WASHINGTON, May 9, 2017 — Some people fear humanity is destroying the planet, and they tell anyone who will listen that this is the “scientific consensus.”
Climate change believers say Pacific Islanders will see their homes, and the atolls on which their homes sit, disappear under rising seas, with polar bears drowning further north for lack of ice rafts.
Harvard biologist George Wald once said “civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.” Wald said that more than four decades ago. Interestingly, back in Wald’s day, it was the “scientific consensus” that Earth faced a global cooling crisis.
Now, the world’s favorite genius, theoretical physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking, says we need to stop fighting climate change, stop worrying about environmental devastation, thermonuclear war and the menace of Artificial Intelligence (killer robots!) and just leave our planet.
Like Harvard’s George Wald, at whom the hand of history points an index finger of disdain, Hawking has introduced his own doomsday timetable: We’ll all need to leave Earth in about a century.
Hawking’s predictions and so-called solutions are contained in a new documentary series produced by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) called “Expedition New Earth.” According to the BBC, Hawking insists humanity “will have to populate a new planet within 100 years if it is to survive… With climate change, overdue asteroid strikes, epidemics and population growth, our own planet is increasingly precarious.”
But these kinds of dire predictions are nothing new.
In the 19th century, the Reverend William Miller (leader of the Protestant Millerite movement) predicted the end of history with the return of Jesus Christ. The date he provided for Christ’s second coming was oddly specific: October 22, 1844.
Christ, as it turned out, was a no-show. Ever since, that day became known as the “Great Disappointment.” But a new church grew out of the day’s dissatisfaction: The Seventh-Day Adventists.
Long before the Reverend Miller was born, however, the following was written:
“Our Earth is degenerate in these latter days. There are signs that the world is speedily coming to an end. Bribery and corruption are common. Children no longer obey their parents… and the end of the world is evidently approaching.”
The passage above was written in 2800 BC, scrawled on a clay tablet in cuneiform writing during the heyday of the Assyrian empire.
It’s too bad that a century from now, none of us will be here to point fingers at Stephen Hawking and jeer as yet another Great Disappointment comes and goes.