Back in the 1970s, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist named William Shockley created quite a stir when he suggested that certain races (i.e., black people) were “genetically inferior” to whites and Asians, and that in order for the human race to have any chance of “improving” itself, people with IQs lower than 100 should submit to voluntary sterilization. Other than that, nothing he said was particularly controversial.
Yet another display of mediocrity by this writer. Moreover he is unnecessarily insulting and does so by putting words in Hawking’s mouth that the man never said. Furthermore, the science behind Hawking’s predictions are sound, most especially the limits of population growth and of course climate chaos over a century!
What point is there to publishing such a low end tirade anyway? The author cites no specific quotes or passages from Hawking. He impugns Hawking’s motivation ( I am fairly sure it was not in Hawking’s mind to abandon anyone actually especially that implied being based on race ). This is mundane and mediocre stuff. Who is this person? Millions of people were union organizers at times in their life ( I was ) whatever that actually means. He claims he was a playwright? What play was that pray tell?
Why the racism too? The author throws it out there for no reason except Hawking’s skin color that I can fathom. He literally accuses Hawking of racist thinking and of some bizarre notion of abandoning the planet’s third world non-white poor? All of it based on nothing!
CD’s editors should spare us this mediocre writing and unpalatable unsubstantiated opinion and innuendo.
We can do both - Seriously try to save the sinking ship and build lifeboats. So far we have done the equivalent of grabbing a roll of duct tape to get those jobs done.
Yeah right, you can build lifeboats, but it might be helpful to have someplace to go with them… just a thought.
One of the many memorable Prairie Home Companion skits was about space travel. During the Bush Jr era, Keillor narrates the science community’s declaration of impending doom in the form of a massive asteroid collision to occur within the week. Evacuation plans to reach and colonize Mars are initiated, but there was only room for a single astronaut. George W pulls strings to be the survivor and blasts off into space. Almost immediately after, the science community admits they made a mistake and the doomsday prediction cancelled. You get the picture. Partying afterward for more than one reason.
Not that funny? How about this: Those who believe in reincarnation, think it might not be a coincidence that GW Bush was born shortly after Hitler died. Coincidentally, the Donald was also born shortly after Hitler died. Coincidence?
Saving the species is not necessarily the same as saving everybody or even a lot of people. It could also mean only a few people (representative of all races and nations ) who are sent off in cryogenic sleep hibernation along with frozen fertilized human ova to be test tube babies all accomplished with the help of AI robots.
My guess is that humanity figures out teleportion and we seed a perhaps empty universe with Earth life and humanity. A poetic notion I admit but with hundreds of millions of habitable planets (maybe billions) it would seem a logical reason for Earth’s amazingly prolific biodiversity - LIFE to fill an empty sterile universe with life eternal. On the other hand we might find the neighborhood crowded with other intelligent life carrying signs that read ‘Earthlings stay home’ and what not!
It’s not defeatism, it’s pragmatism.
It’s already way too late for his earth. We are just begining to witness the initial throws of climate change. By every and all measurement science has drastically underestimated the damage we have already done, and have low balled the positive feedback loops scenario.
No, we are doomed. And unless we magically find a planet within a few light years, and use an equal amount of magic to invent light speed travel, we will be doomed sooner than anybody thinks
Try not to be such an optimist! We aren’t doomed at all. It ain’t over even when it is over. Sure it is over for the beautiful bountiful good green Earth but in its place we would still have a overpopulated misery laden hothouse of disease and famine to look forward to for perhaps centuries to come.
We would probably eff up that new planet too because we would bring our problems with us.
Money is destroying the earth and greed along with egoism is what will destroy any new home humans habit. Wealth will determine who stays, who leaves, who lives, and who dies, which is a dubious foundation for any new civilization. We are all screwed if we do not start changing the forces that are destroying the planet we live on now (pollution, globalization, climate change, over population, etc.). We can run but we can’t hide from ourselves.
There is a fatal paradox at the heart of this argument, and that is that this author is even LESS qualified than Hawking to comment on the topic, and so by his own logic ought never to have written the article.
If we buy the nonsense that you need to have a PhD to have an opinion on something, then what business does a labour activist have telling us what Stephen Hawking can and cannot say?
If you have a problem with what Hawking said, then address the substance of the argument. Accusing Hawking or anyone else of speaking “outside of their field” is stupid, especially coming from someone who has no field. It’s a non-point.
In the short period of a few decades that a very few countries have been sending stuff into the earth’s atmosphere, they have managed to leave it amazingly trashy. What is to change the behavior at the future location? The bulk of our planet’s pollution has been accumulated, amazingly, in the last century, even snowballing into the most recent years.
What is the cost comparison, I wonder, between this expedition to the unknown and living cleaner on earth?
If I have to live in a spacesuit with an oxygen mask, I, for one would rather do it at home rather than on another far away planet of dubious livability.
Let’s talk about sustainability.
Perhaps colonizing Mars is a pipe dream but perhaps a dream is what people currently need. Imagine scientist from every continent channeling their energies towards a goal of making Mars or a Saturn moon habitable. What technology might arise with real world application usefully in saving the tiny, blue marble we currently habitate? There was zero need for anyone to go to the moon but go we did and it wasn’t just 'merikans who were awed by our first footprint there. From the moon program came microchips, teflon, joy sticks, CAT scanners and the list goes on and on. It is estimated that the global population will peak at 15 billion people all clamoring for fewer and fewer resources. If you think the rich and powerful won’t use some sort of twisted social darwinism and military force to say who gets what then you are delusional. The hubris to think that humankind cannot go extinct flies in the face of what we know of the planet’s history.
I stand corrected! I look forward to eating Soylent Red, then Soylent Yellow.
I have heard bad things about Soylent Green though (something about it not being kosher)
Here again, False Dilemma. Only 2 choices.
But more importantly, we have proven we can do 2 phenomenal things at once. (So multitasking is not a total myth).
For example, the filthy rich steal from the starving poor, stick them into perpetual war, and then the filthy murderous rich sit by the pool while their MIC builds their empire . Oooops, sorry, that’s a trifecta. . .
One flaw in your argument. Your scenario only takes humans, and leaves behind Earth’s amazingly prolific biodiversity. We are beginning to find out what happens when we destroy just a part of that diversity, yet you seem to think that humans could survive without it.
On the other hand, it would be a blessing for poor beleaguered Mother Earth to have nasty, greedy, destructive humans migrating to other planets.
I said no such thing! I said that I believed it is a poetic destiny for Earth’s amazingly prolific biodiversity to spread life itself across what may be a sterile empty universe that is devoid of life. I think we will find extraterrestrial life myself but even so, there are literally millions upon millions of worlds where Earth life could be made to exist but doesn’t as yet!
Here are some possibles. Right now scientists are exploring teleportion (Related to Einsrein’s ‘Spooky action at a distance’ quantum physics. They intend to have data from one particle instaneously exist at the same time on another particle thus serving as a communications Device. This is nearly teleportion but it is not just theory because they have done this already across a distance of seven miles. Thus someday, it may be possible to teleport physical matter since some form of teleportion has been shown to be possible already.
Another is to construct gigantic colony ships in space (presumably using AI robotic factories etc). These would be vast hollow cylinders many miles long within which would be trees, soil, lakes and ponds, miniature oceans, pastures and grasslands, herds of animals and representative natural habitats (like zoos) such as jungles and deserts etc with the appropriate animals and cities and towns, farms and whatnot filled with families etc. If big enough a colony ship might transport a hundred thousand people or maybe far greater numbers across space on journeys that might take several generations. Daily life aboard a colony ship would be pretty much the same as it is normally. Once the vessel arrived it could provide living space while the colonists terraform a sterile world using GMO organisms to rapidly produce oxygen and plankton etc.
Thirdly, a small number of people along with AI robots to assist them could bring with them frozen fertilized ova of both human and animals to seed a tiny colony on an already habitable planet.
Fourthly, we invent relatively inexpensive FTL drive (like space going cars and trucks) and humans as well as plants and animals too, explode across the universe in a diaspora wave of immense proportions and we start seeing those “Earthman go home” signs being put up on all the best resort planets!
Messy primates that we are, the universe has plenty of room so that there is no need to worry about us messing up some new planet. The only thing we could do would be to alter the landscape anyway. We’d have to bring the plants and animals with us from the start. There are literally more planets that could be made to be habitable than there are human beings.
You take that one over there and I’ll take this one over here!
If the universe is filled with life then all bets are off and you might be right about those signs someday lol.
Why would you need to live in a spacesuit with a helmet?
Think of a space going RV! The only difference is that it flies through space and is airtight like is a submarine.
Mel Brooks’ movie Spaceballs has a silly version of the idea but a fun movie as always with him.
If you had a spaceship that was as comfortable as is living on a boat or in an RV… then why not see the sights! It’s a big universe but please… no littering!
So, David Macaray sets himself up as being more realistic and pragmatic than Stephen Hawking? Okay, let’s save this planet; now tell me how? We are not a “good” species. Should progressives take up arms against the majority of the human race? There is little time left for anything else, given that reason will not persuade those who have come by their opinions illogically. We are, as a race, greedy, egotistical, inhumane, willfully ignorant and incredibly short-sighted. Even if it is true that the arc of history bends eventually toward justice, there is insufficient time. It seems the only way to save the planet is to murder the majority of its human inhabitants. I, for one, will have no part of that. Would we simply destroy another world? Of course! Hawking is, at least, proposing an alternative to being perpetually blinded by our rose colored glasses.
Brilliant. We’ve trashed this planet so let’s just move on to another. Here’s a painful thought: maybe humans shouldn’t survive. This beautiful planet will go on and evolve with different lifeforms.