Analysis in the previous chapter has demonstrated that as long as the development of science and technology does not cease, humanity will eventually self-destruct. Scientific and technological development is bound to produce means for total extinction, and once produced, such means will be used.
Since the overall survival of mankind is crucial, the evidence of self-destruction should be as ample as possible. We will further analyze human self-destruction from some other perspectives in this chapter.
Strictly speaking, any living organism must experience life and death. If mankind’s extinction was far in the future, worry might be unnecessary, but if it were imminent, there would be reason for concern. All other issues in the world today are secondary to the matter of human survival; therefore, we will be delving into some related issues regarding the self-destruction of humanity.
SECTION ONE: EXTREME MEANS CANNOT BE OFFSET
Our previous discussion has led to one clear conclusion: the extreme means we currently possess are destructive means, but total extinction means will emerge and be applied in the future. One day in the future, we will be exterminated by such extreme means.
Human nature tends to hope for the best and avoid thinking about crises. Faced with such pessimistic prospects, people may wonder if there is a countermeasure to offset and balance the damage caused by extreme means. There are indeed many opposites that achieve balance in nature. In Newtonian mechanics, when force is applied to an object, a reaction force is also produced; nuclei have positive charge, while their outer layer electrons have negative charge; according to the Big Bang theory, antimatter must exist alongside matter; compound reaction and decomposition exist together in chemistry; differentials and integrals concur in mathematics . . . and the list goes on.
Due to the existence of so many positive-negative balances in nature, many philosophers and politicians like to theorize that a similar balance will exist to offset the worst damages caused by humans. The idea is that some sort of counterbalance or restraint can always be created to offset the damage perpetrated by scientific and technological development—just like how shields can stop spears, or how penicillin, erythromycin, and spiramycin can treat inflammations.
Realistically, it is impossible to offset means of destruction and total extinction for the following reasons:
First, it takes time to develop a counter-method. Take cures for genotoxins as an example. A period of repeated experimentation and research is required to produce a solution to any genotoxin attack. During this process, many people will die and the damage will already have been done.
Second, some means cannot be counterbalanced. Of the destructive means that we currently possess, nuclear bombs cannot be offset in any way. Based on current scientific theory, there is no power that can eliminate the energy produced by a nuclear bomb after it explodes. The only way to stop a nuclear bomb from creating mass devastation is to stop it from exploding in the first place. Nuclear bombs can only be classified as a destructive means; there are bound to be total extinction means that cannot be counterbalanced in the future.
Thirdly, even in the most ideal situation where all extreme means can be offset, the time gap between the counterbalance and the extreme means will still be problematic. The time lag between the production of an extreme means and the creation of its countermeasure will accumulate as more extreme means are developed. This will cause humanity to be unprotected for long periods of times. Even in the most ideal situation, the damage brought about by extreme means cannot be eradicated—only reduced. Once means of total extinction emerge, they could destroy humanity with one strike—before a countermeasure can be produced.