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What do you think is the biggest threat facing the world in the near future?

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The biggest threat is the continued takeover of the world's economies by their public sectors, and the corporativists who work with them. Though the intentions are to improve the collective good of all people, the actual result is erosion of the middle class, and increased "income inequality".

-5 ( +9 / -14 )

I voted ‘other’. To me the biggest threat today and in the near future is the perpetuation of cultural myths and fictions that are used to separate individuals and justify hostilities against those with differing cultural myths.

To show my mastery of the obvious I’ll start by saying that every culture is held together in many ways, one of which is having its own sets of shared myths (e.g. big flood; man builds boat; brings with him two of each kind of animal) and other shared fictions (e.g. we did it to make the world safe for democracy; government interference in the marketplace is bad).

The myths and fictions are part of what differentiates one culture from the others and often makes them ‘interesting’ to outsiders, i.e. those from cultures with different shared myths. The fictions are used to make members of that culture feel a sense of ‘us’ (‘we’ are unique in so many ways; aren’t we special), which can make it easier for that culture’s leadership to get most of its members to follow the leaders’ dictates.

Well and good, all cultures are special. Until they become so special in their collective minds that they think they are superior to other cultures, leading to the other cultures becoming ‘them’. Unfortunately once a culture becomes ‘them’ it makes it easier for bigots to justify treating ‘them’ as inferiors with a range of possible nasty consequences, including military war.

To me human cultures, like biological ones, contain parasites. These parasites, which in social culture are called memes (thank you Richard Dawkins), inhabit biological beings, often leading to that culture’s members feeling included and non-members excluded.

I think it would be nice to think we could see our shared biology (is a European queen that much different biologically from any other female human, regardless of geographic origin, who has lived in the last couple of thousand years?) as a commonality that unites us, and see the negative sides of our respective cultures, those that are used to justify bigotry, as what separate us.

If we can, we - the biological members of the human species - might collectively be able to devote more time and resources to make better progress in finding cures for cancers, a biological malady found in every culture, and find better ways to deal with climate change, which will affect everyone in every culture. Our enemies should not be each other because we come from different cultures, instead should be anything that is harmful to biological beings.

Or, of course, we can continue to say things can’t be changed, and anyway it’s ‘their’ fault. And yes, I know it’s all a matter of individual perspective and choice.

Here’s a video made by some of the 20th century’s greatest minds, an excellent example of cultures clashing. Absurd, isn’t it. Smile and have a nice day - unless you have other plans.

<<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOOTKA0aGI0

0 ( +9 / -9 )

I voted financial instability. It leads to terrorism and war among other things.

-3 ( +7 / -10 )

Near Future (10~25 years) - Terrorism and War Distant Future (50+ years from now) - Climate Change All the time - Financial Instability

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Unmitigated stupidity, like this question!

10 ( +19 / -10 )

Fundamentalist islam is. (If by "world" we mean our existing Western civilization as we know it.)

-4 ( +13 / -17 )

I voted war. Climate change is a huge threat but one we won't see materalise for a long time. I think the threat of terrorism is being blown a bit out of proportion relative to the damage it causes.

-7 ( +6 / -12 )

Other: Atheism

-38 ( +5 / -42 )

To the people that chose climate change - it says near future SMH...

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

To the people that chose climate change - it says near future SMH...

Yeah, what's with these people talking about the present?

4 ( +9 / -5 )

I was thinking the same as sangetsu03 basically. Monopolies and the fleecing of the common citizen (through taxation, price gouging and other means) is the biggest threat in the near future. I should have voted other, but I voted climate change, as I think that is also a big threat. One or both could easily lead to social discord and violent conflict both internal and external of countries. I did not vote war because war itself is often so isolated it affects relatively few of us.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Cute, cuddly aliens à la E.T. are a myth.

-5 ( +3 / -7 )

Other: extremism in all its forms (usually religious though).

8 ( +12 / -4 )

Other: resources management

Water is a main resource, but I think also about the smaller, crucial ones like materials for medicines, minerals for computer and smart phone hardware.

Lots of the politics and economics kicks off from here

5 ( +8 / -3 )

The contradictions of capital, especially endless compound growth (too much capital and nowhere to go); the relation to nature (resource overexploitation and climate change); and alienation (of people from each other and the natural world, through the commodification of all aspects of life).

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Other: The crisis of creativity in our education sector - the lack of foresight in teaching tomorrow's leaders anything useful to solve our intractable problems.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

The globalization of our economy, which is creating 19th century levels of inequality in the developed economies.

The multinational corporations will force us into a race to the bottom in the name of "competitiveness" as we find ourselves forced to compete with the likes of the Vietnamese and Bangladeshis.

Under TPP or other agreements, the corporates will eventually have the right to sue governments that try to protect the economic interests of their workers, err, us..

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Near future - Climate Change. Sigh. I see Climate Change is the new religion. Fear and Guilt FTW.

-10 ( +4 / -14 )

Other: general apathy

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Alien Invasion??? Lol

2 ( +6 / -3 )

War in the Ukraine because the Russians aren't liking what the west is doing to their economy... or Israel sending tossing a nuke against Iran. Either will cause WWIII

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Denial of real issues.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

Alien invasion!!!

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Alien invasion... now that we scanned Pluto... they're coming!!!!!

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

We got thumbed down for alien invasion? Wow, sense of humour bypass!

-7 ( +4 / -10 )

Other: Atheism

Other: Religion

"With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion." -- Steven Weinberg

I'm worried that sooner or later one of these god-addled death cults that have brought misery to humanity for centuries is going to get hold of some nukes or biological weapons and send the world to a hell of their own making.

4 ( +10 / -4 )

Biggest problem always is superpower ambitions and nationalism.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Supervolcano @ Yellowstone. Oh, also gamma ray burst.

0 ( +2 / -1 )

no doubt... OTHER.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Donald Trump! Seriously, though, war and financial instability are serious obstacles to happiness.

3 ( +6 / -2 )

Mosquitoes.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Alien invasion is a possibility but I'm sure Bill Pullman could fight them off, lol.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The aliens are here to help, and we wish you wouldn't call our arrival an invasion.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

War. :(

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The biggest threat is ignoring any of the four above plus ignoring the takeover of political and legal systems by monied interests.

All of these problems are intertwined. Focusing on one or two to the exclusion of the others simply exacerbates the problems.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Human stupidity causing disaster of escalating scale, like seen in Fukushima or Tianjin. It is the biggest threat.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The left brain.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@Thunderbird2

We got thumbed down for alien invasion? Wow, sense of humour bypass!

I gave you a thumbs up Thunderbird2. Maybe losing our sense of humor is the biggest threat to our future, or at least to our hope of enjoying it.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Alan: Other: Religion

That's the general viewpoint among uninformed people. But you are being deceived. The true danger is that of rising Atheism. Look at history! Religion has been around almost since humans exist. But mankind is still going strong. The same cannot be said about Atheism. Everywhere were Atheism has been systematically applied it lead to misery and failure: Stalin, Mao Zedong, Pol Pot, Mussolini, Kim Jong Il, Napoleon, to name a few examples. And even though atheists constantly want to deny this, Hitler was an atheist, too. Atheism is bad for human future because it is extremely narrow-minded and relies heavily on a very limited viewpoint for evidence: material science. Humanity will boot itself into a dead end with atheism!

-11 ( +0 / -11 )

Wow, and you completely ignore the evils perpetuated in the name of Christianity, Islam, and other religions over the years.

How is does in an external being - who may or may not exist - prevent evils? It doesn't. How does belief in an external being - who may or may not exist - perpetuate evils? It does when people perpetuate those evils in the beliefs that they are doing what that external being expects of them.

Sorry, but if anything, Atheism will be the savior of humanity.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Evils are perpetuated in the name of just about anything: Greed, power, politics, business... Evil is done because of those people are evil, not because they believe something. Claiming that religion is responsible for evil is your biased strawman fallacy. As an atheist you will tell me that you're defending your (dis-)belief but you will never do anything harmful. But that's a lie. Atheists are doing just as much harm, be it openly or indirectly, and, ironically, all the while fanatic atheists create something that very much resembles a religion in their own.

-11 ( +0 / -11 )

Other: Overpopulation

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Claiming that religion is responsible for evil is your biased strawman fallacy.

Um, maybe you have heard of a little incident known as The Crusades?

Atheists are doing just as much harm, be it openly or indirectly

And what harm is that?

ironically, all the while fanatic atheists create something that very much resembles a religion in their own.

Except that it's not. It may resemble the fanaticism of religion at times, but religion is centered around the core belief of supernatural beings, while atheism is centered around the idea that they don't exist. These are fundamentally opposite, and therefore the claim that atheism is like a religion is impossible. It can't be, because the very core definition means that it is the polar opposite.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Other: Overpopulation leading to a mass die off.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Um, maybe you have heard of a little incident known as The Crusades?

Uhm, You know, the crusades are far back in history. Political atrocities caused by atheist regimes, not so much. People were very naive back about 1000 years ago. People are now again very naive, in the opposite direction, namely in their belief that atheism is their world savior.

Except that it's not. It may resemble the fanaticism of religion at times, but religion is centered around the core belief of supernatural beings, while atheism is centered around the idea that they don't exist. These are fundamentally opposite, and therefore the claim that atheism is like a religion is impossible. It can't be, because the very core definition means that it is the polar opposite

A religion doesn't have to based on belief of supernatural beings to be a religion. The profuse prophesying of their dis(beliefs) is enough to qualify something as religion and atheists are becoming increasingly good at that. You also stated the core fallacy of atheism: its centered around the idea that something doesn't exist, whether it exists or not is not within our dimension or power to prove or disprove. Atheism makes a claim of nonexistence about something that is far out of reach to be proved or disproved. In case you think that you can rely on your science here, let me tell you a fact: Science does not even understand the nature of energy.

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

comon its "alien invasion" by far. as somebody whos been abducted by aliens I should know!

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

I choose, "Terrorism" and if I could have, I would have also gone with "financial instability."

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

@CGB Spender

crusades are far back in history... No. Actually we're still living with the after-effects of that particular conflict. Christians and Muslims have been at each others' throats for centuries in the Middle East, the Balkans, and now all over the world. That's a big threat to our future. The one man who did more than anyone else to sow those seeds of hate was a devout Christian king and major war criminal called Richard the Lionheart.

You played the Hitler/Stalin card. Hitler was raised a Catholic and also had some weird pagan ideas, while Stalin actually studied for the Greek Orthodox priesthood. In later years he suppressed religion, but you can't say it didn't affect his personality. Mao didn't have a religion. He was one. I believe that all three were able to exploit vulnerabilities in the religious mindset of millions for their own ends. That religious mindset, the tendency to believe in authority figures with big hats, is a threat to our future.

Religion has invariably hindered not aided our ascent from the primitive, and it continues to hold us back today. If we want a better future or any future, we need to look for real answers in the only world we have, and we need to look to ourselves for solutions, because we're the only ones listening (apart from the aliens).

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I voted war, but I think it'll be due to climate change and a decrease in available resources that result. I don't think they are mutually exclusive.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

As several above have said, I believe censorship will prevail and the masses will be controlled.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Artificial Intelligence and autonomous weapons.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Humans?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Other... since the poll does not want to point out the reason.. HUMANS. we need less humans (or none).

and for once I disagree with CGB, religion is a big big threat... I am agnostic, so Shintoism and Buddhism fits me very well though.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

"HUMANS. we need less humans (or none)."

But your presence is necessary, right? Tee hee!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Daniel well I didn't say that certain religions aren't a big threat. Extreme Islamism certainly is, I'm not defending that. Atheism (or Anti-theists what most of them are today anyway) is a treat in that they will most likely tell you that Shintoism and Buddhism are great nonsense, like any other religion. While I'm in the same boat as you I do tolerate all beliefs and religions because they added a great amount of diversity and culture. Imagine how the world would look now without them and how a world that atheists want will look: A sterile, bland world driven only by material science where you're condemned when you speak about anything that sounds superstitious. And that is the danger of Atheism. People will wink it off as harmless. They've winked off many things as harmless that then turned out not to be harmless at all.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

@Serrano

Nope, my presence as your is irrelevant at a universal scale. I don't mind to be eliminated if it is for the better.

Do you?

@CGB... well the problem with Atheism is more on the psyche of the people... I understand that concern you have regarding Atheism, these days Atheism = Religion in sooo many aspects. So I like to refer to those "spiritual guide lines" as "life philosophies" rather than religion.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Other= People Like CGB Spender. So wrapped up in an ideological view point for some motivation, be it religious, political or otherwise that they have convinced themselves they are right, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Atheism is simply an answer to a question, do you believe or not. This is totally different from absolute certainty about the existence or possibility of existence of some being. That is agnostic, or gnostic.

Atheism doesn't imply materialism, or a "bland, sterile world" it is simply an answer to a question, nothing more. My personal opinion is that there is just as much wonder and beauty without a belief in a god, and perhaps that if you are less likely to believe in afterlives and so on, it makes this one all the more important to make as good, fair and happy as we can.

So while some of your strawman examples of famous "bad" atheists may have actually been atheists, there are no moral precepts attached to the answer to if you believe or not so it has no meaning. (Seems disingenuous to include Hitler when he wrote himself he believed he was doing gods work..) Its as silly as saying because several had moustaches that was the problem, so we should outlaw moustaches..

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Daniel Neagari: "HUMANS. we need less humans (or none)."

Me: "But your presence is necessary, right? Tee hee!"

Daniel Neagari: "@Serrano

Nope, my presence as your is irrelevant at a universal scale. I don't mind to be eliminated if it is for the better. Do you?"

@Daniel Neagari

I prefer to think both your presence and my presence in this universe is relevant. And I certainly don't want to be eliminated. Even if the situation is "the needs of the many many outweigh the needs of the few. Or the one." ( a Spock quote ). I prefer Captain Kirk's philosophy: "There are always alternatives / I don't believe in a no-win scenario."

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

How could you not pick alien invasion? Oh, that's right, this is JT, we all take ourselves way too seriously....

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Atheism = Religion in sooo many aspects.

Atheism is a religion like not collecting stamps is a hobby . . . or "bald" is a hair color.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Stephen Fry in a documentary with a bishop was ask by the bishop his opinion on God and how would you answer god when invited into Haven. Fry reply was "why would I want to stay in your heaven god. When you are the maker of all in the universe. The maker of insect that bore into the eyes of babies making them permanently blind. The maker of tsunami which kills and destroy people homes and lives. The Maker of all wars . The maker of all the misery in the universe. God you must be a Mega sicko and I rather not stay in your hell.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Other: The biggest problem is all the crazy religion nuts around. Doesnt matter which religion, it's crazy we allow people to be doing it in the first place. Imagine a country basing its laws on star trek because they think it's real? It's the same thing.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Feminism is the biggest threat to the future of a stable society.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Avoid -isms that spew hate.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Climate change will make habitable lands less so, and force mass migration.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Over population and lack of birth control. Eventually lack of food and water.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Inequality.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Megumi Feminism is only second to Atheism as a major threat. Together these are the biggest wolf-in-sheeps-clothes threats.

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

I wanted to vote for almost all of the above so I picked other. Alien Invasion? Possible but highly unlikely. But I would forsee a combination of the remaining 4 options Climate Change+Terrorism+Financial Instability = WAR.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Climate change is caused by and contributes to financial instability. Financial instability eventually leads to war. War between parties where the balance of power is strongly asymmetrical leads to asymmetric warfare, which is likely to include terrorism unless a more effective tool of asymmetric warfare is developed (such as using information warfare to destroy a country's economy from afar. These threats aren't isolated from each other, they're a chain.

Except for the aliens. If they can get here, they can take us on their own.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This tread is over a week old. It's now the near future and we're still here! Feeling a little disappointed to be honest.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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