Jonathan Dursi at No More Shall I Roam poses a poignant conundrum:

That seemingly serious people passionately believe both that Science will solve our problems and the scientists who tell us about those problems are completely wrong just baffles me….

The specific case he’s examining is the question of peak oil, the point at which we extract more oil from the planet than we ever will again. We’re screwed if that happens before we’ve made the leap to alternative energy sources and conservation, say the pessimists. Not to worry, say the optimists; we’ll muddle through somehow thanks to the miracle of science (and despite the projections of the actual scientists).

One problem is that I’m hampered by lack of words for this phenomenon. I’ve been casting around for a better word than `cornucopians’ for the believers in this constant someone-else-will-provide-sunshine-and-lollipops view of the world; please let me know if you can think of one.

“Cornucopians” isn’t bad, actually. (“Cornutopians” sprang to mind, but it sounds like the name of the “Better living through maize” movement.) Anyone have any better ideas?

Meanwhile, the whole peak oil thing has me more than a little worried. Those who argue that we’ve always found a fix before forget the record of human civilizations that, actually, didn’t.