best times to get together and start making plans for sustainability. It's usually grab-it-while-you-can time.

We may be a bit different from the norm. As tougher times approach, we can foresee what we may need to do to cope with changing supplies. I've already experimented with solar power and it makes one feel less comfortable with our current high level of energy consumption. For that reason alone it seems like a worthwhile endeavor.

Perhaps all the doomsday scenarios we grew up with as kids, and which never quite came to fruition as envisaged were a dry run, preparing us with the awareness we will need the next time a Middle East oil embargo strikes, and we will at least have some idea of what our Plan B energy strategy might be.
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Re: Chris Martenson's Crash Course and Collapse Theory Gener

Post by Zapata » Wed Sep 08, 2010 9:00 pm

[Edited to insert quote]

As tougher times approach, we can foresee what we may need to do to cope with changing supplies.

Chris Martinson's presentation hinges on a couple of important concepts and one is compounding. The idea is that, by the time you realize there is a problem, it may catch up with you much faster than you first expect- for example, we can see this going on now with US foreign debt... apparently Bush II racked up almost as much debt as all previous presidents combined, and Obama has now almost done the same, including that of Bush II... the graph of US debt over the few last decades is unreal.

Look at his example of adding a drop of water to Fenway Park that doubled every minute:

http://www.chrismartenson.com/crashcour ... ng-problem

It's only 3 minutes long.

The point is that, when it comes to problems that are compounding, the time to feel a sense of urgency is when they first become apparent.

Also Landrew and others, above I posted the link to Diamond's 18 minute consolidation of his work on societal collapse... brilliant, as Diamond always is. (And what's up with that hair?)

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Re: Chris Martenson's Crash Course and Collapse Theory Gener

Post by Lance Kennedy » Wed Sep 08, 2010 9:16 pm

One of the problems with a lot of this is that politics and political beliefs get in the way.

As an example : take the Easter Island example.
This is widely quoted, and even Jared Diamond uses it. There is little doubt that the people involved caused great damage to their island home and made life more difficult for themselves.

But this is not what caused their downfall.
It was the slave trade that was the coup de gras. So-called 'blackbirders' regularly visited Rapa Nui and rounded up the people, shipping them off to Central America to work as slaves in sugar plantations. Not only that, but they introduced diseases to which the islanders had no resistance, including smallpox.
http://www.janeresture.com/easter_black ... /index.htm

It is amazing how so-called experts ignore the devastating impact of the slave trade and introduced diseases on the collapse of the Easter Island 'civilisation', and instead talk about environmental degradation. A prime example of how facts get ignored when a good theory is more attractive.

It is also amazing how, in this kind of discussion, the tack taken reflects a person's attitude more than scientific data. I am not surprized, for example, that Numan chose to come in with a negative view. He is known on this forum as a major negative influence. Personally, I take an optimistic view, and that reflects my own nature.

However, I believe that the recent history of humanity (since the renaissance and the rise of science) shows how humanity can use that science and associated technology to solve problems and create a better society for its members.

The counter view tends to be based on supposition and projection. Much superficially very convincing. But the people who did that in the 20th Century (Rachel Carson, Paul Ehrlich, Club of Rome, Y2K mob etc) also predicted disasters that never happened, and did it with sufficient data backing and sophisticated models to make their arguments seem indisputable. Yet they were wrong.

Obviously a big part of why they were wrong is simply that the powers that be knuckled down and solved the incipient problems. And I believe we will continue to do that.

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Re: Chris Martenson's Crash Course and Collapse Theory Gener

Post by Zapata » Wed Sep 08, 2010 10:07 pm

It is amazing how so-called experts ignore the devastating impact of the slave trade and introduced diseases on the collapse of the Easter Island 'civilisation', and instead talk about environmental degradation.


But here's the thing- other similar islands nearby survived the slave trade, but did not cut down every last one of their trees to roll statues for rival chiefs. I'd read Diamond's research- he's not known for ignoring evidence.

[Edit] Sorry, I don't know that you aren't familiar with his research. I admit that my admiration for him prejudices me in his favor.

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Re: Chris Martenson's Crash Course and Collapse Theory Gener

Post by Zapata » Wed Sep 08, 2010 10:18 pm

But again, can't anyone comment on anything presented by Martenson? I mean the first few chapter are like ten minutes long... why am I unable to get anyone to comment on the actual material? What am I missing?

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Re: Chris Martenson's Crash Course and Collapse Theory Gener

Post by Lance Kennedy » Wed Sep 08, 2010 11:17 pm

Zapata

Re Easter Island.
I suggest you check your map. Apart from Sala Y Gomez (tiny uninhabited island), there are no nearby islands.

I do not share your admiration for Jared Diamond. It has been a number of years since I studied his book : "Collapse". When I did, though, I was not terribly impressed. I identified a number of conclusions that came from rather jaundiced interpretations of available data. That does not prove he was wrong, but there were other, equally possible causes for the phenomena he was describing, that he did not see fit to discuss.

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Re: Chris Martenson's Crash Course and Collapse Theory Gener

Post by Gord » Wed Sep 08, 2010 11:48 pm

Zapata wrote:...the first few chapter are like ten minutes long... why am I unable to get anyone to comment on the actual material? What am I missing?

Being Canadian, I am extremely lazy. I usually don't even read a ten-minute-long post on these boards, never mind going somewhere else with the intent of reading ten-minute-long chapters about something I don't even think I'll be interested in when I'm done.

Couldn't you just present his information in a series of brief points that we could glance through? It might interest us enough to go glance through the first few chapters.
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Re: Chris Martenson's Crash Course and Collapse Theory Gener

Post by Squishua » Wed Sep 08, 2010 11:52 pm

Zapata wrote:But again, can't anyone comment on anything presented by Martenson? I mean the first few chapter are like ten minutes long... why am I unable to get anyone to comment on the actual material? What am I missing?

For starters, you're asking everyone to listen to his lectures. If you want specific commentary, how about explaining specific predictions of his and your reasons for trusting them?

Frankly, the "crash course" movement itself seems a bit cult-ish, what with its spread-the-word and doomsday mentality. Kind of a turn-off for most skeptic-types.
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Re: Chris Martenson's Crash Course and Collapse Theory Gener

Post by Zapata » Thu Sep 09, 2010 12:08 am

Lance, let me know if you have an interest in discussing the subject of this thread.

Gord, I did a bit in my first post.

Here are some quotes, which are from the pages where the video is- it's all written down there:

It's very important to distinguish between facts, opinions, and beliefs. So let me be right upfront about this. I hold three beliefs, which I'm going to share with you and then spend the rest of our time showing you how I got to these beliefs.

The first is that the next twenty years are going to be completely unlike the last twenty years. Second, I believe that its possible that the pace and/or scope of change could overwhelm the ability of our key social and support institutions to adapt. Third, I believe we do not lack any technology or understanding necessary to build ourselves a better future.


So, what do I mean when I say, “Massive change is upon us…”? Well, here’s where we need to burrow into the three “E”s, which is where we’ll spend the rest of our time in the Crash Course.

The first “E” is the Economy, which is the lens through which the Crash Course looks at everything. Within the Economy, there are four primary areas of concern: Exponential money, the first-ever collapse of a global credit binge, an aging population, and a national failure to save. If it isn’t clear to you what these mean, don’t worry; we’ll be discussing each of these in detail.

The next “E” is Energy, and there we will discuss what Peak Oil implies for an economic system that is based on continual expansion. This topic is important enough that I should dedicate the entire Crash Course to it, but I can’t, and I won’t.

And finally, the third “E”, the Environment, will be exerting its own unknowable but certainly significant economic burdens, due to shrinking resources and other systemic pressures, at the same time that the other two “E”s will be clamoring for your money and attention.

The story that I am going to weave for you cuts across all three “E”s and will make the claim that our monetary system is badly out of step with reality and will suffer severe instability and possibly collapse as a result.

It is fair to say that this particular constellation of issues, problems if you will, has never been faced before at these levels.

Never.

Whether you find this terrifying or exhilarating is simply a matter of your mindset. One key towards easing your mind is being armed with accurate and detailed information. That is what the Crash Course will deliver.

When viewed individually, each one of the sub-areas on each of the “E”s could entirely consume your entire attention. I am going to make the claim that these problems are so intertwined that they cannot be solved in isolation. All three “E”s will need to be considered at the same time.

How are they linked? By something very powerful that we desperately need to understand a lot better. Please join me for Chapter 3: Exponential Growth


And then on from there... I'm just cutting and pasting from the first two chapters...

Look, I'll tell you what... I have to workout now, then I have to drink alcohol and eat chicken wings... I'll look through the course later for some specific things that may be more controversial.

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Re: Chris Martenson's Crash Course and Collapse Theory Gener

Post by Lance Kennedy » Thu Sep 09, 2010 12:40 am

Comment on what was just posted.

First : massive change over the next 20 years? Certainly, I agree. That will happen regardless of whether disaster threatens or not.

Next ; will it overwhelm our ability to adapt?
Personally, I would say no. But I have confidence in the human ability to adapt. Some of this adaptation comes from older dudes like me leaving the economy, and being replaced by younger, fresher minds. But I believe in that ability to be flexible.

On the economy. I have to ask if you are referring to the American or the global economy. My view will be different depending on your answer. I am not American, and I do not cringe at the thought of the US economy collapsing. I suspect that the Chinese are quietly, and very successfully moving towards the point of taking over as the world's greatest and most powerful nation, especially economically. And I suspect that American leaders are helping them with stupid decisions. But hey. Do I care?

( Actually, I am not sure if I care or not.)

On energy. Yes, that is a conundrum. I think the problem is a bit less than catastrophists would have us believe. For example : we have more fossil fuels that such people admit. However, that simply buys more time. I am aware, though, of heaps of research into new ways of running the energy economy. I believe we have the ability to solve this one. With good management, it will happen. The leadership of American presidents does not fill me with confidence, though. Perhaps, in time, the Chinese will pick up this mantle, also.

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Re: Chris Martenson's Crash Course and Collapse Theory Gener

Post by landrew » Thu Sep 09, 2010 1:27 am

Gord wrote:
Zapata wrote:...the first few chapter are like ten minutes long... why am I unable to get anyone to comment on the actual material? What am I missing?

Being Canadian, I am extremely lazy. I usually don't even read a ten-minute-long post on these boards, never mind going somewhere else with the intent of reading ten-minute-long chapters about something I don't even think I'll be interested in when I'm done.

Couldn't you just present his information in a series of brief points that we could glance through? It might interest us enough to go glance through the first few chapters.

The social safety net works well as a hammock too.
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Re: Chris Martenson's Crash Course and Collapse Theory Gener

Post by Gord » Thu Sep 09, 2010 4:17 am

landrew wrote:
Gord wrote:
Zapata wrote:...the first few chapter are like ten minutes long... why am I unable to get anyone to comment on the actual material? What am I missing?

Being Canadian, I am extremely lazy. I usually don't even read a ten-minute-long post on these boards, never mind going somewhere else with the intent of reading ten-minute-long chapters about something I don't even think I'll be interested in when I'm done.

Couldn't you just present his information in a series of brief points that we could glance through? It might interest us enough to go glance through the first few chapters.

The social safety net works well as a hammock too.

Who has a what now? I sleep in a cardboard box.
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Re: Chris Martenson's Crash Course and Collapse Theory Gener

Post by numan » Thu Sep 09, 2010 6:40 am

'
If you want to know what the 21st century will be like, just think of the buildings that collapsed on 9/11 and scale them up to represent global human society.

Lance Kennedy wrote:There is, in fact, a lot of evidence pointing towards the human ability to adapt. In the last 100 years we have :
improvements in medicine, preventing pandemic disaster,
improvements in agriculture, preventing famine,
etc.

These "advances" simply mean that the collapse, when it comes, will involve more people, putting more stress on the biosphere, and with an irresistable momentum that will be even more destructive.

.
Neither man nor woman can be worth anything until they have discovered that they are fools. This is the first step toward becoming either estimable or agreeable---and until it is taken, there is no hope.

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Re: Chris Martenson's Crash Course and Collapse Theory Gener

Post by Vanityfox451 » Sat Sep 25, 2010 4:46 pm

Lance,
I came upon this site and this thread in question by a complete accident, and have been truly amazed at the group consensus. Though this is my first post here, consider the 1250 odd posts that I've embellished to the forums at Chris Martenson.com, and the fact I've taken time to add both an avatar and a signature to this site, in helping you to appreciate that this isn't going to be a fly by, and that I'm fully committed into having a discussion with both you and the other poster's along this thread, who have taken your lead with your opening opinion so as to feel content that there isn't any worth to Zapata' virgin post.

I will do my utmost in conforming to the guidelines of this forum, and hope that you will appreciate that I am in no way trying to provoke you into argument. I also hope that this discussion can be in the spirit of acquiring knowledge. After all, surely healthy scepticism is manifested through critical thinking, cognitive reasoning, and in the main, a full and conclusive awareness of all facts before scepticism is accomplished, or is that something that can be sidetracked, since the name of this site suggests, so that no fully informed discussion can take place?

... and so ... :-

Lance Kennedy wrote:
I am not familiar with this course, and really do not want to spend time on it. However, it reminds me of previous similar prognosticators. Dr. Paul Ehrlich, for example, who wrote a book called "The Population Bomb", released in 1968. In that, he predicts global famine due to overpopulation within 10 years of book publication.

Clearly it did no happen. Why not? Ehrlich's logic was fine. What he did not take into account was human progress. In the mean time food production per acre doubled. Hence no global famine.



Ehrlich's prognostication remains firm, as does Thomas Malthus' involvement in the early 19th century, when taking into account the exponential function in the growth of population against the use of finite fossil fuel in a closed loop planet. Only the date's used in Ehrlich' work should be omitted, with such things as the 1973 fuel crisis, and the equally economically damaging issue's caused by the 1979 Iranian coup de etat that created global recession. These two alone are worthy of mention and of merit, since even with advancements in the Green Revolution and human endeavour, the peak of global oil production was indeed moved forward and beyond the year 2000 with dramatic effect.

Consider if you will then, that the population of Earth was 250 million as of year 1. By the year 1550 and Oliver Cromwell' era , the population had doubled to 500 million. Then, in 1830, in the time of Darwin, population doubled again to 1 Billion. Along these lines, population doubled again in just one hundred years, and by 1930, a year after the Wall Street Crash, population estimates hit 2 Billion. Now lets head up just 31 years, and the inauguration of President Kennedy. Here the population had bloomed to 3.4 Billion. Finally, estimates hold firm that the population as of 2013 will be a round and confirmed 7 Billion. Now, look at these facts that you can easily confirm by Googling. The global population has more than tripled in just 80 years. How can this be accounted for? The population has also almost doubled since such discussion of the Club of Rome and their 'Limits to Growth'.
Read on ... : -

Lance Kennedy wrote:
It is easy to predict, for example, that the world will run out of Uranium in X years, by dividing the proven Uranium reserves by annual usage. However, it is a bull$hit argument, because it does not take into account improvements in Uranium extraction. Currently humans can economically extract Uranium from ores above 80 parts per million purity. However, there are vast reserves of Uranium at levels lower than that. Billions of tonnes of granite, for example, have 20 ppm Uranium.



Present day extraction methods, all be it in its most crude form, began in the shores of the United States in circa 1859. The extraction rate was a rough equivalent of 1 barrel of energy used, to gain 100 barrels of energy returned. Imagine if you will that oil usage began to ramp over the preceding 111 years, taking us up to 1970. Looking through production figures between 1970 and 1980, in just those 10 years, it matched the previous 111, and the process of global usage has been growing at an exponential rate, up to and including 2005 for sweet crude, when those figures have since remained flat, at 74 million barrels per day. Since 2005, the extra 11 million barrels a day that the globe has required in continuing its economic growth above and beyond those 74 million barrels per day to 85 million, has been gained through extreme method, including the disastrous environmental damage caused north of the States, in Canada' tar sands of Alberta.

The actual decline rate of production, and the economic picture I'm painting, are the vitally important realities as to what are the reason's I've taken this time out to write this post, and subsequent posts at this forum.

The international Energy Agency is an organization that studies and produces production figure's for both countries and companies around the globe. Their white paper, releasing its figures to the general public in December of 2008 are heart-stopping to say the least. Figures produced are for 800 wells in 47 countries, where 35 of those countries oil output are in decline. The oil decline rate is at a sphincter tightening 6.7%, and if you require a method of appreciating that dia figure, I'll support it thus. Imagine that on the front of your local newspaper tonight that it stated in its headline that crime was running at 7%. To extrapolate, a continual growth of a 7% climb in crime rates over 10 years would mean that crime would double. If crime were running at 10%, it would double in 7 years. Therefore, the decline rate of 6.7% produces the estimate that global oil production will fall to 50% of present day extraction, in little more than ten and a half years, as of December 2008. I can confirm this here :-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xaquBOueqNM

Now, if you are sitting comfortably at home reading this in leather shoe's, I can confirm that they are made out of oil. How? Simply this :-

We plant grain using oil. Natural gas is turned into nitrite fertilizer and chemical's used to protect crop from insects. The harvesting of grain is by use of oil in modern farming manufacture. Natural gas is then used to process the grain in vast drying hopper's, and than grain is then turned into animal feed that both fattens them for meat, where their skin is turned into leather that is made into shoes. 95+% of all modern living is directly created from oil.

In the extraction of coal we use oil energy, so therefore, with more complex invasive methods of extracting the tortuously low quantities of viable Uranium for eventual electricity usage, the meagre amounts procured are, in themselves, extracted through the us of oil. I'm being somewhat sarcastic (meant in jest!) when I say that there have been no such advancements yet to date that a grown man could hang a child's magnet above rock so as to extract uranium with no more energy than that necessary to procure a magnet. All such things as uranium must be extracted by first extracting oil, and at 20ppm, there is no doubt that such quantities of uranium would be out of our technical reach without oil.

A simple answer to a technical problem. If you were to turn all of the cars, buses and trucks so as to run on electricity in the United states, it would take almost 25 years to phase out all those running on fossil fuel. You would also have to ramp up nuclear power stations by 3000% in the United States, which is 3000 times by the 112 nuclear power station's in use at this time, with a figure of just 47 years of globally extractable uranium remaining, based on present day usage.

At this time, the globe is using 31 Billion barrels of oil per year. The ecological disaster in the Gulf of Mexico back in April is worthy of note. The explosion and consequent leak of hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil into the Gulf is fifty miles from land, one mile under the sea, and four miles through sediment rock. The well contains an estimated three billion barrel's of oil. That equates to just six weeks of global oil usage. If I were to double the estimate to six billion barrels, that estimate would climb to just twelve weeks of global usage. So, my question is simple : why would an extraction company such a BP go to such extreme and dangerous methods to extract oil from such a hostile and isolated point on the planet if there were still easier places to find such quantities of black gold? Would they be doing it for fun?

Now, with all of the above taken into account, the fact that it costs no money and nothing but your time to click the link below this post, and the fact that I've taken my time and considerable patience in writing this long and detailed post in waking you up-to a reality that is very much hidden in plain sight, why wouldn't you take a conscious effort in watching and reviewing the Crash Course? I am also happy in answering all and any question's about it here so as to promote its important message. I also offer my time completely free. It's a win win situation surely?

http://www.chrismartenson.com/

My Kindest Regard,

~ VF ~
"Play the man Master Riddley, we shall this day light such a candle by Gods grace as I trust shall never be put out".

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Re: Chris Martenson's Crash Course and Collapse Theory Gener

Post by Squishua » Sat Sep 25, 2010 5:00 pm

Won't you please keep your cultish rants on your cult leader's forum?
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Re: Chris Martenson's Crash Course and Collapse Theory Gener

Post by Vanityfox451 » Sat Sep 25, 2010 5:51 pm

Squishua wrote:Won't you please keep your cultish rants on your cult leader's forum?


Squishua,

I hardly think the Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), who is employed as overseer to an energy consortium supporting the global turnover of $17 Trillion of production for 2009, could possibly be seen, in whole or in part, as a dedicated mascot to something called a "cult". I see you base your opinion on the study of Facts then, and not on either Belief or Opinion, or do my years in the field of energy and economics cause my value to fall away from common sense.

I also presume you're acting as ambassador for all members of Skeptic.com, and you're writing your opinion from the perspective of all and every member of this forum? It appears you've more time in attacking poster's than learning from them, and looks to me you'd make better use of your time reading a comic ...

~ VF ~
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Re: Chris Martenson's Crash Course and Collapse Theory Gener

Post by Zapata » Sat Sep 25, 2010 6:20 pm

VF,

I can't begin to thank you enough for taking the time to respond- you voiced my opinion exactly... I was dumbfounded that nobody here was interested in taking a critical look at the Crash Course... I thought this would be the place to go to find such people but had basically given up.

And in case anyone is wondering, I never mentioned this post on the Crash Course forum, and, being new there, too, am not familiar with VF.

I don't have time now to respond in full, but the notion that this subject is "cultish" is absurd and is in complete contradiction to the spirit of this site and the mission of Michael Shermer. I would point out that Shermer once introduced a Jared Diamond lecture, saying that he (Diamond) was doing exactly the kind of work that he (Shermer) considered valid- and Diamond's latest book, Collapse, is saying many of the same things Chris Martenson is saying, but through the lens of anthropology.

Sorry, I'm in a rush... more later.

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Re: Chris Martenson's Crash Course and Collapse Theory Gener

Post by Squishua » Sat Sep 25, 2010 6:38 pm

This is a place where everybody can post their opinions, so don't be freaked out when you get one.

If you want to talk about the economy, fine. If you want to talk about the environment, fine. If you want to talk about energy or peak oil, fine. But the rolled-up belief package deal of "crash course" is something else.

Your first post here demonstrates concern over an acolyte's bungled presentation (the "virgin post" :lol: :-P :senile: ) about the "crash course" cult and your own intention to proselytize for it.

There oughta be a smilie sign that says "No Missionaries"
"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."
- H. L. Mencken

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Re: Chris Martenson's Crash Course and Collapse Theory Gener

Post by Vanityfox451 » Sat Sep 25, 2010 6:54 pm

Zapata wrote:VF,

I can't begin to thank you enough for taking the time to respond- you voiced my opinion exactly... I was dumbfounded that nobody here was interested in taking a critical look at the Crash Course... I thought this would be the place to go to find such people but had basically given up.

And in case anyone is wondering, I never mentioned this post on the Crash Course forum, and, being new there, too, am not familiar with VF.

I don't have time now to respond in full, but the notion that this subject is "cultish" is absurd and is in complete contradiction to the spirit of this site and the mission of Michael Shermer. I would point out that Shermer once introduced a Jared Diamond lecture, saying that he (Diamond) was doing exactly the kind of work that he (Shermer) considered valid- and Diamond's latest book, Collapse, is saying many of the same things Chris Martenson is saying, but through the lens of anthropology.

Sorry, I'm in a rush... more later.


Zapata,

Funny you should say, because a few months ago, I finished reading Michael Shermer' book called : -

Denying history: who says the Holocaust never happened and why do they say it?

Here, have a preview copy you can read online : -

http://books.google.com/books?id=uACijK ... &q&f=false

...anyway, written on the back of Michael Shermer' book, Jared Diamond, author of "Collapse" wrote :-

"You won't be able to stop reading this great, gripping story."

Sadly, the book will be a total waste of time for Squishua, as he's only good for the more basic task, of reading comic books and attacking new posters to this forum with ideas beyond his cognitive function; ahh well, such as life ...

I hunted but couldn't find a copy of his book "Collapse" on line for you, but I remember recently watching Jared Diamond at Ted Talks, which was excellent. I'll leave you a link to the lecture at the bottom of this post for you.

Hope to talk with you later when you've more time ...

Take Care,
~ VF ~
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IESYMFtLIis
"Play the man Master Riddley, we shall this day light such a candle by Gods grace as I trust shall never be put out".

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Re: Chris Martenson's Crash Course and Collapse Theory Gener

Post by Pyrrho » Sat Sep 25, 2010 7:04 pm

Moved to the "Economics" section.
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Re: Chris Martenson's Crash Course and Collapse Theory Gener

Post by Lance Kennedy » Sat Sep 25, 2010 7:24 pm

To VF

I will begin by pointing out something. This is a discussion forum, and most of us keep it within that perspective. That is : we are very happy to spend a bit of time in discussion. However, our time is limited, and requests for major study will generally be ignored. That is the reason I am not prepared to spend a lot of time on this 'crash course'. Bluntly, it would take too much time, and I have other things to do with that time.

You have a viewpoint that I tend to think of as 'catastrophist'. It is a perfectly valid view, and certain data supports it. However, I have a slightly different view. While I accept there are problems, I also believe there are solutions. You could call my view 'optimist' as opposed to catastrophist.

I suspect the difference between optimist and catastrophist is mostly in the minds of the people involved. I respect human ingenuity, and I look back at how humanity has dealt with major problems over the last 100 years. This gives me the strong inclination to predict we will deal well with the problems of the future also. You look at potential problems, and those weigh heaviest on your mind. So we think differently.

A few points on this.

1. Human population.
If you go to the United Nations web page on population (http://www.un.org/popin), you will find a wealth of data.

You will discover that the population explosion is essentially over. The population is still increasing, but this is a result of a kind of inertia, based on the fact that a generation back, lots of kids were born. These young people are now young adults, and producing their own families. This keeps birth rates higher than death rates.

However, average fertility per woman has dropped from 5.5 about 50 years ago to 2.5 today. Average replacement rate globally is about 2.5 per woman. The growth is simply a result of the fact that third world countries are over-represented among the young.

The United Nations have projected this trend into the future, and predict that the world population will peak at about 9 billion by about 2040. After that, it will level off or even decrease. Certainly, in first world nations, natural birth rates are less than death rate. Without immigration, these populations would be falling.

2. Food production.
The world has the ability to feed the 9 billion, given appropriate investment and the will.

A few years ago, I was reading an article on hydroponics, and was impressed with potential productivity. Out of interest, I carried out a calculation. I looked at the monsoon part of Australia, because it is underexploited, underpopulated, and has heaps of water (the only part of Australia with no water shortage). My calculation showed that if all of this part of Australia was converted to hydroponics, and no meat production was required, it could produce enough food to feed 20 billion people.

We are not going to do this, of course, but it shows that potential food production can feed the maximum 9 billion projected,

3. On oil.
Yes, this is a real problem. However, there are always alternatives.

First. There is a lot more fossil fuel than most people realise. There was a New Scientist article a few months back about a new source of natural gas. That is : gas that permeates permeable rocks. It can be extracted, and it doubles natural gas resources. At current natural gas useage, it is 120 years worth.

There are other fossil fuel resources not yet tapped. Overall, it means that 'peak oil' can be postponed as a problem for quite a few decades.

Beyond that, we have biofuels. Not, as many believe, by turning crops into fuel. That would require a truly massive acreage, and could not supply more than a fraction of humanity's needs. The only biofuel source that can be anywhere near adequate is marine algae. Some are made up of 50% oil by weight. The oil can be easily converted to diesel or other vital resources.

Carbon dioxide and hydrogen gas can be reacted together to make a synthetic gaseous fuel. Hydrogen plus volatiles from organic garbage treated by anaerobic pyrolysis can make synthetic hydrocarbons.

Further energy possibilities include hot rock geothermal, ocean wave, jet stream wind power, hybrid nuclear fission/fusion, and others. Something as simple as tapping ocean wave energy can in theory supply more than humanity's entire needs. And we have a wide range of other sources.

The point is that, as traditional oil gets scarce, we will have alternatives.

I could go on, but it is time for someone else.

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Re: Chris Martenson's Crash Course and Collapse Theory Gener

Post by Vanityfox451 » Sat Sep 25, 2010 7:53 pm

Squishua wrote:This is a place where everybody can post their opinions, so don't be freaked out when you get one.

If you want to talk about the economy, fine. If you want to talk about the environment, fine. If you want to talk about energy or peak oil, fine. But the rolled-up belief package deal of "crash course" is something else.

Your first post here demonstrates concern over an acolyte's bungled presentation (the "virgin post" :lol: :-P :senile: ) about the "crash course" cult and your own intention to proselytize for it.

There oughta be a smilie sign that says "No Missionaries"


Squishua,

You're sweet. Thanks for the reply!!!

Maybe the combining of the variance of three interconnected in series, factual based informational subjects, inter-textually conjoined, aren't quite the type of ordinary response that confines itself to the rolled up spit-wad, or that of the bouncing off of an innate vacuum of absurdity you're normally accustomed to around these parts, but then there you go, that's progress for you; all roiled up within the human spirit of evolutionary tennis, in-between the grill warmed heart of a sesame seed bun.

Besides, you seem to have the whole corner of the market captured on cognition. Maybe as a sceptic, you'd be the best one to first venture into the fray, because you seem to have all the practical skill. Besides, it's not like you'd grow horns, and you're more likely immune to it anyway.

I was wondering, maybe this forum just happened organically for Michael Shermer, what with all the poster's just magically appearing as though they'd always been here - like ghost's in the machine ...

How about you being my personal acolyte as bungled first responder, as I'm sure you could confidently proselytize with the best of em ... :D

~ VF ~
"Play the man Master Riddley, we shall this day light such a candle by Gods grace as I trust shall never be put out".

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Re: Chris Martenson's Crash Course and Collapse Theory Gener

Post by Squishua » Sat Sep 25, 2010 8:00 pm

Vanityfox451 wrote:
Zapata wrote:VF,
I can't begin to thank you enough...
[....]
Sorry, I'm in a rush... more later.

[....]
Hope to talk with you later when you've more time ...

Take Care,
~ VF ~

Amusing that the two cult members come all the way over here to talk to each other.
"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."
- H. L. Mencken

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