- This paper compares how we have learnt to look back into deep time (geological time) but not to look symmetrically into the future.
- We tend to think of ourselves as at the end of time. The Bible and millennialism gets much of the blame for this.
- If we compare the length of time since “we” came on the scene to when the Earth will cease to be habitable, we’ve hardly begun. Or our descendent species haven’t got started.
- We think we’re on the verge of solving all the intellectual problems, but we may be mistaken. The example of Kelvin’s confidence that all of physics was basically solved – just before relativity and quantum mechanics1 upended everything – is trotted out.
- Some previously jettisoned ideas may come back as relevant, such as “the teleological conceptions of nature”. The example given is Thomas Nagel’s allegedly universally panned 2012 “Mind & Cosmos: Why the Materialist2 Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly False”, though Schellenberg doesn’t like Nagel’s sub-title. I thought the paper had got lost at this point.
- Schellenberg dislikes, but doesn’t really take issue with, let alone refute, those who think we’re about to cause our own demise. Eg. "Rees (Martin) - Our Final Century: Will the Human Race Survive the Twenty-First Century?".
Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)
- Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2021
- Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)