Apocalypse When?: Calculating How Long the Human Race Will by Willard Wells PDF

By Willard Wells

ISBN-10: 0387098364

ISBN-13: 9780387098364

Any formulation for predicting human survival will invite controversy. This booklet offers a different research of the probabilities of human survivability within the brief and long-term. It develops a formulation for survival in accordance with 4 separate measures.

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Example text

Richard Gott III independently made the same argument [6] except that he based his estimates on time instead of counted lives. He noted that humanity began about 2000 centuries ago, and that we are probably not at the extreme beginning or the extreme end of humanity's duration. 5 centuries, the ratio being 570. As we shall see, this huge discrepancy is soluble by working from the various approaches mentioned above, each of which is clear in one aspect and occasionally murky in another. Meanwhile, the Doomsday Argument continues.

Let us choose a time in the ``big middle'' to use as a reference. The most natural choice is the exact middle, the median, de®ned as the time when the number of future lives equals the number of past lives, about 70 billion. To estimate this future, let us use the worldwide birthrate. It is now about 160 million annually; suppose that it stabilizes during this century at 200 million/year. Our median future is then 70B Ä 0:20B=yr ˆ 350 years: Similar reasoning, which seems equally plausible, gives a very di€erent result.

Sparse population will protect outlying villages from epidemics. The biosphere will recover from human degradation, although perhaps with a changed climate and extinction of many species. Ironically, humanity's long-term survival requires a worldwide cataclysm. Without it we are like the dinosaurs. They seem to have expired because the big bolide (meteoric ®reball) hit ®rst without warning. Had there been precursors, nearextinctions, many species might have adapted well enough to survive the big one.

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Apocalypse When?: Calculating How Long the Human Race Will Survive (Springer Praxis Books Popular Science) by Willard Wells


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