stephen hawking says it’s time to scatter our seeds

I’m torn on the issue of space exploration. On one hand, I think that if we humans can’t make things work here on earth, we should just die off. (It seems to me to be the most respectable thing that we could do.) On the other, especially when I start thinking about my daughter, I feel as though we should pour every dollar we have into researching the viability of the human colonization of other planets. Well, yesterday, Stephen Hawking came out firmly on the side of the “Let’s get the fuck out of here” school of thought, and now I have to decide whether I want to join him, or start campaigning actively against him. Here’s a clip from the story:

The survival of the human race depends on its ability to find new homes elsewhere in the universe because there’s an increasing risk that a disaster will destroy the Earth, world-renowned scientist Stephen Hawking said Tuesday.

The British astrophysicist told a news conference in Hong Kong that humans could have a permanent base on the moon in 20 years and a colony on Mars in the next 40 years. “We won’t find anywhere as nice as Earth unless we go to another star system,” added Hawking, who arrived to a rock star’s welcome Monday…

“It is important for the human race to spread out into space for the survival of the species,” Hawking said. “Life on Earth is at the ever-increasing risk of being wiped out by a disaster, such as sudden global warming, nuclear war, a genetically engineered virus or other dangers we have not yet thought of.”

He, of course, is right (and I fully intend to pull every string possible to get my daughter into the space program), but something rubs me the wrong way about it. I think it’s incredibly narcissistic of us to go forward with this notion that we deserve another bite of the proverbial apple. We had paradise here on Earth and we fucked it up. In my opinion, if we can’t pull our shit together and salvage it, we don’t just deserve to die horrible deaths, we deserve the scorn of every sentient being in the cosmos.

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  1. chris
    Posted June 14, 2006 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

    amen, brother.

  2. ol' e cross
    Posted June 15, 2006 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    “And a computer could be set and programmed to accept factors from youth, health, sexual fertility, intelligence, and a cross section of necessary skills. Of course it would be absolutely vital that our top government and military men be included to foster and impart the required principles of leadership and tradition. Naturally, they would breed prodigiously, eh? There would be much time, and little to do. But ah with the proper breeding techniques and a ratio of say, ten females to each male, I would guess that they could then work their way back to the present gross national product within say, twenty years.”

    -Dr. Strangelove

  3. ol' e cross
    Posted June 15, 2006 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    Sure seems like the disasters Hawking mentioned wouldn

  4. Tony Buttons Esq.
    Posted June 15, 2006 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    How do we even know it’s the real Stephen Hawking? It could just be a doll and tape recorder. The tape (in this case made by Intel) is simply inserted in a hidden player, behind the colostomy bag. I bet he’ll be shilling for McDonalds next.

  5. Tony Buttons Esq.
    Posted June 15, 2006 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    And that Dr. Strangelove quote has to be one of the best things ever written. Great addition to the conversation, Mr. Cross.

  6. Anonymous
    Posted June 15, 2006 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    The man can sing though!

  7. mark
    Posted June 15, 2006 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

    Hawking has been dead for years… ever since he did the voice for KIT, the car on the show “Night Rider.”

  8. ol' e cross
    Posted June 16, 2006 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    Thanks Tony B.

    But I really only commented so Mark and Jesus would stop yelling at us.

    I’m used to hearing it from Jesus, but it really hurt from a local deity.

  9. Tony Buttons Esq.
    Posted June 16, 2006 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    So this is what it takes to draw you out of hiding, Taint.

  10. Robert
    Posted May 13, 2008 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    It’s a no-brainer. What self respecting disease doesn’t try to spread? It’s our duty. But let’s not be too surprised when the inter-galactic equivelent of anti-biotics shows up and treats us like the yeast infection we are.

  11. Paw
    Posted May 14, 2008 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    I’m crying my eyes out over here. I’d forgotten all about the wonderful Mr. Buttons. Does anyone know what happened to him?

    Thank you for redirecting my attention to this thread, Robert.

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