Yesterday in a cafe, while doing taxes, I talked to a man who claimed to be a scientist (he was actually a cardiologist). I said I was writing a book about oil decline, and the need to relocalize food growing and almost all elements of culture.
He waved his hand and said, “You’re stuck in the old paradigm! Solar power is going to replace oil; it’s going to be the greatest paradigm shift the world has ever seen.”
I asked what the technology was. He said it wasn’t here yet. It would get here through “science.” I asked what that meant – because we use oil for movement of vehicles, planes, for fabrication of plastics, pesticides and chemicals, and even fertilizers.
I said there were no working models today of such a device from “solar,” and besides, solar panels requires oil and coal to work and be fabricated. I said, “Solar provides less than .05% of national energy use. That means 99.9% of what we do is not powered by solar.”
He waved his hand at me again. “Two Nobel Prizes,” he said. “That’s how fast it’ll shift.”
I pointed to the busy road outside, fifty cars went by every two minutes. “There are a billion of those in the world…Internal combustion engines. Cars and trucks. They make everything we do work.”
“I know all your arguments,” he said. “You’re stuck in the old paradigm!”
“But what’s the mechanism? I mean, how do we get from here to the future – you have to have a bridge, or you’re not talking about reality.”
“That’s your reality – that’s your worldview,” he shot back.
“Well,” I said. “I think that’s a religion.” He didn’t say anything, and I continued. “Religion is a belief that you can’t demonstrate to be true.”
“Say that again?” He looked puzzled.
I repeated myself. “Religion is a belief in something you can’t demonstrate to be true.”
“Well, maybe, maybe it is,” he nodded to himself. “But I HAVE to believe it.”
I widened my eyes a little. He collected his used lunch container, tossed it in the trash can, and left.
I had asked him for papers, names, leads, companies, anything – and what I got was “science will save us.”
Religion is a story that most people accept, in order to reject most of it, and hold onto a few kernels.
Science is a religion, too, because most large scientific beliefs require great faith, and provide great foolishness.
Reality is a story that most people reject in order to hold onto their internal religion.
Liam Scheff is author of Official Stories, a reverse textbook to all the fibs you were taught in school; his current project and next book is “The Oil Alarm” all about the collapse we’re just beginning to soak up, coast to coast.