Doomsayers are amusing because we will get to laugh at them eventually. We should, in fact, laugh at them now. They are like the characters in a cartoon walking about with a signboard proclaiming that the world is going to end tomorrow. And of course, tomorrow never seems to come.
We find them in the Christian world all the time, insisting that Armegeddon is upon us and that they know the date that all the awful things are going to happen. They seem to take a perverse delight in repeating all the awful things that are happening in the world, especially if people happen to be dying in the Middle East.
But Christians are not alone in doomsaying. Malthus in the 19th century insisted that we would all starve to death by now thanks to overpopulation. Numberless movies, pundits, politicians and scientists have been predicting disasters ever since. And yet, somehow, remarkably, the disasters predicted–of the human race becoming extinct, overpopulating, overpolluting, dying of epidemics, or whatever–never seem to quite happen.
Now, on MSNBC.com, I read this headline: “Seafood could collapse by 2050, experts warn: Overfishing, pollution, warming are destroying stocks, study finds.”
Uh huh. I distrust doomsayers. Historically speaking, all of these sorts of doomsayers have been wrong. Why should I believe them this time?
This time the boy who cried wolf is telling me the truth?
It’s like those who tell me I should panic about global warming. A one degree average increase in world-wide temperatures over the next hundred years is supposed to scare me? When the world has been far warmer in the past?
I believe these gloomy reports as much as I believe the doom proclaiming sandwhich board guys in long beards in the cartoons. I think they’re about as rational.