If you ask the man or woman on the street “Is it possible to predict the future?”, they will likely say no. It is of course NOT possible for us to “predict the future” except in a very few, short term, low variable type situations. And yet as humans, we see that as just another obstacle to be overcome. So that is exactly what secular scientists are continually trying to do, attempting to predict the weather, earthquakes, hurricanes, politics, economics, lifespans, relationships, and dozens of other events in life. This might not seem such a bad thing. After all, isn’t that the exciting and compelling thing about science fiction, the desire to see into the future? What is the harm in that?
Well perhaps if it only involved educated, consenting adults who understood the actual underlying principles of scientific research and statistical analysis it would be acceptable. Or if it were seen for what it was, which is science fiction rather than hard science, perhaps it would be acceptable. But such is not the case. This area of “soft science” has pervaded all aspects of education and the media.
In fact this merger between science and pop culture has created a progeny. That progeny is called scientism, and in the name of science, our children are taught scientism from early grade school all the way through college. They are constantly exposed to it on shows like “The Big Bang Theory.” But while it is treated as actual science, many of the predictions made by scientism (about both past and future events) have much more in common with indoctrination and fortune telling than with actual, provable science. For example:
“Scientists Have Figured Out When And How Our Sun Will Die, And It’s Going to Be Epic”
So reads the headline on Sciencealert.com. (1) And the article goes on to say, “The Sun is about 4.6 billion years old – gauged on the age of other objects in the Solar System that formed around the same time. And, based on observations of other stars, astronomers predict it will reach the end of its life in about another 10 billion years.”
The science of Astronomy is indeed amazing. Astronomers observe, speculate, theorize and calculate. They attempt to explain this magnificent universe in which we live. But they fail to tell you, as they predict earth’s incineration and demise, that their theories and explanations are still, even now, full of holes the size of galaxies. (For more on this see my prior blogs entitled Pluto and the Mickey Mouse Astronomers, and Operational vs Historical Science)
Or for another example, consider the following article by Jillian Scudder, which also states we have about a billion years or so left to inhabit the earth.
“It is widely understood that the Earth as a planet will not survive the sun’s expansion into a full-blown red giant star. The surface of the sun will probably reach the current orbit of Mars – and, while the Earth’s orbit may also have expanded outwards slightly, it won’t be enough to save it from being dragged into the surface of the sun, whereupon our planet will rapidly disintegrate.” (2)
Or if you prefer to get your forecasts from NBC news, here is a headline:
“Now we know what will happen when the sun dies”
All of which is to say that, as you listen to our conversation here today, or as you read books and articles about the future of automation and robotics, try to keep in mind what I call the “chain of uncertainties”: