That's the spirit of the whole thing, isn't it? A place to discuss whatever is on your mind - ask questions when you have them, propose theories or explain thoughts when they come to you. An open place for conversation among many diverse individuals.


If you would like to join our community, please leave a comment, and we will be sure to add you as an author. You're also welcome to join the conversation on Twitter, just search 'weekendphilosophers'. All questions can be directed to

Friday, June 5, 2009

"I was working a flat tax proposal and accidentally proved there was no God."

I've talked about them before and I will promote them for nothing again, I was listening to the latest 'The Definitive Word' recently and they were talking about the apocalypse.

This is a good topic...or at least, I like I figured I'd carry over their conversation to you, faithful members, and we can discuss the two obvious questions associated with it.

First - how will the apocalypse come? Now I'm not talking about the Biblical end of days, and I'm not talking about complete global destruction (if science accidentally creates a black hole...then there's not a whole lot to discuss).

Second - what of the survivors?

There were four main candidates for our likely destruction discussed on TDW - nuclear warfare, asteroid, global warming - ice caps melting and all of the subsequent consequences therein, and finally the end of fossil fuels.

I think I'll start in the opposite direction because that's more of less the order in which I see them happening in a way that will impact human life as we know it (I think global warming is inevitable at this point, but the changes in climate and weather patterns will be more or less adjusted to over time with minimal loss to the structure of society in which we live...I guess I just discussed that one). I think it's unlikely that we'll run out of fossil fuels in the time frame prior to us being able to rely solely on alternative resources. Yes, we are not even close to being able to survive on solar, wind or any of the other renewable resources yet (fuel cells...), but we are close enough and we have enough finite resources at our disposal that while this may affect our lifestyles down the road, it will not be the collapse of society.

The final two are probably the most frightening. The fact is, Earth is pummeled by asteroids a lot more than we know about - this article, The Sky is Falling, is a good example of what we are up against in terms of asteroid strikes and the apparent lack of concern from the global community. Now I get it, it's not likely...but you know what - it's likely enough and it's something that we can somewhat do something about. We already can theorize on the destructive power of asteroids as it's still the generally accepted response to 'what killed the dinosaurs?' The asteroid also would have a catastrophic effect on our climate, assuming it strikes land (a 30% chance), the dust cloud created would be more than 1000 nukes and would probably stay afloat, blocking out the sun for years as far as we know. It would completely destroy all of civilization infrastructure and likely kill any chance of agriculture as well...then what? The survivors in this scenario have a very bleak future indeed.

Finally, nuclear warfare. Sadly, this is more likely every year given the increasingly aggressive personality of several nations. Depending on the magic number of 'how many' - society may or may not be completely obliterated, although an obvious chunk of what we know would be gone. This is the most popular in terms of books, movies and video games given the glamourization of warfare in Hollywood.

My point is, in a true apocalypse (at least in my mind), all lines of government will fall and mob rule will take place - on a global scale. I'm looking at a 50-75% death rate on initial impact. The survivors are few and far between, disease and in-fighting will kill an additional 15-20%. Then what? What chance does human life have given these events? Going with the asteroid theory, as it's my personal favorite, there will be limited to no electricity available, agriculture will be minimal, all resources will immediately become limited, etc... In order to cause true global chaos, the asteroid would need to create an EMP, knocking out all lines of communication globally, as well as take out a major city - just to prove a point. The shockwave would kill millions, if not billions more - from crumbling buildings to tidal waves - then the true horror starts...the dust cloud that blocks out the sun for most of the planet.

Anyways - what are your thoughts on how we're ending up on the wrong side of one of nature's tests?


No comments: