The Future is Probably Going to be OK

There is a lot of doom and gloom when most people try to predict the future: Predictions of environmental devastation, economic collapse, killer diseases and zombie apocalypse are rampant. The truth is that some, even all, of these things may happen but we're probably going to be ok so long as we trust to science and not fundamentalism or mythology.

When I say fundamentalism or mythology, I obviously include religious fundamentalism but not only religious fundamentalism. The fundamentalism and myths of the 'left' need to be pushed aside as well.

Humans are, by nature, explorers. We don't leave anything alone, we have a need to touch, and play with, to question and understand and to shape our environment to suit our needs. Religion and science were, once upon a time, the same thing. They were attempts to explain and understand the world around us. It was during the middle ages when scientific findings began to conflict with religious dogma that the two began to move apart. So, religion is science it is just ancient science, based on faulty logic and very little data and science that largely refuses to change.

Because of our tendency to explore, test, understand and reshape nature is gone. Obviously nature can never truly be gone, it still governs everything and we ourselves are a part of nature. However, the particular environment that humans evolved in has been irrevocably changed. There is no corner of the Earth that hasn't either already been changed by humans or that will not be changed by processes already set in motion. So any hippyish desire to 'return to nature' can't really happen and is unrealistic to expect or to ask for. If it is any comfort though, we are a natural phenomenon. The planet, and the universe, evolved a life form whose nature it is to change their environment.

We must let go of the idea of slowing progress or going backward in order to produce some kind of balance. Decades of attempts to get people to do this have failed because it is simply not who we are as a species. At the same time, we should apply (and scientists and technologies are applying) what we now know about ecosystems and natural processes to plans for future change and progress.

Going back to those things that cause people to worry about the futre, let's look at the state of various issues:

None of this is to say that we shouldn't remain wary and politically active. People should ask questions, and keep asking questions until they understand the answers. Keep doing what you can to protect the environment and endangered species, ban the use of antibiotics by the commercial meat industry to stave off resistant bacteria, demand a more fair and equitable economic system for everyone, etc., However, while you are doing all of this make sure that you don't allow myth and conspiracy theory to guide you. Let science lead the way, it is what comes naturally to us.

Humans are not, by nature, hunter / gatherers. If we were we would not have abandoned that life. We are explorers, shapers of our environment, tool makers, we are a species that asks questions and keeps looking for better answers to those questions. Man does not "belong to the Earth", the Earth belongs to man. It is likely that, one day, we will terraform and colonize Mars, will we then say that Mars does not belong to man?

Also remember, the next time someone starts predicting the end of mankind that in the last century we had plagues, genocides, small wars and world wars, droughts and economic depressions and still managed to triple our population. Humanity is not, barring a rogue comet sneaking up on us, going to go anywhere  except perhaps, one day soon, to the stars.

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