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14 January 2006 @ 07:43 pm
Church today. I had a thought, pulling into the parking lot, that my apocalypse anxiety is very likely related to the belief taught to us growing up that the Last Days are upon us. Adventists are interesting that way. When I was growing up, there was a lot of focus on the Last Days prophecies. Unlike the Left Behind-type rapturists, who believe that "Jesus is coming back-- and he is pissed," and that all true Christians will skip out on the ugliness and horror of the apocalyse... Adventists believe that no one will miss it except those lucky enough to die first. Lovely. :p

There was an apocalypse novel I read over and over again when I was younger; I can't remember the name now. It followed five characters through the end days: Duane and Laurel, a couple on the run from the evil government forces out to destroy them for being Adventists. Amy, a young mother whose daughter dies at the beginning of the book, and who ends up on the run with her husband and some friends. Another girl, can't remember the name, who is placed with her family in a concentration camp. And Sparn, the evil government agent who only realizes his wrongdoing when Christ returns and Sparn is forced to remember all the evil he's done.

So yeah. Eventually the bad guys will be defeated, but until then? Kids, you're going to be on the run, leave behind everything you've ever known and loved. If you're lucky, you can hide out and won't be caught. If you're unlucky, you'll be stuck in a camp where you'll be starved and beaten. You won't die, but you'll sure suffer a lot. And that's if you're good!

No wonder I personalize the apocalypse so much. I've been taught to do that my whole life. And how do I get over it? Purges and pogroms have happened for centuries. How can I believe it won't happen to me, especially when the rabit right wing calls for liberals' blood, and the US government seems poised to obey?
Jerlugonn on January 14th, 2006 06:15 pm (UTC)
Hmmm. Funny you should bring up Apocalypse today. I've been pondering it since last night.
My roommate linked me to this site: http://www.lifeaftertheoilcrash.net/ because he'd like to discuss it with me.

Honestly, I can poke holes in some of his arguments, especially the logical falacies he tries to use in his argument - those just annoyed me. Still, I think there is something in much of what he says. There was very little there I didn't already know, but I hadn't really thought about it that much or put it all together.
Elletheletterelle on January 14th, 2006 07:44 pm (UTC)
Which arguments can you poke holes in? God, I read that and now I'm panicking all over again.
Jer: HappyBoy - Steve Sandvoss (from B'Lane)lugonn on January 15th, 2006 04:12 am (UTC)
Sorry - didn't mean to upset you again.

I couldn't say definitely if the guy is completely full of shit or not. All I can say is that he didn't prove his argument.

Right from the start, I noticed flaws in his proof.

Things like saying 'the general consensus of scientists say that ...'. This statement is basically unsupported and even if supported, a consensus among scientists isn't proof. Are the scientists the ones most qualified to make that judgement? Do they have sufficient information? etc.

He tends to look at everything in an all or nothing way.

For instance, 10,000 nuclear power plants would be needed to generate enough power to replace all the oil we use. That isn't feasible, therefore nuclear is pointless to consider. He doesn't note (for instance) the number of plants needed to simply supply the electrical grid. He does things like that throughout.

He talks about how expensive solar panels are - he doesn't factor in the fact that mass production of such items would probably yield a significant unit price reduction.

He says that conservation is counter-productive because that would lower prices and make people squander it more. That sounds reasonable at first because we've seen that happen -- cheap oil leading to LOTS of SUVs, for instance. But his main premise is that oil will become increasingly expensive and scarce as we cross the peak - thus conservation causing downward price pressure could be balanced by increasingly limited supplies yielding upward pressures.

He mentiones the actions of various people like government leaders, and attributes motives to those actions and implies that proves his point. For instance the head of selective service recommending an increase in selective service eligibility - he allows you to think that is possible "evidence" that his premise about resource wars is correct.

Here is the main message that I think you can safely get out of his site:
Our economy is based upon the concept that we are always growing. Our growth is predicated in large part on access to cheap energy for manufacturing and transportation. World demand for oil increases even though the oil source dwindle. At some point, maybe soon, we'll reach a crisis point where oil prices will rise - maybe dramatically - as demand exceeds supply. Our economy would undergo a dramatic shift if/when that occurs. We currently have no way to replace oil 100% with something equally cheap and portable - so whatever alternatives we come up with, we'll still face a change in our way of life as cheap energy becomes unviable. It is likely that a major change like that will include a serious economic depression.

Basically, our way of life based upon wantom consumption without regard to consequences will eventually result in a crisis and that way of life will, perforce, change. This is hardly a new concept. He tried to make his case stronger by describing how peak oil could cause that event in the near future and making assumptions about what would occur. But I found his logic flawed - that doesn't mean his concepts are all wrong, just that he didn't prove himself to me. Still, it is something I'll continue to ponder and pay more attention to this issue in the future to see what happens.
elzedelzed on January 15th, 2006 07:50 am (UTC)
Yes, I agree with your (Jer's) analysis of the reasoning in that piece as flawed and deliberately twisted to reach the alarmist conclusion on virtually every point. Over here we also have a very oil dependent culture, but with more of a focus on alternatives (not very consistently, see for instance the way nuclear power has been simultaneously condemned as very anti-green, but because of its role in reducing carbion dioxide emissions, actually quite pro-environment...).

Elle, don't panic quite yet! And I can see how being brought up on tales of the end of the world would make you more receptive to apocalyptic fears. It's a hard one to shake off.
Mary Lewys: Grabmlewys on January 14th, 2006 06:33 pm (UTC)
Simple, love.

Christians from the first century believe Jesus would be back in their time. They've been waiting since then for him to show up.

This isn't the end, no more than it is for any of the generations before us. Every generation wants to believe that it's the last, the best, the chosen, but the simple fact is, it isn't.

Significance in life isn't going to come by the way you go out, but by the way you live it.
ex_misschili604 on January 15th, 2006 12:21 am (UTC)
I wasn't raised Adventist (Lutheran, in fact), but the whole end days thing really seeped into my brain and scared the hell out of me. I reckon that this is why I react so strongly to zombie films, since what could be more apocalyptic and world-ending than zombies? At any rate, it took me until I was well into my adulthood to face this fear of the apocalypse and to realise just what the other commenter did, that early Christians and everyone thereafter has figured that they were the last generation on earth, that Jesus would come back and punish the wicked and take them up into his huge robed arms and port them off to heaven for eternal frolicking on the clouds. And it just ain't so.