On the stagnation of energy technology and the Cabal of Scientists

post by df fd (df-fd) · 2020-12-12T04:24:24.869Z · LW · GW · 7 comments

[Epistemic status: conspiracy theory/raving of the mads]

We all know that GPD/standard of living all track with energy use, yet arguably the most convenient and widespread energy sources current are fossil fuels, which saw mass adoption with the start of the industrial revolution. Which happened, it can be said without hyperbole, eons ago [citation needed].

For some time, nuclear fission seems poised to replace fossil fuel, yet a series of unfortunate events permanently sour the public perception of this technology [Chernobyl, Fukushima]. Even in countries that push for nuclear fission as an energy source [France, South Korea, China], nuclear reactors are plagued with construction delays and cost overrun. The whole field is generally regarded as a dead-end and widely distrusted [citation needed].

Let us digress at this juncture and talk about the virtue of silence. The one rightful Caliph Eliezer once lamented that the secret of nuclear power was unwisely disclosed/leaked. That due to such disclosure, we are now living under the constant threat of nuclear annihilation. He proposed that it may have been wiser for scientists, especially those that could coordinate, to form a cabal to keep dangerous power from unwise/unworthy hands. Yet reading between the lines, we can see that any form of empowerment is dangerous. We are now living with a higher quality of life than kings in the middle ages. It can also be argued that we have more power than them as well. For examples: a state militia with guns vs 10x the number of pikemen, truck transport vs horse transport, phone communication vs runner communication, etc. It is not hard to imagine with ever more power granted to our hands we would become ever more dangerous, so much so that future us would be to us now as we are now to medieval kings in the past. This is inherently destabilizing. Remember that medieval kings are immensely powerful beings, capable of changing the course of history. Imagine a billion of such individuals. Such a scenario is precisely what a Cabal of Scientists, if they exist, is meant to prevent.

Viewed from this lens, it is easy to see why in the civilized world, where cooperation and coordination are easier than their counterpart, every potent source of energy that could be turned to war is discredited and under heavy pressure to be phased out. Fission and fusion power are considered laughing stock, money invested into such ventures are considered wasted, proponents are universally derided [citation needed]. Imagine yourself as part of a Cabal of Scientists, knowing that a dangerous specimen of forbidden knowledge was leaked by unsteady hands, what would you do? Personally, I would orchestrate a series of events to smother current/future use and prevent investment in exploring the topic. Suspiciously, this is remarkably similar to reality. 

The only technology that seems to enjoy widespread support is renewable, which requires cooperation due to a long chain of supply and extremely hard to be converted directly to war purpose.

In conclusion, this obviously [note: not obviously] prove the existent of a Cabal of Scientists controlling societies in the shadow, handicapping our power and technology until we prove worthy of such power. This, conveniently, also explains the great stagnation of our societies, where despite our striving, little progress has been made in any dimension. The solution is clear, we must prove ourselves capable of bearing the responsibility of such power so that the Cabal of Scientists would deign to share their blessing with us. We must prove that we are able to align our interests and be beyond the reach of moral mazes. Comrades I call upon you to do your duties to follow 5 years plans from the glorious leaders for an ever-brighter future.

I mean what is the alternative to a Cabal of Scientists? Things just randomly happen as the world goes to the dogs? Hah, I laugh.


P.S. Not sponsored by The Onion



Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by ChristianKl · 2020-12-14T17:04:32.029Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

In Germany where I live there were a bunch of hippies that did oppose nuclear power plants. The German antiwar movement didn't want Germany to become a nuclear power and opposed nuclear power plants as a part of that because they help with building nuclear bombs. This is likely the reason why Germany is the country with the strongest anti-nuclear policy. 

Personally, I would orchestrate a series of events to smother current/future use and prevent investment in exploring the topic. 

It's not about orchestrating events. Nuclear is the safest way to produce energy that we have and even the safest way still have events that produce problems. It's about putting all those sharks bites human stories into their "proper context". 

Replies from: df-fd
comment by df fd (df-fd) · 2020-12-15T00:32:13.579Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

so I should have phrased it as manipulating the media by boosting or obscuring certain signals to drive popular sentiment, promoting the Cabal of Scientists agenda?

Replies from: ChristianKl
comment by ChristianKl · 2020-12-15T01:28:42.767Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Yes, that fits it better.

comment by CellBioGuy · 2020-12-14T04:35:39.390Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Or, fossil fuels provide the greatest energy flux per unit infrastructure of any option in the whole past and future of humanity and are as good as it gets and until they run low there is no reason to use anything else.

Replies from: df-fd
comment by df fd (df-fd) · 2020-12-14T14:56:31.788Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I am confused as to what you meant. I couldn't google what you meant by energy flux, if you don't mind elaborating?

Replies from: CellBioGuy
comment by CellBioGuy · 2020-12-17T18:37:33.386Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Watts per unit of infrastructure machinery necessary, including ancillary things not in the actual engine.  Not joules per unit fuel.

comment by metatroll · 2020-12-12T04:35:03.835Z · LW(p) · GW(p)