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Question: What is the greatest threat to humanities existence and why?
Asteroid/Comet impact
Nuclear War
Plague/Disease/BioWeaponry
Wandering Black Hole
Gamma Ray Burst
Supervolcano
Climate Change
Artificial Intelligence
Alien Intelligence

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Author Topic: What is the greatest threat to humanities existence and why? A jblank poll.  (Read 1935 times)
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jblank
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« on: August 31, 2006, 03:15:55 PM »

ABC had a cool 20/20 that talked about this last night, so I thought it would be curious to see what you guys think is our greatest threat, and why you think that.

1. Asteroid/Comet impact - http://abcnews.go.com/2020/Science/story?id=2321761

2. Nuclear War - http://www.cddc.vt.edu/host/atomic/nukeffct/

3. Plague/Disease - Self explanatory, a disease is created or mutates and we can't stop it.

4. Wandering Black Hole - Don't laugh, they exist. http://abcnews.go.com/2020/Science/story?id=2365372&page=1

5. Gamma Ray Burst - http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/09/030923070835.htm

6. Supervolcano - http://www.abcnews.go.com/2020/Science/story?id=2366987&page=1

7. Climate Change - We actually KNOW this is happening, can we stop it though?

8. Artificial Intelligence - Stephen Hawking thinks its a real threat. http://abcnews.go.com/2020/story?id=2319559&page=3 Think SKYNET or THE MATRIX

9. Alien Intelligence - Invasion and destruction of the planet .

This stuff fascinates me, just wanna see what you guys think.
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« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2006, 03:18:30 PM »

No option for GW Bush?

Bah!
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« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2006, 03:28:30 PM »

Cool topic.

I voted "Gamma Ray Burst". They are possibly the reason we're seemingly alone in the Galaxy.

Wandering Black Hole seems, ah, unlikely.  icon_smile

While the rest would undoubtedly be Bad Things, they wouldn't kill everyone.
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« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2006, 03:34:47 PM »

Quote from: jblank on August 31, 2006, 03:15:55 PM

What is the greatest threat to humanities existence and why? A jblank poll.

It seems you have already answered your question. That's how I read it anyhow.  nod
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« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2006, 03:40:20 PM »

By threat to humanity, do you mean something that will wipe out all human life or something that just kills 90% of us?
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« Reply #5 on: August 31, 2006, 03:41:27 PM »

Quote from: A jblank poll
What is the greatest threat to humanities existence?

Man.
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« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2006, 03:44:23 PM »

LIE-bral media FTW!!!11
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« Reply #7 on: August 31, 2006, 03:48:33 PM »

Quote from: Ralph-Wiggum on August 31, 2006, 03:40:20 PM

By threat to humanity, do you mean something that will wipe out all human life or something that just kills 90% of us?

Well, it is possible that all of those could kill everyone, but even if they didn't kill us all, humanity as a whole would be so altered that it might as well have.
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« Reply #8 on: August 31, 2006, 03:49:55 PM »

Quote from: Kobra on August 31, 2006, 03:18:30 PM

No option for GW Bush?

Bah!

I strongly considered putting him in.
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« Reply #9 on: August 31, 2006, 03:51:02 PM »

Quote from: Laner on August 31, 2006, 03:44:23 PM

LIE-bral media FTW!!!11

Yeah lets blame the liberals for the possibilities of all of those things. Roll Eyes
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« Reply #10 on: August 31, 2006, 03:52:04 PM »

Quote from: jblank on August 31, 2006, 03:51:02 PM

Quote from: Laner on August 31, 2006, 03:44:23 PM

LIE-bral media FTW!!!11

Yeah lets blame the liberals for the possibilities of all of those things. Roll Eyes

Or the conservatives....   Roll Eyes
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« Reply #11 on: August 31, 2006, 03:53:32 PM »

I don't see anything in the poll or even in the way the program was portrayed last night that had ANY bias at all. This isn't a political issue one way or the other for me.
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« Reply #12 on: August 31, 2006, 03:55:58 PM »

You could put forth the arguement that the Climate Change one was pretty politically charged, esspecially with Al Gore front and center.
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« Reply #13 on: August 31, 2006, 03:58:05 PM »

Quote from: SuperHiro on August 31, 2006, 03:55:58 PM

You could put forth the arguement that the Climate Change one was pretty politically charged, esspecially with Al Gore front and center.

Gore is more mouthpiece than politician at this point, besides, when you have all climatologists behind your back, it's pretty firm ground to stand on.
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« Reply #14 on: August 31, 2006, 04:04:23 PM »

Sorry; I meant more to point out it isn't liberals or conservatives at fault for any of these...  Don't want a return to the days of (can I say his name) unbreakable and turning a talk about what sort of ice cream you might prefer into conspiracy talk.

Me; I voted for plague/disease of some sort.  I think it's the most likely of all the options (saw a similar thing on SciFi a couple months back).  The superintelligent robots one made me laugh, as did the one of aliens.  The odds of the supervolcano or meteor seem far less than avian flu actually mutating, or some other disease we don't even know about yet.  I think that'll get us before climate change has a chance.
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« Reply #15 on: August 31, 2006, 04:24:18 PM »

Asteroid/Comet impact here.

We're gonna get NAILED one of these days...
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« Reply #16 on: August 31, 2006, 04:27:35 PM »

Quote from: TheMissingLink on August 31, 2006, 04:24:18 PM

Asteroid/Comet impact here.

We're gonna get NAILED one of these days...

Sir, I remind you, we still have Bruce Willis to save us.

* gellar voted for Aliens - Will Smith is a pansy now
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« Reply #17 on: August 31, 2006, 04:45:57 PM »

I'm amazed others haven't said Nuclear War. With the computerization of the defense systems these days, and the possible loss of control from that, as well as the proliferation of nukes and lack of security in other countries, I think the most likely scenario is an accidental launch being interpreted as an attack, then an escalation follows. Even a terrorist nuke could be falsely interpreted as a first strike.
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« Reply #18 on: August 31, 2006, 04:51:26 PM »

It's because we're all secretly hoping for a nuclear strike, so we can fufill longstanding fantasies with the Gifted and Bloody Mess traits. 
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« Reply #19 on: August 31, 2006, 04:52:47 PM »

Quote from: SuperHiro on August 31, 2006, 04:51:26 PM

It's because we're all secretly hoping for a nuclear strike, so we can fufill longstanding fantasies with the Gifted and Bloody Mess traits. 

That's probably funny......if only I knew what you were referencing.
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« Reply #20 on: August 31, 2006, 04:54:10 PM »

Quote from: jblank on August 31, 2006, 04:52:47 PM

Quote from: SuperHiro on August 31, 2006, 04:51:26 PM

It's because we're all secretly hoping for a nuclear strike, so we can fufill longstanding fantasies with the Gifted and Bloody Mess traits. 

That's probably funny......if only I knew what you were referencing.

You've never played Fallout?!

* gellar cannot fathom it
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« Reply #21 on: August 31, 2006, 04:56:22 PM »

Quote from: gellar on August 31, 2006, 04:54:10 PM

Quote from: jblank on August 31, 2006, 04:52:47 PM

Quote from: SuperHiro on August 31, 2006, 04:51:26 PM

It's because we're all secretly hoping for a nuclear strike, so we can fufill longstanding fantasies with the Gifted and Bloody Mess traits. 

That's probably funny......if only I knew what you were referencing.

You've never played Fallout?!

* gellar cannot fathom it

Nope, sorry.
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« Reply #22 on: August 31, 2006, 04:59:56 PM »

Quote from: gellar on August 31, 2006, 04:54:10 PM

Quote from: jblank on August 31, 2006, 04:52:47 PM

Quote from: SuperHiro on August 31, 2006, 04:51:26 PM

It's because we're all secretly hoping for a nuclear strike, so we can fufill longstanding fantasies with the Gifted and Bloody Mess traits. 

That's probably funny......if only I knew what you were referencing.

You've never played Fallout?!

* gellar cannot fathom it

*warning thinks the greatest threat to humanity is gellar referring to himself in third person and typing in red
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« Reply #23 on: August 31, 2006, 05:01:59 PM »

Quote from: warning on August 31, 2006, 04:59:56 PM

Quote from: gellar on August 31, 2006, 04:54:10 PM

Quote from: jblank on August 31, 2006, 04:52:47 PM

Quote from: SuperHiro on August 31, 2006, 04:51:26 PM

It's because we're all secretly hoping for a nuclear strike, so we can fufill longstanding fantasies with the Gifted and Bloody Mess traits. 

That's probably funny......if only I knew what you were referencing.

You've never played Fallout?!

* gellar cannot fathom it

*warning thinks the greatest threat to humanity is gellar referring to himself in third person and typing in red

I am flattered.

* gellar is not surprised, though.
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« Reply #24 on: August 31, 2006, 05:02:11 PM »

I voted for Supervolcano, because that docudrama on Discovery about Yellowstone blowing up was both the most fascinating and most god-damn-stupid thing I've ever seen.  For every fascinating nugget of geological information, there was a stupid ham-handed acting scene.
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« Reply #25 on: August 31, 2006, 05:02:18 PM »

I think that nukes are a huge concern; but see it more likely that terrorists would get their hands on one and blow up a city than the US, Russia, and everyone else launching the arsenals.  Of course that would be a disaster beyond my imagination; but I think it's less likely than a possible plague of sorts.

Thinking about this makes me want to cash out my 401k and blow it on building an underground bunker.
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« Reply #26 on: August 31, 2006, 05:06:00 PM »

Quote from: JLu on August 31, 2006, 05:02:18 PM

I think that nukes are a huge concern; but see it more likely that terrorists would get their hands on one and blow up a city than the US, Russia, and everyone else launching the arsenals.  Of course that would be a disaster beyond my imagination; but I think it's less likely than a possible plague of sorts.

Thinking about this makes me want to cash out my 401k and blow it on building an underground bunker.

What if one was detonated, without warning, in Moscow or Washington, then at the same time some sort of mobile rocket was launched, from within the country, so that it got picked up by the EWS? It could mimic a first strike with another incoming and that would be ULTRA scary boys and girls.
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« Reply #27 on: August 31, 2006, 05:11:09 PM »

Wait, where is the choice for Scientologists?
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« Reply #28 on: August 31, 2006, 05:12:20 PM »

Nuclear War.
Lybia had a weapons program and nobody knew. Who else may?
Also, India and Pakistan are armed and hateful, Khazikstan has a huge arsenal and no security, as does the Ukraine.
I really believe it is a matter of time.
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« Reply #29 on: August 31, 2006, 05:21:22 PM »

I voted for Plague/Disease.

It will probably be only a matter of time until some strain of virus or bacteria becomes resistant and goes hogwild amongst the population.  Either that, or some scientist from a country that hates us is cooking up something nasty to deliver biological warfare-like. 

Good thing we have Jack Bauer, otherwise I'd be worried!  nod
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« Reply #30 on: August 31, 2006, 05:44:29 PM »

I'm certain that the call will come from inside the house.
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« Reply #31 on: August 31, 2006, 05:51:41 PM »

Nukes

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_III#Historical_close_calls
http://www.worldthreats.com/general_information/Worlds%20Nuclear%20Close%20Calls.htm

And subsequent to that...

« Last Edit: August 31, 2006, 05:53:42 PM by kathode » Logged
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« Reply #32 on: August 31, 2006, 06:00:13 PM »

Well, I'm guessing that #2 and #3 can both be done by Man, so pick one of those. I did #2, to be exact.

I'll go on record though that if Man was a choice, I would've picked it.
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« Reply #33 on: August 31, 2006, 06:09:36 PM »

Asteroid/Comet impact -  Most plausible to me
Nuclear War - not big enough threat
Plague/Disease/BioWeaponry   - not big enough- some will always be immune to any given disease and/or live in food rich area
Wandering Black Hole    - uh, yeah, get back to me when something in our neighborhood gets gobbled
Gamma Ray Burst   - see above
Supervolcano   - not big enough
Climate Change    - not big enough
Artificial Intelligence   - uh, yeah get back to me when it actually exists
Alien Intelligence  - see above

Assuming 'threat to existence' means TOTAL wipeout, ALL humans dead, that's how I see it.

We regularly have meteor/comet type crap zipping nearby.  Therefore, it's not hard to believe we will get hit by a jumbo one at some point.  Something big enough to effectively make it impossible for humans to live on Earth for a period of time...yeah, that's a good bet in my opinion.

The other stuff I list as 'not big enough' is stuff that I think might possibly kill off 99 out of 100 people at most.  That's not enough to wipe out humanity though.  If that many people were killed today, we's still have something like 60 million alive right?  That's a pretty big amount, enough to start over.

Climate change could go either way I guess.   If the planet became totally hot, or competely frozen over AND humans didn't develop any way of coping with it then yeah, it's over.   But if 'climate change' just means making it impossible for people to live like we do today and in the numbers that we do, that is not the end of our existence.

The rest of the stuff depends on things that either have never been shown to be close enough to threaten us(ala comets) or have even been proven to exist(aliens).

edit:  After reading past the first post, I see that 'threat to existence' actually means 'threat to the American way of life', hehe.

That being the case, I'd vote for Nuclear Attack(not necessarily war).  I feel that such an attack WILL happen, it's only a matter of time(not a long time either).
« Last Edit: August 31, 2006, 06:19:12 PM by gameoverman » Logged
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« Reply #34 on: August 31, 2006, 07:35:00 PM »

Quote from: CrayolaSmoker on August 31, 2006, 03:41:27 PM

Quote from: A jblank poll
What is the greatest threat to humanities existence?

Man.
+1
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« Reply #35 on: August 31, 2006, 07:39:42 PM »

Quote from: warning on August 31, 2006, 04:59:56 PM

*warning thinks the greatest threat to humanity is gellar referring to himself in third person and typing in red


At least he ain't refering to himself in third person as an object. Eg: The Gellar thinks this thread will destroy humanity.
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« Reply #36 on: August 31, 2006, 08:14:17 PM »

Quote from: gameoverman on August 31, 2006, 06:09:36 PM


edit:  After reading past the first post, I see that 'threat to existence' actually means 'threat to the American way of life', hehe.


Huh? A nuclear war, even on the most minute of scales (an exchange of 20-30 warheads) would do more than just threaten the American way of life. There isn't a single one of these "events" that if it happened wouldn't likely impact the planet and its inhabitants, on a global scale. The "American way of life" didn't factor into the program nor is it factoring into the poll.
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« Reply #37 on: August 31, 2006, 09:18:32 PM »

Quote from: jblank on August 31, 2006, 03:48:33 PM

Quote from: Ralph-Wiggum on August 31, 2006, 03:40:20 PM

By threat to humanity, do you mean something that will wipe out all human life or something that just kills 90% of us?

Well, it is possible that all of those could kill everyone, but even if they didn't kill us all, humanity as a whole would be so altered that it might as well have.

That line you quoted was meant in response to that comment you made.   

I don't agree that a massive loss of population or way of life means we might as well all be dead.  "So altered" still means alive.   Alive means whoever is still alive goes on, does the best with what they have to work with, with whoever is around.  Eventually a new way of life is formed and civilization rebuilt.   Just because it's not the same as now doesn't make it worthless to those still alive.

Now if by 'so altered' you mean poisoned or terminally damaged in a long term way, where everyone is doomed to die but not all at once, then I agree with you.   But then that means a total loss of life as the end result of the event, which again in my opinion rules out Nuclear war.

An exchange of multiple warheads?  Sure it's possible, in the sense that anything is possible.  I don't think it's likely to happen though.   I don't think it's possible that any party(nation or otherwise) that would be willing to start tossing that many warhead/bombs at us could even accumulate that many AND the delivery systems to get them here before being removed as a threat.

Take North Korea as an example.   Yeah, I could believe they are crazy enough to do it, they have nothing to lose for one thing.  But how many warheads do they have?  Not enough to take out anywhere near the entire US last I heard.  Our answer to that kind of attack from them wouldn't require that many warheads to end their existence entirely.  So that would be a very small, limited exchange at worst. 

I'm assuming 'warheads' means larger ones in this context.  Sure we might exchange a larger group of warheads, if they were small tactical ones.  But if the world ends due to nuclear war, it won't be because of an exchange of tactical nukes, it'll have to be the strategic ones.

The most anyone could do with nuclear weapons at this point is screw with us and the world economy by extension.  If we lost a city or two to terrorist attack, which I think is the scenario most likely, that would put a hurt on everyone for some time but that is not anywhere near threatening humanity's existence.
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« Reply #38 on: August 31, 2006, 09:28:24 PM »

When I mentioned "Nuclear War" I mean a WWIII kind of scenario, the tradtional sense, and thats what the program talked about also. Now, is it possible some people survive that, yeah, but the amount of radiation, etc, etc, etc, would likely eventually kill us all. I recommend you read Carl Sagan's take on the after effects of a total nuclear war. Not only will you come out of it more educated about the effects (not that you aren't informed already)on the planet and humanity, but it will turn you anti-nuke, if you aren't already.
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« Reply #39 on: August 31, 2006, 09:47:54 PM »

Total nuclear war in the WWIII sense is something that I believe is in the realm of far fetched possibility at this point.  It's in the realm of "OMG aliens are going to come here and harvest us for food!"

The Chinese and Russians have far too much to lose to go for that.  Not to mention that China, and Russia if they aligned with China, must see a better chance to 'beat' us economically as time marches on.  Why throw it all away?

No one else has the weapons to engage us at that level, so where's the threat?
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