Humanities wake-up call has been ignored and we are probably doomed.
The Chelyabinsk event is a warning. Unfortunately, it seems to be a non-event in the great scheme of things and that means the human race is probably also a non-starter. For years I have been hoping for such an event– and saw it as the start of a new space age. Just as Sputnik indirectly resulted in a man on the Moon I predicted an event that would launch humankind into deep space.
Now I wait for ISON. Thirteen may be the year of the comet and if that does not impress upon us the vulnerability of Earth to impacts then only an impact will. If the impact throws enough particles into the atmosphere then no food will grow and World War C will begin. The C stands for cannibalism. If the impact hits the ring of fire it may generate volcanic effects that may have the same effect. If whatever hits Earth is big enough it will render all life above the size of microbes extinct. We have spent trillions of dollars on defense– yet we are defenceless.
Our instinctive optimism bias continues to delude us with the idea that we will survive no matter what happens. Beside the impact threat is the threat of an engineered pathogen. While naturally evolved epidemics always leave a percentage of survivors, a bug designed to be 100 percent lethal will leave none alive. And then there is the unknown– Earth changes, including volcanic activity, can also wreck our civilization. We go on as a species the same way we go on with our own lives– ignoring death for the most part. And that is our critical error.
The universe does not care if we thrive or go extinct. If we do not care then a quick end is inevitable.
I have given the world my best answer to the question. That is all I can do: