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And along with that idea comes the knowledge that in a high school chemistry class thirty years from now, high school students will have the capacity and knowledge to create nuclear weapons. Or at the very least, some equally destructive equivelent to them (be it dark matter bombs, or something we haven't even thought about yet).
Originally posted by Garden Spider
Mods, I wasn't sure where this idea belonged, so please feel free to move it to a more appropriate section.
A friend and I were having a discussion about extra-terrestrials, evolution, and the end of mankind. Our question was, would mankind survive long enough to colonize other planets, or would we destroy ourselves first, via war, polution, overpopulation, or any of the other many ways we could bring an end to everything we know.
During the course of our discussion, we began to explore the speed at which technology is increasing. During the pre-industrial revolution era, technological advances, as well as discovery in mathematics and other sciences, were a very slow, very gradual process. But now, we are unlocking the secrets of the human genome. We are begining to understand the basic building blocks of the universe, and in my opinion, getting ever closer to the unification theory (the various string theories seems to hold a lot of promise in my mind). We've cloned animals, harnessed nuclear energy, and made many miraculous scientific breakthroughs. Things that used to be science fiction, are now common place. Things that were experimental and cutting edge sciences to one generation, are now taught in high school chemistry classes to the next. And the rate of technological advance is only increasing.
Which brings us to my theory. In thirty or forty years, humankind will have discovered more science and technology than we could begin to imagine, given our present rate of discovery. And along with that idea comes the knowledge that in a high school chemistry class thirty years from now, high school students will have the capacity and knowledge to create nuclear weapons. Or at the very least, some equally destructive equivelent to them (be it dark matter bombs, or something we haven't even thought about yet).
So the Evolutionary Cusp, that we as human beings will have to overcome, is the desire to destroy the world, and others. The majority of people alive obviously do not wish to see harm come to others, but there are quite a few people who would. Sure, there aren't many serial killers, given the entire wolrd population, but the problem is that there are serial killers, and with the technology at hand to destroy hundreds of thousands of people, there can be no doubt that humankind will eventually destroy itself.
So what will need to happen for humankind to survive, is one of two things.
#1 - We must evolve beyond the social deviants who wish to destroy and hurt others. In other words, whatever chemical imbalances and societal pressures that cause such behaviour must be eliminated.
#2 - We must colonize other planets. Many other planets. So many planets that the desctruction of one or two of them would not cause the extinction of mankind.
That being said, do I think it is feasable for either of these things to happen in time for humans to survive?
Sadly, I do not.
The evidence I have for you, is that we have yet to come across the signs of intellegent life elswhere in the universe. If the universe has existed in some form or another indefinitely, which most sceintists believe it has, then given that infinite amount of time, the universe should be entirely populated and overrun by a species of creature that was capable of interstellar travel and colonization. But we don't see this. And I take that to be evidence that no other species of creature as come through this evolutionary cusp in tact. Perhaps many different forms of life have come to the same point of evolution that we have, only to fail, and destroy themselves.
Anyway, that's my theory, and I wanted to hear what some greater minds than mine thought about it.
Originally posted by Garden Spider
Thanks all for your input.
However, 2manyquestions, while you make some interesting points, I still tend to fall on the less than optimistic side of things. The biggest piece of evidence I can give you, is Columbine. There, you had a group of disaffected kids, who, using the technology that even forty years prior had been unheard of (making explosives at home), wreaked havoc on their school. Now imagine for a moment, they could have feasibly made a nuclear weapon, or some equivalent thereof. What would have stopped them from doing so?
And I think that's the fundamental problem we run into, as our technology increases. Sure, the majority of people don't want to hurt others, and have a live and let live philosophy. But it's the few deviants that owrry me, and if we live ina world were technology is so prevalent and widespread, that one deviant is capable of killing thousands, or millions of people my themselves, I'd say we're in a lot of trouble.
And while it is true that the rate of technological advance has varied throughout history, never before have we seen anything like what we've seen during the last century. The scientific revolution has been faster and more powerful that we could ever have imagined, and it certainly shows no sign of slowing.