Stephen Hawking says Earth is doomed, humanity should be evicted

Edit: He doesn’t actually say the Earth is doomed in the next hundred years. Sorry, I was going by news reports that were a few hours old and which took a slightly more pessimistic view of what he was saying. I still don’t believe his timeline is right, and wonder if he was simply being particularly guarded so that he wouldn’t be completely seen as a loon by saying “IF we haven’t killed ourselves in a hundred years…” but he never actually said we’d be kicking the bucket in a hundred years. Sorry about that. :( Still, an interesting prediction, nonetheless.

In what has to be one of the funniest, most radical doomsday predictions ever, Stephen Hawking assumes that we are destroying the planet and are on our way to making humanity extinct faster than a Texas sized asteroid glancing off Yellowstone Park ever could.

He gives us 100 years before we are doomed. He says we need to colonize the moon (within 20 years) and Mars (within 40) and that with our current technology and with technological trends in the near future it should easily be doable.

Lots of scientists think he’s wrong and quite frankly stupid for talking about a field in which he isn’t even a practicing expert in. That’s quite funny, but then again, brilliant in one area doesn’t mean brilliant in another. In another funny turn of events, most science fiction authors think he’s an idiot for not even looking at the prospects of, you know, trying to save Earth, and instead just blanketly predicting that Earth is doomed and so is humanity unless we get in our intergalactic RVs and go cruising to the next intergalactic holy land.

Looking at it this way, most scientists now predict that the extinction of the dinosaurs took roughly 2m years, one way or another. Whether it was a supervolcano, or a big asteroid shaped like Stalin’s head, or global warming or global cooling or a badass disease or natural nuclear winter or God knows what, it’s generally a respected train of thought that it was a gradual extinction and not a sudden one.

I wonder how long it is before paleontologists, geologists and other biologists wonder what Hawking is smoking for thinking that humanity can do in 40/100 years what that vindictive bitch Mother Nature couldn’t. Because damn, all of the major extinction level events to ever happen on this planet took millions of years, and some of those were aided by supervolcanos, disease, global cooling and mega big huge asteroids all at once. If that doesn’t do it then I wonder how excessive pollution and global warming/cooling possibly could because I tend to think that mother nature is a lot better at taking care of business than we are.

This thread is more about laughing at Stephen Hawking’s relatively outlandish and rather random comments about the end of humanity than it is about global warming.

You can do a google search on this news bit where you can read a lot more scientists and authors reactions to his comments but I chose the Tribune link simply because it was the easiest one to find.

What’s he care? He’ll have been dead for 98 years by the time it supposedly happens.

Just because it might take 2m years for a mass extinction, doesn’t mean all extinctions take that long. We are but one species. Ask the dodo how safe they felt, a generation before they were discovered? Oh wait you can’t.

Because dodos didn’t understand spoken language?

There are dooms and there are dooms.

Technologically, were we to knock our species back into the medieval days with a mass exchange of nuclear weapons, we’d never be able to return to our current state of technological prowess because we’ve already used up all the easily available resources and fuels.

He seems paranoid about “keeping all our eggs in one basket”. As a theoretical scientist, he must be spending his idle hours pondering the million and one ways we can obliterate ourselves.

Are you really making that comparison? If we can’t survive on the face of this planet then most other mammals which require nearly the same amount of oxygen in the air we breathe will be dead too. As will most fish and undersea wildlife because, fucking d’uh, as any scientist will tell you they are the barometer that they use to measure how much pollution is fucking with our wildlife in any given area.

Also, you are really trying to compare the dodo with, as far as we know it, the only sentient life in the entire universe which has the power to - don’t get me wrong, we do - destroy our own way of life on a planet? Also the only sentient life in the universe with the means and the motives to preserve that way of life? I don’t think the dodo ever thought “Well, I suppose we should ambush them the next time they come back!” or “Let’s build a rocket and fly to Easter Island, they’ll never hunt us there!” On the other hand, we are capable of saving ourselves because of our intelligence.

Seriously, did you just make that comparison? If we go, so do a lot of other animals. It’s that simple. The only thing that might kill only us and not any other animals is some genetically engineered virus or a bunch of pissed off nanites but the possibility for those to mutate or become reprogrammed are very high, and as Dr. Hawking said, that is only one possibility. What if we get wiped out before we have any chance to set into place programs to undo what we’ve done to our environment, and as such end up killing a whole shitload of wildlife while we’re at it? Come on, man.

What he said is absolutely absurd. There’s no two ways to slice it. Space might be the best route we have in the longrun but I doubt anyone would ever debate that. However, it’s a little ridiculous for him to say that we should be flying off into the sunset with each other, all firmly giving the Earth the finger because we’re too lazy to save our own planet, because that’s what it would fucking come down to. If we can mass-colonize another planet or build our own Titan AE then we can save this planet, period. We might just be too damned lazy to do either, though.

Richard Posner has a book (either coming or recently out I believe) about that very subject. You may not like the guy’s politics or judicial decisions, but I think he is intellectually brilliant (just as I’ll admit Clinton is intellectually brilliant, even though I think he is slimey and disgusting).

Sounded very interesting; not what you would necessarily expect from him.

Ah, here it is: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/product-description/0195178130/103-9629026-5625456

I mean, where else do you get a federal judge and University of Chicago law professor talking about wierd fields accidentally caused by a particle accelerator reducing the earth to a 100m sphere?

All ya’ll git offn’ mah planet, heah?

Is there some other source that talks about his lecture in more depth? Because while I don’t want to nitpick, the article that you link to neither says nor suggests any of those things. The only quote that comes remotely close is this one:

Hawking said that if humans can avoid killing themselves in the next 100 years, they should have space settlements that can continue without support from Earth.

…Which is a pretty far cry from “Humanity has 100 years to live.”

At this point, no. I’m hoping there will be a transcript of his complete lecture up sometime later today because this is from the lecture he’s giving in Hong Kong. I’d like to read the entire text because now that I’m going to various news outlets there is some slight variation in how what he said is being interpreted. I’ll go back and edit my main post on this but in the wee hours of the morning, around 5:30am or so, the news sites were taking it more as “Hawking said we’re gonna get the long goodbye” as opposed to “Hawking said we should leave because, you know, Earth might die.”

Sorry about that. I was going off news reports from over 10 hours ago and not the recent ones. :(

We would but the OS on all of our escape pods keep crashing NOOOOOOOOO

Unless you’re talking about the species that are so far domesticated that they truly depend on us for survival, I would disagree. A smallpox accident, or an actually-dangerous mutation of bird flu, or the next Ebola - all have the possibility of killing just us while leaving all other mammals alone.

Probably have too many services running. Disable all the pretty pictures!

Of course an atmosphere is always a nice layer of padding to have. A Nuclear level meteor just hit in norway. This is a 4 megaton explosion that the atmosphere of earth would have chewed up.

That’s why you have to go for all the mines early in the game !

June 13, 2006: There’s a new crater on the Moon. It’s about 14 meters wide, 3 meters deep and precisely one month, eleven days old.

NASA astronomers watched it form: “On May 2, 2006, a meteoroid hit the Moon’s Sea of Clouds (Mare Nubium) with 17 billion joules of kinetic energy—that’s about the same as 4 tons of TNT,” says Bill Cooke, the head of NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office in Huntsville, AL. “The impact created a bright fireball which we video-recorded using a 10-inch telescope.”

5 characters.

Norway’s on the moon?

We’re whalers on the moon!
We carry a harpoon!
But there ain’t no whales
So we tell tall tales
And sing our little tune!

In FF 2 you rode a whale to the moon!