Doomsday Argument (was Re: 5/5/2000)

Damien Broderick (
Wed, 16 Jul 1997 18:02:02 +0000

At 05:41 PM 7/16/97 +1000, Patrick wrote:

>But if the DA is right isn't it just as unlikely we'll be right at the end
>of humanity as at the start?

No, because (so the argument runs) we now comprise about a tenth of all
humans who've lived until now. It's a very plausible time to be alive.

Incidentally, John Leslie makes it clear that the extinction argument only
goes through if there are objective reasons to expect doomsday - such as
nuclear war threats, environmental hazards, black hole engulfment,
metastable vacuum collapse on a cosmic scale, etc. It's a subtle point -
in fact, it escapes me at the moment, but then I haven't had my dinner yet
- and lets him out of the implicit charge of quietism or defeatism. We can
*change the odds* in our favour (or against them, as we're tending to do
this century, alas).

Damien Broderick