Monday, June 22, 2009

Creation Science, oil drilling, naked shorts and constitutionally protected stock fraud

I once – unfairly perhaps – questioned what passes as mainstream conservative thinking as anti-scientific. The real target was greenhouse gas denial where the debate has gone (a) the greenhouse effect is not real to (b) yes – it is but it not caused by humans and then it will go to (c) but we can’t do anything about it anyway. I figured (fairly) that if you deny the science you wind up getting counted out of the debate. The “conservative” line was a fast-track to irrelevancy.

The reason why my criticism was unfair was that I used “creation science”, a realm of pure science denial, as a club to beat conservatives with. And I was rightly pulled up.

However I had what was – in my view – a market test of whether creation science was garbage. And that was that there were plenty of oil companies spending cumulatively billions of dollars on oil exploration using methods of finding oil (eg fossils of seeds and weeds) that were consistent with evolution and inconsistent with creation science. However I could find nobody who spent even a few million drilling for oil based on creation science.

This blog however corrects its mistakes. There is a serious oil company that does drill based on biblical texts and creation science. I was plain wrong.

So I give you one of the promotional websites of an oil company (Zion Oil and Gas) with a market cap of about $100 million.

www.OilInIsrael.net

And – just because these things should not go to waste – I give you one of their many YouTube promotional videos. In that video they got to ring a stock exchange opening bell. Creation Science is – it seems – at the heart of American Capitalism.

This ungodly liberal with his own creation myth (evolution) stands corrected.

John

PS. Don’t bother looking – you can’t short the stock. There are no securities available to borrow – and naked short selling – that just isn’t allowed.

If you need to know who is behind this then Mother Jones started the work, and Richard Bartholomew nailed it. It turns out that it is promoted in religious publications by the well known preacher and Christian Zionist Hal Lindsey who does not dislcose his family's substantial holdings.

I will refrain from again making a case for naked shorting because I can't see any real social benefit in aggressive hedge fund managers sharing when Hal Lindsey fleeces his flock. We can keep the losses in the fundamentalist family without any major social detriment.

And on this - I pity the SEC. If the promoters hold the belief in oil in Israel as true religious belief it will be very hard for the SEC to go after them. Even if this is as transparent a scam as Mother Jones thinks it will be hard to prove. Did the Founding Fathers mean to constitutionally protect stock fraud?

14 comments:

Palmoni said...

Actually the creationists say the oil is from the dinosaurs, who died in the flood of Noah, along with the massing down of the rich vegetation from the tectonic eruptions of the deep, when the fountains of the earth were opened.

But you still do good research on stocks!

Ira Stoll said...

It's not totally impossible. See for example: http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1232265973374&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

Jan. 2009 Jerusalem Post story headlined "Huge Gas Reserves Discovered Off Haifa"

Richard Smith said...

Creationist geology will be just like any other "creation science". That is to say, it will filch every fact & theory it can from proper geology while skating over that nasty dating evidence. What you end up with is a completely maimed body of knowledge, of course - but with enough content for a devotee to plausibly claim that they were using it to find oil. If they do strike oil - which they might - they will make a very big fuss about it. Still a fraud, but not a stock fraud.

Richard Smith said...

OK OK I've read the Bartholomew article now - you are on the money - there is no way this isn't a scam.

Israelis4Isramco said...

There was an SEC trading suspension last week on an issuer called Petro America. While I am not suggesting Zion Oil & Gas went this far, Petro America was suspended because it's an affinity fraud which targets mostly African-American fundamentalist Christians.

It's not uncommon for "religion" to be used in conjunction with perpetrating securities fraud.

Caveat Emptor, everyone.

Anonymous said...

Ironic that you mock creation "science" while promoting your own faith-based belief system, i.e. the (green) religious mythology of anthropogenic global warming.

Richard Smith said...

Anonymous of 10:14, if you have more to say, you might want to read up on the blog's policy on climate change commentary that does not have an investment implication. If you get that far you may also notice that you are caricaturing the blogger's position on global warming. Any irony is a figment of your imagination.

http://brontecapital.blogspot.com/2008/12/conservatives-climate-change-and.html

BTW, if you want to dispose of the scientific consensus on the causes of global warming (or anything else) in one line, you need to do more than just label it a mythology. Insert a link to a rebuttal that actually argues the point.

Anonymous said...

zn up because of russell rebalance, in case you were curius.

Palmoni said...

John:

I did a piece on Zion! You know a creationist had to take the other side of a good evolutionist's trade!

http://aaronandmoses.blogspot.com/2009/06/marching-to-zion.html

John Hempton said...

To Wall Street Manna - who got the Russell re-index trade - congratulations.

Now to get out.

It was not a great day for the short Zionistas...

The end game is the same... but because a whole lot of index funds had to buy this today - the stock has an interesting path.

J

Palmoni said...

I did take it---better lucky than good!

(even though I think there may be oil in Israel, besides those of the olive variety!)

Mrs. Watanabe said...

I am now convinced that investing in index funds is retarded.

Israelis4Isramco said...

Well, Isramco's still a gusher and trading in the green on the TASE today on heavy volume. As far as the Zionistas go, they got lucky last week.

Mrs. Watanabe said...

I tried to borrow Zion for a short today, but all I got were dry holes.

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The content contained in this blog represents the opinions of Mr. Hempton. Mr. Hempton may hold either long or short positions in securities of various companies discussed in the blog based upon Mr. Hempton's recommendations. The commentary in this blog in no way constitutes a solicitation of business or investment advice. In fact, it should not be relied upon in making investment decisions, ever. It is intended solely for the entertainment of the reader, and the author.  In particular this blog is not directed for investment purposes at US Persons.