Doomsday theory

I am curious on thoughts for this video from pbs spacetime. It raises some interesting concepts in consciousness and quantum theory related to our existence.

Hi @Skoshland,

Can you summarize some of the key points? It can be helpful to discuss specific points instead of a variety of topics from a well done, but 18 minute video, from PBS spacetime.

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I agree that it’s a good video. Most of them are.

I guess what is the thought of this doomsday argument being an evaluation of the statistical prospects of our species surviving into the next three thousand years? What is the consideration of the anthropic theories application here?

Perhaps you are familiar with Don Hoffman’s theory of consciousness? His theory essentially states that our consciousness experiences the world as it is selected to. Essentially our consciousness is not seeing “reality” but is creating its perceived reality. This kind of flips things , rather than the real world creating consciousness that can view it, the consciousness creates the reality of the world that it can see. Then if thats is true what is the world that the viewer in the anthropic theory seeing?

I think it’s probably along the lines of the best one can do. He covered a few obvious things like what counts as “our species” or do all of our descendants count as “human?” Some lineages of “human” died out (like Neanderthals or Naledi, etc.). Some had very long runs like Homo Erectus compared to how long we’ve been here (over 4-5x longer for Erectus as of now). Periods of intense climate instability produced significant changes in the homo genus on average as a whole like this graphic shows:

Obviously humans survived many terrible events so far like these:

The only thing that’s obvious is that we won’t be around forever!

I was listening this and finally caught on to the essence of the argument at 7:02. My reaction was to laugh in an uproar. This is a classic misuse of probability – assuming all things being equal, when they are not. Frankly we cannot even imagine how people might think and live in the far future and thus the reality is that there is nothing equal about the different eras of the existence of an intelligent species. We can turn the argument back on itself by asking when in a species development are they likely to come up with such a doomsday argument and I think there is a high likelihood that this would only arise during such a portion of our development as we now happen to be in.

For me, this type of argumentation has all the tom-foolery of Xeno’s argument that motion doesn’t exist – empty rhetoric without substance.


You only have to look at fiction that tried to foresee into the 21st century to confirm that. Humanity has not quite advanced to the stages expected nor has technology. Space travel is still in its infancy and light speed only theoretical. We have just one basic space station and a planned manned trip to Mars.


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I guess where I am leading this is the concept of that magic word sustainability of a given social structure. I know that there are libraries filled with books on the formation and collapse of empires and what not. Certainly a species can exhaust its environmental resources or a natural disaster can wipe it out. But there is a critical point where the physical adaptations (technology) and environment where the social organization and behavior of that species becomes unsustainable and requires reorganization or it will collapse.

Space travel has been In use for a long time like internet wasn’t available til early 1990s when we had it in 1940s glade government takes such good care of us keeping us updated

Why the spurious 3,000? Just do the orders of magnitude: 10, 100, 1000, 10,000, 100,000 - twice as long as behavioural modernity. We should be evolving smarter, even more eusocial by then. Fission will sustain us even through the next, more intense, glacial maximum of the 4th OOM. And we’re going nowhere of course. Eugenics will be the norm, but it won’t budge human lifespan, just shift the mode. We’ll be black by the third. At least 90% urbanized by the 2nd. The OOM ten billion of us. Until that glaciation maximum.

statistically we should expect most of civilization to get wiped out soon to make human experience typical

What’s your sample?


a few more characters to hit the 11 character threshold to post a comment

Riiiiight. So you alone know all about typical alien civilizations? How?

I am just looking at the UN population curve and asking where would a typical sample lie.

Jesus injunction to always be ready for the end of the end of the world is most rational from a statistical perspective.

Oh, my bad, you meant human civilizations. Well, we’ve had basically the same one for a couple of thousand whiles now. So what do you mean?

that, my friend, is the implication of population growth, exponential or otherwise

What is? . . .

the immanent demise of all human life

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That close huh? Perichoretically so.

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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