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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2007 > Jan > Jan 31

Re: Can Humanity Survive? Want to Bet on It? -

From: Rick Nielsen <nilthchi.nul>
Date: Tue, 30 Jan 2007 11:26:57 -0800 (PST)
Fwd Date: Wed, 31 Jan 2007 13:55:36 -0500
Subject: Re: Can Humanity Survive? Want to Bet on It? -


>Source: The New York Times - New York, USA

>http://tinyurl.com/2efhxw

>Published: January 30, 2007

>Can Humanity Survive? Want to Bet on It?
>By John Tierney

>Sixty ago years, a group of physicists concerned about nuclear
>weapons created the Doomsday Clock and set its hands at seven
>minutes to midnight. Now, the clock=92s keepers, alarmed by new
>dangers like climate change, have moved the hands up to 11:55
>p.m.

>My first reaction was a sigh of relief. After all, the 1947
>doomsday prediction marked the start of a golden age. Never have
>so many humans lived so long =97 and maybe never so peacefully =97
>as during the past 60 years. The per-capita rate of violence,
>particularly in the West, seems remarkably low by historical
>standards. If the clock=92s keepers are worried once again, their
>track record suggests we=92re in for even happier days.

>But there=92s one novel twist that gives me pause. When the
>Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists announced two weeks ago in
>Washington that it was adjusting the clock, it was joined in a
>trans-Atlantic press conference by scientists at the Royal
>Society in London. One of them was the society=92s president,
>Martin Rees, a new breed of doomsayer.

>Dr. Rees, a cosmologist at Cambridge and Britain=92s astronomer
>royal, doesn=92t just issue gloomy predictions. He doesn=92t just
>move the hands of an imaginary and inscrutable clock. (Its
>keepers have never explained what one of their minutes equals on
>anyone else=92s clock or calendar.)

>No, Dr. Rees is braver. He gives odds on doomsday and offers to
>bet on disaster. In his 2003 book, =93Our Final Hour,=94 he gives
>civilization no more than a 50 percent chance of surviving until
>2100.

>Dr. Rees is not a knee-jerk technophobe =97 he expects great
>advances as researchers around the world link their knowledge =97
>but he fears that progress will be undone by what he calls the
>new global village idiots. He=92s sure enough of himself to post
>an offer on Long Bets, a clever innovation on the Web that
>Stewart Brand helped start with money from Jeff Bezos, the
>founder of Amazon.com.

>Long Bets is a nonprofit foundation that calls itself an =93arena
>for competitive, accountable predictions.=94 It lets anyone make a
>prediction and take wagers on it, with the proceeds going to a
>charity named by the winner. The bets made so far are from $200
>to $10,000, on topics ranging from the driving habits of
>Americans in 2010 to whether the universe will stop expanding.
>Mitchell Kapor, the software guru, is betting that in 2029 no
>computer will have passed the Turing test (by conversing so much
>like a human that you couldn=92t tell the difference). The
>physicist Freeman Dyson=92s money is on the first extraterrestrial
>life=92s being found somewhere other than a planet or its
>satellite.

<snip>

[Thanks to Stuart Miller of http://uforeview.net/ for the lead]

I'd like to turn back the hands a bit of those doomsdayers and
their pessimistic purviews with their taudry timepieces.

Let me speak of freedom of speech, that grand old guaranteed
inalienable right, the basis of every other freedom. That genie
is out of the bottle and enough of us masses already know that
we as humanity can't ever go completely back to that freedom's
lack. We just won't abide that. We'll do everything in our
collective powers to maintain those freedoms, based on free
speech, as fundamentally required for human existence.

Think for a moment how all those ancient "wonders of the world"
were only made infrequently when approved by the disparate
despots who wanted vainglory for themselves and their personal
goals made public works.

Then compare with those many advancements humanity has made
because we esteem free thought and free speech and free belief
and their requisite acts and other freedoms, "as long as my fist
doesn't reach your nose", or the nose of those who can't defend
themselves.

As long as we, and every other person on this planet, have the
freedom to say there is a need to consider a doomsday clock, and
all the good and bad in this world that we're collectively doing
to ourselves, _we_will_endure._





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