Posts Tagged ‘Existential threats’

Humanity’s existential threats (sans alarmism)

July 13, 2017

Many so-called “scientists” indulge in phony-science which is entirely geared to winning funding. Alarmism is often misused. Such “scientists” and insurance companies cannot be trusted with risk assessments. They have a vested interest in exaggerating the risk, either to get more funding or to increase the sale of highly profitable insurance products.

(Insurance companies are expert at assessing risk. However their business is built on perceived risk being higher than actual risk. Their profits provide the evidence for how well they have succeeded both in raising perceptions of risk and in accurately predicting actual risk. “Scientific” papers authored or sponsored by insurance companies and their reports must always be taken with a large bushel of salt. Their publications are all about building up risk perceptions. They are probably very good at assessing the real risk, but that material will never get published. The risk of alarmism is multiplied when scientists are sponsored by insurance companies).

Politicians like exaggerated risk assessments where the causes of the risk are outside their control. This provides a bottomless pit of “allowable taxes”, ostensibly to “fight” against causes which are not understood and outside their control, but ¬†provide for increased budget revenues.

Scientists, politicians and insurance companies inevitably try to arouse emotions and “fear level” to their own purposes.

The actual existential risks for humanity are a long way below what the alarmists would have us believe and need to be considered unemotionally. Risk assessment is an exercise which primarily needs common sense and which must not get mired in ¬†“political correctness”.

The most serious existential threats facing humanity in the next 1,000 years come from the almost inevitable eruption of a super-volcano (which is overdue) and the continuing decline in global fertility which could give serious depopulation by 2100.

(I am quite happy to offer odds of 10 million to one to anybody who wishes to place money on a large asteroid impacting earth – say – within the next 5 years. The risk that the punter and I will both survive such an event. such that I have to pay out, is as close to zero as you can get).


 

 


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