There is a chance that humanity will judge for itself by causing its own destruction. Reasons for this are rising global warming, increasing resistance to preventable vaccines and the pervasive threat of nuclear war.
Scientists have studied the likelihood of human extinction through the years ahead. The years are based on the risk of natural disasters without human involvement. They found the odds were high – 1 to 14,000.
99% of the species are already extinct on Earth due to human activity, negligence and neglect for endangered plant and animal species. Extinction has always existed, whether caused by gradual changes in the environment or evolution. Mass extinctions have come as a result of natural disasters such as the impact of an asteroid that has destroyed dinosaurs.
Researchers at the Institute for the Future of Humanity at the University of Oxford wanted to calculate an upper bound for the likelihood of extinction of humanity in any given year. They called it “the natural background of the rate of extinction of people.”
photo: Oxford University England
They wanted to discover the likelihood of humanity being destroyed by a natural disaster, and to discover whether the risk to humans was greater than natural or anthropogenic causes. They excluded anthropogenic risks (climate change and nuclear weapons) by focusing on natural risks. Homo sapiens has already faced them. It survived them during our 200,000 years of existence (from the eruption of super volcanoes to asteroids) and the like.
British scientists say we can calculate the rate of human extinction based on the fact that humanity has survived to this day, according to IFL Science. – Using only the information that Homo sapiens has existed for at least 200,000 years, we conclude that the probability of human extinction due to natural causes in any year is almost guaranteed to be less than one in 14000. It is likely to be less than one in 87000 – the study report wrote for Scientific Reports. It is important to point out that scientists have tried to establish an upper limit for the likelihood of extinction, the largest possible calculation, based on specific specifics – using modern humans who emerged about 200,000 years ago as a survival record. As they explain in the study, if we move these variables – for example, if we look at the fossils believed to be 300,000 years old Homo Sapiens remains in Jebel Irhoud as the beginning of modern humans, then the upper limit becomes one at 22800.
If we look back 2 million years ago and the first appearance of the genus Homo, then the figure for the annual probability of extinction (due to natural causes) becomes 1 to 140 thousand. Precise computing is still science fiction, one in 14,000 means we have a 99.993 percent chance of not becoming extinct every year. On the other hand, these are the same odds that out of the 100,000 commercial airplane flights that exist every day, seven of them can crash any day. There are caveats to this analysis. The analysis looks at the likelihood of extinction from natural phenomena at the same risks we have in the past 200,000 years (not taking into account the human factor in the story).
The fact that we are not extinct for 200,000 years due to nuclear war does not say much, when we are only 70 years old, “said the study’s author, Toby Ord. Understanding the background extinction rate for humankind without anthropogenic involvement has its benefits. It allows us to identify and prioritize the highest risks we face. Researchers conclude that their work reveals that we are unlikely to become extinct because of the natural causes that humanity has been vulnerable to since we existed. They say, “Similar guarantees cannot be given for the risks that our ancestors did not face, such as anthropogenic climate change or nuclear / biological warfare. “99% of plant and animal species are already extinct on Earth. Someday, it will be human beings.