A few days ago, I wrote about the closing of the Oil Drum and the Twitter response that ranged anywhere from disappointment and sadness to giddy euphoria (and note, the Oil Drum is technically around until the end of August, and plans are being discussed in their forums on was to keep the project going in one form or another).
But yesterday, I did notice this fun tweet from Ronald Bailey and the Reason.com people. To most, the Oil Drum is a gathering place where people discuss technical articles on oil production and depletion... and to others like Bailey it's some kind of cultist clubhouse where strange people gather to discuss sacrilegious ideas.
Back in a March post, I talked a little about this common tactic: "you'll sometimes see people referred to as oracles, acolytes, disciples, or cultists. They want to convince the reader that "those people" are into some crazy & spooky religion and are best ignored."
Back here on Earth, disagreements are resolved through rational discussion, evidence, and data, not by name calling. In Peak Oil if you want to argue that "Peak Oil has peaked" or that it's somehow irrelevant - that means discussing production rates and showing evidence that production is rising and will continue to rise. In the US, that's easy right now, you can just point at recent shale gains. But the problem - you would then have to address the 1970 peak in US oil production, on one hand that means acknowledging that there WAS a peak in production and that the peak STILL stands. You would then have to address if you believe production will surpass the previous peak. If you believe it will - and there aren't a lot of analysts out there with the courage to make this call at the moment - you're then on the record, and would have to address it over the next few years if production doesn't make it and 1970 remains as the all-time US peak.
If you don't believe production will surpass 1970, then you're stuck in a spot where you have to answer questions of how we could produce so much at that time with 1970s technology and 1970s low oil prices... but we can't seem to do it today even with prices at historic highs and all the new technology and innovation people speak breathlessly about.
One of the dangers of argumentation is the possibility of being wrong, which is why people these days rarely participate in honest open argumentation. And in the case of some, they'd rather just sling some mud, call people dirty names, and hope against hope that oil production magically increases forever or that some alternative appears at precisely the right time to replace oil - and that all this happens at ever cheaper costs. But while they're asleep and dreaming up fantasies - oil depletion never sleeps.