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What is the greatest threat to human civilization?

In short, what do you think is the greatest threat to human civilization?
Anything from nuclear war, to global warming to alien invasion will be accepted as an answer. Note that actually causing humanity to go extinct in the process is not a requirement.
I would however prefer concrete answers, not abstracts like "lack of wisdom".

I'd have to say plague myself, though whether artificial or natural, I wouldn't know.
We're more interconnected, and travel faster, easier and more prevalent then ever before, and the rapid response and forceful quarantine infrastructure and personnel that would be required to prevent it are simply not in place.
It doesn't help that the vast majority of nations today are too slow to respond to emergencies and/or too softhearted to properly enforce a proper quarantine in the early stages when its still effective.

Seeing as I have some characters left, let me list off other common answers and why I don't think they're as dangerous:
--Global nuclear war simply doesn't seem very likely since the end of the Cold War and the gradual stripping down of arsenals. Localized cases like the India/Pakistan standoff are still there, but they don't threaten global civilization as a whole.
--climate change, man made or otherwise, simply isn't as apocalyptic as people make it out to be. Human civilization has existed for more then 5000 years in a wide range of fluctuating climatic conditions, and in many ways, we've actually grown more robust to their sudden change, not more vulnerable. Don't get me wrong, there is room for tremendous damage, but its not at "deathblow to civilization" levels.
--Zombies would be quickly wiped out by the military. For an army used to fighting against people with guns, zombies would be something of a vacation.

But back to being serious, what do you think is the greatest threat to human civilization, and why?


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  • Feb 17 2014: We become so mentally ill from years of eating genetically modified food, we develop dementia. At first its the most vulnerable, the children, the sick and elderly. For years we blame pollution or hide the problem. But as years pass public health systems are overwhelmed some governments allow for the genocide of those with advanced stages of the disease to be euthanized. World governments can't find a cure because natural crops are contaminated and none exists. Big Agrabusiness is condemned at the world court and ordered to pay damages that bankrupt it. Famine ensues and we all starve to death.
    • Feb 17 2014: I'll be sure to keep my tin foil hat handy. Or am I getting my conspiracies mixed up again?
      • Feb 17 2014: scary stuff isn't it. GMO's are dangerous. It will be a slow process, probably in the next 150 years. I answered your ??? didn't I.?

        Humanity has already suffered it's greatest human threat in two world wars and the Red communist revolution and we are still here. Most of the crops being planted now use some modified seed. Just a matter of time before it starts breaking down our systems. In lab tests GMO's cause high rates of cancer and mutations.

        Your great grand children might have additional eyes or limbs when they are born and a whole new species of human will need to be added to our genome. :)) Cheers. da dah duuuuh.!
        • Feb 18 2014: So you're not joking then?

          Genetics doesn't work that way. At all. I can eat a carrot without developing a root system, and I can eat a chicken without growing feathers. Eating something has no effect on your DNA, engineered or otherwise.
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      Feb 19 2014: The potential health risk of GMO foods consumed by humans is not such an outrageous claim here. GMO crops engineered to contain within their DNA pesticides that can not subsequently be removed from the crop are consumed by hundreds of millions every day. Since the advent of GMO, there has been considerable increase in autism, cancer, and immune-related illness. I don't think that the GMO foods alter the DNA of the consumer. I do believe that if there is a link between the food and the health concerns, that the problem speaks to a culture and power structure that prefers convenience and low cost to health. We've seen agricultural business wreak havoc on environmental, animal, and human health. Why is it so hard to believe that destroying the food supply could be a significant risk to humanity?
      • Feb 19 2014: The rise in autism is merely a matter of better diagnostic. We've always had that many cases, we're just better at counting them now. The link to GMOs is also circumstantial at best; there's no connection between the two.

        The rise in cancer is simply the result of people living longer. Throughout most of human history, most people died long before they could get cancer. Also like autism, diagnosis is better these days--we're chalking off less deaths to "who knows?"
        I admit my knowledge of autoimmune diseases is limited, but again, I doubt there's a proven connection between the two.

        Why is that that people distrust GMOs so much? All they're really doing is taking some genes from one plant, then putting it in another. If anything, they're tested more thoroughly then normal foods, and may also help us feed the growing world population without converting even more land to farms.
        • Feb 19 2014: Nadav, there wasn't a link to reply to your reply but you have to also take into consideration, how we bring our animals to market. I've been reading red flags on our food supply for years and the trend at first was experimental and llaissez faire. I think the Europeans and Japan have banned our meat exports and some specific grain crops.

          I had also thought the ex mayor of New York crazy for banning large high fructose drinks until I eliminated them from my routine. It is amazing how much I was consuming and then I noticed how much we all consume. I was amazed. I just think we will be the cause of our own demise by tampering with mother natures perfect processes.

          You just never know when that one crop will be harvested that will set off the chain reaction on the latest version of an altered seed gene that millions have ingested and it's too late. First murmurs, then a down play of the seriousness of the breach, then blame on low level staff, then government knew but allowed industry oversight, agency high level staff resignations, congressional hearings. Nothing can help it is said the damage has been done.
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          Feb 20 2014: "Why is that that people distrust GMOs so much?"

          It's a specific example of a much broader phobia, Nadav. Technology, and with it. society, is changing so rapidly that leaves many people without that social, emotional anchor that their ancestors had. The phobia manifests itself as a fear of technology. It's the same fear that causes misguided parents to refuse immunization of their children, and others to refuse medical treatment in lieu of more 'homeopathic and natural' options.
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        Feb 20 2014: "We've seen agricultural business wreak havoc on environmental, animal, and human health."

        Please elaborate with specific examples.

        "Why is it so hard to believe that destroying the food supply could be a significant risk to humanity?"

        It's not, of course. What's hard to believe is that GMOs represent such a threat. Please link to reliable data which supports such a claim.

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