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The Real Danger to Humanity

David Horsey
© David Horsey

I actually do think that if humanity were existentially threatened, that we would come together. But it would take something dramatic.

I think at least part of our problem right now is that we are relatively really well off, and everyone knows that money is the root of all evil, right? But if we faced a serious problem, I would hope we could respond.



  1. oregonbird wrote:

    … relatively well off. I haven’t had a job in three years, there are 30 college graduates who are ahead of me for any job I’m physically capable of doing, and I sold plasma to make rent this month. Why yes, I am a solid, middle-class citizen in a liberal state.

    Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 11:35 am | Permalink
  2. David Freeman wrote:

    If Climate Change isn’t a dramatic existential threat then I don’t know what is.

    Perhaps you meant a imminent existential threat.

    Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 4:04 pm | Permalink
  3. PatriotSGT wrote:

    I think he was talking more about an immediate end of the world as we know it type of event. Climate change, while real, is more of a slow drawn out agonizing ordeal that some will undoubtedly survive.
    I believe if the world were threatened by some existential event that seemed impossible or inevitable to avoid then humankind would dissolve into chaos and anything would go, god help the meek. However, if it were something that could be overcome, I believe that the peoples of the world and certainly our country would unite and overcome.

    Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 6:29 pm | Permalink
  4. PapaJ wrote:

    I see people meeting challenges every day and helping each other. The cartoon speaks to an unfortunate situation. There is a sub-group that does have a “I got mine screw you.” attitude, but it is not the majority. In times of challenge, watch for those moving toward the problem, there will always be some, join them.

    Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 6:58 pm | Permalink
  5. Iron Knee wrote:

    Well said, PapaJ. I like to think that the fact that this blog exists and is read is evidence that you are right. But in reality, throughout history most challenges have been met.

    The main thing that worries me is that we humans are not wired to understand problems that grow exponentially (like tipping points). So while I think eventually virtually everyone (who knows, maybe even Fox News!) will work together to solve the problem of climate change, by then it might be too late.

    David, I’m curious why you think climate change is an existential threat. I’m not trying to make light of it, but I don’t think it will wipe all humans off the face of the earth.

    Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 9:05 pm | Permalink
  6. David Freeman wrote:

    In his paper “Existential Risks”, Nick Bostrom does exclude “moderate global warming” as an existential threat but specifically mentions the possibility of “Runaway global warming” as an existential threat though he hopes technology will prevent it. See

    The wikipedia entry,,_humans,_and_planet_Earth , also states “man-made events could also threaten the survival of intelligent life on Earth, like catastrophic global warming,[2] nuclear war, or bioterrorism.”

    However, I merely referred to “climate change” rather than “catastrophic climate change” so I stand corrected. Also, truth be told, I was using a less precise definition.

    Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 11:11 pm | Permalink
  7. Iron Knee wrote:

    Hmmm, maybe I should have said that we would be able to respond to a crisis. But only if the solution didn’t have to pass Congress. Sigh.

    Friday, February 22, 2013 at 8:18 pm | Permalink