Countdown To Apocalypse: A Scientific Exploration Of The End by Paul Halpern

By Paul Halpern

Encouraged by way of the tip of the millennium, celebrated technological know-how author Paul Halpern tackles the destiny of human civilization and our planet during this meditation at the finish of the realm. starting with the non secular origins of the assumption of apocalypse, Halpern exhibits how technological know-how has borrowed the metaphor to explain capability around the globe catastrophes. He spins out quite a few situations for destruction, from nuclear conflict and worldwide warming to a good flood and a brand new Ice Age. He argues that whereas human background will sometime come to a close-even if we survived for billions of years, we'd ultimately face the top of the universe itself-in the period in-between we've received striking keep an eye on over our destiny as a species. confronted with the ability to lead our planet towards paradise or remodel it into hell, he says, we needs to take steps to prevent these catalysts of apocalypse which are inside of our keep an eye on.

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Highly unlikely. First of all, there are no indications in the geological record of a deluge of such universal proportions. Surely evidence of such a catastrophic event (if it had occurred) would be omnipresent in the rocky strata examined by geologists, much more so than the isolated examples of uprooting that they have observed. And further, if a comet or asteroid caused the flood then there would be global connections in the rock record between collision debris and residue from a deluge. Also, scientists, such as D.

Imagine the bulk of humankind's crowning achievements—scientific, artistic, po- 34 COUNTDOWN TO APOCALYPSE litical, and social institutions—crumbling into dust in the face of global cataclysm. The single hit of an asteroid even close to the size of the one that likely dropped on Chicxulub could prope! trillions of torts of displaced material into the air. Uprooted soil and debris would shield the sun's direct rays—darkening the skies for a year, blocking the process of photosynthesis, and resulting in the wiping out of most common species of plant life.

Its horrific imagery of the catastrophic end of the world (some of it loosely borrowed from the book of Daniel) is so complex that it can be read in hundreds of ways—from a realistic chronicle of mundane political events to an allegory of the struggle between good and evil in heaven. The timeline that it follows is similarly vague; it does not specify whether its enumerated events are supposed to have taken place in the years immediately after the crucifixion of Jesus, one thousand years afterward, today, or during a period far in ttie distant future.

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