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I saw yesterday that peak oil historian John Michael Greer weighed in on the current debate over NTE or near-term extinction for humanity. After reading his post The Pleasures of Extinction, I was quite disappointed in his outright dismissal of the possibility of NTE in the face of recent unprecedented climatic changes. His post does not address any of the scientifically backed findings which, with business-as-usual, point to an uninhabitable future for mankind, let alone most other flora and fauna. Indeed, the predictions of the IPCC have been proven to be much too conservative and do not take into account known positive feedback loops. As they say on Wall Street, past performance does not necessarily predict future results. Even if all human-generated CO2 ceased today, we have a future of environmental catastrophe awaiting us with what has already been pumped into the atmosphere. Referring to NTE as “apocalypse machismo”, Greer paints it as some sort of passing cultural fad in keeping with other doomsday scenarios our culture has popularized, such as the Mayan Prophecy of 2012 or the Rapture of Christian Fundamentalists. He also lumps NTE in with the suicide pacts of lunatic-fringe cult groups:

…Those of my readers who remember the Solar Temple mass suicides of 1994 and 1995 may recall that the collective suicide note left behind by the members of that ill-fated order made exactly that claim:  Earth would be uninhabitable by the year 2000, Solar Temple founder Luc Jouret insisted, and so the initiates of the Solar Temple were getting out while the getting was good.

After reading through the numerous comments on Greer’s post, I found several people who had the same incredulous reaction I did:

Snap 2013-05-18 at 01.04.15

And this one…

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Here was Greer’s response to the above comment by Andrea:

Snap 2013-05-18 at 00.42.02

WTF? The science is not the essence of the argument??? I suppose we could say the same for Peak Oil, Ocean Acidification, The 6th Mass Extinction, The Global Die-Off of Forests, etc. They are all part of the doomsday narrative that people are pushing with no science backing up the essence of their argument. Must be a global conspiracy created by some shadowy network of armageddonists.

Besides the cultural obsession with doomsaying which Greer describes in his essay, what reason does he give for why people are pushing such disturbing arguments? Well, he answers that in his comments section:

Snap 2013-05-18 at 01.06.49

Snap 2013-05-18 at 01.08.57

Snap 2013-05-18 at 01.13.01

Mr. Greer, aren’t you a part of this apocalypse lobby? And is Peak Oil the only reality you subscribe to?

Michael Sosebee, producer of the documentary Somewhere In New Mexico Before The End Of Time, chimes into the conversation at this point:

Snap 2013-05-18 at 02.05.11

Greer then responds…

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Then Michael Sosebee says…

Snap 2013-05-18 at 02.13.49

Greer quips back…

Snap 2013-05-18 at 02.17.14

I hear that both Greer and McPherson will be speaking at the Age of Limits conference next week. Hopefully those two can have a debate which someone could videotape for us. Greer better beef up on his climate science.

Snap 2013-05-18 at 01.20.08

Ah well, a little controversy never hurt sales. I hear that Nicole Foss of the Automatic Earth will soon join the NTE discussion shortly…

Snap 2013-05-18 at 01.21.59

As for my opinion on why all the public fascination with Zombies, Post-Apocalyptic narratives, and the like, I believe it’s the collective subconscious of society bubbling up. For those who dig deeper and actually study what is happening in the world, it’s like looking into a bottomless abyss or the Pit of Hell. If you are honest with yourself, the seeming invincibility of humans and their industrial civilization dissolves before your eyes.