Roger Bacon (c. 1214 — June 11, 1292) was a professor of “Aristotle studies” at Oxford University. He was later suppressed from publishing much of his original thoughts by his Franciscan order of the church. What he encouraged was belief that the results of repeatable experiment were more reliable than doctrine handed down from the ancients. He sent his writings to the highest levels of the church in an effort to forestall the apocalyptic expectation that was felt at the time. The academic wisdom of the time was obtained by the study of Aristotle, a few other authorities, and the church’s theology. Perhaps it is straining to work out a speculation on something like Doomsday from such a remote person, but he was an original thinker and he was immersed in an era of apocalyptic vision.
Roger Bacon’s most famous quotes can give us some starting points for discussing Doomsday:
“Reasoning draws a conclusion, but does not make the conclusion certain, unless the mind discovers it by the path of experience.”
Reasoning about a coming Doomsday must be based on some known facts, and upon observation of typical behavior of people under various conditions before we can draw any conclusions. We cannot have an experiment where we see the final results of Doomsday without that event happening, but we can see, and experiment with, and have some experience with the precursors to the Doomsday event. Such things as unlimited population explosions, and resulting famine are, broadly speaking observable and with predictable outcomes.
“The strongest arguments prove nothing so long as the conclusions are not verified by experience. Experimental science is the queen of sciences and the goal of all speculation.”
The arguments of Doomsday events can never be verified, as we would wish in a scientific experiment, but, even though we may not be able to verify the event before it happens, we can prepare for the possibility of the event happening and mitigate the worst of its effects.
“There are two modes of acquiring knowledge, namely by reasoning and experience. Reasoning draws a conclusion and makes us grant the conclusion, but does not make the conclusion certain, nor does it remove doubt so that the mind may rest on the intuition of truth, unless the mind discovers it by the path of experience.” from Psychological Subjects
There is a real world problem with conclusions drawn from reasoning alone, and that is that it tends toward inaction, and toward further reasoning in an effort to find flaws with the former reasoning, and with the logical conclusions. Unfortunately, that is a very slow process, but if substantial real world action is not taken before the Doomsday events occur, the problems may become so severe that after the events all efforts will prove futile and humanity will expire.
“There are in fact four very different stumbling blocks in the way of grasping the truth, which hinder every man however learned, and scarcely allow anyone to win a clear title to wisdom, namely, the example of weak and unworthy authority, longstanding custom, the feeling of the ignorant crowd, and the hiding of our own ignorance while making a display of our apparent knowledge.” from Psychological Subjects
All of these four stumbling blocks now stand in the way of our grasping the truth and it appears the world mind has already entered into a death spiral having moved past the initial paralysis at hearing the bad news, and having advanced to the psychological state called Denial. The problem arises because (1) there is not a powerful authority sounding a clarion call to action, (2) there are a multitude of long standing customs that have entrenched authority, and huge perks for maintaining the status quo, (3) there is the huge crowd of 6.7 billion people who are ignorant of the problems, and feel powerless to do anything significant, (4) the spokesmen for humanity are people who have risen to fame, power and responsibility on other more popular issues, and will throw up their wisdom on these new issues as a smokescreen for their lack of understanding of the Doomsday problem.
Now is the time for action!
Doomsday has already begun!
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