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Hawking: Our lease on Earth is up in 1000 years. Must colonize other planets


From Stephanie Pappas at LiveScience:

Stephen Hawking thinks humanity has only 1,000 years left of survival on Earth and that our species needs to colonize other planets.

The famed physicist made the statement in a speech at Oxford University Union, in which he promoted the goal of searching for and colonizing Earth-like exoplanets. Developing the technology to allow humans to travel to and live on faraway alien worlds is a challenge, to say the least. But is Hawking right that humanity has only 1,000 years to figure it out?

The dangers Hawking cited — from climate change, to nuclear weapons, to genetically engineered viruses — could indeed pose existential threats to our species, experts say, but predicting a millennium into the future is a murky business.More.

It sure is murky. Thought experiment: If we lived in 1016, what would we have predicted about the future? Interestingly, most people in western Europe thought the world was going to blazes back then but the causes cited were all different: Vikings, bandits, invading peoples, warlords in conflict… It would be hard for people back then to imagine a Europe where war is not a common state of affairs. Come to think of it, would a North American in 1016 would have expected New York or NASA?

The trouble with prophesying at that distance is that one cannot factor in future developments not yet imagined.

See also: Stephen Hawking disappointed by Brexit

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Jon Garvey @ 1 - Great post. Exactly. They founded monasteries on the worst sites and cultivated them to become so productive that they fed thousands of people from neighboring areas.
So I think their prediction – no doubt wrong, but reasonable – would have been that the world would have become a richer and better place for all the children of mankind.
Yes, but part of that prediction would have included "if people accept or at least support our ideal". And the world contains much that is renewable as well as many new resources that we discover each year. Silver Asiatic
Why should I care about humanity dying out? I and everyone I care about will be dead within a few decades. Plus, it's all just one big cosmic accident anyway, right? mike1962
Mr. Hawking, please stick to physics. When you go off that topic you tend to spout wacky stuff. EvilSnack
To put it mildly, this minimization of poisonous elements, and 'explosion' of useful minerals, is strong evidence for Intelligently Designed terra-forming of the earth that 'just so happens' to be of great benefit to modern man. Clearly many, if not all, of the metal ores and minerals laid down by these sulfate-reducing bacteria, as well as laid down by the biogeochemistry of more complex life, as well as laid down by finely-tuned geological conditions throughout the early history of the earth, have many unique properties which are crucial for technologically advanced life, and are thus indispensable to man’s rise above the stone age to the advanced 'space-age' technology of modern civilization.
Metallurgy http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metallurgy Rare Earth Elements make high tech gadgets possible - 13:29 minute mark - video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O3-ij76hYO0&feature=player_detailpage#t=809 Minerals and Their Uses Every segment of society uses minerals and mineral resources everyday. The roads we ride or drive on and the buildings we live learn and work in all contain minerals. http://www.scienceviews.com/geology/minerals.html
Isaiah 45:18-19 For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens, who is God, who formed the earth and made it, who established it, who did not create it in vain, who formed it to be inhabited: “I am the Lord, and there is no other. I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth; I did not say to the seed of Jacob, ‘seek me in vain’; I, the Lord speak righteousness, I declare things that are right.”
Of supplemental note:
Hugh Ross – The Anthropic Principle and The Anthropic Inequality – video (50:24 minute mark) https://youtu.be/mzIVrcSyprU?t=3028 Anthropic Principle: A Precise Plan for Humanity By Hugh Ross Excerpt: Brandon Carter, the British mathematician who coined the term “anthropic principle” (1974), noted the strange inequity of a universe that spends about 15 billion years “preparing” for the existence of a creature that has the potential to survive no more than 10 million years (optimistically).,, Carter and (later) astrophysicists John Barrow and Frank Tipler demonstrated that the inequality exists for virtually any conceivable intelligent species under any conceivable life-support conditions. Roughly 15 billion years represents a minimum preparation time for advanced life: 11 billion toward formation of a stable planetary system, one with the right chemical and physical conditions for primitive life, and four billion more years toward preparation of a planet within that system, one richly layered with the biodeposits necessary for civilized intelligent life. Even this long time and convergence of “just right” conditions reflect miraculous efficiency. Moreover the physical and biological conditions necessary to support an intelligent civilized species do not last indefinitely. They are subject to continuous change: the Sun continues to brighten, Earth’s rotation period lengthens, Earth’s plate tectonic activity declines, and Earth’s atmospheric composition varies. In just 10 million years or less, Earth will lose its ability to sustain human life. In fact, this estimate of the human habitability time window may be grossly optimistic. In all likelihood, a nearby supernova eruption, a climatic perturbation, a social or environmental upheaval, or the genetic accumulation of negative mutations will doom the species to extinction sometime sooner than twenty thousand years from now. http://christiangodblog.blogspot.com/2006_12_01_archive.html Life and Earth History Reveal God's Miraculous Preparation for Humans - Hugh Ross, PhD - video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2Y496NYnm8 Lucky Us: Turning the Copernican Principle on Its Head - Daniel Bakken - January 26, 2015 Excerpt: What if intelligence and technology hadn't arisen in Earth's habitability time window? Waltham in Lucky Planet asks "So, how do we explain the remarkable coincidence that the timescale for the emergence of intelligence is almost the same as the timescale for habitability?" Researchers Carter and Watson have dubbed this idea the anthropic inequality and it seems surprising, if it is not for some purpose.,,, http://www.evolutionnews.org/2015/01/lucky_us_turnin093011.html
These following sites have illustrations that show some of the interdependent biogeochemical complexity of different types of bacterial life on Earth.,,,
Biologically mediated cycles for hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, sulfur, and iron – image of interdependent ‘biogeochemical’ web http://www.sciencemag.org/content/320/5879/1034/F2.large.jpg Microbial Mat Ecology – Image on page 92 (third page down) http://www.dsls.usra.edu/biologycourse/workbook/Unit2.2.pdf
This crucial interdependent complexity of various bacteria is ancient:
Geobiologist Noffke Reports Signs of Life that Are 3.48 Billion Years Old - 11/11/13 Excerpt: the mats woven of tiny microbes we see today covering tidal flats were also present as life was beginning on Earth. The mats, which are colonies of cyanobacteria, can cause unusual textures and formations in the sand beneath them. Noffke has identified 17 main groups of such textures caused by present-day microbial mats, and has found corresponding structures in geological formations dating back through the ages. http://www.odu.edu/about/odu-publications/insideodu/2013/11/11/topstory1
,,,Please note, that if even one type of bacteria group did not exist in this complex cycle of biogeochemical interdependence, that was illustrated on the third page of the preceding site, then all of the different bacteria would soon die out. This essential biogeochemical interdependence, of the most primitive different types of bacteria that we have evidence of on ancient earth, makes the origin of life ‘problem’ for neo-Darwinists that much worse. For now not only do neo-Darwinists have to explain how the ‘miracle of life’ happened once with the origin of photosynthetic bacteria, but they now also must explain how all these different types bacteria, in this irreducibly complex biogeochemical web, miraculously arose just in time to supply the necessary nutrients, in their biogeochemical link in the chain, for photosynthetic bacteria to continue to survive.
"Without Plate Tectonics Life on Earth Might Never Have Gained a Foothold" - May 7, 2014 Excerpt: Plate tectonics -the movement of huge chunks, or plates, of a planet's surface- are crucial to a planet's habitability because they enable complex chemistry and recycle substances like carbon dioxide, which acts as a thermostat and keeps Earth balmy. Carbon dioxide that was locked into rocks is released when those rocks melt, returning to the atmosphere from volcanoes and oceanic ridges. "Recycling is important even on a planetary scale," http://www.dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog/2014/05/without-plate-tectonics-life-on-earth-might-never-have-gained-a-foothold-harvard-smithsonian-center-.html
Interestingly, while the photo-synthetic bacteria were reducing greenhouse gases and producing oxygen and minerals, which would all be of benefit to modern man, other types of bacteria were also producing their own natural resources which would be very useful to modern man. Some types of bacteria helped prepare the earth for advanced life by detoxifying the primeval earth and oceans of poisonous levels of heavy metals while depositing them as relatively inert metal ores. Metal ores which are very useful for modern man, as well as fairly easy for man to extract today (mercury, cadmium, zinc, cobalt, arsenic, chromate, tellurium and copper to name a few). To this day, various types of bacteria maintain an essential minimal level of these heavy metals in the ecosystem which are high enough so as to be available to the biological systems of the higher life forms that need them yet low enough so as not to be poisonous to those very same higher life forms.
Bacterial Heavy Metal Detoxification and Resistance Systems: Excerpt: Bacterial plasmids contain genetic determinants for resistance systems for Hg2+ (and organomercurials), Cd2+, AsO2, AsO43-, CrO4 2-, TeO3 2-, Cu2+, Ag+, Co2+, Pb2+, and other metals of environmental concern.,, Recombinant DNA analysis has been applied to mercury, cadmium, zinc, cobalt, arsenic, chromate, tellurium and copper resistance systems. http://www.springerlink.com/content/u1t281704577v8t3/ The Classic Metal Behind the Origins of Life - March 24, 2016 Excerpt: The Metallome A list of life-supporting metals with illustrative biological functions.* Sodium: nerve function, osmotic pressure balance, and charge stability of cell Potassium: nerve function, osmotic pressure balance, and charge stability of cell Magnesium: plant photosynthesis, structure stabilizer Calcium: skeletal structure forming (teeth, bones), control signal trigger Vanadium: catalyst for oxygen reactions, possibly involved in oxygen transport Chromium: possibly involved in insulin function Manganese: activator of certain enzymes, plant photosynthesis Iron: oxygen transport and storage, electron transport catalyst Cobalt: cell division, a constituent of vitamin B12 Nickel: hydrogen activation, catalytic protection from toxic superoxide Copper: respiratory chain electron transport catalyst, catalytic protection from toxic superoxide Zinc: super acid catalyst, enzyme activator, blood pH control Molybdenum: nitrogen fixation in plants, oxygen atom transfer catalyst Tungsten: oxygen atom transfer catalyst * This list contains metals that support essential life processes. The list is not meant to be complete for all organisms and not all organisms may require all of the above metals. However, some metallome elements are required by all living cells, such as iron, which is a necessary nutrient for more than 99 percent of all known cells. The metals of the metallome, while they serve specific life enabling functions, can also be toxic if present in the wrong cellular location at the wrong concentration. Hence the metallome, while essential, must be carefully controlled by the genome and proteome in a living system. http://nautil.us/issue/34/adaptation/the-classic-metal-behind-the-origins-of-life The Concentration of Metals for Humanity's Benefit: Excerpt: They demonstrated that hydrothermal fluid flow could enrich the concentration of metals like zinc, lead, and copper by at least a factor of a thousand. They also showed that ore deposits formed by hydrothermal fluid flows at or above these concentration levels exist throughout Earth's crust. The necessary just-right precipitation conditions needed to yield such high concentrations demand extraordinary fine-tuning. That such ore deposits are common in Earth's crust strongly suggests supernatural design. http://www.reasons.org/TheConcentrationofMetalsforHumanitysBenefit
And on top of the fact that poisonous heavy metals on the primordial earth were brought into 'life-enabling' balance by complex, interdependent, biogeochemical processes, there was also an explosion of minerals on earth which were a result of that first life, as well as being a result of each subsequent 'Big Bang of life' there afterwards.
Newly Discovered Bacterium Forms Intracellular Minerals - May 11, 2012 Excerpt: A new species of photosynthetic bacterium has come to light: it is able to control the formation of minerals (calcium, magnesium, barium and strontium carbonates) within its own organism. ,, carbonate rocks that date back some 3.5 billion years and are among the earliest traces of life on Earth. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120511101352.htm (Calcium carbonate, of which chalk, limestone and marble are made, also makes up corals, shells of snails and other animals, and stromatolites. Strontium Carbonate is used in Ceramics, Pyrotechnics, Electronics and metallurgy. Barium carbonate is widely used in the ceramics industry as an ingredient in glazes. It acts as a flux, a matting and crystallizing agent and combines with certain colouring oxides to produce unique colours not easily attainable by other means. In the brick, tile, earthenware and pottery industries barium carbonate is added to clays to precipitate soluble salts. Magnesium carbonate also has several important uses for man.) The Creation of Minerals: Excerpt: Thanks to the way life was introduced on Earth, the early 250 mineral species have exploded to the present 4,300 known mineral species. And because of this abundance, humans possessed all the necessary mineral resources to easily launch and sustain global, high-technology civilization. http://www.reasons.org/The-Creation-of-Minerals "Today there are about 4,400 known minerals - more than two-thirds of which came into being only because of the way life changed the planet. Some of them were created exclusively by living organisms" - Bob Hazen - Smithsonian - Oct. 2010, pg. 54 Earth's mineralogy unique in the cosmos – August 26, 2015 New research predicts that Earth has more than 1,500 undiscovered minerals and that the exact mineral diversity of our planet is unique and could not be duplicated anywhere in the cosmos. Excerpt: 5,000 types existing today arose primarily from the rise of life. More than two-thirds of known minerals can be linked directly or indirectly to biological activity, according to Hazen.,,, The team predicted that 1,563 minerals exist on Earth today, but have yet to be discovered and described.,, Earth's mineralogy is unique in the cosmos," Hazen said. - Per science daily
Fine tuning of Light, Atmosphere, and Water to Photosynthesis (etc..) - video (2016) https://youtu.be/NIwZqDkrj9I Fine-Tuning Of Light to Atmosphere, Life, and Water Excerpt:,,,The visible portion of the electromagnetic spectrum (~1 micron) is the most intense radiation from the sun (Figure 1); has the greatest biological utility (Figure 2); and easily passes through atmosphere of Earth (Figure 3) and water (Figure 4) with almost no absorption. It is uniquely this same wavelength of radiation that is idea to foster the chemistry of life. This is either a truly amazing series of coincidences or else the result of careful design. (Walter Bradley),,, ,,,These specific frequencies of light (that enable plants to manufacture food and astronomers to observe the cosmos) represent less than 1 trillionth of a trillionth (10^-24) of the universe’s entire range of electromagnetic emissions. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1NbkCLPaccDdfQNR6AqDnhsB304EGFH-12P9TBGo1UJg/edit Compositions of Extrasolar Planets - July 2010 Excerpt: ,,,the presumption that extrasolar terrestrial planets will consistently manifest Earth-like chemical compositions is incorrect. Instead, the simulations revealed “a wide variety of resulting planetary compositions. http://www.reasons.org/compositions-extrasolar-planets Mars Life Would Spit Out the Water - October 2, 2015 Excerpt: What if the water is so bad, Martians would spit it out? Nadia Drake at National Geographic is a tad more realistic: "You might think that the first human explorers on Mars will park next to a salty stream and use it to manufacture fresh drinking water. Maybe they could even find life in damp Martian nooks and crannies, areas where the dusty red planet can still fuel microbes. Reality is much more subtle. Finding evidence for flowing water is not the same as finding life.,,," "[Chris] McKay notes that the type of salts near the Martian streaks, called perchlorates, form different watery mixtures than the salts we’re most used to on Earth. In fact, it’s possible the perchlorate streaks could behave similarly to Antarctica’s Don Juan Pond, which is the saltiest liquid water body on Earth—and totally dead. “Such a brine is not suitable for life and is of no interest biologically,” McKay says. “Nothing can live in the brine of Don Juan Pond.” http://crev.info/2015/10/mars-life-would-spit-out-the-water/ Toxic Mars: Astronauts Must Deal with Perchlorate on the Red Planet - June 13, 2013 Excerpt: The high levels of perchlorate found on Mars would be toxic to humans, Smith said.,,, "Anybody who is saying they want to go live on the surface of Mars better think about the interaction of perchlorate with the human body," he warned. "At one-half percent, that's a huge amount. Very small amounts are considered toxic. So you'd better have a plan to deal with the poisons on the surface." http://www.space.com/21554-mars-toxic-perchlorate-chemicals.html Our Poisonous Moon: Better from a Distance - July, 2012 Excerpt: Even if the dust problems could be overcome, the moon remains unprotected from solar UV radiation, the solar wind, solar flares, micrometeorites and high-energy cosmic rays. The authors listed 34 remaining “knowledge gaps” about lunar toxicity. If any of these (many suspected to be high to very high risk) were to prove serious, it might cause a reconsideration of the wisdom of sending humans to the moon for extended stays. Since some of the risks apply to Mars as well (and since the moon would probably be a training base), these findings could put a damper on hopes for manned missions to Mars. http://crev.info/2012/07/our-poisonous-moon/
It is interesting to note man's failure to build, right here on 'friendly' Earth, a miniature, self-enclosed, ecology that could sustain human life for any extended periods of time.
Biosphere 2 – What Went Wrong? Excerpt: Other Problems Biosphere II’s water systems became polluted with too many nutrients. The crew had to clean their water by running it over mats of algae, which they later dried and stored. Also, as a symptom of further atmospheric imbalances, the level of dinitrogen oxide became dangerously high. At these levels, there was a risk of brain damage due to a reduction in the synthesis of vitamin B12. http://biology.kenyon.edu/slonc/bio3/2000projects/carroll_d_walker_e/whatwentwrong.html
Transforming a toxic planet into a bio-friendly planet, that is capable of supporting human civilization, simply is not as easy as it is imagined to be:
“Microbial life can easily live without us; we, however, cannot survive without the global catalysis and environmental transformations it provides.” - Paul G. Falkowski – Professor Geological Sciences – Rutgers How Microbes Make Earth Habitable - February 10, 2016 Excerpt: Nitrogen-Fixing Bacterium Does Solo Performance,,, Plankton Maintain Carbon Cycle,,, Diatoms Promote Diatomic Oxygen,,, http://www.evolutionnews.org/2016/02/how_microbes_ma102600.html
Earth is a precious jewel possessing a rare combination of qualities that happen to make it almost perfect for sustaining life. Lucky Planet investigates the idea that good fortune, infrequently repeated elsewhere in the Universe, played a significant role in allowing the long-term life-friendliness of our home and that it is unlikely we will succeed in finding similarly complex life elsewhere in the Universe." London astrobiologist - David Waltham, Lucky Planet: Why Earth is Exceptional -- and What That Means for Life in the Universe (Basic Books, 2014), p. 1.) "If some god-like being could be given the opportunity to plan a sequence of events with the expressed goal of duplicating our 'Garden of Eden', that power would face a formidable task. With the best of intentions but limited by natural laws and materials it is unlikely that Earth could ever be truly replicated. Too many processes in its formation involve sheer luck. Earth-like planets could certainly be made, but each would differ in critical ways. This is well illustrated by the fantastic variety of planets and satellites (moons) that formed in our solar system. They all started with similar building materials, but the final products are vastly different from each other . . . . The physical events that led to the formation and evolution of the physical Earth required an intricate set of nearly irreproducible circumstances." Peter B. Ward and Donald Brownlee, Rare Earth: Why Complex Life is Uncommon in the Universe (New York: Copernicus, 2000)
IMHO, People who think that the Moon, Mars, asteroids and the Gas Giant Moons can be colonized and support human civilization for any extended period of time are not being realistic to the evidence we now have in hand. Here are a few notes to that effect:
Space Radiation Threat to Astronauts Explained (Infographic) - May 30, 2013 Excerpt: The magnetic field generated by electric currents in the Earth’s liquid iron core extends far into space, shielding the planet from 99.9 percent of harmful radiation. The Earth’s atmosphere provides additional protection, equal to a slab of metal about 3 feet (1 meter) thick.,,, The moon has no atmosphere and a very weak magnetic field. Astronauts living there would have to provide their own protection, for example by burying their habitat underground. The planet Mars has no global magnetic field. Particles from the sun have stripped away most of Mars’ atmosphere, resulting in very poor protection against radiation at the surface. The highest air pressure on Mars is equal to that at an altitude of 22 miles (35 kilometers) above the Earth’s surface. At low altitudes, Mars’ atmosphere provides slightly better protection from space radiation. http://www.space.com/21353-space-radiation-mars-mission-threat.html infographic: http://www.space.com/images/i/000/029/483/original/radiation-space-danger-130529b-02.jpg?interpolation=lanczos-none&downsize=600:* Invisible shield found thousands of miles above Earth blocks 'killer electrons' - November 26, 2014 Excerpt: A team led by the University of Colorado Boulder has discovered an invisible shield some 7,200 miles above Earth that blocks so-called "killer electrons," which whip around the planet at near-light speed and have been known to threaten astronauts, fry satellites and degrade space systems during intense solar storms. "It's almost like these electrons are running into a glass wall in space," said Baker, the study's lead author. "Somewhat like the shields created by force fields on Star Trek that were used to repel alien weapons, we are seeing an invisible shield blocking these electrons. It's an extremely puzzling phenomenon." http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/11/141126133829.htm Long-term galactic cosmic ray exposure leads to dementia-like cognitive impairments - May 1. 2015 Excerpt: What happens to an astronaut's brain during a mission to Mars? Nothing good. It's besieged by destructive particles that can forever impair cognition, http://phys.org/news/2015-05-long-term-galactic-cosmic-ray-exposure.html Houston We Have a Problem: Microgravity Accelerates Biological Aging - Oct. 31, 2013 Excerpt: experiments conducted on the International Space Station involving cells that line the inner surfaces of blood vessels (endothelial cells) show that microgravity accelerates cardiovascular disease and the biological aging of these cells.,,, They compared space-flown endothelial cells to endothelial cells cultured under normal gravity, looking for differences in gene expression and/or in the profile of secreted proteins. Space-flown cells differentially expressed more than 1,000 genes and secreted high amounts of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Ultimately, this induced significant oxidative stress, causing inflammation among endothelial cells, which in turn, led to atherosclerosis and cell senescence (biological aging). http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131031125317.htm The Earth's Magnetic Field: Essential for Life on Earth Excerpt: The Earth's magnetic field is necessary not only for our existence, but for us to obtain and maintain optimal health. http://www.naturalmagnetism.com/earths-magnetic-field.html What the Weather Is Like on Other Moons and Planets Excerpt: Io: Sulfur Dioxide Snow,,, Titan: Methane Rain,,, Enceladus: Water and Ammonia Snow,,, Triton: Nitrogen and Methane Snow,,, http://mentalfloss.com/article/12596/what-weather-other-moons-and-planets Existence Itself Is a Miracle - Oct. 2014 Excerpt: "For instance, if the earth were slightly larger, it would of course have slightly more gravity. As a result, methane and ammonia gas, which have molecular weights of sixteen and seventeen respectively, would remain close to the surface of the earth. Since we can’t breathe methane or ammonia because of their toxicity, we would die. If Earth were slightly smaller, water vapor would not stay close to the planet’s surface, but would instead dissipate into the atmosphere. Obviously, without water we couldn’t exist." Eric Metaxus https://www.breakpoint.org/bpcommentaries/entry/13/26299 The Cold Trap: How It Works - Michael Denton - May 10, 2014 Excerpt: As water vapor ascends in the atmosphere, it cools and condenses out, forming clouds and rain and snow and falling back to the Earth. This process becomes very intense at the so-called tropopause (17-10 km above sea level) where air temperatures reach -80°C and all remaining water in the atmosphere is frozen out. The air in the layer of the atmosphere above the troposphere in the stratosphere (extending up to 50 km above mean sea level) is absolutely dry, containing oxygen, nitrogen, some CO and the other atmospheric gases, but virtually no H2O molecules.,,, ,,,above 80-100 km, atoms and molecules are subject to intense ionizing radiation. If water ascended to this level it would be photo-dissociated into hydrogen and oxygen and, the hydrogen being very light, lost into space. Over a relatively short geological period all the water and oceans would be evaporated and the world uninhabitable.,,, Oxygen, having a boiling point of -183°C, has no such problems ascending through the tropopause cold trap into the stratosphere. As it does, it becomes subject to more and more intense ionizing radiation. However this leads,, to the formation of ozone (O3). This forms a protective layer in the atmosphere above the tropopause, perfectly placed just above the cold trap and preventing any ionizing radiation in the far UV region from reaching the H2O molecules at the tropopause and in the troposphere below. http://www.evolutionnews.org/2014/05/the_cold_trap_h085441.html
Stephen Hawking thinks humanity has only 1,000 years left of survival on Earth and that our species needs to colonize other planets.
1,000 years to go / 4,500,000,000 years so far -- is a pretty precise prediction. No doubt he has some science to back that number up? Maybe a chart with some error bars? Interestingly, being a Bible lover, I agree with him that there's not much more than a thousand years left. But my authority says there will be a new heaven and new earth at that time. Humans around then won't have to strive go anywhere. awstar
On current track, we can be colonising the Moon, Mars, asteroids and the Gas Giant Moons in 100 - 200 years. kairosfocus
It seems a nice new spin on the atheist canard: "Science got is to other planets: what's religion ever done for us?" New version: "Science screwed up the world in just a couple of centuries so we had to evacuate it for other planets." Funnily enough, it was in the 11th century (though after 1098 rather than 1016) that the Cistercians started a reform movement based on simple ideals of "work, love, prayer and self-denial". Part of that involved harnessing technology for the common good:
Cistercian architecture is considered one of the most beautiful styles of medieval architecture. Additionally, in relation to fields such as agriculture, hydraulic engineering and metallurgy, the Cistercians became the main force of technological diffusion in medieval Europe.
For example, they insisted on siting their monasteries on undeveloped land and improving it (the terracing on the famous Glastonbury Tor is a graphic example of that). So I think their prediction - no doubt wrong, but reasonable - would have been that the world would have become a richer and better place for all the children of mankind. But then they didn't buy into scientific and technological progress as ends in themselves, and they certainly never had hubristic ambitions to colonise heaven if they messed up life on earth. Jon Garvey

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