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New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 24th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

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Those who evolve by the sword...

10 March 2017

I read an interesting piece in The Washington Times this morning.

Here's a link to the article so you can read it for yourself but basically Stephen Hawking is issuing a warning that if we don't get our basic aggression under control then, as a species, we are doomed.

You know what?

I think he's right.

While aggression served an important role when we were competing against other species and each other just to survive, today's technology has made this trait an extremely dangerous one -- not for our competitors but for ourselves.

It has been many decades since mankind developed the ability to annihilate itself with a single phone call (I'm talking the red phone of course). What's more, if reports are to be believed, we've come close to taking that step on several occasions since the start of the cold war back in the 1950s.

Aggression is now a pointless trait and will only serve to weaken or even destroy our species.

We have reached the top of the food chain and are near-masters of our domain. The only threats we really face are those of our own making. These are primarily down to our abuse of the ecosphere and the lust that some have for absolute power.

To mitigate the risk that comes from self-annihilation by way of global nuclear war, biological weapons or just abusing our home, Hawking suggest that it will be necessary to create a "world government".

Whilst I support this laudable goal, I think Mr Hawking is being incredibly naive if he believes that such a thing is at all possible.

While there are still entire nations who believe in "God" and are willing to sacrifice their own lives and the lives of others to appease such a being, I see no chance that we'll all live together in perfect harmony by way of a unified governance. There are far too many conflicting beliefs, goals and ideologies for this to happen in the foreseeable future.

Perhaps the only thing that will unify mankind is the appearance of an enemy which is so powerful that it threatens our very existence.

"The enemy of my enemy is my friend" might well be the only way for us to become one people -- but even then I would expect such a unification to be decidedly transient. Either we'd all be wiped out together or if we did score a victory, the same pressures that divide us now would soon resurface and tear apart any cohesion that might have served to focus on our own survival.

The reality is that Darwinism has done a wonderful job of getting us this far but it may be one of the driving forces of evolution that eventually results in our demise.

What do readers think?

Are we our own worst enemies?

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