I've seen that a lot of people on GAG seem to think that the world is going to end soon. Whether it is from global warming, nuclear war, the apocalypse or they just have a "feeling" that it's going to end.
I'm going to list some of the most probable causes of a world ending scenario and try to explain why it's all just plain bullshit using facts, a little bit of science but most of all common sense.
1. Global Warming
This is obviously the most popular one and what most environmentalists use as their line of defence.
First of all let's explain what global warming is shall we; A simple google search will reveal:
Alright so what exactly is causing this temperature to increase? The most common answer scientists will give you is carbon dioxide emission or CO2 one of the few elements that high school dropouts will remember other than H2O and O2, otherwise known as water and oxygen.
Why is carbon dioxide causing global warming? Well carbon dioxide is one of the seven major greenhouse gases. A greenhouse gas is any gaseous compound in the atmosphere that is capable of absorbing infrared radiation (one of the seven electromagnetic waves), thereby trapping and holding heat in the atmosphere. This invariably leads to a phenomenon called the green house effect this basically means the earth is surrounded by a blanket trapping it's own heat making it hotter.
Since the beginning of the industrial revolution carbon dioxide emmision has increased several folds, there is no arguing about that but the majority of the increase is surprisingly not caused by man but nature itself. In 2014 NASA launched a satellite that measures CO2 levels around the globe. They assumed that most of the CO2 would be coming from the industrialized northern hemisphere but much to their surprise it was coming from the rainforests in South America, Africa and China. The fact is the temperature of earth has been increasing ever since the last glacial period (Ice age). It's a simply a natural phenomemon that has been occuring for millions of years.
Greenhouse gas concentrations and global temperatures will not increase indefinitely — today's carbon dioxide buildup and warming trend must eventually top out and then reverse as the atmosphere gradually recovers. The first stage of this process will occur when the rate at which we burn coal, oil, and natural gas levels off and then declines, either because we switch to alternative energy sources soon, or because we run out of affordable fossil fuels later. As a result, CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere will also eventually peak and then decline.
Diseases are the No.1 thing responsible for human deaths. Bacteria and viruses are the most common causes of disease. The Ebola outbreak in Africa, Mers outbreaking in the middle east and the deadly swine flu have occured recently in history but none of them are even remotely close to the fatalities caused by the AIDS pandemic, the 1918 Spanish Flu and The Plague of Justinian each killing 25 million, 50 million and approximate 25 million people respectively. But the worst is none other than The Black Death which left approximately 75 to 200 million people dead. That's about 30-60% of Europes entire population at that time,
So what's the point of comparing outbreaks in the past with those that occured recently, well if you look at the death rates from Ebola, MERS and swine flu they are nothing compared to the former.
Does that mean these viruses are not as deadly as the former? Well not really they are just as deadly as any other virus out there, the thing is technology and science have come so far in such a short time that we can easily create vaccines for them or at least drugs to suppress the effects of the disease.
What if there was a virus created or found for which a vaccine couldn't be made?
For every disease, there is always a small part of the population that is naturally immune, so if a plague did begin to kill off most of humanity, it would not kill off the entire population.
3. The Apocalypse
I know what you're thinking, the Apocalypse as a probable cause really? Well apparently a lot of religious people think so.
Before I dwell into this whole Apocalypse stuff let me give you a little history on how religion started.
Religious notions of sorts had existed in pre-class societies. People had ascribed to magical beings control over the apparently mysterious processes which led some plants to flower and not others, to the years of bountiful hunting and years of hunger, to unexpected and sudden deaths. With the appearance of classes and states people also had to come to terms with the existence of social powers beyond their own control. It was at this stage that organised religious institutions arose. Worshipping the gods became a way of society worshipping its own power, of people giving an alienated recognition to their own achievements. This, in turn, enhanced the control of those who claimed to be responsible for these achievements—those who ordered about the mass of producers, monopolised the surplus in their own hands and used armed force against anyone rejecting their claims. Religion is a basically a form of control, it is no different than slavery. It was used by the Kings and Pharaohs to keep their subjects in line and by the so called Messiahs and Prophets to gather followers and obtain wealth.
The bible was most likely written by men who were no different than these kings and messiahs. The fact that the bible contains so much contradiction in itself should tell you how reliable it is not to mention as a source of prediction for the end of the world.
4. Nuclear war
This is a passage obtained from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/
"The fear of an apocalyptic nuclear war between Russia and the US gripped the global community for decades.
That threat may have reduced, but the potential for deliberate or accidental nuclear conflict has not been reduced, with some estimates putting the risk in the next century at around 10 per cent.
Whether the war has a larger impact would depend on whether it triggered a 'nuclear winter' - the creation of a cloud of smoke high in the atmosphere that would block the Sun's rays, plunging temperatures below freezing, and possibly destroy the ozone layer. In order for this to happen, the bombs would have to start massive firebombs that could lift the dust into the atmosphere.
The effects would lead to the disintegration of the global food supply - making widespread starvation and the collapse of states likely."
Will we survive a nuclear war?
Yes, humans, Mankind, would very easily survive a nuclear war. Modern nuclear weapons are quite clean, as far as radiation goes. Particulate matter thrown into the atmosphere would not create a lasting "nuclear winter." This is evidenced by studies of large plinian-style erupting volcanoes. For instance, Mt. Pinatubo in 1991 ejected huge amounts of sulfur dioxide, carbon dioxide, water vapor, and of course, ash particulates into the upper atmosphere -- scientists expected it to significantly cool the globe for years. Instead, these gases and particulates settled out in less than a year. Tambora was a massive eruption in 1882 that put out more debris on orders of magnitude more than Pinatubo. 1883 was really bad, the "year without a summer," but after only a year, things had settled back to normal equilibrium, and the climate returned to normal again.
Most nuclear weapons in anyone's arsenal are no longer the multi-megaton "city busters." Modern, accurate guidance systems have allowed us to return to the low-kiloton range ("Hiroshima sized") but accomplish the same purpose. So, even immediate death would be low. Further, one would recognize that there is no practical reason to waste any time and material on smashing a city, when arms could better be used directly against belligerent armies. So you'd have less radiation than was thought when the "nuclear winter" concept originated, and the gas and particulates of any exchange would still settle out at about the same rate as Pinatubo and Tambora. Slightly longer perhaps, but no apocalyptic end-of-Mankind nuclear winter.
Other than these most of the other causes such as super Supervolcanos and Asteroid impacts are based on pure chance and therefore completely out of our hands. If they were to destroy us, they would have already done so within the 100,000 years humans have been walking on earth.
It is far more likely that by the time a world ending event occurs we would have already achieved nuclear fusion and interstellar travel.