RE: Doomsday, maybe...

Sweitzer, Dennis (SWEITD01@imsusa4.imsint.com)
Mon, 01 Jul 96 13:48:00 EST

Paul proposed the scenario>>

> 1. Scientific predictions of a global catastrophe, which might destroy
a large fraction of human life, as well as many plants and animals.

> 2. Biblical prophecies suggesting the possibility of a future
catastrophe.

> 3. Some uncertainty as to when and under what conditions it may happen.
A controversy among many scientists as to whether it will occur at all.

> 4. Expensive but technically feasible ways to prevent the catastrophe.
Let's suppose it would take $100 billion to fully prevent it.

> Under these conditions, what course would you advocate for the nation?

So, you asking us to play the role of policy maker--not science maker?

[|:-) (w/ policy-maker hat--or else block head?)

As policy maker, I'd say that this is too ambiguous. Define/clarify:

(1) Large fraction of human life: 1/2? (i.e., 2.5 billion), 1/10? (i.e.,
500 million), 1/100 (i.e., 50 million)
Which fraction: Bangladesh? New York City? Your home town & the
closest metropolitan area?
When? 10 years? 100 years?
Many plants & animals: Many individual plants/animals? Or many whole
species? Or even genera?

(2) Fringe or mainstream, popular or academically respectable
interpretations of Biblical prophecies?

(3) Proportions of scientists in the research area which fall into each of
three catagories: How many feel: (a) Definitely will happen, say at 95%
certainty (without intervention), (b) Definitely will not happen, say at
95% certainty (regardless of intervention), (c) Probably will happen, at say
70-80% certainty (need more research).

(4) Let suppose $50 billion now, or $500 billion later (later being half
way between now and the proposed catastrophe).

Advocated course? For which nation? or for the world at large? And whose
fault is this catastrophe anyway? Multi-national corporations? The USA?
The (ex)USSR? Totally natural causes, with no human component? Partially
natural causes, with human cofactors (natural events catastrophically
compounded with human influences--sort of like matches and tinder dry
forests jointly causing a catastrophic forest fire).

Summary of this policy maker's game turn in round 1: "Potentially serious
problems have been identified by the scientific community. Let us conduct
research to better define the risks (#1), the certainties (#3), and
potential courses of action (#4). The price of freedom is eternal
vigilance, and it behooves us as stewards of the earth to be prudent in
balencing the needs of future generations with the economic realities of
today" ... blah ... blah ... blah.

:-) (without policy maker hat)

I'm also curious as to whether this is any particular proposed
catastrophe--since it doesn't well match climate change, maybe asteroid
collision? But answering that would change the game, won't it?.

A question that I have had is this: Given a Biblical prophesy of
catastrophe, should Christians work to bring about the catastrophe, or to
avert the catastrophe?

Grace & peace,

Dennis Sweitzer