Stephen Hawking, the famous Cambridge theoretical physicist, has gone on record numerous times saying that humanity is going to wipe itself out. His argument goes something like this. If humanity has access to the keys of its own destruction – nuclear weapons – then even if there is only a tiny 1 percent chance each year that those weapons will be used, over the long course of history, the probability that weapons will be used just once increases dramatically.
Think about it. There are 100 years in a century, and so what Professor Hawking is saying is that even though there is only a small chance that the bombs will go off in any given year, over a longer period of time, the probability rises dramatically.
It’s a sobering thought. But Hawking is not alone in his predictions of doom. Another major figure in the global conversation on End Times is Elon Musk. One of the reasons he wants humanity to colonise Mars is so that if there is a nuclear holocaust on Earth, humanity can survive on the Red Planet until our home planet becomes hospitable once more.
Is there anything that can be done to reduce the chances of the terrible events that Hawking and Musk predict? Dr Moshe Kantor, the founder and serving president of the International Luxembourg Forum on Preventing Nuclear Catastrophe, is working hard to prevent disaster. The organisation he head is currently working to prevent nuclear weapons from entering the hands of other states and suggests that it is critical that nuclear weapons technology doesn’t become widespread.
Fifty years ago, there were just two countries with nuclear capabilities: US and Russia. But with nuclear proliferation, there are now many more, some of which are unstable. For instance, Pakistan now has nuclear weapons, Iran has a uranium enrichment programme, and North Korea claims that it not only has the ability to create nuclear warheads, but is also able to deliver them to a target on the back of a medium-range ballistic missile. As more and more countries are added to the list of nuclear powers, the chances of a disaster rapidly multiply. With just a few nuclear players, the chances of a conflict arising between two nuclear powers is small. But with dozens, the chances increase dramatically.
Hawking and other doomsayers claim that even if nuclear technology remains confined to just a few countries, that’s no guarantee that humanity will remain safe. Why? It’s for two reasons. The first is the fact that nuclear weapons technology is improving all the time. Back in 1945 when the first nuclear weapon was detonated in the US, the weapon itself was an enormous contraption. But with advances in technology, it’s conceivable that nukes could be shrunk down to the size of a briefcase, easily smuggled into a city. The second problem is that a country may elect a mad leader. If it does, then that leader could launch nuclear weapons even without the public’s consent.
In the short term, the chances of any of this happening are slight. But over longer periods, it rises dramatically.