Talk:Human extinction

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The Human extinction scenarios section is now too long. I was going to suggest modelling this page on the conservation status section of other secure species, but I can't find any good examples. If the "Human extinction scenarios" section is broken up into headings (which it should be) the main risk is probably repetition of the same threat in different sections.

The thing is, everything here could be classified under "Extinction scenario", but "Propensity for self destruction", "Endangered habitat", "Shock extinctions", "Prolonged extinction", "Pseudo-extinction", etc, are fairly clear headings under which to distribute the points. If Human extinction scenarios isn't broken up the article will simply become a long eschatology list.

Wragge 14:57, 2005 May 5 (UTC)


the link redirects back to this page —Preceding unsigned comment added b y (talk) 23:27, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

Human Extinction Scenarios[edit]

I agree that the Human Extinction Scenarios section is far too long. I also think it includes a number of scenarios which are simply flights of fancy even if they are plausible. Green goo, robot attacks, and a black hole passing too close to the sun are some good examples. We might as well include: -Earth destroyed to make way for a hyperspace bypass -Interdimensional gates open and demons destroy the Sun -Mutant insect uprising Thirtysilver (talk) 08:25, 4 March 2009 (UTC)Thirtysilver

Agreed that thirtysilver's new examples are mere flights of fancy. The original three cases he is attacking aren't. Green goo and robot attacks are sensationalized ways of describing real risks of existing lines of research (self-replicating nanotechnology and autonomous artificial intelligence). A massive object disrupting the solar system or hitting the earth is a real though rare possibility. Black hole is a little too specific, though we have very little information on the commonness of small black holes. Burressd (talk) 00:07, 5 March 2014 (UTC)

Ideas to avoid human extinction[edit]

We should probably have a section on this. Ideas include space colonization ( to avoid "putting our eggs all in the one basket"), National and/or international body/s to identify and avoid threats etc.

Igniting the atmosphere[edit]

Earth's atmosphere consists primarily of nitrogen which combusts endothermically and thus quenches the combustion. This was well known at the time of Manhatten Project, so this cannot have been a serious concern. 02:28, 6 May 2005 (UTC)

- That's true, I will try to clarify what I was trying to say in the article. Wragge 10:03, 2005 May 6 (UTC)

By the way, a paragraph in manhattan project discusses Edward Teller's report LA-602 which actually does NOT use this quenching mechanism; Teller hypothesised a fusion reaction of nitrogen nuclei, which had his speculation been correct, certainly would have "ignited" the atmosphere. Wragge 20:03, 2005 May 6 (UTC)

(That article is too long, it needs to be broken up so I can refer directly to the paragraph in the middle of it.)

Concur, according to the sources I read, this was a major concern for the Project. Karm Locke 07:01, 12 November 2006 (UTC)

  • Now much later, I'd like to fix my rather incorrect remark. Teller hypothesized it might happen but someone (can't remember, will look up) proved it wouldn't. My source is Dark Sun: The Making of the Hydrogen Bomb Karm Locke 04:57, 25 January 2007 (UTC)

merger with End of civilization article (copied to both talk pages)[edit]

Serious consideration should be given to merging one way or the other. IMHO, this should be a merger in favour of the title "human extinction", with the format of "end of civilization", but of course with the merged content of both.

Reasons include: (a) EOC represents an arbitrary level of terminality, and a subset of "human extinction"; (b) "EOC" is more informal, a term of art; and (c), the most compelling argument, as summed up nicely by Wragge, HE is *only* "confined to the complete destruction of the species rather than our civilizations" (emphasis added).

As a minor point, the HE article came before the EOC article — 9 May 2005.

I agree with the points above, but conclude we shouldn't merge the articles, since that would mean stripping out some of the things in End of civilization (EOC) that don't belong here, in Human Extinction (HE). The best way to avoid repetition of those elements that do belong in both places might be subdividing EOC into separate articles for each of the possible "Ends" of civilization (decay, decadence, extinction, stagnation, whimpers, etc) and have each become an article. HE would then be one of those articles (although some of the elements here might be useful on those other pages). There appears to be a lot of interest in this topic, so each of those articles would soon fill up.
I further suggest that these articles should be contained within a category which the EOC page would list, with discussion of the general topic (see Talk:End of civilization). The overview might contain things like "Risk perception" which are currently in HE, but are probably more broadly applicable.

Wragge 11:12, 2005 May 9 (UTC)

I've made a long reply over at Talk:End of civilization. Basically EOC is a list of secular (non-religious or mythical) science-based (non-fictional) scenarios, that's it. We should separate the listing of scenarios, from the general discussions of them. See End of the World for the other lists and articles related to religion, mythology and fiction. This is done for disambiguation and linking purposes, and because they are really different topics. Stbalbach 17:22, 9 May 2005 (UTC)

That's a good point. I take it to mean that we should have a new article with a name like: "Attitudes to human extinction", or "History of scientific eschatology", or something, as a 'discussion' article. (I'd prefer to call it a 'summary' of opinions). I think that has to be the right approach, the only danger is that it isn't clear enough that opinions ABOUT extinction or whatever should be on another page than empirical facts (in fact, the short article which was here before I started was mostly "attitudes"). Wragge 17:47, 2005 May 9 (UTC)

Proposal: Stbalbach should subdivide this article[edit]

Stbalbach has a broad plan for eschatology, and knows how articles relate to one another. Another advantage is that Stbalbach didn't write most of this, so he can treat it neutrally. The critical point is that we must be clear what each article is about and that people shouldn't start writing about "how this can't happen" on the empirical pages, when those things should be limited to other pages. The connections must be very clearly sign-posted. The divisions must also be natural. Sorry if it's not etiquette to volunteer someone else for a job, Cheers Wragge 17:54, 2005 May 9 (UTC)

Ive done some more thinking and Im not entire opposed to the merger of the articles, but only if this article made some fundamental changes, which I think it should do anyway for reasons below.

  1. Narrow the theme to scientific secular scenarios only. Religion, Fiction, Myth are covered in separate articles allready, and rightly should be.
  2. Widen the scope to include not only total extinction (which is a very limited set), to End of Civilization (as defined in the current EOC article).
  3. Thusly, rename the aricle to "End of the World (science)" to fit in with the other End of the World articles that allready exist. It can carry other redirect names, nameing is not so critical so long as it is clear in the lead section what it is about. End of the World is the top of the heirarchy and disambigs out from there.

The other option is to make the EOC article the "list of scenarios" article and keep this one as a more theoreticaly oriented discussion article.Stbalbach 06:12, 10 May 2005 (UTC)

I think that there is a place for an "essay" type discussion (defined as: a summary of data available elsewhere in Wikipedia) and that in the "Extinction" case that could be the EOC article. The reasons "essay" articles are important in general are:

  1. If they aren't added people start waffling in the main "factual" articles, on opinions about the subject (this is probably how essay articles form, by trying to tighten up these more subjective statements). It must be CLEAR that there is a separate, centralized article for that sort of thing.
  2. There is so much in Wikipedia that it's very hard to find everything. It has taken me about a week to locate the items listed on the HE page which (I think) are clearly relevant to Human Extinction. Someone looking up "Human Extinction" should be directed to the latest theories and best data available in Wikipedia. In the absense of a very-efficient search engine capable of making these judgements the "Essay pages" perform a useful sign-posting role.

The same problems occurs in other subjects which are spread over many articles, and where casual users want to mention a theory (see for example Free Trade, Fair Trade, and related articles).

There should be one or more essays, acting as "high level" discussion of disaster scenarios, and one article which is a massive list, collating all scenarios (or the relevant ones for that subdivision). Wragge 09:59, 2005 May 10 (UT)

Makes sense to me. I didnt get into the essay part of it in EOC because it was too hard, just a list :) It's an admirable undertaking given there are so few models in the real world to draw from on this subject. I doubt there is a real Encyclopedia article in Brit. or elsewhere, at least in the secular scientific sphere. Stbalbach 01:13, 11 May 2005 (UTC)

I agree with wragge also, with having lists, but since we don't have any right now, I'd like to keep Human Extinction and the End of civilization seperate. There's a clear distinction between the two and what affects one isn't very important to the other. If we merge, there will be a loss of detail and a generalization of the possible causes for both...

Now, It seems plain that it is primarily because humans are a homoscidal suicidal species that we are doomed to repeat the tragic mistakes of our collective past until we are all dead unless we as a genus undergo a compleate overhall because we are a very disfuntional messed up lot of confused individuals in general. Religion does not work for long, science is in its infancy but it is human nature itself that posses the biggest threat to our common wellfare and survival. The conspiracy therorists are most likely correct in assuming that human devistation is self induced malicious and premeditated. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:21, 6 October 2009 (UTC)

End of the world (science) & End of the world (pseudoscience)[edit]

It makes sense to follow the existing naming conventions (I had thought that before, but wanted to use the existing pages). Although it is notoriously difficult to separate pseudoscience from science, if we don't do this the lists might be too long. Again; technical classifications of science and pseudoscience are available, which could serve to divide theories.

There is no reason to remove this article, it should simply say: "Human extinction is among the scenarios discussed in main article: End of the world (science)

Wragge 10:07, 2005 May 10 (UTC)

Thats fine. There may allready be more pseudoscience stuff allready on Wikipedia than we are aware of that is in need of organization into a list. Stbalbach 01:13, 11 May 2005 (UTC)
Yes, I appreciate now why you had a concern about original research. If we actually create a list classifying things in a way which doesn't exist elsewhere that is probably "novel" and falls foul of the "no originality" Wikipedia rule. I will leave this to you now, but in defense of the novel I would say that Wikipedia has particular problems for which the "no novelty" rule was introduced, and that, in this case, the unique organization of the scenario list might be essential to stop enthusiastic Wikipedians adding and removing world-endings in a haphazard way. Wragge 01:25, 2005 May 11 (UTC)

As I see it there are two dangers:

  1. The sin of orginality: Creating a "novel" listing which doesn't appear elsewhere by strongly classifying scenarios
  2. POV on taxonomy: Failing to define exactly what is pseudoscience, what is science, what is mythology, or science-fiction, etc, and therefore having POV issues on which list should contain each scenario.

I suppose you have thought about this in re-organizing the other pages, but a formal definition of inclusion criteria might lead to problem (1) and in informal to problem (2). Since a formal list has the potential to be informative in itself, I recommend an emerging standard of guidelines for what should go in each list. The rules might be stated briefly in the main article, and in more detail on the talk pages (with a guideline?)

Just another thought passing through my brain <:

Wragge 12:41, 2005 May 11 (UTC)

Your absoutely right, we need a formal method for deciding what should be included in the list, without commiting the sin of Original Research. My solution to this problem was to use the definition provided by an expert, Nick Bostrom. So, list inclusion is as defined by Nick Bostrom, an expert, which avoids the problem of original research. But, it doesnt solve the problem of defineing what is pseudoscience , that remains a soft area. Perhaps we can find an expert opinion on a general qualification, or definition, of pseudoscience? Stbalbach 19:11, 11 May 2005 (UTC)

Unfortunately, it is notoriously hard to pin pseudoscience down. That's why I suggest we fix on a particular definition of what science is and then say "pseudoscience" is anything claiming to be scientific, but not matching our definition of science. Since the philosophy of science is very divided on this topic you can probably find some expert to define the matter to include anything (e.g. Paul Feyerabend's critique of falsificationism, arguing: "the only principle that does not inhibit progress is: anything goes."). That might be helpful in theory, but I strongly recommend restricting ourselves to theories subject to falsification (Karl Popper). In my opinion, to be a scientific EOW scenario, the projection must:

  1. Have some empirical prediction which could reject it as a hypothesis (ruling out faith-based scenarios)
  2. AND either of the following:
    • Have been published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, and not totally rejected. (Removing impossible hypotheses.)
    • Have been published in a the mainstream press, IF there is no scientfic report refuting it.

Where recent conflicting scientific reports exist, a single favourable report in the last decade means it should make the cut in my opinion (with a note that its conclusions are now considered unlikely in the light of further evidence).

Anything which was ever seriously studied as a scientific hypothesis of the end of the world counts, I believe.

Wragge 19:46, 2005 May 11 (UTC)

-- Of course, the above is all too complex, and abstract, and might not be necessary anyway. This article is a better example, because it has a table of authorities cited. (Not colour coded though - I still like that idea).

Wragge 22:53, 2005 May 12 (UTC)

Risk Assessment[edit]


This might be reassuring in itself, but for the fact that people have a notorious bias in risk analysis against the significance of rare events, and systematically underestimate the probability of the unprecedented.

seems like a unjustified and POV statement to me, folks. 17:48, 18 May 2005 (UTC)

It is, but only because I haven't linked to the cognitive bias article providing evidence of this. I probably assumed that this was a well-known phenomenon when I wrote the line. I'll update this. Thanks for reading, Wragge 17:57, 2005 May 18 (UTC)

The anonymous poster above helpfully called attention to an apparently POV phrase, which I believe I have now ammended into a justifiable argument. (If you don't think so, then it's probably a cognitive bias on my part).
The good thing about the objection above was that the author didn't simply delete the offending line. However, it would have been even better if they could have checked into it themselves and ammended the text into a more NPOV format; hopefully, the job I've done is sufficient, but it would be better to have MPOV (multiple points of view) on this.
Unfortunately, my defense of the "bias" claim has expandd the "Perception of human extinction risk" section to uncomfortable length. Longer sections are harder to read, and link to, and are much harder to expand with addition details in an organized way. Although there are eleven items in this list I suggest that they be broken into subheadings.
By the way, is the re-organization of this eschatology category progressing, or has it run into trouble?
Cheers, Wragge 19:23, 2005 May 18 (UTC)

In many ways the person who said that the point seemed 'unjustified and POV' might have the perfect reader to explain why the risks of human extinction are rationalized away. (Not that I'm questioning the advice - the original language wasn't encyclopedia-esque.)

The interesting thing is that you can have figures like the astronomer royal come up with 50/50 extinction predictions within 100 years, and still have the article treated as a light-hearted POV-style entry. The fact that few people have modified this implies that the subject is not taken seriously, even by the future-gazers on Wikipedia.

I have to feel that this proves Bostrom's point above the massive under-estimation of the existential risks humanity races. Even as I'm writing this I don't actually feel in any danger. Why is that?

Wragge 20:16, 2005 May 18 (UTC)

EXTREMELY controversial conclusion[edit]

Taking this to its logical conclusion: If any of the futurologists cited on this page are correct then the lowest probability of human extinction within a century is one-percent. (Bostrom's lowest number.) Taking that at face value it means that the mortality rate 'due' to human extinction averages

600,000 per annum

right now, and for the next hundred years. Admittedly, that is slightly below the rate in the Rwandan genocide, but not by much. These are the most optimistic figures given, and yet this article is still even more neglected than the systematic bias against coverage of the Second Congo War.

Am I crazy? Wragge 20:32, 2005 May 18 (UTC)


I deleted these words from the text because I think it isn't neutral

"*Other scenarios

You can replace these sentences if you want, but I'm against that


Actually they should be included for neutralities sake. The simulation argument is widely considered to be a sane, even if not true idea ( it got a sympathetic hearing in New Scientist and was published in a peer reviewed journal) and religious hypothesises remain as mystifyingly popular as ever. Even if we consider religious arguments to be somewhat insane, as I do, the fact is that they are widely believed . Neutrality requires us to give a hearing to all ideas which are so popular[edit]

This article uses the website as either a reference or a link. Please see the discussion on Wikipedia talk:Verifiability/ and Wikipedia:Verifiability/ as to whether Wikipedia should cite the website, jguk 14:08, 17 December 2005 (UTC)

Andromeda extinction[edit]

I changed the wording in the Long-term extinctions because since stars are spaced out so far apart, it's theoretically possible for Andromeda and the Milky Way to cross paths, merge, and then exit without a single star touching another. Phaldo 19:46, 2 January 2006 (UTC)

Economic collapse[edit]

Looks like Economic collapse is missing as a possible cause. I believe it's citable. Neurodivergent 14:52, 16 January 2006 (UTC)

Actually, I think Marx said it would happen somewhere in Das Kapital. I think it's total bullcrap, but citable.

Yes it should be added, imagine an economic collapse today?! Yeah, add it.

No, Marx did not say anything about human extinction, and in any case how would economic collapse cause a human extinction? 13:13, 12 August 2006 (UTC)

People killing each other for money. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Granito diaz (talkcontribs) 19:29, 6 September 2010 (UTC)

Here you go, Neurodivergent: Economic collapse results in human extinction — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:36, 9 September 2011 (UTC) [1]


Zombies? I think perhaps the highly fictionalized possibilities should go in their own section (without necessarily making judgement on their probability in reality).

Post Human Extinction Scenarios[edit]

We human beings tend to focus on our own experience and existence, but the ongoing sequence of life involves far more than just us. The categories thus far on the subject of our possible extinction include much speculation about what may happen to us, but should there also be a section about what may happen after human extinction if it occurs? The following is an offering for this proposed section:

Evidence of the evolution of our planetary ecosystem indicates that when a species goes extinct, another species with similar function replaces it in the then available ecological niche, often more effectively. The current human species has greatly altered the planetary ecosystem, but there is no evidence this will change this basic patten of ecological evolution. If this patten continues and the current human species goes extinct, another species of similar function will eventually evolve into the available ecological niche, but the difference would be data they would have from the narrow, widespread geologic layer of bones and artifact. Should we consider leaving specific messages that could clarify the evolutionary sequence for them? Sporacle 00:21, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

hundreds of millions of years went by in which land vertebrates walked the surface of the earth without evolving any animal that filled the niche occupied by humans. It is by no means certain or even necessarily likely that this would ever occur again on this planet.Zebulin (talk) 10:27, 30 December 2007 (UTC)


This article is biased towards the view that human extinction will occur soon, and gives undue weight to those who support human extinctions (it correctly states they are minority, but still gives too much room). 22:47, 23 September 2006 (UTC)

Please give specific examples where the article is biased that human extinction will occur soon. -- Stbalbach 14:49, 26 September 2006 (UTC)
There is an arguments for, but not an arguments against section. I am not saying it could not happen soon, I am saying that the article promotes the view it is very likely to occur soon. 19:51, 26 September 2006 (UTC)
What section argues for human extinction? Where specifically? -- Stbalbach 21:04, 26 September 2006 (UTC)
Human_extinction#Observations_in_support_of_eventual_human_extinction 21:17, 26 September 2006 (UTC)

Ok I agree. You can't take a POV position just because the title of the section is "in support of extinction". Section titles are not a license to POV.

The first paragraph is balanced, it presents one view, and then counter-views, but is filled with "weasel words" so I added citation requests. Second paragraph is lopsided I added a lopsided tag and additional citation requests. Third paragraph added a lopsided tag and citation requests. The rest of it I deleted - they are just scenarios already covered elsewhere - they seemed to have been placed there to support the section title "in support of extinction" which is POV. -- Stbalbach 22:24, 26 September 2006 (UTC)


Many scientists have used the second law of thermodynamics to argue that “Life” (defined by Barrow and Tipler to be information processing capability) must eventually die out. Occasionally, such proofs are based on the improbable assumption that the Universe remains at a constant temperature; despite evidence that the Universe is cooling (and thus heat engines operate with increasing efficiency).

Barrow and Tipler consider such arguments and quote Pierre Duhem, who wrote in 1914:

"The deduction [of the Heat Death from the Second Law of thermodynamics] is marred in more than one place by fallacies. First of all, it implicitly assumes the assimilation of the universe to a finite collection of bodies isolated in a space absolutely devoid of matter; and this assimilation exposes one too many doubts. Once this assimilation is admitted, it is true that the entropy of the universe has to increase endlessly, but it does not impose any lower or upper limit on this entropy; nothing then would stop this magnitude varying from to as time itself varied from to ; then the allegedly demonstrated impossibilities regarding an eternal life for the universe would vanish"

The problem with the "heat death" argument is that as the usiverse expands, it cools, so an object would radiate heat away indefinatly, therefore heat engines will continue to operate. 17:39, 24 September 2006 (UTC)

List of doomsday scenarios[edit]

Could use votes to save this article, thanks MapleTree 22:27, 28 September 2006 (UTC)

List of doomsday scenarios[edit]

Re magnetic field change, "the earth is due for a change" What is this supposed to mean? This sort of phrasing is commonly associated with dodgy science or statistics. This bit should be clarified, or removed. 09:40, 22 October 2006 (UTC)

Move end of civilization to human extinction scenarios[edit]

Editors input would be appreciated at Talk:End_of_civilization. There seems to be some disagreement what the end of civilization actually means. nirvana2013 19:05, 6 November 2006 (UTC)

Proof that the term "dysgenic" is used[edit]

User Mongo requested that I bring proof that the term "dysgenic" is used. Here it is, with the Google Scholar hits to prove it: 2,590 hits for "dysgenic" and 152 hits for "dysgenics". There you go.--Ramdrake 19:49, 13 November 2006 (UTC)

It's being is not used as terminology by evolutionary biologists as an extinction of humans rationale...only as one involving other other biological entities. In Human evolution, this term is not widely used at all.--MONGO 20:23, 13 November 2006 (UTC)
It's only misused in the sense that in humans it is still purely hypothetical and not proven. But the idea itself has been entertained, unfortunately often by racists, but also fairly often by non-racists. The difference is that non-racists usually term it as something purely hypothetical in humans whereas racists (or racialists) usually take it as a given that it exists in humans. I think so far we can agree on this much. My point is that this isn't grounds to remove it from every single article of WP which mentions it. It *is* worhtwhile to point out every time that it is a purely hypothetical concept wherever humans are concerned, though.--Ramdrake 20:30, 13 November 2006 (UTC)
Not purely hypothetical because there have been studies that showed correlations. I'm not sure where you get the information from that it are mainly racists who entertain the idea. What I've observed is that bio-egalitarians heavily oppose the concept, and I assume those are quite rare in the racist get-to-gethers on the internet. Also, a lot of studies exploring this area of research do not use the term dysgenics. I fear that any inclusion of research that falls in the dysgenics category but doesn't explicitly use the word will become the subject of pov warring once included. --Zero g 23:50, 13 November 2006 (UTC)
To my understanding, some of the biggest users of the words were researchers like Lynn, Shockley, Burt and possibly Rushton. All of these names are associated with views that are considered racists by many people. I'm not aware that there exists proof positive of a dysgenic effect in humans so far. If you know of one, I'd be interested to take a look at it.--Ramdrake 23:53, 13 November 2006 (UTC)
Intelligent women have lower fertility rates throughout the western world. As far as I know this is a commonly accepted fact among researchers. Suggestions for why this is happening have been that intelligent women are more effective at using birth control, delay motherhood because they want to finish their education first, and place the importance of a carreer above starting a family. Combine this with the scientific consensus that intelligence is partially genetic and you have a dysgenic trend.
I think what highlights Lynn and Co is that they are bold enough to use the term dysgenics, make a value judgement about the importance of intelligence, and stand out in English literature opposed to French, Dutch, German, Italian, etc, researchers drawing the same conclusion in regard to the correlation between IQ and fertility. --Zero g 00:56, 14 November 2006 (UTC)
Intelligent women have lower fertility rates - have you seen the latest research into what "intelligence" means and the issues around traditional quantification techniques? It's a whole field unto itself, that intelligence could even be "measured" in an objective way is controversial. For example I saw one test where they told a group of black men they were to play a game of miniature golf to "measure their intelligence" - they scored (golf game score) poorly against a control group. Then they did the same test with another group of black men except they told them they were going to "measure their athletic ability" - all other things being equal, they scored high. There are social stigma's and stereotypes that affect peoples ability to take a test. That is just one example there are many others. -- Stbalbach 15:54, 14 November 2006 (UTC)
Mainstream expert opinion disagrees, given the overwhelming amount of correlations between IQ scores and intellectual and economic achievements. What's interesting however is that this study you mention seems to be carried out on adults instead of school kids. It's known that researchers desiring the right kind of results have a preference for children. --Zero g 16:19, 14 November 2006 (UTC)
Actually the most famous study of this type was first done with school children in the 1950's in which the kids with brown eyes were told they are poor students and blue eyed students are good students, from which the kids then believed and performed accordingly (interestingly the next day the tables were reversed and the kids also reversed on test scores). BTW how can you correlate intelligence with income if you can't even measure intelligence objectively. One common belief is that rich people are smart so stereotype kids who are born into wealthy family as being "smarter" than average ("brighter".. etc..) they will behave accordingly, just as the blue eyed children did. -- Stbalbach 17:07, 14 November 2006 (UTC)
I copied this discussion to Talk:Dysgenics since it has more to do with that article than this one. My suggestion is to continue this discussion there. --Walter Siegmund (talk) 18:04, 14 November 2006 (UTC)

Chimpanzee not the closest genetic relative of humans[edit]

In the chapter which have a note: "This paragraph paints a dark portrait of humans, what counter-views exist?" has several factual mistakes. First of all, the closest genetic relative of humans is the bonobo, not chimpanzee. Second, the bonobo is not violent, intra-species or otherwise.

Attitudes to human extinction[edit]

Regarding this section, moved here for lack of citations.

Many people consider that the extinction of the entire species would be a much worse fate than the death of an individual.[citation needed] Although the mortality of the individual can be accepted as an inevitable part of the human condition, humans can nevertheless expect to attain some measurement of immortality through their progeny, or through contributions or advancement in culture or science.[citation needed] However, the extent to which this "immortality" can be achieved is subject to the continuation of the species as a whole, and human extinction would represent the termination of such expectations.[citation needed]
Fear of human extinction is said to be one of the motivating factors of the environmentalist movements of the 20th and 21st centuries.[citation needed]
Some minority views, in favour of human extinction[citation needed] takes two forms:
  1. Deep ecologists like VHEMT say that humanity is inherently destructive to the global ecosystem, the needs of which should outweigh humanity's desire for "immortality".
  2. Some pessimistic observers (such as Schopenhauer) have written that destroying the entire biosphere is a price worth paying to erase human evil.

-- Stbalbach 14:02, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

'Section on Human Extinction in popular culture'?[edit]

im thando malgas from johannesburg-braamfontien im a grade 10 learner in supreme college braamfontien im doing science and im also a christian my email adress so lets go straight to this topic human extinction its an abroad topic but anyway in my own understanding human extinction is that we as humanbeings we know that science and the bible dont go along very well in science they say the word BIBLE stands for

                                                B- basic 
                                                I- instructions
                                                B- before

so if you can check about the word mentioned above wich is "BIBLE" you in your own mind can think that its TRUE wich indeed it is true becouse when we humans leave on this earth the are many preachers preaching the word of god so we as humans understand and know that thats why in the end it says that its basic instructions before leaving earth before you die you will be put on a casket then you die having heard about the instructions that people preached before you died humans will die thats eventually true whether you like it or not we will die no matter we have this technology of ours remember that mans thoughts are not of god for gods are the greatest no one can think beyond god and the world is under attack of the evil one wich is satan the foe and the avenger the world is controlled by satan thats why we humans need to believe in the one and only wich is the saviour christ jesus "MARK16V15,16" so i think god has comanded us to believe in the one he has sent JOHN6V29 SO AS WE KNOW THAT IN THE OLD TESTAMENT GOD APOINTED APOSTLES SOME OF THEM WERE MOSES AND ZERRUBABEL AND IN THE NEW TESTAMENT HE APOINTED PETER PAUL AND OTHER BUT NOW IN THE LAST AND GLORIOUS DAYS GOD HAS APPOINTED THE ONE FROM THE EAST WICH IS MOSES TSUO KUN THE EASTERN WOMEN HES A FATHER AND MOTHER THROUGH THE GOSPELL OF JESUS CHRIST WICH IS THE FULL GOSPELL OF THE BLOOD,water and holi spirit 1JOHN5V6,12 so the full gospell is the foundation of the church for example a builder cannot buil a house without piutting on a foundation first and measurements so it is with christ aswell thats why its called the full gospell of jesus christ so we humans need to be built up in the truth so we can overcome the gates of hades wich is the abyss if look from the old testament to know from abraham to isacc its two thosand years and from isacc to mose its another two thousand years and from the moses in the old testament to the aposle of this era moses tsuo kun its another two thousand years so remember a day to gd is like a thousand years and thousand years to god are like a day so any time from now on god can come becouse he resurected on the seventh day the is also the eigth day wich is in the seventh day becouse god resurected on the seventh day and rested on the eigth day remember the eigth day is within the seventh day but 3 THINGS NEED TO HAPPEN BEFORE JESUS CHRIST COMES BACK



Magnetic pole change[edit]

"A magnetic pole change on the earth would lead to the collapse of the earth's magnetic shielding against solar radiation, therefore giving an extreme dose of radiation to anyone who would venture outside unprotected. This change has been observed in the consistency of ancient clay pots and stones, it is a cyclic process and the earth is due for a change."

The magnetic poles have changed many times in the past, and obviously life was not extinguished on earth (and if clay pots were around at the time, obviously human life in particular was not exterminated). Miraculouschaos 16:39, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

A Call for Neutrality[edit]

This article should not deal with any religious concepts of "endtimes" or such, but with the scientific views of the probability of human extinction. Religious beliefs are dealt with in (their corresponding) other articles.

Omnicide redirect[edit]

Why in the heck does Omnicide redirect here? Omnicide would be the death of EVERYTHING, not just Humans. Murderbike 03:27, 28 July 2007 (UTC)

That's probably what the word normally means, after all we're quite a self-centred species.
More importantly, the current Omnicide section is ridiculous. Among other things, it makes a long-winded argument for "de-normalizing" Omnicide. The claim that Omnicide is "normal" is (in some ways) the single most controversial thing I've read on Wikipedia. --Wragge 13:35, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

Death of humans....[edit]

Interesting, there are many ways of saying extinct, but I would safely say we would be named something else, homo sapiens etc were taken over and named ourselves human, if after that we would be intellect-humans? What do you say? -- (talk) 15:51, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

Human extinction is the as-yet hypothetical - ?Citation Needed?, Really?[edit]

The "citation needed" link you just followed was placed there because a Wikipedia editor feels that the preceding statement is likely to be challenged--

Very simply, who in their right mind would think that "Human Extinction" is not hypothetical, or that the fact would need to be substantiated. The alternative to it not being hypothetical would be that we (humans) would be extinct; in which case we wouldn't be here to "discuss" human extinction in the first place. As always, any reasonable answer to this questions is appreciated, but I don't see why one need prove HE is hypothetical; the antonym of which is "real".

I removed the "citation needed" link. Whoever added that there doesn't know what "hypothetical" means. Human extinction is based purely on hypotheses right now, since we don't have any empirical evidence or facts from a previous human extinction. --Kurotsyn (talk) 20:55, 23 March 2008 (UTC)
Thank you, Kurotsyn, I appreciate the rationed response. When I read the article I hadn't actually considered it from the aspect of prior extincton events. Lacking evidence to suggest such, HE would still fall into the realm of hypothetical, but I have gained a broader interpretation of "citation needed" applicability.Dphoenix1701 (talk) 07:34, 26 March 2008 (UTC)

Does this not represent a worldwide view?[edit]

I don't see evidence that this does not support a worldwide view on existential risks, as much as that is possible. In fact, it has universal and multidimensional views

Either way, there will be less clutter if I remove it. Shoeshinecs (talk) 05:01, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

External links[edit]

I've removed all external links for now. For the most part they seemed to be links to various fringe thinktanks and advocacy groups. If they're actually of significance within the subject, it's probably better to add some prose of appropriate prominence to their importance within the field, describing the organization, rather than just hanging a link from the article. --Anticipation of a New Lover's Arrival, The 20:04, 15 June 2008 (UTC)

Science vs Religion[edit]

Isn't it better to separate this article into two? One is on the scientific perspective while the other is on the religious perspective. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:38, 8 February 2009 (UTC)


a brain is very importan{| class="wikitable" |{| class="wikitable" |- ! header 1 ! header 2 ! header 3 |- | row 1, cell 1 | row 1, cell 2 | row 1, cell 3 |- | row 2, cell 1 | row 2, cell 2 | row 2, cell 3 |} == Insert non-formatted text here == == == Headline text == == |}t

Religion and science are inseparable mearly reflecting both sides of the brain the creative and the distructive. One cannot delve into human affairs without considering both hemispheres. We are obviously better off without the grandios mother and father figures that make up the gods and surely support all the ignorannce in the world. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:28, 6 October 2009 (UTC)


I believe that this idea should be removed or at least explained properly. Seems to represent a philosophical rather than scientific view. This section also implies the existance of something outside the universe. The normal scientific view is that the universe encompasses EVERYTHING, thus there is nothing outside it.

And to be scientific, something must be falsifiable. Googlemeister (talk) 18:21, 12 July 2010 (UTC)


To all the dudes who think we are really gonna die: Guys, the human extincion event is F A K E. It's not like a huge meteor is gonna wipe out the entire Earth, like 65 million years ago, the dinosaurs were extinct because of a asteroid. C,mon, the humans aren't gonna be gone. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:28, 10 July 2010 (UTC)

It is inevitable that at some point humans will all die out, though it might take a long time. Read Heat death of the Universe. Googlemeister (talk) 18:20, 12 July 2010 (UTC)
My point exactly, Googlemeister. The page should include at least a short paragraph explaining the eventuality of "human" extinction, or the possibility of evolving past what we would recognize as human. Even the science-fiction mental shark bite of being bred out by humanoid extraterrestrials. Wacky stuff, I know, but still is not outside the spectrum of scientific discovery, probability, the laws of physics, and other good measuring sticks for "possibility". A good question is, since this ain't Conservapedia and we can be rational science/logic-minded types here, what is the point of any single human action if the entire thing is doomed someday to fail, inevitably, without a doubt? Maybe the limits of industrial design with the confines of the universe is a means of preventing the heat death of the Universe? Asimov, anyone? So, yes, we're all doomed and you should stop having kids. Unless you want your highly-evolved, cybernetically-enhanced descendants to shriek at the sky in 100 billion years as the stars burn out above. Again, more Asimov. Goodnight. (talk) 22:18, 2 September 2010 (UTC)
Asimov wrote fiction. Granted, it is very entertaining and thought provoking fiction, but even so, it would not be a good idea to apply his writings to reality too literally. Googlemeister (talk) 14:07, 3 September 2010 (UTC)
Oh, no, that's not what I meant. I was just using it as a reference point. Uhm, yes, but my question? Is a species that has evolved into a discernibly different species considered extinct, per se? If so, then there is a possibility not being covered here, which rightly should be. (talk) 19:08, 29 September 2010 (UTC)
Dinos are said to have evolved into birds, and we call dinos extinct, so I would say yes, one species turning into another species would result in the extinction of the first species (unless the first species also still exists). How applicable this would be to humans is an interesting question and one which I do not have an answer for. Googlemeister (talk) 16:06, 1 October 2010 (UTC)


I see that there is a ridiculous article about depopulation as a cause of human extinction, but whay about the opposite, overpopulation that leads to mass starvation, wars...

That is covered in this article. It is called Malthusian catastrophe I think. Googlemeister
i think overpopulation can't wipe out our population (talk) 16:08, 1 October 2010 (UTC)


"Russell, J.D. (2008). Trojan Whores ~The Road to Armageddon~ a Prophetic Retrospective, by Jahred Kammen, the Last Liberalasdsdfsd ISBN 978-0-615-19676-3." The "asdsdfsd" gets me on this one. I'd have a full title check, just to be sure. (talk) 01:35, 20 October 2010 (UTC)

Two bulleted items should be combined?[edit]


The bulleted item beginning with "Isaac Asimov's The Last Question, Greg Bear's Blood Music" should apparently be joined with the previous bulleted item. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Toddcs (talkcontribs) 04:26, 11 August 2011 (UTC)

Agreed. Done. Mitch Ames (talk) 10:00, 11 August 2011 (UTC)

Worst article in Wikipedia?[edit]

Maybe we can have a vote! I certainly can't think of a worse article I have come across in 6 years of reading Wikipedia. Or, maybe we can have a laugh inventing alternative titles for this 'article'. I'll start us all off. 1: List of scenarios for Hollywood disaster movies. 2: The human condition and science fiction. 3: Advertisement for futurist authors. 4: Sandbox example article. (no that's too cruel)

'global suicide attack' in the lede. Hahaha, still wiping tears of laughter from my eyes. 1812ahill (talk) 00:28, 25 March 2012 (UTC)

Changes and addition[edit]

I removed the text "In practical terms this is unlikely as not all individuals and communities are likely to be exposed to a disease, and not all individuals die when exposed to infections." as it reflects an opinion more than a fact. Therefor added a couple references to pandemic events in the past. Also include Tim Lenton's nine tipping point's section with relevant links to other wp articles as well as his publication. Finally added a reference to Fred Guterl's 2012 publication.

@1812ahill In wich way is this the worst arcticle in wikipedia? I see no references to Hollywood disaster movies nor advertisments.

Theking2 (talk) 18:59, 8 September 2012 (UTC)

Risks approaching consensus?[edit]

Section 3 begins "The general level of fear about human extinction, in the near term, is very low, despite the pronouncements of some fringe groups." Actually, mainstream scholars are closer to a consensus than you might expect for such a murky subject. Seems like their numbers should appear somewhere early in the article.

Sir Martin Rees is Britain's Astronomer Royal, past president of the Royal Society, past master of Trinity College. He thinks we have about 50-50 chance of surviving 100 years; see his book Our Final Hour. Actually he referred to a severe setback for civilization, but if the hazard is more potent than expected, extinction within a century is a serious possibility, and something to fear within the next few decades. Professor John Leslie, The End of the World (Routledge, 1996) thinks we have about 30% chance of extinction in the next 5 centuries. Willard Wells, Apocalypse Soon (Springer, 2009) devised a formula (see below) that gives risks consistent with both Rees and Leslie. Know any other sources or contradictions? If not, then perhaps a consensus is emerging within about a factor of 2, which would be good agreement for a topic this murky.

Section 3 item 2 states "Extinction scenarios .. are speculative, and hard to quantify." True, but one technique does not need a list of scenarios. Richard Gott (Nature May 27, 1993, p. 315) estimated survival probability of an entity given only its age, providing the time of inquiry is not special in any way. However, his formula does not directly apply to humanity because the present time of runaway high-tech hazards is very special. Wells shows that Gott's formula can be generalized and applied by basing it on risk exposure instead of ?time. Then he develops a formula for risk exposure from various published statistics, which then leads to his formula for human survivability.

In summary, both civilization and the human race are seriously at risk beyond the next few decades.

Ruedepassy (talk) 17:13, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

Criteria for inclusion of scenarios?[edit]

If there's no objections, I've made some edits to keep the scenario list at a reasonable size, by including only scenarios where:

1. There's a non-fringe belief the scenario may result in human extinction (as opposed to "only" killing four billion people or otherwise causing catastrophic damage). If an entry was unsourced and sounded fringe to me, I took the liberty of deleting it; please restore it with a citation if you disagree. If it was unsourced but non-fringe, or if I don't know if it's fringe, I put 'citation needed' for now.

2. The scenario has a *direct* link to human extinction. For example, nuclear war can be listed a possible "human extinction" risk (if an appropriate source claims it is), but "US-China tensions" can't be listed as its own item, even if a source were to claim that US-China tensions are certain to lead to human extinction through nuclear war. (Otherwise there'd be no end to the number of scenarios you could list, since the conjectured causes of warfare can't be contained in a single page!)

If that's not enough to make this a manageable size, then maybe we should delete some of the cited but fringe theories, like population decline, to avoid giving undue weight to idiosyncratic hypotheses. If there's disagreement as to what's fringe, maybe an informal cutoff could be that more than one peer-reviewed paper has to claim it as a possible human extinction risk.Rolf H Nelson (talk) 17:42, 16 June 2013 (UTC)

No mention of supermassive black hole at galaxy center[edit]

How long 'til it all just 'swirls down the drain in a clockwise direction'?  ;-}

More likely the Sun gets ejected from the Milky Way: Future_of_an_expanding_universe#Stellar_remnants_escape_galaxies_or_fall_into_black_holes. In any case, as you point out below, the Sun will already be burnt out. Rolf H Nelson (talk) 18:11, 6 August 2013 (UTC)

...or, before then... — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:29, 31 July 2013 (UTC)

We already have: "In 5 billion years hence the Sun's stellar evolution will reach the red giant stage, in which it will expand and possibly engulf Earth. But before this happens it will already have changed Earth's climate and its radiated spectrum may alter in ways Earth-bound humans could not survive." Rolf H Nelson (talk) 18:11, 6 August 2013 (UTC)

Formal modeling of climate change/ecological-human extinction linkage

I came to this page after I had the following thought: 1. As far as I know there isn't much scientific modeling on the following topics: --chances of the sixth mass extinction and ecological collapse leading to human human extinction --likely impacts of climate change on mass extinction. 2. If so, it follows that existing scientific models of damage to humans from climate change greatly underestimate the risks. This seems like the right page to look for leads to research of this kind. A. Is this not the right page? B. Does anyone know about such research? Burressd (talk) 00:20, 5 March 2014 (UTC)

Correct, this is not the right page or the right Web site; Wikipedia is WP:NOTAFORUM. Hopefully you can find the information you're looking for elsewhere, perhaps on one of the many Web forums devoted to science. Hope you find what you're looking for! Rolf H Nelson (talk) 07:14, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
I was not looking for a forum. I was looking for references to modeling of human extinction.
Burressd (talk) 23:10, 7 March 2014 (UTC)Burressd

Overlapping with the article: "Global catastrophic risk" -> Merge or find clarity[edit]

So this article seems to be on the same topic as the (longer) article global catastrophic risk. I'm suggesting to either merge this article into there or to (right here) find a clear distinction between this article and global catastrophic risk.
If the latter is pursued the article should focus on whatever gets decided here. For example this article could be trimmed of the existential risks section and instead focus on the public perception, cultural depiction (in films, literature etc) and other similar things.
The problem is perfectly evident from the the upper sentence "The scope of this article is existential risks".
Please discuss. --Fixuture (talk) 23:00, 15 May 2015 (UTC)

Extinction and risk are so different, although agree the other article has a ton of overlap. I find the discussion of a near human extinction to be much more plausible and therefore more interesting. This is what the other article seems to be more geared towards. Daniel.Cardenas (talk) 17:15, 30 April 2016 (UTC)


"In contrast, human extinction by wholly natural scenarios, such as meteor impact or large-scale volcanism, is extremely unlikely to occur in the near future. Humanity has survived natural existential risks for hundreds of thousands of years, therefore it would be an unlikely piece of bad luck for a sufficiently large natural catastrophe to occur in the next hundred."

Surviving even though existential risks exists does not change the chance of something happening just based on the time passed, i would think. Possible gambler's fallacy (or similar) with this passage? Maybe i'm just taking it too literal though Swedra (talk) 21:43, 29 June 2016 (UTC)

  1. ^ Gaede, Bill. "How the Last Human Died". ViNi. Retrieved 9 September 2011.  External link in |work= (help)