Thursday, May 27, 2010

Tom Tomorrow on the BP Oil Disaster

How political conservatism distorts thinking about dangers to the public and the environment.

An addendum to my previous entry, on the absence of prophetic responses to the great oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico: Tom Tomorrow’s satirical reflection on the news (which you can read about in The Wall Street Journal here) that the spill might have been prevented if the Deepwater Horizon had used an emergency shutoff device called an acoustic trigger. “U.S. regulators don't mandate use of the remote-control device on offshore rigs, and the Deepwater Horizon, hired by oil giant BP PLC, didn't have one. . . . An acoustic trigger costs about $500,000, industry officials said.”

Of course, it rather spoils the satirical fun if you also read in the article that “the efficacy of the devices is unclear. Major offshore oil-well blowouts are rare, and it remained unclear Wednesday evening whether acoustic switches have ever been put to the test in a real-world accident.”

Previous entry: The Prophets Are Silent

Next entry: Stephen Jay Gould on Science and Religion


  1. As a theist what I would take from this spill, is that simply put the world is a messed up place. No problem for me, because God never designed a perfect world. If he did then this world would be paradise, and there would be no greater reward to work for. Rather the world was designed, oh how I do put this, to be substantial enough!

    From my theological background the Divine kingdom is not something given on a silver platter but something we as a species are biulding progressively stage by stage here on Earth. Those who took part in biulding it will enjoy the fruits of their labour, those who didn't won't.

    Our species is estimated to be only 200,000 years old. In that short time check out all the advancements in philosophy, mechanics, ethics, government, resource distribution, and philanthropy we have made. Despite all the crap, we indeed are getting progressively better. That is a victory to be relished I believe.

  2. Muslim Dude, I agree you in what you might call meta-theological respects. That is, arguments from the nature of the world to the non-existence of God—“An all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving being could not have created a world in which X [insert the evil or evils of your choice] happens”—seem to me as fatuous as arguments from the nature of the world to the existence of God.