Vail Daily letter: Lifeboat Earth
March 24, 2014
For many years, I have been impressed with the late astronomer and astrophysicist Carl Sagan's intellect, scientific knowledge and ability to objectively and accurately sum up the human condition, while making it abundantly clear that our long-term survival as a species is up to us alone.
Unfortunately, organized religion, founded millennia ago on the shaky foundation of superstition, myth, illiteracy and ignorance, to date continues to be headed by wizened old men, modern day shamans, who keep the unquestioning followers in line by the imposition of guilt, fear, punishment, and terror and have maintained quite a large following (about 80 percent or so of those alive today). Educating this great and growing mass of humanity to the reality that there is no deity who will save us from ourselves is proving to be quite a challenge.
Mounting scientific evidence indicates that overall humankind is having a profoundly negative impact on the planet, primarily the result of our numbers having already exceeded the planet's ability to adequately provide for the very basic needs of the 2 to 3 billion souls who today live in abject poverty and squalor with no hope at all of a better way of life. If we do not voluntarily and intelligently soon begin to reduce our numbers, Mother Nature will do it for us and the results will be indiscriminate, brutal and to nobody's liking.
The economy is our Achilles heel. Experts in the public and private sector who should know about such things tell us that it is only a matter of time before multiple suicide bombers practice their handiwork in numerous shopping malls across America, and eventually a terrorist organization could manage to detonate an atomic (or hydrogen) bomb in New York, Chicago, San Francisco or elsewhere in the country.
The likely fallout from such an attack would be the collapse of the economy of the United States, followed by the economies of the rest of the world's developed nations. The experts know it, you know it, I know it and so do the terrorists.
So there you have it, two possible real-life scenarios that we face today that would lead to the almost certain demise of our species (and likely most all other species as well), over-population and blind faith in some non-existent deity who perhaps might choose to save us from ourselves.
Looking ahead no more than a century or two (just a split-second in geological time), I think that our only hope for survival is to throw off the limiting shackles of traditional, deity-based religion, and instead focus on what modern science is telling us we must do — reduce our numbers substantially and learn how to get along with one another peacefully by adopting a unifying field of knowledge-based thought and action that is becoming known as secular humanism.
The stark reality is that this planet is the only home that human beings will ever know, lifeboat Earth I call it, so it is simply a matter of enlightened self-interest that we collectively treat our home with far greater understanding and respect.