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NZ Skeptics Conference – Unwarranted skepticism; disbelief in a finite world

Posted in Reflections On Science on September 28th, 2009.

Dr John Robinson is an applied mathematician who has researched long-term trends and forecasting. His scientific training includes degrees in physics and mathematics; over the past 35 years he has expanded his interests to include economics, sociology, ecology and history, in order to inform his understanding of the global and national future.

A holistic, whole-picture science of a finite earth which was developing in the 1970s has been crushed. The scientific evidence that suggests an overpopulated world, threatened by food and water shortages, a shortage of oil supplies, huge changes due to global warming, social breakdown, population collapse and war has met with denial as a deeply ingrained belief that growth may continue unchecked as a basic feature of modern civilization is dominant. Unwarranted skepticism has refused the open debate that could have produced alternative policies. That picture will be illustrated by examples from John’s career, in particular misinformation denying the importance of the first Club of Rome report, The limits to growth, and the positive publicity given to a 1990 Planning Council report The fully employed high income society which forecast success for policies current at that time. John is a ‘doomster’ speaking clearly of the skepticism and denial which refuses to take warnings based on scientific evidence and analysis seriously; consequently the world is in deep trouble.

John’s speech can be listened to below:

Part I

[audio:https://www.sciencemediacentre.co.nz/wp-content/upload/2009/09/John-Robinson-Pt-I.mp3]

Part II

[audio:https://www.sciencemediacentre.co.nz/wp-content/upload/2009/09/John-Robinson-Pt-II.mp3]
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