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What will be the biggest threat for humanity ?

Humanity gives themselves courage in order to overcome his fear. Threats like Global warming, the asteroids, nuclear catastrophe, world wide deadly pandemic, invading aliens ... will be a world scourge. But Which of these, according you, can wipe out mankind?

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    Dec 8 2013: Our desire to own, enjoy and consume endlessly and our delusional belief that there are endless resources at our availability and that we have endless ingenuity to milk, squeeze and plunder at will.
    It is this weakness that the Corporations use as opportunity.
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    Dec 8 2013: I'm pretty optimistic, I don't think anything is too big a threat. Humanity is in a pretty good time right now.
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      Dec 8 2013: Agreed, we are in a good time right now; we have come a long way and are respecting diversity more than ever.
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        Dec 8 2013: plus we got out of the cold war, I remember a time when there was real fear that there would be a nuclear war between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. And also there is a lot of awareness of the problems that we do need to take care of, and people are trying to make all of them better.
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          Dec 9 2013: Yeah, earlier the problems were to war and acquire land, to acquire power, insecurity between neighboring countries, fight for resources. People dreamed of freedom, be it freedom from an autocratic ruler or feminine freedom.

          Some of these may still exist but are definitely diluted.
          Today the problems people face are to compete in their career, secure for future financially. They dream of family and happiness.
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        Dec 9 2013: Sai, the last I read global poverty is decreasing. I cannot remember, it is 1.3, or 1.7, billion people under the poverty line, number going down. It's not perfect, but it could be worse?
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        Dec 9 2013: This is purely based on imagination, no facts about any such vulnerability. Sorry to rain on your pessimism :)
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        Dec 9 2013: well, Jason, is it a case where we'll ever permanently solve the problem of viruses that could mutate into a pandemic? If you could come back in a million years, would humanity have solved the problem permanently? Because if you say it's a problem we'll never solve, then maybe you'd have to say it's just part of life and be happy anyway?

        30-50 million people is not good, but it's a fairly small fraction of total people on earth.
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        Dec 9 2013: well, I don't see anything on the link that says those numbers or that severity. But as long as we're fighting the viruses, why then be unhappy or afraid? The best you can do is fight, but in the meantime, while you're fighting, you also have to enjoy life, right?

        If you're worried about your health, you might check my vid how I've been living on skim milk last five years: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2bY4jCmqfc
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        Dec 10 2013: well, aren't there some reasons to believe it wouldn't be as bad as 1918? Medical science has evolved, sanitation has evolved. Here is a page that shows four flu epidemics in the 1900's, you can see that the three post-1918 had many fewer numbers of deaths. I'm not saying to ignore the possibility of a flu pandemic, I just thought it might be upsetting you to the point where you weren't enjoying life. http://www.flu.gov/pandemic/history/#
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        Dec 10 2013: still, Jason, we do know quite a bit more about controlling pandemics than we did in 1918? So perhaps we would do better?

        You know, the asker's original question was what is the greatest threat to humanity? From what I see, the flu epidemics in the past mostly killed old people. Old people I would say are not humanity, they are a slice of humanity. So do you think "flu pandemic" is really an answer to his question?
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        Dec 11 2013: well, when I read my own link again, it seemed like some of the epidemics did target young people more than old people, so I am wrong about that. But still, when you look, you see that the number of deaths in epidemics subsequent to 1918 is much less than those in 1918. Would one think this is because medical science got better at dealing with an epidemic? And also, everyday practices, such as those concerning sanitation, improved?

        What is your background to talk about this topic? TED will not take me to your profile.

        What did it mean when you said you don't have to put your waste in a place where it doesn't belong?
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        Dec 11 2013: well, but there were far fewer deaths than in the 1918 one, so that shows we have advanced?

        what is the problem with using human waste for fertilizer? In the wild state, doesn't nature turn waste products into value? Plants die, decompose, enrich the soil, subsequent plants use the enrichment from the prior generation of plants?
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    Dec 10 2013: I was going to say humanity, but others have beaten me to it. I would say that it is our more relictual instincts to accumulate resources through force, which are often realized through government.
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    Dec 9 2013: Humanity.
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    Dec 9 2013: "There is a corruption at the heart of American politics, caused by the dependence of Congressional candidates on funding from the tiniest percentage of citizens. That's the argument at the core of this blistering talk by legal scholar Lawrence Lessig. With rapid-fire visuals, he shows how the funding process weakens the Republic in the most fundamental way, and issues a rallying bipartisan cry that will resonate with many in the U.S. and beyond."

    http://www.ted.com/talks/lawrence_lessig_we_the_people_and_the_republic_we_must_reclaim.html
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  • Dec 8 2013: Humanity is the biggest threat
  • Dec 15 2013: Greed.
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    Dec 13 2013: Water scarcity is one of most dominating threat for humanity leaving nuclear catastrophes and global warming behind. Out of 7 billion population, more than 1.2 billion people lack access to clean drinking water. Many philosophers in history had an image of water scarcity, but people living in a busy world could not see this happening.
  • Dec 13 2013: Humanity will wipe out humanity... and by all accounts it's doing a bang up job.
  • Dec 11 2013: I think humans, normal everyday humans, are the biggest threat to humanity in so many ways.
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    Dec 11 2013: Religion. It's a lot like humanity, but more specific. Religion divides people and has caused much genocide throughout history, from crusades to the Holocaust to modern day terrorism. Currently it's dividing America more and more every day with "moral arguments" based on doctrine and the preaching of churches. "A house divided against itself, cannot stand".....
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    Dec 11 2013: Humans are the greatest threat to humanity in the short term.

    longer term asteroid strikes etc

    ultimately we quill writer naturally or artificially evolve into new species and the sun will kill us all.

    and the heat death of the universe.

    individually death will catch us all currently alive, via distant, aging or accident.
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    Dec 10 2013: Mankind has survived a Dark Age and Black Death, so besides a black-hole pulling our galaxy in, mankind can weather any storm.

    Throughout history, today and forever more the greatest threat to Humanity has, is and will be the threat of good men doing nothing when evil appears.
  • Dec 10 2013: People with power.
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    Dec 9 2013: This may take some work. Humans are known to be quite resiliant to all kinds of stuff.
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    Dec 9 2013: I think it would be the greed and self-indulgence.
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    Dec 8 2013: Biggest threat to humanity would be when we stop trusting people and become insensitive to feelings.

    This question makes me think of the movie, 'Wall E'. With all comfort provided and everything taken care for you and you are not dreaming anymore, that's scary.
  • Dec 8 2013: Selfishness and Fundamentalism(All kinds of fundamentalism , Religious,Market,Feminist,Economist).

    It is better that the life on earth be wiped out by Asteroids and Aliens , at least it will put an end to fight of my religion is original and your religion is duplicate.It will put an end to I am beleaver and you are non-veleaver.
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    Dec 8 2013: Islam and asteroids, in that order.
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        Dec 8 2013: God knows I have a problem with Christianism, but what do you mean?
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        Dec 8 2013: Oh ok, so I guess you didn't have a point.
        And,

        "Quoting oneself is a snooty thing to do." - Gerald S. O'Brian
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        Dec 8 2013: That's a lot of sarchasm, so I'll try and be more of a sport.
        Yes I admit that asteroids can all be deadly. Wouldn't you agree, though, that some of them -- those heading toward us -- are more of a threat that those that aren't?
  • Dec 8 2013: A large enough asteroid could do it, though there isn't one currently headed for us as far as I'm aware. Same for invading aliens, if they exist at all.

    None of the others are enough to make humanity extinct however. Its not about killing the majority of the population, its about killing every last one--much harder. Civilization may be done for with any one of these, but human extinction is a bit more difficult to carry out.
    Bringing us back to our stone age tribal days is one thing. Hunting down every last human is quite another.
  • Dec 8 2013: HELLO anybody home.. is anybody conscious? Is anybody in there?
    Corporations are the virus literally tearing the world apart, physically, morally and financially, am I the only one in the world that sees that?
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      Dec 8 2013: Apparently not. There is research that demonstrates this concentration of corporate power.
      http://www.forbes.com/sites/bruceupbin/2011/10/22/the-147-companies-that-control-everything/

      But more people need to appreciate the instability is creates to economies.
      • Dec 8 2013: Thank you Theodore, interesting article. I have tried three times to open a conversation about the major problem the world has with no-liability corporations, governments and all the other organizations that follow this policy of irresponsibility. It has reached a pandemic state and everybody is involved up to their ears. To put it simply: "I break it but do not have to fix it" either someone else fixes it (that would be the middle income taxpayer) or it just adds to the toxic dump we are turning the world into. My solution is just as simple: adapt a new policy of "If you break it, you fix it". I am guessing they don't want to offend their corporate sponsors but whatever reason it is they turned me down three times already even though I have worded it differently each time.
        I think that it is the single most devastating factor that is destroying our planet and nobody wants to talk about it... that's insane.
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          Dec 9 2013: Hi Keith, It sounds like a useful debate to have. Maybe you could break it into smaller pieces and ask a question about how we can get corporations and governments to take responsibility for common resources?
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          Dec 9 2013: Human's are evolved animals, Keith. The insanity angle comes when you attribute an absolutely just, super natural morality on them. I think they are a runaway species, or almost.
          It's not unknown to us what exactly we are doing to this planet but that knowledge never precipitates down to the level of realization. Not in mass level.
          If you say it is insane, well it is not anything new. Believing that the exact words of books written 2000 years ago can tell us what's right or wrong is also insanity. Sam Harris calls it mass insanity.
          The only sanity is in being completely informed about the consequences of our actions through rational examination of science.
          To Morya's question: Corporations and Governments are not designed to take responsibilities. They need to be replaced by Co-operatives run by direct democracy.
      • Dec 9 2013: Morya, you are an angel sent from... where even angels come from. Morya I am retired and still pretty healthy so I probably have a good many years left on this planet and I only have two things to do before I leave. 1) Get as many people as possible on a raw plant based diet and 2) Get the as many people as possible to adapt "If I break it, I fix it" as the guiding principle of their life.

        I looked over pose and I love your intentions and encourage you to continue that wonderful and sorely need project. Business is about problem solving and if you have already read my quotes you will have seen many that apply to problem solving in fact most of them in one way or another are about problem solving. If you find any that you like feel free to use them and make them your own. I believe in sharing everything. I was naked when I came hear and will be naked when I leave, the key to my happiness is to learn to live naked while I am here. The Buddha put it this way:
        "Nirvana is this moment seen directly. There is no where else than here. The only gate is now. The only doorway is your own body and mind. There’s nowhere to go. There’s nothing else to be. There’s no destination. It’s not something to aim for in the afterlife. It’s simply the quality of this moment."
        Paramhansa Yogananda said “Wanting is pain”
        Although that is pretty simple I believe it sums it up very well. Anytime I base my happiness on stuff I will be in pain, simply because stuff comes and goes and is not real.
        Einstein said "Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one" that's what he was talking about, "stuff". The only thing that is real is your soul and it has always existed and always will. This world reality will come and go in the winking of an eye. It is just a gift, an experience for your soul to be able to walk and talk in a body for short while. I am not sure why I got into all this but I suppose you will know. Love the dark.. Keith
    • Dec 8 2013: No, I am with you. I also see that.
      • Dec 8 2013: I hope most of you understand how pervasive this virus is. "I break it, you fix it" Is the model for: countries, governments, corporations, religions, prisons, justice system, hospitals, health organizations, philanthropy, insurance, the list go on and litterly everyone is involved, it is even taught in our schools and universities. It's taught by our parents..
        When you roll down the window in your car and throw that cigarette butt out or your trash, that's "I break it, you fix it". Graffiti is "I break it, you fix it". Vandalism and crimes no matter how small are "I break it, you fix it". All those little things that we do wrong and then don't correct are forming a habit of "I break it, you fix it" so that when others do it to us we just accept it as we have to because we are just as guilty... It is a virus that has spread to every aspect of our lives and is slowly choking us to death. It is us telling the planet, I am not responsible!
        I am not responsible for killing 150 billion animals a year, I am not responsible for the wars, I am not responsible for oil spills, I am not responsible for slavery, I am not responsible for the government corruption, I am not responsible for pollution.. in other words "I break it, you fix it"

        What will be the biggest threat for humanity? APATHY We are our own worst enemy!
        "We have met the enemy and he is us". Pogo author, Walt Kelly
  • Dec 8 2013: Personally, I think a combination of global warning and pandemics caused by global warming will be the most immediate threat to humanity. I think (at least here in the US) there is a great deal of ignorance about both subjects. I don't think a lot of people understand the multitude of problems that will be caused by global warming (whether they believe it's natural or man made). One of those things is that diseases that were largely relegated to certain areas of the global by climate and environmental factors may be able to quickly migrate to areas of the global that have had limited, or no, previous exposure to those diseases. The outcome could be really horrible. Especially, since what I've read indicates that there is little in the way of a global plan to deal with a pandemic.
    I don't rule out an Meteorite either - though I don't think that as likely at this time.
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      Dec 10 2013: The only problem with the global pandemic caused by climate change hypothesis is that the majority of the Earth's human population already lives in the tropical zone where these potential pandemics are supposed to come from.
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          Dec 10 2013: Yes but as I said the majority of the worlds population already live in malaria prone areas. The fact that people in the US are getting malaria more often doesn't make any difference to the 4 billion asians africans and south americans that already deal with tropical diseases every day. Afteral it may surprise you but US citizens only make up about 5% of the worlds population.
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          Dec 10 2013: The vast majority of the worlds population are already exposed to malaria. It's pretty much only North America and Europe that aren't already affected. I think on a global scale you will find it hard to motivate people to try to prevent the spread of diseases they already have.
      • Dec 10 2013: I'm really not sure what American's making up 5% of the population has to do with anything when we're talking about a Infectious disease. You seem to make the assumption that because malaria exists in one place now - that's as bad as it will get for them. Not true. Aside from the fact it leaves out all the other diseases that are currently, for one reason or another, dormant it also drastically over simplifies things.
        http://chge.med.harvard.edu/sites/default/files/resources/Ecologyclimatechange_epstein.pdf
        http://chge.med.harvard.edu/resource/climate-change-and-distribution-and-intensity-infectious-disease
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          Dec 10 2013: As the US represents a small percentage of world population you can hardly expect the world to form strategies to deal with climate change based on its effects in the US. On a world scale the widening of the tropical disease zone is only a minor concern compared to increasing intensity of tropical storms or sea level rise.
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          Dec 11 2013: Nearly half the worlds population lives in southern Asia. At least 1.5billion in malaria prone areas. There is another 300million in tropical South America and around 500million in tropical Africa. And these are concervative estimates.
          http://www.cdc.gov/malaria/about/distribution.html
          Notice how the red and yellow bits are the bits where most of the worlds population lives.
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          Dec 11 2013: "The majority of large countries in Europe, Russia, Canada and the US have a low malaria risk at present."
          And the combined population of all those countries is about the same as India. So about a third of the number of people already exposed.
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          Dec 11 2013: With regard to the question at the top of the page, even if the deaths from tropical diseases increases ten fold it still won't be the biggest threat.
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          Dec 13 2013: Lucky for us medicine has come a long way since 1918. If we were having this discussion 100 years ago I would agree with you, but we are not.
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    Dec 8 2013: Only a guess, but the one I think least likely of your list is invading aliens.
    • Dec 8 2013: Invading aliens? You mean like ENRON, BP, CHEVRON, SHELL or how about Halliburton, all the energy companies, mining companies, weapon suppliers, WALMART.. should I go on? All these corporations eat up people, jobs and money then move on to the next town. They have an furious unethical appetite for consumption and as soon as they have consumed everything around them, then they start eating there own low level employees, lowering wages, benefits and promised pensions until they have drained the worth of the company right into there off shore accounts. Then they close it down and open a new one across the street and the game begins again. They walk away rich leaving their employees bleeding in the street. Now that is the worst aliens on the planet in my book and they are everywhere!
      • Dec 15 2013: Invading aliens? Not really Keith, if you are using the horticulturist term, because they are everywhere, they are indigenous.

        But does not mean we can't call them what they are - PARASITES.