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End of the world, wiping out life on earth

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posted on Aug, 17 2008 @ 03:56 AM
So, I watch a lot of the research, educational and science channels (history/international, discovery, science, animal planet, natgeo, etc). While I do find a lot of these channels to have quality programming, there are times when I find what they report to be abismal.
As I type, History is airing a show that is forecasting the various ways that life on the planet may grind to a halt. Of course, they bring on their experts (including Stephen Hawkings), journalists and others to validate these theories, the fallout and for how long. As well, there is a generous placing of blame, where it is considered appropriate.

So, here is the list in order that they came up with:

7) Black Hole: either we create a black hole trying to find out the secrets of the universe or one is created near enough that it consumes the life in our galaxy

6) AI: artificial intelligence similar to that laid out in the Terminator movie series could gain enough self awareness and wipe out the human race

5) Super Volcano: massive eruptions blotting out the sky and scorching the landscape would wipe out all of humanity in months

4) Asteroid: just like the one that crashed millions of years ago and ended the dinosaurs, if hit by another, it would blot out the sun and extinct all life for 1000 years

3) Nuclear War: whether on purpose or by accident, one nuke launch will garner an instant retaliation and if just 20 total nukes detonate even in the confines of one or two countries, the fallout would spread quickly around the globe and make life impossible for years

2) Mass Disease: diseases such as Ebola could lie dormant in a single person, then with a single cough in a crowded area, be spread to tens, then hundreds, then thousands, then millions, until it became a global pandemic, leaving the survivors so distrusting and reclusive that world production would grind to a halt

And the number 1 theory that is still being harped on as the greatest threat above all threats to life on the planet is of course....wait for it...dun-dun-dun...

1) Global Warming: mankind's relentless corruption of the atmosphere with excessive amount of carbon emissions into the atmosphere at an ever growing rate have caused a greenhouse effect that is steadily trapping more heat on the planet, causing the glaciers to melt at an alarming rate as well as the warm seasons to last longer and hotter than ever before

Personally, I have read data that goes both ways on GW and reserve my own right to vote it lower in the stack.
If I had to rate these, I would put them:

7) Black Hole
6) Asteroid
5) AI
4) Super Volcano
3) Global Warming
2) Disease
1) Nuclear War

I think that mankind is going to be that which undoes life in a direct, not indirect, way. I think that it will come to an end due to haphazard emotional paranoia of man rather than anything that could come from a more natural cause.

I have read some and watched some on the LHC and I understand that there are some concerns about what may come from the final ignition of this device. While it may be devastating, I dont think it will cause any damage on scale of an End of Life event.

While cosmic bodies seem to be under constant supervision and considered always a threat, the vastness of just our own solar system is enough to put heavy odds against one of enough magnitude hitting and ending our planet.

No matter the efforts of the sci-fi writers to warn of the dangers of advancing AI to the point of self-awareness, mankind still pushes the envelope to make smarter, more self efficient and evolving technology. Robotics, hyper processing, self learning programming, and more can only go so far without human interaction. Since the human body is the most sophisticated machine ever conceived and it too needs constant maintenance to survive, I dont see machine technology advancing beyond the need for constant supervision either.

All I really know about volcanoes is that they react to the slipping of the techtonic plates creating updrafting holes in the earth were the super heated magma pockets below the crust can escape. Volcanic activity is as old as the planet itself and only 5 times in the history of the planet has a super volcano capable of ending all life on the planet even been documented.

Global warming is still a current sore spot for many as there are just as many believers as there are nons. While I do favor the fact that warmer weather seems to be lasting a bit longer than normal in many places, I dont prescribe to the facts of why like so many others. I will leave this one as it is in my list and let you make your own decisions. It has been discussed very thoroughly here at ATS.

Disease rates fairly high as a major life ending factor. As a population control, it would be quite easy to spread in secret and still be able to moderately control the amount of destruction that is done. While I dont see this as the final straw to end all of life, I think it would be a useful tool to put massive controls on all living humanity through fear, drugs, and paranoia. It has already been a well researched practice, even if it has often happened by chance.

Topping my list of ways that it will all end is with what Dubyah calls Nu-queue-lar war. If just two countries went at it, head to head, bomb to bomb, everything would end in just hours, perhaps just over a day. If Russia and the US got into enough of a conflict, all it would take is for one missle to leave one silo bound for one target. The initial target would enjoy its last 15 minutes on the planet while the rest of each country may get as much as an hour. The fallout would first polarize the world, just hours, or a day before the planet was covered with radioactive debris. The world would be uninhabitable for years while the radiation cooled down. If a handful of people were in fact able to get to adequate fallout shelter in time, the resulting world would be a barren, alien, charred, lifeless place and humanity would spend years in a modified stone age.
This one makes the top of my list for just one reason. I feel it is the most probable of all of the listed options. This type of destruction is solely dependant on just a few isolated individuals, human beings who experience emotions, fear, paranoia and are trained to follow the last given order to the letter blindly and without question, to make that decision for us all.

How would you rank them?

posted on Aug, 17 2008 @ 04:12 AM
I would say that global warming first, because we have almost crossed the point of no return and after which we cannot stop the accelerating temperature and asteroid attack second because technology hasnt progressed enough to deflect the asteroids and super volcano third because it affects the region of explosion first and atleast we can have a warning of the impact and be prepared in other regions accordingly and fourth is the black hole, we would have to wait a few million years for that to happen and we can discuss that on ats then and lastly comes nuclear weapons because it can be entirely avoided by us.

Let there be peace in the world.

Edited to add- mass diseases can be avoided if the intitally affected region is quarantined and medical care is given, regarding AI,think of it even if they get out of control we humans developed it, to be precise a scientist developed it and he would know how to bring it under control or destroy it.

[edit on 17-8-2008 by peacejet]

posted on Aug, 17 2008 @ 05:40 AM
Another aspect you should have on the list is "Genetic Load".

As more people with genetic disorders are living longer, eventually all humans born will have multiple genetic disorders.

How will this kill everything not just humans?

We will destroy everything trying to maintain resources to keep everyone alive-as every infant will eventually need medical attention right out of the womb.

If we get global warming under control, this will still destroy everything unless we do some hard core positive-form eugenics.

posted on Aug, 17 2008 @ 11:17 AM
reply to post by lordtyp0

The original list was based on the list put together by the History channel. I hadnt considered genetics to be a major killer, but the way biological sciences keep trying to manipulate the Genome, I can see where it would not be a stretch to see genetics as something of a "slow burn" on mankind.

posted on Aug, 17 2008 @ 11:21 AM

Fire and Ice
Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great And would suffice.

Robert Frost

posted on Aug, 17 2008 @ 11:22 AM
I think some nanotechnology getting loose replicator style has great world ending potential. The military nanotechnology budget has been growing every year for about the last decade.

[edit on 8/17/2008 by UFOTECH]

posted on Aug, 17 2008 @ 11:33 AM
reply to post by peacejet

I dont discount global warming at all. I know that it is a real threat. It is in my top three because, while warming is a natural phenom and mankind's constant population and pollution contributions have their affect, the three all have human involvement in their propagation.
I suppose if I wanted to do a real list, I would make my number 1 cause for the destruction of mankind should be Mankind itself.

posted on Aug, 17 2008 @ 12:10 PM
reply to post by wheresthetruth

I think i saw that programe aswel some scary stuf theyre aswell al of them could hapen i suppose

posted on Aug, 17 2008 @ 12:26 PM
I would place global warming combined with overpopulation in the number one slot.

Why? Because war, disease, etc., are quite likely to be offshoots of this issue. To try to separate them, in my opinion, is to mistake effect and cause.

From a report commissioned by the Pentagon which can be read here;

The Link Between Carrying Capacity and Warfare

Steven LeBlanc, Harvard archaeologist and author of a new book called Carrying Capacity, describes the relationship between carrying capacity and warfare. Drawing on abundant archaeological and ethnological data, LeBlanc argues that historically humans conducted organized warfare for a variety of reasons, including warfare over resources and the environment. Humans fight when they outstrip the carrying capacity of their natural environment. Every time there is a choice between starving and raiding, humans raid. From hunter/gatherers through agricultural tribes, chiefdoms, and early complex societies, 25% of a population’s adult males die when war breaks out.

This is only one, and not the best, attempt to really look into the way climate change can impact civilization. "Collapse" by Jared Diamond, is another really good one, and he gets into the way changes in population, climate, etc., can effect a complex economic system.

In fact, some of the work being done on complex systems offers the most compelling evidence that climate change can and will wreck havoc on humans ability to adapt. As we outsource, and specialize, a break down in one or a few critical areas could possible start a chain reaction that could bring the entire "structure" of our civilization tumbling down. I call it the "Jenga" model of societal collapse.

I could not find good free "links" but if you are interested, complex systems and failures is one area you should understand if you are really interested in the topic. It isnt just the small change in the environment that is key, it is how those changes actually impact the whole.

And, all life on Earth isnt really threatened by really any of those scenarios except for the black hole or maybe an impact that completely destroys the earth or rips away its atmosphere. If you want an "all life" scenario, those are your two best suspects on that list. If you just mean "us" and animals like us, then climate change is your top suspect in my opinion. Since you counted the volcanos in the past that had caused mass extinctions, (but clearly didnt kill all life, or we would not be discussing this) I am guessing you meant "us and animals like us."

posted on Aug, 17 2008 @ 12:29 PM
Nah i think right now nuclear war has got to be leading the way

posted on Aug, 17 2008 @ 12:30 PM
Lets hope none of them win though

posted on Aug, 18 2008 @ 11:52 AM
reply to post by Illusionsaregrander

Excellent response and thank you for the source. As a whole life extinction event, I think it would be difficult for anything short of a deep impact event to wipe out all living things. Most of the items listed in the realm of realistic possibility would only, as you stated, collapse life as we know it, rather than obliterate. Climate change, nuclear war, even super volcanic eruption could in fact be survived by a measure of humanity with total destruction being limited to those left on the surface.
This is exactly why I posed this because a lot of what was posed got me to thinking just how "total" would any of these events actually be and which of them is the most realistically possible to destroy life on our little rock.

posted on Aug, 18 2008 @ 12:09 PM
Well.. In your list of possible End of Times events... You forgot the polar shift, and of course 2012.

posted on Aug, 21 2008 @ 12:11 PM
ITs all about Planet X, or as NASA calls it, Nibiru

posted on Aug, 21 2008 @ 12:26 PM
Yeah, made possible by Nibiru, or as NASA calls her, SENDA

They say it all starts around Feb, 09... The weird thing, is the Farmers Almanc is calling for a VERY UNSEASONABLE WINTER, with Large amounts of snow, in FEB, 09.. Could it be the MOST NOTABLE start to the finish?

posted on Aug, 21 2008 @ 01:10 PM
I really don't put any of these high on the list of possibilities. My list would be something like:

2) Super Volcano - we know these have existed in the past, and that they could appear again. We also have no way to use our technology to prevent it.
3) Disease - The more we use new medications, the more diseases seem to mutate to become untreatable.
4) Asteroid - The chances are pretty slim, but no slimmer than they were when the dinos died out.
5) Nuclear War - I really don't worry about this too much, since we have a balance of power in the world. But that balance could be thrown off kilter somehow and we do have madmen running countries and a lot of black-market nukes...
6) AI - I personally don't think we are on the right path even to Ai, but I could be proven wrong.
7) Black Hole - again, highly doubtful, and no one would probably even know about it when it happened. But it's (IMHO) more likely still than:
8) Global Warming - A way to get people to happily pay taxes for simply living.

But, coming in as number 1, is a scenario I can see as quite possible:

A new treaty on carbon emissions is accepted and ratified by the UN members. This imposes the cap & trade mechanism on all developed countries, effectively limiting CO2 outputs. As an unintended (or at least unrealized) side effect, the developed countries soon suffer an economic collapse. The political divides that have been in place for years are exasperated by by this and civil war breaks out between the citizenry and the various governments.

The once-underdeveloped countries, exempt from these restrictions, become the technological powerhouses of manufacturing and marketing. Their populations are under control, due to the prosperity of their economies as well as the tight restrictions on freedom. They launch a war to overtake neighboring countries in order to increase their power and control. In their haste, they deforest huge tracts of land for more factories.

Meanwhile, the CO2 debate has finally been resolved. As it turns out, according to scientific analysis using the newer optical computers, both sides were partly right, but also partly wrong. CO2 levels were contributing to a global temperature increase slightly, but were also increasing plant life and allowing it to drastically reduce the temperature through previously unrecognized massive respiration. By the time scientists are able to get the word out about the coming dangers, with the delays by those who refused to examine the facts, it was too late. The Amazon and South Pacific forests were gone to make room for factories, and the United States was struggling to grow enough food to feed the 80 million people left from land which was charred from bombs and explosions. Plant life on earth was at 40% of it's previous level.

At this point, the most prolific producer of CO2 became the oceans. As the temperature began to rise by 4 degrees/year, the carbonic acid in the oceans leached out as more CO2, further compounding the problem. With little flora left to absorb it, the temperature rose even higher. People began complaining of headaches in some of the more developed countries, caused by the massive surge of CO2 levels. At a 13% temperature rise, the countries who had deforested the planet realized they had made a mistake and began placing CO2 scrubbers across the globe. This was in opposition to the treaty signed years earlier, but the UN was now dismantled.

CO2 levels dropped, for the first time in years. But it went too far. In their haste, too many scrubbers were put into production, and CO2 levels dropped to abysmal levels. More people died, most from asthmatic attacks aggravated by a lack of CO2 to regulate their breathing process.

But even worse was to come. The plant life that was left began to wither, as CO2 levels dropped too low for them to survive. Despite cries from the remaining scientists around the world, the scrubbers kept operating. Public pressure to make sure the CO2 was not rising became too great for the leaders to ignore. The last blade of grass seen was reported at 15:32 on July 23, 2013.

Medical science kept some people alive for a few more years, but finally a lack of food and inability to metabolize oxygen efficiently without a CO2 offset led to the last person on earth, Amanda Grey, passing away at 02:34 on December 12, 2016, in the northwest section of Zambia. She fell beside her physician, who had apparently passed away a few hours previously.


posted on Oct, 27 2008 @ 09:38 AM
The thing i think will wipe out life on earth is a super volcano. Under yellow stone national park is a HUGE magma chamber. according to scientists this huge chamber erupted about 500 thousand years ago. This huge eruption wiped out about 85 percent of the mand kind and sent the earth into a barren land scape. Now most of the people were all the way across the atlantic at this time but they still got affected. Now imagine this super volcano going off with todays population. In a 20 mile radias around yellow stone there is over one million people. It is a fact that it will erupted again but when is the real question.........


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