The Cumberland Post

The Cumberland Post
My Backyard, Six Miles from the Cumberland River

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Asimov and the BP Gulf Oil Disaster

An article this morning in The American Thinker by Henry P. Wickham, Jr. concerning who is responsible for the BP oil disaster in the Gulf got me thinking about Isaac Asimov.

First, here's what Wickham says in his article, "Environmentalists with Oil on Their Hands."
When evaluating in an honest way all factors that contributed to the current pollution of the Gulf, we must ask why BP was drilling in 5,000 feet of ocean when there are so many other accessible and safe alternatives. There are large deposits of oil shale in Western Colorado that could easily and safely be extracted as it is now in Western Canada. We have all heard of the huge deposits of oil in ANWR, on Alaska's North Shore. Because of improved drilling technology, all available oil in ANWR can be extracted by using only 2,000 of its roughly 19,000,000 acres.

BP now drills in 5,000 feet of ocean because these better alternatives have been foreclosed to the oil industry. Environmental groups have effectively stymied this safe and relatively easy production of oil in the name of some higher but more nebulous good. Where they once rationalized their campaign against oil companies based upon the threat of environmental degradation, environmental groups now use the increasingly dubious claims of global warming to justify their obstruction.

Read Wickham's complete article. The environmentalists are as guilty as any other group in this disaster. Maybe guiltier.

Now, what does Isaac Asimov have to do with this disaster? Well, IMHO, if the people who are directly involved in this disaster-- BP, the Federal Government, and the Environmental groups--had read Asmiov, this disaster could possibly have been avoided.

The famous author, who died in 1992, was best known as a Science Fiction writer but he wrote other things as well. As a matter of fact, according to Wiki, the prolific Asimov's bibliography includes some 515 items including titles, charts, and collected editions. He was a life long Democrat but it should be noted that he frequently took issue with many activists because of their "irrationality."

Asimov frequently devised logical "Laws" for his stories and other writings that explained in simple terms the complexities of some intricate process. You've heard of his "Three Laws of Robotics" from his famous novel, I, Robot.

Have you heard of his other three laws? They are called the  "Three Laws of Futurics." Asimov said he used these laws many times in thinking through a Science Fiction story. In a sense, they helped him predict the future. Here are Asimov's Three Laws of Futurics as quoted in an essay by John Addington Symonds:
(1) recognize that what is happening will likely continue to happen,
(2) seriously consider the obvious, for few people ever do, and
(3) consider the logical consequences of current practices.
Asimov's Three Laws of Futurics sound simple and clear. And in application they are simple and clear. And they work, even if you're not writing a science fiction story.

If some forty years ago the Sierra Club and other environmental activist groups had recognized that "what is happening will likely continue to happen," that oil and energy companies were going to continue to search for and drill for oil (no matter where or how deep in the ocean their search takes them!), they might have had second thoughts about their decades long crusade to stop oil companies from drilling and refining in the US.

If some forty years ago, the Sierra Club and other environmental activist groups had "considered the obvious," they would have realized the obvious: that banning drilling in the U.S. and on its shoreline would not stop energy companies from drilling elsewhere, even in far riskier environments.

If some forty years ago, the Sierra Club and other environmental activist groups had taken the time to "consider the logical consequences" of their own actions, they could have forseen that disastrous accidents were much likelier to happen in those riskier environments, the same riskier environments that their protests had forced the energy companies to work in. It's a lot easier to cap a well on dry land or in shallow water than it is at 5000 feet beneath the ocean.

Now some groups are calling for the government to "Seize BP" and use their assets to compensate those who've been damaged by the oil spill. The face of the protester in the pic to the right is, I think, the very face of rationality.

I think she must have thought through all the ramifications and society altering consequences of her ridiculous proposal. I imagine you could really have a rational and logical debate with her.

Do you think she knows that some of that oil is on her hands and the hands of others like her? Do you think she knows that she's partly responsible for the deaths of thousands of fish and other sea creatures? Do you think she's aware that she contributed greatly to the economic hardship about to be pressed on business owners and their employees in the Gulf?


  1. Fabulous, Dan! Just fabulous! And, quite sad at the same time. We are "stuck" with these people...and the mindset they have established in many millions...and the politicians they have elected.

    I fear that we are going to have to hit double rock bottom before sanity rears it's beautiful head in energy policy. And, by then it may be too late.

  2. That was a most enjoyable post, Dan.

    I doubt if there are two tree-huggers able to "consider the logical consequences." That face says it all. When I first saw that picture, I thought of using it in a post but decided that I did not want to see such mental illness on my blog every day for a week. It''s even uglier than the painting, "The Scream."

  3. the name of some higher but more nebulous good.

    That's the way they roll. ALWAYS. It's the biggest reason I left The Left.

    Great post. We're of like mind. I loves me some Asimov, too.

  4. Buck, you nailed it; ALWAYS is the precise word. Looks like the leftists would like a little red meat logic with their faux whipped cream every once in a while. But it looks like they're stuck on that no cal no logic diet forever.

  5. Barry, Thanks for your kind words; glad you enjoyed the post. And you're right about that horrible pic; now I'm stuck with looking at it for awhile.

  6. Andy: "the mindset established in millions." So true and so disturbing. The place to start changing the mindset is in public school and college. They get a huge dose of this almost every week. It has to stop.

  7. Great post. It's sad that the Dem party has moved so far to the left that it no longer has room for the wisdom of old-school dems like Asimov.

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