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Encyclopedia > Human extinction

Human extinction is the as-yet hypothetical extinction of the human species, Homo sapiens. For other uses, see Extinction (disambiguation). ... This article is about modern humans. ... For other uses, see Species (disambiguation). ... Homo sapiens (Latin: wise man) is the scientific name for the human species. ...


Attitudes to human extinction

Attitudes to human extinction vary widely depending on beliefs concerning spiritual survival (souls, heaven, reincarnation, and so forth), the value of the human race, whether the human race evolves individually or collectively, and many other factors. Many religions prophesy an "end times" to the universe. Human extinction is therefore a part of the faith of many humans to the extent that the end time means the absolute end of their physical humanity but perhaps not an internal soul. Spirituality, in a narrow sense, concerns itself with matters of the spirit. ... Survival may refer to: Survival skills Survival kit Survivalism Survival, a studio album by Grand Funk Railroad Survival (album), a Bob Marley reggae album Survival (Doctor Who), an episode of Doctor Who Survival (television), a British wildlife television program Survival International a charity Survival Festival, Australia This is a disambiguation... This article is about the theological concept. ... Major world religions have been distinguished from minor religions using a variety of methods, though any such division naturally reflects a particular bias, since many adherent of a religion are likely to consider their own faith major. Two methods are mentioned in this article, number of adherents and the definitions... For prophecy in the context of revealed religions see Prophet. ... // In the three Abrahamic Religions (Islam, Judaism, and Christianity), the End Times are depicted as a time of tribulation that precede the predicted coming of a Messiah figure. ... For other uses, see Universe (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Faith (disambiguation). ...

However not all faiths connect human extinction to the end times, since some believe in cyclical regeneration, or that end times actually means the beginning of a new kind of existence (see eschatology and utopianism). For the eschatological beliefs of various religions, see End Times. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into utopia. ...

Perception of human extinction risk

The general level of fear about human extinction, in the near term, is very low, despite the pronouncements of some fringe groups. It is not an outcome considered by many as a credible risk. Suggested reasons for human extinction's low public visibility:

  1. There have been countless prophesies of extinction throughout history; in all cases the predicted date of doom has passed without much notice, making future warnings less frightening. However, a survivor bias would undercut the credibility of accurate extinction warnings. John von Neumann was probably wrong in having “a certainty”[1] that nuclear war would occur; but our survival is not proof that the chance of a fatal nuclear exchange was low.
  2. Extinction scenarios (see below) are speculative, and hard to quantify. A frequentist approach to probability cannot be used to assess the danger of an event that has never been observed by humans.
  3. Nick Bostrom, head of the James Martin 21st Century School Future of Humanity Institute, has suggested that extinction risk-analysis may be an overlooked field because it is both too psychologically troublesome a subject area to be attractive to potential researchers and because the lack of previous human species extinction events leads a depressed view of the likelihood of it happening under changing future circumstances (an 'inverse survivorship bias').
  4. There are thousands of public safety jobs dedicated to analyzing and reducing the risks of individual death. There are no full-time existential safety commissioners partly because there is no way to tell if they are doing a good job, and no way to punish them for failure. The inability to judge performance might also explain the comparative governmental apathy on preventing human extinction (as compared to panda extinction, say).
  5. Some anthropologists believe that risk perception is biased by social structure; in the "Cultural Theory of risk" typography "individualist" societies predispose members to the belief that nature operates as a self-correcting system, which will return to its stable state after a disturbance. People in such cultures feel comfortable with a "trial-and-error" approach to risk, even to unsuitably rare dangers (such as extinction events).
  6. It is possible to do something about dietary or motor-vehicle health threats. Since it is much harder to know how existential threats should be minimized[2], they tend to be ignored. High technology societies tend to become "hierarchist" or "fatalist" in their attitudes to the ever-multiplying risks threatening them. In either case, the average member of society adopts a passive attitude to risk minimization, culturally, and psychologically.
  7. The bias in popular culture is to relate extinction scenario stories with non-extinction outcomes. (None of the 16 'most notable' WW3 scenarios in film are resolved by human extinction, for example.[3])
  8. The threat of nuclear annihilation actually was a daily concern in the lives of many people in the 1960s and 1970s. Since then the principal fear has been of localized terrorist attack, rather than a global war of extinction; contemplating human extinction may be out of fashion.
  9. Some people have philosophical reasons for doubting the possibility of human extinction, for instance the final anthropic principle, plenitude principle or intrinsic finality.
  10. Tversky and Kahneman have produced evidence that humans suffer cognitive biases which would tend to minimize the perception of this unprecedented event:
    1. Denial is a negative "availability heuristic" shown to occur when an outcome is so upsetting that the very act of thinking about it leads to an increased refusal to believe it might occur. In this case, imagining human extinction probably makes it seem less likely.
    2. In cultures where human extinction is not expected the proposition must overcome the "disconfirmation bias" against heterodox theories.
    3. Another reliable psychological effect relevant here is the "positive outcome bias".
    4. Behavioural finance has strong evidence that recent evidence is given undue significance in risk analysis. Roughly speaking, "100 year storms" tend to occur every twenty years in the stock market as traders become convinced that the current good times will last forever. Doomsayers who hypothesize rare crisis-scenarios are dismissed even when they have statistical evidence behind them. An extreme form of this bias can diminish the subjective probability of the unprecedented[4].

In general, humanity's sense of self preservation, and intelligence are considered to offer safe-guards against extinction. It is felt that people will find creative ways to overcome potential threats, and will take care of the precautionary principle in attempting dangerous innovations. The arguments against this are; firstly, that the management of destructive technology is becoming difficult, and secondly, that the precautionary principle is often abandoned whenever the reward appears to outweigh the risk. At least one instance where the principle may have been overruled was when prior to the Trinity nuclear test, one of the project's scientists (Teller) speculated that the fission explosion might destroy New Mexico and possibly the world, by causing a reaction in the nitrogen of the atmosphere. A calculation by Hans Bethe proved such a possibility theoretically impossible, but the fear of the possibility remained among some until the test took place. (See Ignition of the atmosphere with nuclear bombs, LA-602, online and Manhattan Project). For other uses, see Cry Wolf (disambiguation). ... Survivorship bias is the tendency for failed companies to be excluded from performance studies due to the fact that they no longer exist. ... For other persons named John Neumann, see John Neumann (disambiguation). ... Statistical regularity has motivated the development of the relative frequency concept of probability. ... Nick Bostrom (Boström in the original Swedish) is a philosopher at the University of Oxford, and known for his work on the anthropic principle. ... Survivorship bias is the tendency for failed companies to be excluded from performance studies due to the fact that they no longer exist. ... This is an article about the modern meaning of the term public safety. ... Panda may refer to: // Giant Panda Panda (plant), a genus of the family Euphorbiaceae PANDAS or P.A.N.D.A.S. is Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptoccal infections Qinling Panda, a subspecies of the Giant Panda. ... This is about the social science. ... The Cultural Theory of risk, often referred to simply as Cultural Theory (with capital letters), is a theory developed in anthropology and political science to explain risk perception. ... The Cultural Theory of risk, often referred to simply as Cultural Theory (with capital letters), is a theory developed in anthropology and political science to explain risk perception. ... The Cultural Theory of risk, often referred to simply as Cultural Theory (with capital letters), is a theory developed in anthropology and political science to explain risk perception. ... The Cultural Theory of risk, often referred to simply as Cultural Theory (with capital letters), is a theory developed in anthropology and political science to explain risk perception. ... Psychological science redirects here. ... World War III is a common theme in popular culture. ... The 1960s decade refers to the years from 1960 to 1969. ... The 1970s decade refers to the years from 1970 to 1979, also called The Seventies. ... Terrorist redirects here. ... The final anthropic principle (FAP) is defined by physicists John D. Barrow and Frank J. Tiplers 1986 book The Anthropic Cosmological Principle as a generalization of the anthropic principle as follows: Final anthropic principle (FAP): Intelligent information-processing must come into existence in the Universe, and, once it comes... The plenitude principle or principle of plenitude asserts that everything that can happen will happen. ... Intrinsic finality is the idea that there is a natural good for all beings, and that all beings have a natural tendency to pursue their own good. ... Amos Tversky (March 16, 1937 - June 2, 1996) was a pioneer of cognitive science, a longtime collaborator of Daniel Kahneman, and a key figure in the discovery of systematic human cognitive bias and handling of risk. ... Daniel Kahneman Daniel Kahneman (born March 5, 1934 in Tel Aviv, in the then British Mandate of Palestine, now in Israel), is a key pioneer and theorist of behavioral finance, which integrates economics and cognitive science to explain seemingly irrational risk management behavior in human beings. ... Experimental economics is the use of experimental methods to evaluate theoretical predictions of economic behaviour. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... The availability heuristic is a rule of thumb, heuristic, or cognitive bias, where people base their prediction of an outcome on the vividness and emotional impact rather than on actual probablity. ... For other uses, see Imagination (disambiguation). ... Disconfirmation bias refers to the tendency for people to extend critical scrutiny to information which contradicts their prior beliefs and accept uncritically information that is congruent with their prior beliefs. ... Psychological science redirects here. ... The valence effect of prediction is the tendency for people to simply overestimate the likelihood of good things happening rather than bad things. ... Nobel Prize in Economics winner Daniel Kahneman, was an important figure in the development of behavioral finance and economics and continues to write extensively in the field. ... The recency effect, in psychology, is a cognitive bias that results from disproportionate salience of recent stimuli or observations. ... Risk analysis is a technique to identify and assess factors that may jeopardize the success of a project or achieving a goal. ... A stock market is a market for the trading of company stock, and derivatives of same; both of these are securities listed on a stock exchange as well as those only traded privately. ... Dot-com (also dotcom or redundantly dot. ... Black Monday (1987) on the Dow Jones Industrial Average A stock market crash is a sudden dramatic decline of stock prices across a significant cross-section of a stock market. ... Bayesian probability is an interpretation of probability suggested by Bayesian theory, which holds that the concept of probability can be defined as the degree to which a person believes a proposition. ... Self preservation is part of an animals instinct that demands that the organism survives. ... Intelligence is the mental capacity to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend ideas and language, and learn. ... Look up Creative in Wiktionary, the free dictionary The term creative can refer to: Creativity is defined as the ability to be creative. ... The precautionary principle is a moral and political principle which states that if an action or policy might cause severe or irreversible harm to the public, in the absence of a scientific consensus that harm would not ensue, the burden of proof falls on those who would advocate taking the... Innovation is the introduction of new ideas, goods, services, and practices which are intended to be useful (though a number of unsuccessful innovations can be found throughout history). ... The Trinity test was the first test of a nuclear weapon, conducted by the United States on July 16, 1945 at , thirty miles (48 km) southeast of Socorro on what is now White Sands Missile Range, headquartered near Alamogordo, New Mexico. ... Edward Teller (original Hungarian name Teller Ede) (January 15, 1908 – September 9, 2003) was a Hungarian-born American theoretical physicist, known colloquially as the father of the hydrogen bomb, even though he did not care for the title. ... For the generation of electrical power by fission, see Nuclear power plant. ... Hans Albrecht Bethe (pronounced bay-tuh; July 2, 1906 – March 6, 2005), was a German-American physicist who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1967 for his work on the theory of stellar nucleosynthesis. ... This article is about the World War II nuclear project. ...

Observations about human extinction

The fact the majority of species that have existed on Earth have become extinct, has led to the suggestion that all species have a finite lifespan and thus human extinction would be inevitable. Dave Raup and Jack Sepkoski found for example a twenty six million year periodicity in elevated extinction rates, caused by factors unknown (See David M. Raup. "Extinction: Bad Genes or Bad Luck" (1992, Norton). Based upon evidence of past extinction rates Raup and others have suggested that the average longevity of an invertebrate species is between 4-6 million years, while that of vertebrates seems to be 2-4 million years. The shorter period of survival for mammals lies in their position further up the food chain than many invertebrates, and therefore an increased liability to suffer the effects of environmental change. A counter-argument to this is that humans are unique in their adaptive and technological capabilities, so it is not possible to draw reliable inferences about the probability of human extinction based on the past extinctions of other species. Certainly, the evidence collected by Raup and others suggested that generalist, geographically dispersed species, like humans, generally have a lower rate of extinction than those species that require a particular habitat. In addition, the human species is probably the only species with a conscious prior knowledge of their own demise, and therefore would be likely to take steps to avoid it. David M. Raup is a University of Chicago paleontologist. ...

Another characteristic of the human that may be unique is its religious belief, which in most situations encourages respect for life. On the other hand, it may also create conditions for warfare and genocide. As a result, thinkers as Albert Einstein believed that "We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive."[1] “Einstein” redirects here. ...

Humans are very similar to other primates in their propensity towards intra-species violence; Jared Diamond's The Third Chimpanzee (ISBN 0-09-980180-9) estimates that 64% of hunter-gather societies engage in warfare every two years. Although it has been argued (e.g. in the UNESCO Seville Statement) that warfare is a cultural artifact, many anthropologists[citation needed] dispute this, noting that small human tribes exhibit similar patterns of violence to chimpanzee groups, the most murderous of the primates, and our nearest living genetic relatives. The 'higher' functions of reason and speech are more developed in the brain of Homo sapiens than other primates, but the relative size of the limbic system is a constant in apes, monkeys and humans; as human rational faculties have expanded, so has the wetware of emotion. The combination of inventiveness and urge to violence in humans has been cited as evidence against its long term survival[5].[opinion needs balancing] Families 15, See classification A primate is any member of the biological order Primates, the group that contains all the species commonly related to the lemurs, monkeys, and apes, with the latter category including humans. ... For other uses, see Violence (disambiguation). ... Jared Mason Diamond (b. ... The Third Chimpanzee: The Evolution and Future of the Human Animal (ISBN 0-06-098403-1), originally published in English in 1992, is the first book-length work of non-fiction from Jared Diamond, evolutionary biologist, physiologist and award-winning author. ... UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) is a specialized agency of the United Nations established in 1945. ... The Seville Statement on Violence is a statement on violence that was adopted by an international meeting of scientists, convened by the Spanish National Commission for UNESCO, in Seville, Spain, on 16 May 1986. ... This is about the social science. ... Type species Simia troglodytes Blumenbach, 1775 distribution of Species Pan troglodytes Pan paniscus Chimpanzee, often shortened to chimp, is the common name for the two extant species of apes in the genus Pan. ... This article is about the general scientific term. ... The neopallium (Latin for new mantle) is a part of the brain of mammals. ... This article is about modern humans. ... The limbic system is a historically defined set of brain structures that support a variety of functions including emotion and memory. ... This article is about the biological superfamily. ... Approximate worldwide distribution of monkeys. ... This article is about modern humans. ... Rational may be: the adjective for the state of rationality acting according to the philosophical principles of rationalism a mathematical term for certain numbers; the rational numbers the software company Rational Software; now owned by IBM, and formerly Rational Software Corporation This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which... Wetware, also known as liveware or meatware, is a term generally used to refer to a person operating a computer. ... Look up Emotion in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Cite sources (citation): provide references that help the reader to check the veracity of the article and to find more information. ...

Human extinction scenarios

Various scenarios for the extinction of the human species have originated from science, popular culture, science fiction, and religion (see apocalypse and eschatology). The expression existential risk has been coined to refer to risks of total and irreversible destruction of human life, or of some lesser, but universal and permanent detriment to it. Risks to civilization, humans and planet Earth are existential risks that would imperil mankind as a whole and/or have major adverse consequences for the course of human civilization, human extinction or even the end of planet Earth. ... A magnet levitating above a high-temperature superconductor demonstrates the Meissner effect. ... Popular culture (or pop culture) is the widespread cultural elements in any given society that are perpetuated through that societys vernacular language or lingua franca. ... Science fiction is a form of speculative fiction principally dealing with the impact of imagined science and technology, or both, upon society and persons as individuals. ... Look up Apocalypse in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... For the eschatological beliefs of various religions, see End Times. ... Scope/intensity grid from Bostroms existential risk paper. ...

The following are among the extinction scenarios that have been envisaged by various authors:

  • Long term habitat threats
    • In 1.4 million years Gliese 710 will be only 1.1 Light years from Earth, and might catastrophically perturb the Oort cloud
    • In about 3 billion years, our Milky Way galaxy is expected to pass through the Andromeda galaxy, which may or may not result in a collision
    • In 5 billion years hence the Sun's stellar evolution will reach the red giant stage, in which it will expand and engulf earth. But before this happens it will already have changed earths climate and its radiated spectrum may alter in ways Earth-bound humans could not survive.[6]
    • In the far future the main risks to human survival could be heat death and cooling with the expansion of the universe.
  • Evolution of humanity into another hominid species. Humans will continue to evolve via traditional natural selection over a period of millions of years, and homo sapiens will gradually transition into one or more new species.
  • Extinction in a whimper
    • Preference for fewer children; if developed world demographics are extrapolated they mathematically lead to 'soft' extinction before 3000 AD. (John Leslie estimates that if the reproduction rate drops to the German level the extinction date will be 2400[7]).
    • Political intervention in reproduction has failed to raise the birth rate above the replacement level in the rich world, but has dramatically succeeded in lowering it below the replacement level in China[citation needed] (see One child policy). A World government with a eugenic or small population policy could send humanity into 'voluntary' extinction.
    • Infertility: Caused by hormonal disruption from the chemical/pharmaceutical industries, or biological changes, such as the (controversial) findings of falling sperm cell count in human males.
    • A disruption, chemical, biological, or otherwise, in humans' ability to reproduce properly or at all
    • Disease: The 'weak-gened' and birth-defected are kept alive by medicines. This is the opposite of nature, where the weak are less likely to survive and successfully reproduce, leaving the species genetically 'strong'. Eventually everyone has weak/flawed genes, and these defects become increasingly severe, until the human body is unable to fight diseases, even with the help of advanced medicine. In the end, disease ends the human species. Arguably however if this point was reached natural selection would again become a factor, potentially reversing this 'decline'.
    • Voluntary extinction
  • Scientific accidents
    • In his book Our Final Hour, Sir Martin Rees claims that without the appropriate regulation, scientific advancement increases the risk of human extinction as a result of the effects or use of new technology. Some examples are provided below.
      • Uncontrolled nanotechnology (grey goo) incidents resulting in the destruction of the Earth's ecosystem (ecophagy).
      • Creation of a naked singularity (such as a "micro black hole") on Earth during the course of a scientific experiment, or other foreseeable scientific accidents in high-energy physics research, such as vacuum phase transition or stranglet incidents. There are worries concerning the LHC at CERN as it is feared that collision of protons at a speed near the speed of light will result in the creation of a black hole.
    • Biotech disaster (E.g. the warnings of Jeremy Rifkin)
  • Scenarios of extraterrestrial origin
    • Major impact events.
    • Gamma-ray burst in our part of the Milky Way (Bursts observable in other galaxies are calculated to act as a "sterilizer", and have been used by some astronomers to explain the Fermi paradox). The lack of fossil record interruptions, and relative distance of the nearest Hypernova candidate make this a long term (rather than imminent) threat.
    • A black hole may destroy the Earth.
    • Invasion by militarily superior aliens (see alien invasion) — often considered to be a scenario purely from the realms of science fiction, professional SETI researchers have given serious consideration to this possibility, but conclude that it is unlikely. [8]
    • Gerard O'Neill has cautioned that first contact with alien intelligence may follow the precedent set by historical examples of contact between human civilizations, where the less technologically-advanced civilization has inevitably succumbed to the other civilization, regardless of its intentions.
    • Solar flares may suddenly heat the earth, or the light from the sun may be blocked by dust, slowly freezing it (eg. the dust and vapour may come from a Kuiper belt disturbance).
    • It is possible that the space of our universe, the Big Bang, and all its consequences are events taking place within a computer or other device on another cosmological plane, if this process were to end then everything within the universe would summarily vanish (see Simulated Reality).
  • Philosophical scenarios
    • See End of the world (philosophy)

This article is about nuclear war as a form of actual warfare, including history. ... For the use of biological agents by terrorists, see bioterrorism. ... A nuclear holocaust is often associated with World War III For other uses, see World War III (disambiguation). ... A pandemic (from Greek παν pan all + δήμος demos people) is an epidemic that spreads through human populations across a large region (for example a continent), or even worldwide. ... For other uses, see Gene (disambiguation). ... This article is about biological infectious particles. ... A prion (IPA: [1] ) — short for proteinaceous infectious particle (-on by analogy to virion) — is a type of infectious agent composed only of protein. ... Staphylococcus aureus - Antibiotics test plate. ... Phyla Actinobacteria Aquificae Chlamydiae Bacteroidetes/Chlorobi Chloroflexi Chrysiogenetes Cyanobacteria Deferribacteres Deinococcus-Thermus Dictyoglomi Fibrobacteres/Acidobacteria Firmicutes Fusobacteria Gemmatimonadetes Lentisphaerae Nitrospirae Planctomycetes Proteobacteria Spirochaetes Thermodesulfobacteria Thermomicrobia Thermotogae Verrucomicrobia Bacteria (singular: bacterium) are unicellular microorganisms. ... <nowiki>Insert non-formatted text hereBold text</nowiki>A famine is a social and economic crisis that is commonly accompanied by widespread malnutrition, starvation, epidemic and increased mortality. ... Map of countries by population density (See List of countries by population density. ... Malthusian catastrophe, sometimes known as a Malthusian check, Malthusian crisis, Malthusian dilemma, Malthusian disaster, Malthusian trap, or Malthusian limit is a return to subsistence-level conditions as a result of agricultural (or, in later formulations, economic) production being eventually outstripped by growth in population. ... Variations in CO2, temperature and dust from the Vostok ice core over the last 450,000 years For current global climate change, see Global warming. ... Global warming refers to the increase in the average temperature of the Earths near-surface air and oceans in recent decades and its projected continuation. ... This article is about the process of deforestation in the environment. ... Air pollution Pollution is the introduction of pollutants (whether chemical substances, or energy such as noise, heat, or light) into the environment to such a point that its effects become harmful to human health, other living organisms, or the environment. ... Dr. James Ephraim Lovelock, CH, CBE, FRS (born 26 July 1919) is an independent scientist, author, researcher, environmentalist, and futurologist who lives in Cornwall, in the south west of Great Britain. ... Air redirects here. ... Oceanic Anoxic Events occur when the Earths oceans become completely depleted of O2 below the surface levels. ... The ozone layer is a layer in Earths atmosphere which contains relatively high concentrations of ozone (O3). ... A supervolcano is a volcano that produces the largest and most voluminous kinds of eruption on Earth. ... Variations in CO2, temperature and dust from the Vostok ice core over the last 400 000 years For the animated movie, see Ice Age (movie). ... One computer simulation of conditions during the Snowball Earth period. ... Gliese 710 is a red dwarf star in the constellation Serpens Cauda, with visual magnitude 9. ... A light-year or lightyear (symbol: ly) is a unit of measurement of length, specifically the distance light travels in vacuum in one year. ... Artists rendering of the Oort cloud and the Kuiper Belt. ... The Milky Way (a translation of the Latin Via Lactea, in turn derived from the Greek Galaxia Kuklos; or simply the Galaxy) is a barred spiral galaxy in the Local Group, and has special significance to humanity as the location of the solar system, which is located near the Orion... The Andromeda Galaxy (IPA: , also known as Messier 31, M31, or NGC 224; older texts often called it the Great Andromeda Nebula) is a spiral galaxy approximately 2. ... Sol redirects here. ... Projected timeline of the Suns life In astronomy, stellar evolution is the process by which a star undergoes a sequence of radical changes during its lifetime. ... According to the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram, a red giant is a large non-main sequence star of stellar classification K or M; so-named because of the reddish appearance of the cooler giant stars. ... The heat death is a possible final state of the universe, in which it has reached maximum entropy. ... Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ... This article is about evolution in biology. ... For the critique of human as a concept, see posthumanism. ... For the philosophical movement, see Existentialism. ... By the mid 20th century humans had achieved a mastery of technology sufficient to leave the surface of the Earth for the first time and explore space. ... Hans Moravec (born November 30, 1948 in Austria) is a research professor at the Robotics Institute (Carnegie Mellon) of Carnegie Mellon University. ... AI redirects here. ... This article is about a field of research. ... Kevin Warwick speaking at the Tomorrows People conference in 2006 hosted by Oxford University. ... When plotted on a logarithmic graph, 15 separate lists of paradigm shifts for key events in human history show an exponential trend. ... Singularitarianism is a moral philosophy based upon the belief that a technological singularity — the technological creation of smarter-than-human intelligence — is possible, and advocating deliberate action to bring it into effect and ensure its safety. ... Posthuman Future, an illustration by Michael Gibbs for The Chronicle of Higher Educations look at how biotechnology will change the human experience, has become one of the secular icons representing transhumanism. ... Kenyans examining insect-resistant transgenic Bt corn. ... Pseudoextinction of a species occurs where there are no more living members of that species, but members of a daughter species or subspecies remain alive. ... Isaac Asimov (January 2?, 1920?[1] – April 6, 1992), pronounced , originally Исаак Озимов but now transcribed into Russian as Айзек Азимов [1], was a Russian-born American author and professor of biochemistry, a highly successful writer, best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books. ... The Last Question is a science fiction short story by Isaac Asimov. ... This article is about evolution in biology. ... Population decline is the reduction over time in a regions census. ... A developed country is a country that has achieved (currently or historically) a high degree of industrialization, and which enjoys the higher standards of living which wealth and technology make possible. ... Demographics refers to selected population characteristics as used in government, marketing or opinion research, or the demographic profiles used in such research. ... (29th century - 30th century - 31st century - other centuries) The 30th century (Gregorian Calendar) comprises the years 2901-3000. ... (Redirected from 2400) (23rd century - 24th century - 25th century - more centuries) The 24th century (Gregorian Calendar) comprises the years 2301-2400. ... Demography of Russia 1992-2003. ... The one-child policy is the current birth control policy of the Peoples Republic of China. ... It has been suggested that World Federation be merged into this article or section. ... The word eugenics (from the Greek εὐγενής, for well-born) was coined in 1883 by Sir Francis Galton, a cousin of Charles Darwin, to refer to the study and use of selective breeding (of animals or humans) to improve a species over generations, specifically in regards to hereditary features. ... Infertility primarily refers to the biological inability of a man or a woman to contribute to conception. ... For other uses, see Hormone (disambiguation). ... Pharmacology (in Greek: pharmacon is drug, and logos is science) is the study of how chemical substances interfere with living systems. ... A biological process is a process of a living organism. ... A controversy is a contentious dispute, a disagreement over which parties are actively arguing. ... A spermatozoon or spermatozoan ( spermatozoa), from the ancient Greek σπέρμα (seed) and (living being) and more commonly known as a sperm cell, is the haploid cell that is the male gamete. ... VHEMT logo Voluntary Human Extinction Movement, or VHEMT (pronounced vehement[1]), is a movement that calls for the voluntary extinction of the human race. ... Our Final Hour is a 2003 book by the British Astronomer Royal Sir Martin Rees. ... The Right Honourable Martin John Rees, Baron Rees of Ludlow, FRS (born 23 June 1942) is a professor of astronomy. ... Grey goo is a hypothetical end-of-the-world scenario involving molecular nanotechnology in which out-of-control self-replicating robots consume all living matter on Earth while building more of themselves (a scenario known as ecophagy). ... A term coined by Robert Freitas, that means, literally, the consuming of an ecosystem. ... blah blah blah, some people believe God made the universe and that is all there is. ... This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ... Particle physics is a branch of physics that studies the elementary constituents of matter and radiation, and the interactions between them. ... A vacuum metastability disaster is a theoretical doomsday scenario of a particle accelerator destroying the universe. ... Strange matter (also known as quark matter) is an ultra-dense phase of matter that is theorized to form inside particularly massive neutron stars. ... Jeremy Rifkin. ... Artists impression of a major impact event. ... In astronomy, gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) are flashes of gamma rays that last from seconds to hours, the longer ones being followed by several days of X-ray afterglow. ... The image above shows the optical afterglow of gamma ray burst GRB-990123 taken on January 23, 1999. ... For other uses, see Milky Way (disambiguation). ... Galileo is often referred to as the Father of Modern Astronomy. ... A graphical representation of the Arecibo message - Humanitys first attempt to use radio waves to communicate its existence to alien civilizations The Fermi paradox is the apparent contradiction between high estimates of the probability of the existence of extraterrestrial civilizations and the lack of evidence for or contact with... This article needs additional references or sources for verification. ... For other uses, see Black hole (disambiguation). ... An invasion is a military action consisting of armed forces of one geopolitical entity entering territory controlled by another such entity, generally with the objective of conquering territory, or altering the established government. ... The alien invasion is a common theme in science fiction stories and film, in which a technologically-superior extraterrestrial society invades Earth with the intent to replace human life, or to enslave it under a colonial system, or in some cases, to use humans as food. ... Science fiction is a form of speculative fiction principally dealing with the impact of imagined science and technology, or both, upon society and persons as individuals. ... This article is about the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence. ... Gerard Kitchen ONeill (1927 - 1992) was a U.S. physicist and space pioneer. ... First contact is a term used to describe a first meeting of two previously unknown cultures. ... A solar flare observed by Hinode in the G-band. ... The Kuiper belt, derived from data from the Minor Planet Center. ... For other uses, see Big Bang (disambiguation). ... Simulated reality is the idea that reality could be simulated — often computer-simulated — to a degree indistinguishable from true reality. ...


Omnicide is human extinction as a result of human action. Most commonly it refers to extinction through nuclear warfare,[3][4][5] but it can also apply to extinction through means such as global anthropogenic ecological catastrophe.[6] This article is about nuclear war as a form of actual warfare, including history. ... Look up anthropogenic in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ...

Omnicide can be considered a subcategory of genocide.[7] Using the concept in this way, one can argue that, for example For other uses, see Genocide (disambiguation). ...

the arms race is genocidal in intent given the fact that the United States and the Soviet Union are knowingly preparing to destroy each other as viable national and political groups.[8]

As this claim illustrates, the concept of omnicide raises issues of human agency and, hence, of moral responsibility in discussions about large-scale social processes like the nuclear arms race or ecologically destructive industrial production. That is, part of the point of describing a human extinction scenario as 'omnicidal' is to note that, if it were to happen, it would result not just from natural, uncontrollable evolutionary forces, or from some random catastrophe like an asteroid impact, but from deliberate choices made by human beings. This implies that such scenarios are preventable, and that the people whose choices make them more likely to happen should be held morally accountable for such choices. In this context, the label 'omnicide' also works to de-normalize the course of action it is applied to. Human agency is the capacity for human beings to make choices and to impose those choices on the world on a collective basis, usually through democratic means. ... Almanac · Categories · Glossaries · Lists · Overviews · Portals · Questions · Site news · Index Art | Culture | Geography | Health | History | Mathematics | People | Philosophy | Science | Society | Technology Wikipedia is an encyclopedia written by its users in over 200 languages worldwide. ... U.S. and USSR/Russian nuclear weapons stockpiles, 1945-2006. ... This article is about evolution in biology. ... Normalization is a process whereby behaviours and ideas are made to seem normal through repetition, or through ideology, propaganda, etc. ...

Scenarios of the world without humans

The book The World Without Us by Alan Weisman deals with a thought experiment on what would happen to the planet and especially man-made infrastructures if humans suddenly disappeared. Alan said that apes, with the highest IQ amongst animals other than humans, may be the species that succeeds humanity. The Discovery Channel film The Future is Wild shows the possible future of evolution on Earth without humans. The History Channel 2-hour special Life After People examines the possible future of life on Earth without humans. The World Without Us is a 2007 book written by veteran U.S. journalist Alan Weisman and published by St. ... Alan Weisman is an American author, professor, and journalist. ... Discovery Channel is a cable and satellite TV channel founded by John Hendricks which is distributed by Discovery Communications. ... The Future Is Wild was a 2003 joint Animal Planet/ORF (Austria) and ZDF (Germany) co-production, which used computer-generated imagery to show the possible future of life on Earth. ... This article is about evolution in biology. ... The History Channel is a cable television channel, dedicated to the presentation of historical events and persons, often with frequent observations and explanations by noted historians as well as reenactors and witnesses to events, if possible. ...

See also

The mushroom cloud of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Japan, 1945, rose some 18 km (11 mi) above the hypocenter. ... For other uses, see Extinction (disambiguation). ... An extinction event (also known as: mass extinction; extinction-level event, ELE) occurs when there is a sharp decrease in the number of species in a relatively short period of time. ... A subset of the Law of Life, the Law of Limited Competition was coined by author Daniel Quinn to denote a set of strategies that appear to be evolutionarily stable for all species. ... For other uses, see Daniel Quinn (disambiguation). ... Ishmael is a novel by Daniel Quinn. ... A screenshot of the Timewave Zero software. ... For the eschatological beliefs of various religions, see End Times. ... Risks to civilization, humans and planet Earth are existential risks that would imperil mankind as a whole and/or have major adverse consequences for the course of human civilization, human extinction or even the end of planet Earth. ... VHEMT logo Voluntary Human Extinction Movement, or VHEMT (pronounced vehement[1]), is a movement that calls for the voluntary extinction of the human race. ...

Further reading

  • Cawthorne, N. (2004). Doomsday. Arcturus Publishing Limited. ISBN 1-84193-238-8
  • Leslie, J. (1999). Risking Human Extinction
  • Leslie, J. (1996). The End of the World: The Science and Ethics of Human Extinction. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-18447-9

External links

Groups for and against

Year 1974 (MCMLXXIV) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display full calendar) of the 1974 Gregorian calendar. ... Spaceship Earth is a world view term usually expressing concern over the use of limited resources available on Earth. ... A memorial statue in Hanko, Finland, commemorating the thousands of emigrants who left the country to start a new life in the United States Emigration is the act and the phenomenon of leaving ones native country or region to settle in another. ...

Human extinction scenario listings

  • Armageddon Online posts at least one doomsday-related news item on its main page every day.
  • Forty-five extinction scenarios from exitmundi.nl with light-hearted pictures and pithy names.
  • Doomsday.org guide to extinction scenarios, according to religious prophecy and resulting from scientific advances.
  • "Twenty ways the world could end suddenly". From Discover Magazine, Oct 2000.
  • Existential risks analysed by Nick Bostrom. (Published in the Journal of Evolution and Technology, March 2002.) His definition of Existential risk: "– One where an adverse outcome would either annihilate Earth-originating intelligent life or permanently and drastically curtail its potential." In his typology of existential risks only the first ("Bangs") represents true human extinction, but this is a rare serious attempt to make a risk assessment. On the probability of extinction through existential risk he says "My subjective opinion is that setting this probability lower than 25% would be misguided, and the best estimate may be considerably higher. But even if the probability were much smaller (say, ~1%) the subject matter would still merit very serious attention because of how much is at stake."

The word sibyl comes (via Latin) from the Greek word sibylla, meaning prophetess. ... For other uses, see Prophecy (disambiguation). ... Discover Magazine is a science magazine that publishes articles about science. ... Year 2000 (MM) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will display full 2000 Gregorian calendar). ... Nick Bostrom (Boström in the original Swedish) is a philosopher at the University of Oxford, and known for his work on the anthropic principle. ... Also see: 2002 (number). ... The end of civilization or the end of the world are phrases used in reference to human extinction scenarios, doomsday events, and related hazards which occur on a global scale. ...


  • BBC Discussion of how cavemen avoided extinction David Goldstein's molecular biology is credited with uncovering the population bottleneck, said to be "just before 100,000 years ago." Freezing temperatures or water shortages are given as possible reasons for the catastrophe presumed to have caused the bottleneck.

A population bottleneck (or genetic bottleneck) is an evolutionary event in which a significant percentage of a population or species is killed or otherwise prevented from reproducing, and the population is reduced by 50% or more, often by several orders of magnitude. ...


  1. ^ The Nobel Peace Prize 1985 - Presentation Speech
  2. ^ Warwick, K: “I,Cyborg”, University of Illinois Press, 2004
  3. ^ Somerville, John. 1981. Soviet Marxism and nuclear war : an international debate : from the proceedings of the special colloquium of the XVth World Congress of Philosophy. Greenwood Press. Pg.151
  4. ^ Goodman, Lisl Marburg and Lee Ann Hoff. 1990. Omnicide: The Nuclear Dilemma. New York: Praeger.
  5. ^ Landes, Daniel (ed.). 1991. Confronting Omnicide: Jewish Reflections on Weapons of Mass Destruction. Jason Aronson Publishers.
  6. ^ Wilcox, Richard Brian. 2004. The Ecology of Hope: Environmental Grassroots Activism in Japan. Ph.D. Dissertation, Union Institute & University, College of Graduate Studies. Page 55.
  7. ^ Jones, Adam. 2006. "A Seminal Work on Genocide", in Security Dialogue, vol. 37(1), pp. 143-144.
  8. ^ Santoni, Ronald E., 1987. "Genocide, Nuclear Omnicide, and Individual Responsibility" in Social Science Record, vol. 24(2), pp.38-41.

^  Von Neumann said it was "absolutely certain (1) that there would be a nuclear war; and (2) that everyone would die in it" (underline added to quote from: The Nature of the Physical Universe – 1979, John Wiley & Sons, ISBN 0-471-03190-9, in H. Putnam’s essay The place of facts in a world of values - page 113). This example illustrates why respectable scientists are very reluctant to go on record with extinction predictions: they can never be proven right. (The quotation is repeated by Leslie (1996) on page 26, on the subject of nuclear war annihilation, which he still considered a significant risk – in the mid 1990s.) Kevin Warwick speaking at the Tomorrows People conference in 2006 hosted by Oxford University. ... For other persons named John Neumann, see John Neumann (disambiguation). ... Nuclear War is a card game designed by Douglas Malewicki, and originally published in 1966. ... Nuclear War is a card game designed by Douglas Malewicki, and originally published in 1966. ... For the band, see 1990s (band). ...

^  Although existential risks are less manageable by individuals than health risks, according to Ken Olum, Joshua Knobe, and Alexander Vilenkin the possibility of human extinction does have practical implications. For instance, if the “universal” Doomsday argument is accepted it changes the most likely source of disasters, and hence the most efficient means of preventing them. They write: "...you should be more concerned that a large number of asteroids have not yet been detected than about the particular orbit of each one. You should not worry especially about the chance that some specific nearby star will become a supernova, but more about the chance that supernovas are more deadly to nearby life then we believe." Source: “Practical application” page 39 of the Princeton University paper: Philosophical Implications of Inflationary Cosmology The Doomsday argument (DA) is a probabilistic argument that claims to predict the future lifetime of the human race given only an estimate of the total number of humans born so far. ... Princeton University is a private coeducational research university located in Princeton, New Jersey. ...

^  The 2000 review Armageddon at the Millennial Dawn from The Journal of Religion and Film finds that "While end of the world threats perhaps are not avoidable, the cinematic formulation of millennial doom promotes the notion that the end can be averted through employing human ingenuity, scientific advance, and heroism." Since this review was conducted, there had been a Hollywood production which postulates a (far future) outcome where humans are extinct (at least in the wild): A.I.. Year 2000 (MM) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will display full 2000 Gregorian calendar). ... A.I.: Artificial Intelligence (actual on-screen title: Artificial Intelligence: A.I.) (2001) was the last project that filmmaker Stanley Kubrick worked on. ...

^  For research on this, see Psychological science volume 15 (2004): Decisions From Experience and the Effect of Rare Events in Risky Choice. The under-perception of rare events mentioned above is actually the opposite of the phenomenon originally described by Kahneman in "prospect theory" (in their original experiments the likelihood of rare events is over-estimated). However, further analysis of the bias has shown that both forms occur: When judging from description people tend to over-estimate the described probability, so this effect taken alone would indicate that reading the extinction scenarios described here should make the reader over-estimate the likelihood of any probabilities given. However, the effect that is more relevant to common consideration of human extinction is the bias that occurs with estimates from experience, and these are in the opposite direction: When judging from personal experience people who have never heard of or experienced their species become extinct would be expected to dramatically under-estimate its likelihood. Sociobiologist E. O. Wilson argued that: "The reason for this myopic fog, evolutionary biologists contend, is that it was actually advantageous during all but the last few millennia of the two million years of existence of the genus Homo... A premium was placed on close attention to the near future and early reproduction, and little else. Disasters of a magnitude that occur only once every few centuries were forgotten or transmuted into myth." (Is Humanity Suicidal? New York Times Magazine May 30, 1993). Year 2004 (MMIV) was a leap year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Daniel Kahneman Daniel Kahneman (born March 5, 1934 in Tel Aviv, in the then British Mandate of Palestine, now in Israel), is a key pioneer and theorist of behavioral finance, which integrates economics and cognitive science to explain seemingly irrational risk management behavior in human beings. ... Prospect theory was developed by Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky in 1979 as a psychologically realistic alternative to expected utility theory. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Sociobiology is a branch of biology and also sociology that attempts to throw light upon behavior in both human and non-human societies in terms of evolutionary advantage or strategy. ... Edward Osborne Wilson (b. ... For other uses, see Genus (disambiguation). ... is the 150th day of the year (151st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1993 (MCMXCIII) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display full 1993 Gregorian calendar). ...

^  Abrupt.org 1996 editorial lists (and condemns) the arguments for human’s tendency to self-destruction. In this view, the history of humanity suggests that humans will be the cause of their own extinction. However, others have reached the opposite conclusion with the same data on violence and hypothesize that as societies develop armies and weapons with greater destructive power, they tend to be used less often. It is claimed that this implies a more secure future, despite the development of WMD technology. As such this argument may constitute a form of deterrence theory. Counter-arguments against such views include the following: (1) All weapons ever designed have ultimately been used. States with strong military forces tend to engage in military aggression, (2) Although modern states have so far generally shown restraint in unleashing their most potent weapons, whatever rational control was guaranteed by government monopoly over such weapons becomes increasingly irrelevant in a world where individuals have access to the technology of mass destruction (as proposed in Our Final Hour, for example). This article is about the study of the past in human terms. ... For other uses, see Weapon (disambiguation). ... For the Xzibit album, see Weapons of Mass Destruction (album). ... Deterrence theory is a defensive strategy developed after World War II and used throughout the Cold War. ... Our Final Hour is a 2003 book by the British Astronomer Royal Sir Martin Rees. ...

^  ReligiousTolerance.org says that Aum Supreme Truth is the only religion known to have planned Armageddon for non-believers. Their intention to unleash deadly viruses is covered in Our Final Hour, and by Aum watcher, Akihiko Misawa. The Gaia Liberation Front advocates (but is not known to have active plans for) total human genocide, see: GLF, A Modest Proposal. Leslie, 1996 says that Aum’s collection of nuclear physicists presented a doomsday threat from nuclear destruction as well, especially as the cult included a rocket scientist. This article is about biological infectious particles. ... Our Final Hour is a 2003 book by the British Astronomer Royal Sir Martin Rees. ... For other uses, see Genocide (disambiguation). ...

^  Leslie (1996) discusses the survivorship bias (which he calls an "observational selection" effect on page 139) he says that the a priori certainty of observing an "undisasterous past" could make it difficult to argue that we must be safe because nothing terrible has yet occurred. He quotes Holger Bech Nielsen’s formulation: “We do not even know if there should exist some extremely dangerous decay of say the proton which caused eradication of the earth, because if it happens we would no longer be there to observe it and if it does not happen there is nothing to observe.” (From: Random dynamics and relations between the number of fermion generations and the fine structure constants, Acta Pysica Polonica B, May 1989). Survivorship bias is the tendency for failed companies to be excluded from performance studies due to the fact that they no longer exist. ... The terms a priori and a posteriori are used in philosophy to distinguish between two different types of propositional knowledge. ... Prof. ... For other uses, see Proton (disambiguation). ... Year 1989 (MCMLXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link displays 1989 Gregorian calendar). ...

^  For example, in the essay Why the future doesn't need us, computer scientist Bill Joy argued that human beings are likely to guarantee their own extinction through transhumanism. See: Wired archive, Why the future doesn't need us. Bill Joy William Nelson Joy (born Nov 8, 1954), commonly known as Bill Joy, is an American computer scientist. ... Posthuman Future, an illustration by Michael Gibbs for The Chronicle of Higher Educations look at how biotechnology will change the human experience, has become one of the secular icons representing transhumanism. ...

^  For the “West Germany” extrapolation see: Leslie, 1996 (The End of the World) in the “War, Pollution, and disease” chapter (page 74). In this section the author also mentions the success (in lowering the birth rate) of programs such as the sterilization-for-rupees programs in India, and surveys other infertility or falling birth-rate extinciton scenarios. He says that the voluntary small family behaviour may be counter-evolutionary, but that the meme for small, rich families appears to be spreading rapidly throughout the world. In 2150 the world population is expected to start falling. Sterilization is a surgical technique leaving a male or female unable to procreate. ... INR may stand for: International normalized ratio, a laboratory test of blood coagulation the currency code for the Indian Rupee the Institute for Nuclear Research of the Russian Academy of Sciences the US Department of States Bureau of Intelligence and Research This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid... Infertility primarily refers to the biological inability of a man or a woman to contribute to conception. ... This article is about evolution in biology. ... For other uses, see Meme (disambiguation). ...

^ See estimate of contact’s probability at galactic-guide. Former NASA consultant David Brin's lengthy rebuttal to SETI enthusiast's optimism about alien intentions concludes: "The worst mistake of first contact, made throughout history by individuals on both sides of every new encounter, has been the unfortunate habit of making assumptions. It often proved fatal." (See full text at SETIleague.org.) The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) (IPA [ˈnæsÉ™]) is an agency of the United States government, responsible for the nations public space program. ... Glen David Brin, Ph. ... This article is about the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence. ...

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