Friday, December 22, 2006


"It's tough to make a forecast, especially about the future."
-- Yogi Berra (presumably)

I have no forecast. The one I started to post met the delete key. I deleted it not because I thought it was wrong, but because I hope it is wrong.

Certain things seem more likely than others, though. I think Martin Rees is a bit of an optimist. Eric Pianka is probably right. Albert Bartlett is probably right.

Time will tell. Que sera sera.


jj mollo said...

I'm glad to see you're off vacation.

Pianka and Bartlett are certainly right. I love Bartlett's way of expressing it: "The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function." I am surrounded by good people who seem to have this flaw.

But they are only necessarily right in a non-adaptive world. If Howard Bloom is right, or the singularity is truly on its way, then perhaps we can slip that particular noose. I have hopes, myself, for the colonization of Mars as a measure to preserve the achievements of civilization. Think about it this way, the Renaissance was mightier than the Romans and brighter than the Greeks, and we are still basking in its light five centuries later.

jj mollo said...

If you like Science Fiction, I recommend that you read A Mote in God's Eye, by Jerry Pournelle and David Niven. I also liked the non-fiction book, How the Irish Saved Civilization by Thomas Cahill. I guess the moral of these stories is that if there is either foresight or variety in the conservators of civilization, there is a good chance good things can be preserved.

Einstein supposedly said that World War IV would be fought with sticks and stones. Asimov said that we would never be able to develop civilization if we had to start over. Such could be the case, but I don't think so. Civilization cannot be completely expunged, even in the worst case. If we die from fire, someone will always bear the knowledge of which element killed us. If we collapse from population, the name of Malthus will remain behind to chide us.