## Monday, May 08, 2017

### Hawking: mankind, leave Earth in 100 years

As The Independent and dozens of other sources told us, Stephen Hawking has "improved" his previous recommendation on a recently aired BBC program.

Half a year ago, he said that the mankind had to leave the Earth in 1,000 years if it wants to survive. He has corrected the number and what he says now is the following: all the men have to shoot themselves to another celestial body in 100 years if the mankind and/or the Earth wants to survive.

The stupidity of all these proclamations seems breathtaking to me.

The first "cute" sentence in The Independent says:
Ten centuries is a blip in the grand arc of the universe, but in human terms it was the apocalyptic equivalent of getting a few weeks' notice before our collective landlord (Mother Earth) kicks us to the curb.
I think that the author, Peter Holley, actually thinks rationally and wrote this sentence for the same reason why I would: to mock Hawking. You know, we don't really have a "collective landlord" and Mother Earth cannot "kick us to the curb". To think that "She" can is a symptom of someone's being high, crazy, and imagining Nature in excessively anthropomorphic terms.

The announcement that the deadline was shortened is written as follows:
Hawking claims that Mother Earth would greatly appreciate it if we could gather our belongings and get out - not in 1,000 years, but in the next century or so.
Again, Mother Earth cannot "appreciate" something like that because only agents with some thinking ability and perhaps consciousness – sufficiently similar to the human beings – may "appreciate" events.

Moreover, the Earth itself is our belonging so if we were leaving, we would keep the Earth or take it with us. You know, once again, "belongings" is a concept that is only well-defined at the level of the human society and/or perhaps some multi-species generalization of it. According to the land registry, you own a piece of the land – so the corresponding piece of the Planet Earth is one of your belongings. To deny this statement means to twist the meaning of "belongings" or "ownership" and any other interpretation of these words than the legal one is bound to be nonsensical.

It seems that Stephen Hawking has become just another radical environmentalist whacko who wants to apply the logic of attorneys to non-human "agents" such as Mother Earth. But you know, all these ultra-green people build their "logic" on a complete misunderstanding of pretty much everything about the world and the society. People protect their belongings because it's useful for them – and they can. Mother Earth has no "enforcement forces" to claim that "Her" geological layers are "Her" belongings, and that's the point at which the notion dies and becomes nonsensical to talk about. An ultra-green loon may say that it's "unfair" that Mother Earth doesn't have a great attorney or army to "enforce" "Her" ownership right – but this whining is nothing else than the denial of the basic facts about Nature and the basic laws of Nature. "She" just cannot do such things. Get used to it.

The idea that the Earth appreciates, kicks, and strips us of our real estate belongings is not only childish but also strikingly unscientific in character. I think that not all children talk in this way; only the kids who aren't approaching the world rationally (plus Stephen Hawking) do.
"Professor Stephen Hawking thinks the human species will have to populate a new planet within 100 years if it is to survive," the BBC said...
Unless we use mass cloning or artificial production of humans of a related kind, the mankind cannot "populate a new planet within 100 years". Just think about how many people can be sent to the outer space and what is the maximum factor by which the population may increase over there in 100 years. You can't call the result "populating". It may be at most a "slightly more intimate touching of the celestial bodies" than what we have already done.
"With climate change, overdue asteroid strikes, epidemics and population growth, our own planet is increasingly precarious."
Three out of these four threats are either pure superstitions or they have been negligible for the survival and are likely to be negligible in the future. Only epidemics could be a real threat but there are various reasons to think that even the most serious ones will only matter regionally and that a sufficient fraction of the mankind survives all of them.

There can't be any dangerous climate change within 100 years because the temperature is gonna change at most by one or several degrees – hardly something that could persuade a rational human being with a survival instinct to jump to a spaceship for masses. The population growth is some 1% globally these days and whatever it is, the figure is dynamically picked by the system according to what the Earth and humans may afford.

The world population is growing by 1% because it's possible. The food production and other things are growing accordingly. If they were not, the population growth wouldn't take place or it would abruptly stop. All the likes of Malthus and Ehrlich who have made apocalyptic predictions linked to the population growth have made fools of themselves – and Stephen Hawking is just joining this community of nuts.

Also, it's nonsense that asteroid strikes are "overdue". Stephen Hawking may be frantically waiting for an asteroid every evening but there exists absolutely no reason why an asteroid should land in 100 or even 1,000 years. Some "near-certainty" of an asteroid strike may only be assumed at the time scale of tens or hundreds of millions of years – and even most of those are likely not to cause a truly global cataclysm.

Much of the program discussed Hawking's students' plans to populate the Universe and coming mass extinctions.

I don't know whether I should be happy that he also mentioned M-theory. On one hand, it's good when viewers are reminded of M-theory. On the other hand, it's not exactly great when M-theory is served as a dessert after this apocalyptic crackpottery presented as the main course.