0
   

Resources Are Infinite

 
 
bmcreider
 
  1  
Reply Fri 26 Mar, 2010 01:22 am
@EmperorNero,
Those models and predictions are only meaningless if we make what they predict, oil, meaningless.

That is where we agree on any negation of the finiteness of resources.

But to produce that scenario of oil being meaningless requires the technological breakthrough necessary to do it, and the time to implement it, not to mention political and economic backing if you want it smoothly.

And you seem to jump around saying, as I agree, that resources can be infinite, but then seem to apply it to oil - or at least make oil appear not likely to run out anytime soon, so, practically limitless for our sake, right?

You seem to be at odds with reality yourself. Wishful thinking won't make it so. If you understood the processes that had to take place to create oil, the geological timescales necessary for it to occur, and the rapid, exponential consumption of it, you would understand how unlikely it is that we create or exploit some other energy source, using petroleum based energy to get there in the first place, and expecting exponential growth to be forever sustainable.

Even if you could tap every atom on the planet for a resource, you cannot deny thermodynamics and the laws of nature. There is a finite number of atoms that make up this world, and eventually we'd run out of ones to exploit. I promise.

---------- Post added 03-26-2010 at 02:46 AM ----------

I do not mean to come across too aggressively, only to make a point. It's obvious we disagree, but I am eager to hear your rebuttals.
EmperorNero
 
  1  
Reply Fri 26 Mar, 2010 02:24 am
@bmcreider,
bmcreider;143862 wrote:
Those models and predictions are only meaningless if we make what they predict, oil, meaningless.


What I meant was that the very predictions are meaningless because the model doesn't apply to what it analyzes. Take your human ingenuity for example, it has no clear boundary, so it obviously isn't finite. If we were to say that your brain consists of a finite amount of cells, so therefore your ingenuity consists of a finite amount of cells, that would be accurate, but that does not make ingenuity finite. Technical forecasts make no sense when applied to systems which are not finite. We couldn't "save" it to have more in the future. The same for resources.

bmcreider;143862 wrote:
Even if you could tap every atom on the planet for a resource, you cannot deny thermodynamics and the laws of nature. There is a finite number of atoms that make up this world, and eventually we'd run out of ones to exploit. I promise.


You keep thinking of 'stuff humans need', which is the definition of resources, and 'physical material' as the same thing. But resources aren't really physical things. What humans need changes, there can be more of it without there being more physical material. Therefore the rules of thermodynamics do not really apply to resources.

bmcreider;143862 wrote:
And you seem to jump around saying, as I agree, that resources can be infinite, but then seem to apply it to oil - or at least make oil appear not likely to run out anytime soon, so, practically limitless for our sake, right?


Limitless for our sake, yes.

But you have a point that I somewhat jump around between different arguments. One argument I have been making is that the finite material "oil" is not about to run out. Because, for example, we can find more.
The other argument is that whole finiteness thing. I would argue that this applies to oil. The material "oil" is not clearly defined. We define as oil what we currently have a use for, and can get a hold of. There are vast reserves of oil that are for some reason unaccessible. We have no use for it, so it's not counted as oil, it's not a resource. That can change. Something which was formerly not a resource becomes one. Therefore the resource oil is not really finite.
Rwa001
 
  1  
Reply Fri 26 Mar, 2010 03:50 am
@EmperorNero,
Quote:
Resources - i.e. stuff that humans need - are not finite; physical material is finite, not resources. You seemed to agree with that from my earlier examples.


This is just an assumption. Just because we have gotten ourselves out of quite a few jams in the past does not mean that our ingenuity is infallible. Now it could be true that we become able to break several laws of physics and produce limitless resources despite the lack of any physical matter, but doesn't that just seem like quite the gambit?

You've made plenty of arguments for the potentially sustainable model of energy-use as it is currently, but you haven't been arguing against sustainability. You've just been arguing that the current model IS sustainable.

So if we are all in agreement that sustainability is the right thing, then we're really just arguing at this point what constitutes sustainable. In this case, oil is not sustainable. It is not practically renewable. But the market has developed new forms of energy, like solar and wind. So why should we wish to be dependent on oil for the next 100 years? Oil comes with too many concerns. Pollution, the potentially destructive effects on our environment, poor relations and dependence on the Middle East. Honestly, everything about oil screams STOP USING ME.

I'm not sure we're on different sides in this argument, but I know that we're supporting different resources.
EmperorNero
 
  1  
Reply Fri 26 Mar, 2010 05:14 am
@Rwa001,
I would very much like to hear what you think about the points of this post.

Rwa001;143897 wrote:
This is just an assumption. Just because we have gotten ourselves out of quite a few jams in the past does not mean that our ingenuity is infallible.


Actually, suggesting resource finiteness is more of an assumption than not suggesting resource finiteness.
Logically, without a limit there is no finiteness. I am saying, since we know no limit it's not finite. You are saying, unless we know it to be infinite we must assume there is a limit, and therefore it is finite.
We can't prove a negative, so it would be impossible to show that we will not run into trouble in the future. Thus assuming that there is a limit would imply that every resource is finite. Just to show how ridiculous that is: we don't know that human ingenuity doesn't have some limit. Therefore we would have to assume that ingenuity is finite, and therefore the same model as to oil applies to it. I.e. we need to "save" our ingenuity in order to not run out of it.

Rwa001;143897 wrote:
You've made plenty of arguments for the potentially sustainable model of energy-use as it is currently, but you haven't been arguing against sustainability. You've just been arguing that the current model IS sustainable.

So if we are all in agreement that sustainability is the right thing, then we're really just arguing at this point what constitutes sustainable.


That is a smarter statement than you might realize.
But it is exactly the case. The conventional wisdom argues that resource economics is a zero-sum game, and therefore sustainability means saving the fixed pie we have.
I argue that resource economics follows the rules of economics (non-zero-sum), and therefore sustainability means continuously creating more pie.

Rwa001;143897 wrote:
In this case, oil is not sustainable. It is not practically renewable.


That's the odd thing; oil is renewable! :shocked: And I don't mean that we can just wait for more. It all comes down to what we mean by "oil". It is of course accurate that the amount of oil on earth can't increase. (Unless we find a way to cheaply synthesize it.) But the overall amount is not how we define oil. There are vast reserves of oil that for different reasons aren't worth exploiting. If we included all that, we had reserves for 1000 years. But it would be pointless to know how much oil we have, that we can't exploit. That's why we only count as "oil" what we currently have the ability to exploit. So with changing technology, there is more oil.

Rwa001;143897 wrote:
But the market has developed new forms of energy, like solar and wind. So why should we wish to be dependent on oil for the next 100 years? Oil comes with too many concerns. Pollution, the potentially destructive effects on our environment, poor relations and dependence on the Middle East. Honestly, everything about oil screams STOP USING ME.


Of course I'm not a supporter of the air being brown. Finding a clean alternative seems like a good idea. What I argue against is the idea that we need to save oil through government regulation, because we will run out shortly. That would artificially relieve the scarcity, bring down the price, thereby reducing incentives to find alternatives. The way to sustainability is getting the government out of resource distribution.
In the mid-19th century whale oil was very expensive because we ran out of whales. Imagine that governments had mandated a sustainable use of whale oil at the time. It is unlikely that there would have been interest in oil at all. Profits weren't worth the gamble.
I hope hydrogen could be a good alternative to oil. Or nuclear fusion or fission.
Wind and solar are a drop in the bucket. And that's assuming that the environmentalists let us build them.
0 Replies
 
bmcreider
 
  1  
Reply Fri 26 Mar, 2010 10:07 am
@EmperorNero,
We still need the time necessary to implement any new technology, because I agree that we will find some way out of this, but there is no guarantee that it will be a smooth ride.

Saying we did use nuclear energy, why do you think uranium will suffer no scarcity?
EmperorNero
 
  1  
Reply Sat 27 Mar, 2010 07:26 pm
@bmcreider,
bmcreider;144040 wrote:
We still need the time necessary to implement any new technology, because I agree that we will find some way out of this, but there is no guarantee that it will be a smooth ride.


Time in the sense that we need to do the transformation to an alternative before oil runs out? - No. Since an infinite resource can not "run out", it does not make sense to ask how much time we have to find an alternative.

Time in the sense that all resources require our human time to be produced, whether it be drilling for oil or researching nuclear fusion. - Yes. The only truly finite resource is our human time, the time that is required to to produce other resources.

I would be interested if you agree of the view that resources are infinite. And if so, what piece of information in this thread convinced you.

bmcreider;144040 wrote:
Saying we did use nuclear energy, why do you think uranium will suffer no scarcity?


The uranium supply might last a very long time with nuclear reprocessing, with an almost-unlimited supply from sea water available once ground based mining is exhausted.
0 Replies
 
bmcreider
 
  1  
Reply Sat 27 Mar, 2010 07:36 pm
@EmperorNero,
Well would you say that oil could be economically inefficient at any point, if it has to be gotten from tar sands, for example?

Resources may not be finite in the sense that we will always find new resources, as you say. If you don't discount "human ingenuity" then resources, more or less, may be infinite, yes.
EmperorNero
 
  1  
Reply Sat 27 Mar, 2010 07:49 pm
@bmcreider,
bmcreider;144920 wrote:
Well would you say that oil could be economically inefficient at any point, if it has to be gotten from tar sands, for example?


Exactly. Just like firewood, whale oil or coal before it, oil will be replaced with a better resource when the cost of extracting oil is high enough.

bmcreider;144920 wrote:
Resources may not be finite in the sense that we will always find new resources, as you say. If you don't discount "human ingenuity" then resources, more or less, may be infinite, yes.


I am curious, after two pages of debate, what piece of information finally made you agree with this quite counterintuitive view of resources.
0 Replies
 
bmcreider
 
  1  
Reply Sun 28 Mar, 2010 09:14 am
@EmperorNero,
Well I agreed with that view of resources when I read your OP. Humans, and other animals, have usually found some way to survive - sometimes not, sometimes species go extinct. However, I agree that we'll find something after oil, it won't mark the extinction of humanity. Since the human race will hopefully live on for thousands of years, maybe, then that's why I say (from my time perspective) they are more or less infinite.

I just hope moving from oil to xxxxx is as easy as whale oil was to oil, or firewood to coal...as you say it will be. I just get doubtful of optimism regarding our situation with oil because we are so, so dependent on it - much more now than we were on whale oil or firewood Wink.
0 Replies
 
bmcreider
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Mar, 2010 11:00 am
@EmperorNero,
This is interesting:

The Archdruid Report: The Economics of Entropy
EmperorNero
 
  1  
Reply Tue 30 Mar, 2010 12:18 am
@bmcreider,
bmcreider;145628 wrote:


Concepts of physics are frequently misused by those who become intoxicated by casual acquaintance with them. After Einstein discovered the principle of special relativity, college sophomores and trendy preachers cited the principle as proof that "everything is relative". And after Heisenberg discovered the uncertainty principle, social scientists, humanists, and theologians seized on it to "prove" that certain kinds of human knowledge are impossible.
They are laws of physics, nothing more. They don't apply to every situation in life.
Just like Newtons third law: "every action has a reaction equal in magnitude and opposite in direction" does not prove the esoteric belief that your good actions will "coming back to you".

Are we really scared about running out of energy in the universe? There is a looooot of energy in the universe.
trismegisto
 
  1  
Reply Tue 30 Mar, 2010 12:32 am
@EmperorNero,
If I could jump in here today. There seems to be a lot of talk of dependency on oil and I feel like that is a "treating the symptoms" type of diagnosis.

We are not hugely dependent on oil for energy we are entirely dependent on the sun for our energy.

We receive exactly one days worth of solar energy every day (Funny how that works out) and yet we use perhaps decades of solar energy if not centuries of solar energy every day.

Sooner or later we will use up all the years of solar energy stored on this planet.

The ideal is to reduce our energy consumption to as close to one day per day as possible. Otherwise nothing is sustainable and we all die.
EmperorNero
 
  1  
Reply Tue 30 Mar, 2010 01:04 am
@trismegisto,
trismegisto;146025 wrote:
Sooner or later we will use up all the years of solar energy stored on this planet.


About the year 3550. And then there's other planets. You know, there's a looot of energy in the universe.
0 Replies
 
Pepijn Sweep
 
  1  
Reply Tue 30 Mar, 2010 01:58 am
@trismegisto,
So U say we received 1,469,000,000,000 days of sunlight. That should be enough for a few generations. But how to get the solar energy without poluting. Will CERN experiment give any clues?

Pepijn Sweep
EmperorNero
 
  1  
Reply Tue 30 Mar, 2010 02:05 am
@Pepijn Sweep,
Pepijn Sweep;146053 wrote:
So U say we received 1,469,000,000,000 days of sunlight. That should be enough for a few generations. But how to get the solar energy without poluting. Will CERN experiment give any clues?

Pepijn Sweep


I think CERN is more about fundamental physics than practical uses.
Nuclear fission is interesting. You can practically create unlimited energy from a little water. There's a lot of water on the planet.
If you have abundant energy you can create all other resources in abundance.
Insisting on laws of physics is quite irrelevant for our purposes. That these fundamental rules apply to all molecules in the universe does not mean they apply to currently exploitable resource reserves on earth. People confuse that.
We are not nearing an age of scarcity, we might be nearing an age of post-scarcity! As far as I know that will only provide for better mechanisms to kill each others. :unsure:
Pepijn Sweep
 
  1  
Reply Tue 30 Mar, 2010 02:49 am
@EmperorNero,
EmperorNero;146054 wrote:
I think CERN is more about fundamental physics than practical uses.
Nuclear fission is interesting. You can practically create unlimited energy from a little water. There's a lot of water on the planet. lessH3O
If you have abundant energy you can create all other resources in abundance.
Insisting on laws of physics is quite irrelevant for our purposes. That these fundamental rules apply to all molecules in the universe does not mean they apply to currently exploitable resource reserves on earth. People confuse that.
We are not nearing an age of scarcity, we might be nearing an age of post-scarcity! As far as I know that will only provide for better mechanisms to kill each others. :unsure:


catalytics( Lithium 6+ )might be scares or very rare
:detective:

---------- Post added 03-30-2010 at 02:51 AM ----------

EmperorNero;146054 wrote:
I think CERN is more about fundamental physics than practical uses.
Nuclear fission is interesting. You can practically create unlimited energy from a little water. There's a lot of water on the planet.
If you have abundant energy you can create all other resources in abundance.
Insisting on laws of physics is quite irrelevant for our purposes. That these fundamental rules apply to all molecules in the universe does not mean they apply to currently exploitable resource reserves on earth. People confuse that.
We are not nearing an age of scarcity, we might be nearing an age of post-scarcity! As far as I know that will only provide for better mechanisms to kill each others. :unsure:
0 Replies
 
trismegisto
 
  1  
Reply Tue 30 Mar, 2010 12:40 pm
@Pepijn Sweep,
Pepijn Sweep;146053 wrote:
So U say we received 1,469,000,000,000 days of sunlight. That should be enough for a few generations. But how to get the solar energy without poluting. Will CERN experiment give any clues?

Pepijn Sweep


all CERN is trying to do is remove Mathematics from the religion section at the library. Without the higgins boson mathematics is all a fairy tale and no scientists want to admit that they are completely wrong.

As for the days of solar energy, you gotta subtract daily usage from the beginning as well.
0 Replies
 
Marat phil
 
  1  
Reply Tue 30 Mar, 2010 02:04 pm
@EmperorNero,
'Resources Are Infinite'

I think too
Minimal
 
  1  
Reply Tue 30 Mar, 2010 09:36 pm
@Marat phil,
You could argue that things just transform. The properties of these transformations of matter in different states are different. We are concerned with properties, not purely the existence of matter.

- Minimal.
Pepijn Sweep
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 Mar, 2010 03:13 am
@Minimal,
Minimal;146478 wrote:
You could argue that things just transform. The properties of these transformations of matter in different states are different. We are concerned with properties, not purely the existence of matter.

- Minimal.


Matter is not infinite her on Earth. It would be strange if it was. Matter is slowly transformed into energie.:bigsmile:

Pepijn The Whaler
who wants Pondfish
back for Fun
 

Related Topics

 
Copyright © 2022 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.03 seconds on 01/22/2022 at 08:38:53