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Our Final Hour: A Scientist's Warning Paperback – April 13, 2004
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What happens here on Earth, in this century, could conceivably make the difference between a near eternity filled with ever more complex and subtle forms of life and one filled with nothing but base matter.
For many technological debacles, Rees places much of the blame squarely on the shoulders of the scientists who participate in perfecting environmental destruction, biological menaces, and ever-more powerful weapons. So is there any hope for humanity? Rees is vaguely optimistic on this point, offering solutions that would require a level of worldwide cooperation humans have yet to exhibit. If the daily news isn't enough to make you want to crawl under a rock, this book will do the trick. --Therese Littleton --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Rees begins with familiar threats from nuclear and biological weapons, noting Fred Ikle's view that only an oppressive police state could assure total government control over novel tools of mass destruction. Rees then turns to the implications of genetic engineering, including the creation of new forms of life that could feed off other materials in our environment. Thanks to genetic engineering, the nature of humans could begin to change within this century; human character and physique will soon be malleable. The potential threats may remind some readers of Frank Herbert's novel The White Plague, in which a lone scientist creates a spectacular method of revenge.
Rees is most effective when he describes the potential implications of scientific experiments, particularly in particle physics. He notes that some experiments are designed to generate conditions more extreme than ever occur naturally. Here readers will learn about the possible human creation of black holes and strangelets. Errors and unpredictable outcomes are a growing cause for worry; calculations of risk are based on probability rather than certainty.Read more ›
Scientists will destroy the world! We've all heard that before, but found it kind of a strange statement coming from one of the more prominent scientists in the world. In "Our Final Hour", however, Rees makes some well-reasoned arguments about the dangers of scientific exploration. Not that we shouldn't explore nature, just that we should be mindful of the risks and take extra precautions.
The book is a quick read, only 228 pages, and takes us through the range of doomsday scenarios that scientists can unleash: environmental disasters that warm/cool the Earth and make it unlivable; bioterrorism that could unleash a plague of germs on the populace; and exotic physics experiments that could convert all matter in the universe into something... unpleasant.
Rees is calm and reasoned in his arguments; at no point does he stray into "science is bad" rants. Instead, he adopts the tone of a scientific professional, concerned about the ethical implications of scientific discovery. But he doesn't argue that science should be slowed down, in fact, Rees believes that it's pretty much impossible to stop scientific development. For every country that has a ban on genetic research, there will be one happy to support it.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Stunning scientific mind opening perspective on the future of our life!Published 11 months ago by Martin Tokar
Once again an elite priveleged person has decided to project their inner angst into a narrative of apocalyptic claptrap. Read morePublished 16 months ago by hunter
This book should be on the must-read list for people throughout the world. Whether or not we are the only planet in the universe where sentience has arisen, we should act to avoid... Read morePublished 20 months ago by Donald R. Prescott
(for more see: reasonandmeaning.com)
Martin Rees is one of the most distinguished theoretical astrophysicists in the world. Read more
Sir Martin takes the reader on a tour of many of the things that can go very wrong in a world with extremely lethal exotic weapons and multiple extremist groups who may eventually... Read morePublished on January 20, 2014 by Jon Willis
Although the topic is daunting I was drawn to read more after the first few pages. Prof. Rees addresses each challenge with expertise, yet provides the encompassing breadth of the... Read morePublished on December 23, 2013 by Chad M
Martin Rees has good insight into the dangers of our technological power. The book should make you realize that we live in a wonderful and dangerous time. Read morePublished on November 26, 2013 by Amazon Customer
Very interesting view of what the future may hold, especially if we don't learn to live together more peacefully, and cooperatively.Published on November 15, 2013 by Frank T. Zotto
This book covers a number of dangers to the human race that may well put it to its end this century. Read morePublished on August 7, 2013 by Yoda