Posts Tagged ‘threat to earth’

Dinosaur Killers 2

July 16, 2012

In a NYT article, by way of Boing Boing, columnist Errol Morris, asks for your opinion on a statement by David Deutsch about the asteroid threat to Earth:

…we live in an era of unprecedented safety: the twenty-first century is the first ever moment when we have known how to defend ourselves from such impacts.

The survey asked not only for your opinion, but your level of confidence in that opinion.

The problem with this survey is that it asks for a single answer to two questions: “Do you think Deutsch’s claim is true? Is it true that ‘we live in an era of unprecedented safety’?” Of course, that’s because Deutsch makes two claims (1) we live in an era of unprecedented safety and (2) the twenty-first century is the first ever moment when we have known how to defend ourselves, and both of these miss the point.

My answer to claim (1) was that his claim was false, and there wasn’t any place I could answer claim (2), which is true. Claim (1) is false because of the third claim that no-one mentioned — that we not only know what to do, but we have the technical capability to do it on an appropriate timescale. (more…)

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Dinosaur Killers 1

July 12, 2012

In a NYT article, by way of Boing Boing, columnist Errol Morris, asks for your opinion on a statement by David Deutsch about the asteroid threat to Earth:

…we live in an era of unprecedented safety: the twenty-first century is the first ever moment when we have known how to defend ourselves from such impacts.

It’s interesting, in that the survey asks not only for your opinion, but your level of confidence in that opinion.

I’ve given my opinion, and I’ll talk about it here, in a follow-on essay, in a couple of days. That will give you time to vote, and it will separate this entry from all possibility of spoilers.