Each Year, There’s a 1 in 14,000 Chance of Human EXTINCTION…And Most People Don’t Really CARE If Everyone Dies

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Humans are incredibly resilient, but we are not impervious to total annihilation. In fact, researchers from the University of Oxford recently determined that the probability of our entire species going extinct due to natural risks (not man-created ones!) in any given year is as high as one in 14,000.

The end of humanity may result from natural or man-made (anthropogenic) causes, including pandemics, nuclear war and the resulting nuclear winter, biological warfare, Artificial Intelligence, ecological collapse, and geological or cosmological disasters such as an impact event of a near-Earth object. All of these have the potential to entirely wipe all of us out.

Scientists and philosophers often explore the concept of existential risks – that is, threats with the potential to destroy the entire human race.

Nick Bostrom, a philosopher at the University of Oxford and director of the Future of Humanity Institute (FHI), was the first to define “existential risk” in a 2002 paper:

One where an adverse outcome would either annihilate Earth originating intelligent life or permanently and drastically curtail its potential. An existential risk is one where humankind as a whole is imperiled.

Existential disasters have major adverse consequences for the course of human civilization for all time to come. (source)

Researchers asked people how they feel about human extinction.

Recently, a team of researchers at the University of Oxford conducted a study to find out how people feel about the possibility of human extinction.

They first asked participants to compare three outcomes for humanity, ranking them from best to worst:

(1) There is no catastrophe.

(2) There is a catastrophe that immediately kills 80% of the world’s population

(3) There is a catastrophe that immediately kills 100% of the world’s population.

Nearly all of the participants said they think that 2 is worse than 1, and 3 is worse than 2 – answers which likely do not surprise anyone.

But then the researchers asked a follow-up question, and it was a bit more complex:

“Which difference is greater: the difference between 1 and 2, or the difference between 2 and 3?”

They wanted to know if people are mostly bothered by the mass deaths involved in scenario 2 or 3 (because many – or ALL – people would die), or if they feel there is something uniquely terrible about the end of humanity itself.

To see the full questionnaire that was given to participants, click here: Parfit 2a Five Conditions

People tend to focus on immediate consequences instead of long-term ones.

Here is an excerpt from the study’s findings:

Our studies show that people find that human extinction is bad and that it is important to prevent it. However, when presented with a scenario involving no catastrophe, a near-extinction catastrophe and an extinction catastrophe as possible outcomes, they do not see human extinction as uniquely bad compared with non-extinction.

We find that this is partly because people feel strongly for the victims of the catastrophes and therefore focus on the immediate consequences of the catastrophes. The immediate consequences of near-extinction are not that different from those of extinction, so this naturally leads them to find near-extinction almost as bad as extinction.

Another reason is that they neglect the long-term consequences of the outcomes. Lastly, their empirical beliefs about the quality of the future make a difference: telling them that the future will be extraordinarily good makes more people find extinction uniquely bad. (source)

What people think the future holds plays a role in their outlook on human extinction.

In other words, most people think present-day deaths are more tragic than the eventual end of the human race – until they are asked about the possibility of a utopian future.

This raises a few questions: Are people so hopeless about the future that they don’t care if there isn’t one for humanity? Is the default thought for most people something like “Well, things are never going to get better, and will probably get worse anyway, so who cares what happens to the human race”?

As researcher Stefan Schubert explained in an article for Practical Ethics,

Some participants were told, after having read about the three outcomes, that they should remember to consider their respective long-term consequences. They were reminded that it is possible to recover from a catastrophe killing 80%, but not from a catastrophe killing everyone. This mere reminder made a significantly larger number of participants find the difference between B) and C) the greater one. And still greater numbers (a clear majority) found the difference between B) and C) the greater one when the descriptions specified that the future would be extraordinarily long and good if humanity survived.

Our interpretation is that when confronted with Parfit’s question, people by default focus on the immediate harm associated with the three outcomes. Since the difference between A) and B) is greater than the difference between B) and C) in terms of immediate harm, they judge that the former difference is greater in terms of badness as well. But even relatively minor tweaks can make more people focus on the long-term consequences of the outcomes, instead of the immediate harm. And those long-term consequences become the key consideration for most people, under the hypothesis that the future will be extraordinarily long and good. (source)

He concludes that article with the following thoughts:

The specific issues which deserve more attention include people’s empirical estimates of whether humanity will survive and what will happen if we do, as well as their moral judgments about how valuable different possible futures (e.g., involving different population sizes and levels of well-being) would be. Another important issue is whether we think about the long term future with another frame of mind because of the great “psychological distance” (cf. Trope and Lieberman, 2010). We expect the psychology of longtermism and existential risk to be a growing field in the coming years. (source)

What do you think?

Do you think humans will eventually become extinct? Does the idea concern you? Do you think the eventual obliteration of humanity is a bad thing or a good thing? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

About the Author

Dagny Taggart is the pseudonym of an experienced journalist who needs to maintain anonymity to keep her job in the public eye. Dagny is non-partisan and aims to expose the half-truths, misrepresentations, and blatant lies of the MSM.

Picture of Dagny Taggart

Dagny Taggart

Dagny Taggart is the pseudonym of an experienced journalist who needs to maintain anonymity to keep her job in the public eye. Dagny is non-partisan and aims to expose the half-truths, misrepresentations, and blatant lies of the MSM.

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  • People were overthinking this one. Any situation where you have a CHANCE to survive is far better than one where EVERYONE is dead.

    • Honestly, if everyone, every single person dead and gone ?

      It is Neither good or bad, it just is, not a single person to lament over it.

  • Humanity WILL eventually become extinct. Period.The earth as a viable life support system will eventually be destroyed. It happens. It’s just that the time scales involved are so long when compared to our species gnat-like life spans, that no one thinks about it.
    The only real solution is interstellar migration – a diaspora if you will of the human race out to the neighboring inhabitable stars.
    Be very sure to leave the liberals behind…

  • God has a plan and He is in charge. Any notion to the contrary is vanity and pride. We’ve all been told exactly how this story ends and what happens to us, both as individuals and as a species.

    Death is only the beginning of the journey, and this “life” that you know now is less real than the one awaiting you on the other side of death. It is only to be feared if you have made a poor choice of destination. And make no mistake…the choice is yours and must be made. It isn’t optional.

    • “God has a plan and He is in charge. Any notion to the contrary is vanity and pride.”

      Your notion that the entire universe is controlled by a human-looking creature with superpowers is extreme vanity. Judaism decided its tribal god controlled the entire flat Earth while the other tribal gods in the region were demons, and you use that to flatter your ego long after every single verifiable thing in their claims have been proven false. The world doesn’t stand on seven pillars with a dome above, from which angels make rain fall. The world didn’t end in 1,000 like the religion hucksters claimed. People didn’t speak the same language until they tried to build a tower to reach the god-creature in the sky. The Earth isn’t just a few thousand years old. You’re wrong, you were always wrong, and you just ignore the countless mistakes to keep fanning your vanity and pride. “The entire universe is controlled by a man who looks like me and who’ll torture all the people who were bad to me forever!”

      • I’d say that the historical verities you outline – and many more which you haven’t included – demonstrate pretty conclusively how irrational Homo Sapiens (there’s a taxonomical misnomer if ever there was one) are, whether viewed as a species or as individuals. That offered great benefit in more primitive times, but is now a threat to the existence of Earth itself. Irrational belief has become the single greatest threat to life, whether it be religion-based or any other system which defies logic and relies upon emotions to sustain it.
        The cave men (oops… cave “people”) benefited from this superstitious nature, but those benefits were lost as societies grew by amalgamating clans into larger clusters, and those groups could never get along because of the irrationality of the individual members’ weltanschauung.

      • Hegar: your statement is one of the most irrational and showing lack of knowledge that we’ve come across on this site. Do you realize that everything you said was made up in the 1800s by Thomas Henry Huxley, and has no relation to earlier history? Furthermore, everything that you wrote is religion, your religion is just as irrational as any other religion, if not more irrational? Do you realize that there are present efforts to change the definition of science, because the definition that was taught in universities for centuries and as late as the 1980s excluded Darwin’s theory of evolution as a scientific theory? That all Darwin did was to resurrect an ancient Greek religious belief? That all religions, including yours, are based on presuppositions that cannot be logically proven? Don’t you think you ought to be more circumspect before attacking other people?

  • Not having read the whole study, I think they’re ignoring one possibility: in a total extinction scenario, we would have no control over the outcome…so why fret over it? Reminds me of my days in the military when we would discuss a nuclear detonation in close proximity… “bend over and kiss your a** goodbye.

    • Same general thoughts.
      Total extinction, nobody left to suffer, no more loss.
      Time it’s self as a human concept ceases to be.

      So #3 was a non answer.

  • No, there’s no chance of extinction; there’s a God who calls the shots, and only until He’s ready to start wasting things will there ever be an extinction.

    • Back in reality…
      ALL things end, just the way it is.
      No reason to be naive or in denial.

      We will most likely cause our own.

  • AMERICANS ARE WITH OUT A DOUBT THE MOST EVIL RACE ON EARTH,their military has been murdering whole sections of the worlds population with the full consent OF EVERYONE,EXCEPT OUR LORD AND HIS FATHER ,GOD,and that is going to be the Fly in the ointment for them all,AMERICA HAS BEEN TOLD OVER AND OVER TO STOP THEIR BOGAS WARS,they laughed and spit in OUR FATHERS FACE..YOU HAVE EMBRACED every kind of EVIL their is,and soon its going to be payday for you,america will be erased from the surface of planet earth,NEVER to be found again….

    • Pish pash..
      “We” have done nothing.
      Some people have, governments have, but all ? nope.
      Judge not : ) oh crazy zealot.

    • How come you don’t call God evil? He commanded the Israelites to KILL the pagans that surrounded them. No mercy.

      But our military is showing mercy to these pagans (now called communist or Demoncraps in America) and we pay a heavy price for our appeasement.

      We showed Japan and Germany NO mercy and we won over the pagans and commies. We are showing mercy to Moslems and Migrants and paying a VERY heavy price.

      We are showing mercy to Demoncraps, lieberals and the commies in America and by doing so could cause a civil war and then a TURD world war when our enemies are tempted by our internal strife.

      Solution? Hang the Demoncraps for high treason which is NOT in doubt.

    • “Americans” is NOT a race. We are not even a homogeneous culture, At this point we are barely a civilized society. To your larger point that America is facing God’s Judgment…you’ll get no argument from me. I’m surprised He has stayed His wrath as long as He has, to be honest. The blood of the innocent cries out from the ground demanding justice. “I will repay, saith The Lord”. That should strike fear in the heart of anyone who reads it, and yet they mock. So be it.

    • Arizona – Give me a break. ALL powerful nations do really evil stuff. Think that Russia, or China, or wherever else you care to glance are so much better? Thank goodness there’s no G0d, since religions teach us that man is made in His image, and G0d, according to the Bible (there are, of course, numerous other gods) was a vicious, murderous, uncaring, inhumane power lacking any compassion or reason, despite lots of efforts of people addicted to the god-myths to pretend otherwise and stupidly overlook all the villainy in that fascinating work of fiction.
      And while I’m ranting, Americans aren’t a “race”. People can be evil. People can sometimes be good. Cultures can lean one way or the other as well. But I don’t think that there is a metric for evil, unless you count the one where G0d demands that the Israelites kill every man, woman, child, and animal of the Amelikites. THAT might be the most evil thing – but it was ordered by G0d… So much for noble notions.

  • This is an easy one. Your Savior predicted it. It’s called the tribulation and He himself said it. NO FLESH WOULD SURVIVE.

    But He really didn’t say when He would stop it. That is at 7 billion, 1 blilion, 1 million, 100,000, etc..

    So, you could be in peril, you could not be in peril, but my guess is you will be at some point.

    • Why do “you people” always throw this on stuff on us? Your religion has killed hundreds of millions over the past 1,000 years, but I’m the sinner who gets eternal damnation? How many millions of young boys have been abused by “your people” over the past 1,000 years? Because many didn’t tell doesn’t make it less evil.

      I refuse your religion. I don’t even know what it is, but its not mine. My religion is my own. It won’t be bottled, canned, or freeze dried for your consumption. It might be like yours, but its mine. I’ll face that higher power when I face it.

      Please, step up to the podium and tell us how you won’t be here for your tribulation. Tell us how you will be in a “better place.”

      Also please tell us how you will run off all moochers in the AFTER, because you won’t give away that which will feed your family.

      Its always the same. Quote some scripture, tell people to repent or go to hell. In the end, you’ll do any and everything I would be willing to do to protect your kids, grandkids, spouse, etc..

      The difference between us, is that I know what I will do. You deny that which you will resort to. Does the difference really make one of us better than the other?

      • Hi Bob!

        I won’t be here for your Tribulation! Praise Jesus!

        For the official record, we Christians ARE sinners and we know it. The difference between us is that we are forgiven, having accepted the offer of salvation granted us by Christ Jesus. That same offer is extended to you. All you have to do is accept it.

        Thank you for the invitation to step to the podium and I yield back the remainder of my time.

      • The “elect” are a very small group of people. These are the ones chosen by the Father True follower of the Messiah. So what does that tell you about those that go around calling themselves Christians when they really are pagans.

        The true church was FORCED underground by these so-called Christians who are really pagans. They really are followers of the pagans who now call themselves Catholics and then Protestants (protesting the Catholics). Those are the ones you are complaining. about.

        This is mentioned in Revelation briefly as a daughter and mother relationship. Yes, they are all deceived. If you have an open mind you can see the deception of the WHOLE world and it’s false religions of which Christians are no different.

        However, they do have some truths but not all of it. Unlike the pagans who have NONE at all. I could write on and on but that is briefly the gist of it.

        I know this will anger some and they will want to crucify me like they did with the Messiah. 😉

        • Why would anyone want to crucify you? All you did was slander all of Christendom. That’s been going on for over 2000 years. In that regard you’re not special at all.

          • There is a difference between slander and truth. You have been deceived and cannot tell the difference.

            You probably will be one of the first ones to crucify me because you think you are special.

            • Your truth is not my truth. Nor is it THE Truth. I am loathe to rebuke someone who claims to be a fellow Christian in a public forum…sadly a trait which you do not share, even though Jesus instructs us plainly on the matter.Either you have a poor mastery of the English language and can’t properly say what you mean, OR you are simply in Biblical error.

              Since you’re so adamant about being “right”, why don’t you just tell us all what this one true denomination is that you belong to? That should clear things up for all of us. The Truth shall set you free.

  • Gee wiz folks, this is not a religious issue. So we have been around 200,000 years and our sum total of history is what 6,000 – 7,000 years. There have probably been several of those 80% extinction events between 200,000 and 7,000 years ago. Civilization has clearly been lost more than once or we would know about it. What if, oh say 66,000 years ago, one of those 80% extinction events hit and we lost a civilization with a higher technology than we have now. We don’t know. One thing is clear, that any prior civilization that existed before and was wiped out was not prepared to survive. WE must be prepared to save the knowledge our civilization has produced or our civilization will disappear one day too.

    • Why is it not a religious issue? Also, you needn’t speculate about what might have happened in the past. It HAS happened in the past and it will happen again…one last time. And past civilizations did leave records for us to find. Most today call them myths and legends. The golden age of Atlantis. The titans and Olympians of ancient Greece. The Hindu Vedic texts. The Holy Bible. They are all part of one story that is our ancient past.

      Beings from a higher plane of existence once walked among us. It was no myth. It was a simple fact of life at the time. We are just now rediscovering that there are indeed more than the 3 dimensions that we take for granted today. Why do you think we spend so much money on CERN’s large hadron collider? no one builds the largest machine on the planet just to prove a theory that higher dimensions exist. They already KNOW they exist…and they’re trying to open a doorway to them to make contact with those that once walked among us to usher in a “new golden age”. They have as much as told us so. It’s not their fault if you didn’t believe them!

      Religion is history, not some made up fairy tale. So I fail to see how you come to the conclusion that an extinction level event is not a religious issue.

  • The difference between 0 and 80 is bigger than the difference between 80 and 100. Four times bigger, in fact. That was what I was thinking as well. And this you use to say “most people don’t really care” about mankind becoming extinct. Those foolish sheeple!

    Even though the story itself says that when they told people the perspective the researches wanted, that the 20% survivors can still recover from the disaster (they can’t) while total destruction means they can’t, people changed their answers from the most obvious one.

  • Read about the filth they leave on their mountain hikes instead of rolling up their bags and taking them in their packs or paying for logical helicopter services to control the waste. They are pigs.

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