Humanity's Coming Dark Age? (a warning)

The rise and fall of empires
The Rise and Fall of Empires (published: 2003-01-29)

Symptoms before each collapse: ignorance, superstition, religious fundamentalism, xenophobia, intolerance, rejection of science.

Supporting Material:

  1. The Phoenix Principle and the Coming Dark Age by Marc Widdowson (British military analyst and educator)
    subtitled: Social Catastrophes – human progress 3000 BC to AD 3000
  2. Download ($10) an eBook of The Coming Dark Age by Roberto Vacca - 153 pages in PDF format
  3. While there are many complicated and interacting reasons for the fall of the Roman Empire, I am convinced that Edward Gibbon was correct when he stated that the primary reason was due to the effects of organized religion.
  4. Additionally, we know from the writings of Roman historians (Pliny the Elder is one of many) that Ancient Rome began its decline not long after Romans began to replace "observational science given to them by the Greeks" with so-called "common sense". Roman civilization stagnated then decayed from within. Without science, we, too, should all prepare for increased incidences of cholera, typhus, and plague (diseases that ancient Rome and medieval Europe were all-too familiar)
  5. Today it is no different. Earlier in my life, people were fond of the expression: If we can go to the moon then why can't we (fill in the blank)? To be clear, it was only the Americans who were able to send twelve men to the moon between 1969 and 1972. The rest of humanity was merely sharing in their triumph. But after Richard Nixon gutted the American manned space program to help keep America solvent while it fought a pointless war in Vietnam, and Ronald Reagan cozied up to Jerry Falwell's "Moral Majority" to win the presidential election of 1980, America has barely been able to put humans into orbit. Since the demise of the shuttle program Americans can only visit the ISS (International Space Station) by hitching a ride with their former cold-war enemy, Russia. Many Americans now joke: If we can go to the moon then why can't we go to the moon? But will they do anything about it once human explorers from another country plant a flag there?
  6. But it has gotten much worse. This side of Y2K, North Americans with only a Sunday-school understanding of the Christian bible actually think they are doing society a service when argue with highly educated scientists about such topics like: evolution, the age of the earth, the importance of vaccines to only name three of many.
  7. The collapse of the American empire may be for no other reason than the actions of greed and stupidity.
  8. As far as humanity is concerned, the internet was little more than a technical plaything until the appearance of the world-wide-web in 1989. Even then, the World Wide Web was only used by scientists and technical people for the next 6-years (Windows-95 was released 1995-08-24 without a browser and did not automatically install TCP/IP; this was remedied on 1996-02-14 with Windows-95a). Since then, the popularity of the web has been growing at an exponential rate which has changed human communications in two major ways:
  9. According to the following 1980 article from Newsweek, ignorance and stupidity have been alive in the west for a very long time. So perhaps the internet only amplifies the good and bad in all of us. The article reads:

    "There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."

    -- Isaac Asimov (Column in Newsweek, 21 January 1980)
    A cult of ignorance
  10. Recent news (this side of 2003):
So now I urge you to return to the chart at the top of this page and ask yourself: am I comfortable living on the decline of the last bump?

If the answer is "no" then I suggest you suppress your expressions of: ignorance, superstition, religious fundamentalism, xenophobia, intolerance, rejection of science.

Together I feel we could (collectively) minimize the amplitude and period of the last bump but this is only possible once we realize that our current behavior is not normal.


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Neil Rieck
Kitchener - Waterloo - Cambridge, Ontario, Canada.