The Noah dilemma

I have a hypothetical question which I call the Noah dilemma. Suppose that some scientist and high level government officials know with 95% predictability that the earth will experience a near earth kill disaster of the magnitude of the the k-pg event. They know that this event will occur in 10-20 years from present and there is no way to stop it. Suppose that they know that the side of the earth where this event directly impacts will be nearly wiped out while the other half of the planet will have severe earthquakes and tidal waves and events that wipe out the planets electric grid followed by a Nuclear winter scenario about the earth causing ice age cooling on the higher latitudes and blocking the Sun wiping out much of the vegetation about the planet. Billions of people will be instantly killed by this event. This event will make life on much of the surface of the planet uninhabitable for decades and will make life unsustainable for the population of billions that currently we have on the planet. (This event is way worse than the worst climate change nightmare) There will be remnant survivors on the lands about the earth that will be knocked back into the Stone Age with no technology.

The question that I have is what should and would the leaders of the planet do in this situation?

  1. Would /should they tell everyone that this is about to occur? What would be people’s response to this worldwide?
  2. How would the world leaders prepare for this event knowing that they would need to go underground/ water to survive the event for many years for humanity to persist on the planet

I’m curious where you’re going with this, but I’d say that telling people is the morally correct thing to do, but considering how people have reacted to climate change, they’d probably be laughed at until the thing actually happened – it might depend on how clear their evidence was.

At that point they should just abandon the planet like in Wall-E or Interstellar. Seriously though, I don’t know – picking designated survivors would get thorny.

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They would call Bruce Willis, crank up the Aerosmith, and hope it all works out.


Under the guidance of “do unto others as you’d have them do to you…” it isn’t obvious to me that leaders telling unvarnished truths in real time to the public would always be the right thing to do. It might be.

But as a member of such a public, here’s what I might prefer. If there was absolutely nothing to be done about it, I might rather live out that last bit in “relative peace” as opposed to being swept along into God-knows-what stupidities with a uselessly panicked public. One good reason a person might want to know if they were likely to die in a week, or a month, or a year …is that then we might make extra efforts to reconnect with estranged loved ones, make things right, etc. But; how likely is that to even be possible [over panic-congested communication networks] if danger is imminent? In other words, you aren’t likely to be doing any of such “reconnecting” anyway except with your physically accessible neighbors. In the end, should I really need to know if death is imminent in order to motivate me to do things I should be wanting to do anyway?

The other thing is … these predictions are just that - never certainties but only probabilities. Thinking that there was some chance for a planet-endangering event a decade from now might give much un-needed fuel to people who have busied themselves denying other more gradual (but still deadly) planetary dangers like climate change. The more people think everything might end suddenly anyway, the less likely they are to pay any good attention to longer term stewardship concerns.

In short, my “cons list” for telling people has a lot more on its side than the “pro list”. As a population we just are not at all smart with how we handle such “information”, and nearly everything we do can be counted on to make our final days a lot worse instead of better. We’re kinda stupid that way. And yet all that said … I can’t rule out that telling people could still be the right thing to do. Possibly.

We already have a similar, much more real and pressing dilemma: climate change and what to do about climate refugees.

Jesus speaks to climate change in Luke 21:25:

There will be signs in the sun and moon and stars, and on the earth nations will be in distress and perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the surging of the waves.*

And I think we will be seeing more megacryometeors**, too, per Revelation 16:21:

And great hailstones, about one hundred pounds each, fell from heaven on people; and they cursed God for the plague of the hail, because the plague was so severe.


*The Ocean’s Biggest Waves Are Getting Even Bigger
**”One in Brazil weighed in at more than 50 kilograms (110 lb).

Thank you Laura. I am just thinking of how governments and people would react with this Noah scenario. Thinking about the decision to warn Noah letting him prepare for the flood. I also think that warning everyone seems the moral right thing to do. Is it not moral to tell the patient that he has so many days to live? Just curious to see other perspectives on this.

I suspect that governments might be afraid to advise their people of the pending disaster as the very real possibility that social fabric may breakdown. I suspect that given the scenario governments might prepare amongst themselves to try to build safe refuges for the select few from the disaster in order to survive and restart civilization.

I think that people’s response if they were notified would be varied .
1). A large percentage of people would decide to try to survive the events causing hoarding riots and a deterioration of society. There would be also resentment to the chosen ones that are preparing to ride out the storm. I think likely martial law would need to go into effect .
2). Another portion will just say let’s party like its 1999 and again causing dysfunction
3). Another portion will just as you say go into denial and just live their lives as nothing is going to happen
4). The last portion will turn to the spirit.

Luke 17-26 Just as in the days of Noah so shall it be in the days of the Son of man. They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage until the day when Noah entered the ark and the flood destroyed them all.

Thank you Mervin. Yes, I agree it’s a dilemma. Not an easy solution. I think that the truth rules. I am sure that the truth would come out any way. Very hard to keep secrets like this for too long. The consequences for the people in government would be disasterous if it were to come out. What people should trust a government that doesn’t trust its people? It would be much better for the governments to come out and present the facts allowing people to prepare as they have a right to.

Rev 6-15. Then everyone the kings of the earth the rulers the generals the wealthy the powerful and every slave and free person all hid themselves in thecaves and rocks of the mountain

For the great day of his wrath have come and who shall be able to stand

Yes I agree. I am told that we can still act to mitigate climate change but the scenario I am presenting has no possible prevention. None.

Consider this from the book of revelation. How should a government and its people prepare for this?

Rev 6-13. Then the stars of the sky fell to the ground like figs falling from a tree shaken by a strong wind.

6-14. The sky was rolled up like a scroll and all the mountains and islands were removed from their places

Revelation 8-7. Hail and fire mixed with blood and they were thrown to the earth and a third of the earth was burned up a third of the trees were burned up and all the green grass was burned up.

Something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into sea became blood and a third of the creatures which were in the sea and had life died and a third of the ships was destroyed.

A great star fell from heaven burning like a torch and it fell from heaven landed on a third of the rivers and springs of waters many people died from the bitter waters.

And a third of the sun and a third of the moon and a third of the stars were struck. So that a third of them would be darkened and the day would not shine for a third of it and the night in the same way.

Woe,woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth.

Christy- I think that maybe some would start prepping like the dodo birds in ice age. “I’ve heard about these guys!”

Or maybe as the Grinch says “solve world hunger, tell no one!”

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I’m not sure what the right move is here. But just chiming in to say I appreciate the employ of the golden rule here. Scripture worth considering as far as when to reveal and when to keep quiet. I often think of the Golden Rule as some sort of positive obligation, but it can just as easily be negative. Do not do.

Thank you. I guess that answers my questions pretty well. Governments would not advise people of an impending disaster. True, People and false prophets are always predicting the end of the world. Just the same people would figure it out anyway and it would come out, I am sure. I suppose that we could start preparing for these events under the guise by creating a faux crisis justifying these preparations without advising of the impending cataclysm. It may be one thing to deny the truth but it is another to actively and purposely deceive for ones own benefit and purposes to the disadvantage of another. I think that There would be only one thing for a follower of Christ to do, is Jesus not the light of the world?

Matt 24:

So when you see standing in the holy place the abomination that causes desolation spoken of through the prophet Daniel those who are in Judea flee to the mountains for then there will be great distress unequaled from the beginning of the world until now-and never equaled again. The sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light the stars will fall from the sky and the heavenly bodies will be shaken. Who then is the faithful and wise servant whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household …he will be put in charge of all his possessions…but suppose that the servant is wicked and says to himself my master is away for a long time and he then beats his fellow servants and eats and drinks with the drunkards. The master will come home on a day and will cut that wicked servant to pieces …

  1. Jonah 3:6-10