Award-winning cosmologist and theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking has issued the world a dire warning about Donald Trump and Britain’s “Brexit.” The 74-year-old scientist has never spoken favorably of Donald Trump; back in May, Stephen Hawking spoke out against the President-elect, stating unequivocally that he “didn’t understand” the former reality TV star’s popularity. Stephen Hawking also added that Donald Trump is a “demagogue” and that he attracts the “lowest common denominator” when it comes to political supporters.
Fast-forward to the world’s new post-U.S. election reality. When it comes to Donald Trump, Stephen Hawking has broken his silence once again, this time warning the world about things to come.
As The Independent reports, Professor Hawking is now advising the entire human race to take the election of Donald Trump very seriously, particularly when combined with the Brexit. Hawking says that it would be a “terrible mistake” not to take heed of the populism behind the outcome of both votes. Nevermind that in the United States, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by well over 2.5 million ballots.
According to Stephen Hawking, the human race is teetering on a potentially devastating precipice. He claims that “we are at the most dangerous moment in the development of humanity,” adding that, as a species, we now possess the “technology to destroy the planet.”
“Whatever we might think about the decision by the British electorate to reject membership of the European Union and by the American public to embrace Donald Trump as their next president, there is no doubt in the minds of commentators that this was a cry of anger by people who felt they had been abandoned by their leaders … should we, in turn, reject these votes as outpourings of crude populism … I would argue that this would be a terrible mistake.”
Stephen Hawking talked Trump in a 1,000-plus word essay published in The Guardian, but not everything he had to say was totally doomy. In fact, Professor Hawking advised the citizens of the Earth to rally against the ideologies that would divide us, to “work together,” and to “break down barriers” in the aftermath of an inexplicable Trump victory and “Yes” vote on the Brexit.
Hawking writes that Donald Trump and the Brexit are far from the only critical problems facing humanity and the world at this critical point in human history. However, whether individually or combined, both have the potential to be the “straw that broke the camel’s back,” so to speak.
In his essay, the Cambridge professor cites an array of seemingly insurmountable obstacles facing the human species today. From access to food and clean water to climate change, widespread destruction of wild species to overpopulation of the humans, ocean acidification to potential epidemic/pandemic diseases, humans have their work cut out for them.
In fact, it is this combination of challenging factors (plus many more) that cause Stephen Hawking to label these times the “most dangerous moment in the development of humanity.”
Professor Hawking goes on to write with a measure of optimism in an otherwise largely overwhelmingly pessimistic piece that humanity can prevail, we can overcome the hurdles of our immediate circumstances. However, according to Hawking, we have to do so together, and we have to do so with humanity.
“We can do this [overcome the challenges], I am an enormous optimist for my species; but it will require the elites, from London to Harvard, from Cambridge to Hollywood, to learn the lessons of the past year. To learn above all a measure of humanity…We now have the technology to destroy the planet on which we live, but have not yet developed the ability to escape it.”
Earlier in November, as CNN reports, Stephen Hawking issued another ominous warning to humanity about our inability survive elsewhere in the Universe, or even to escape a failing Earth in large enough qualities to colonize another world. According to Hawking, who made the grave assessment while speaking at the Oxford University Union, humanity could be down to 1,000 years left on Earth. If we want to survive long-term, we need to be looking for ways to set up shop elsewhere.
“Although the chance of a disaster to planet Earth in a given year may be quite low, it adds up over time, and becomes a near certainty in the next 1,000 or 10,000 years. By that time we should have spread out into space, and to other stars, so a disaster on Earth would not mean the end of the human race.”
According to Hawking, there are quite a few things that could end humanity’s run on our home planet, with climate change, the rise of human-hating artificial intelligence, rogue asteroids, and killer robots making the list. A list that now, apparently, includes Donald Trump and the Brexit.
“Perhaps in a few hundred years, we will have established human colonies amid the stars, but right now we only have one planet, and we need to work together to protect it.”
As Scientific American reports, Trump’s take on climate change and NASA are about as far away from Hawking’s stance as it is possible to be. Throughout his campaign, Donald Trump has labeled climate change “a hoax” and promised to put the brakes on government policies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Since he won his election bid, he’s also promised to slash NASA’s climate change-studying budget.
Although, and perhaps more in line with Hawking’s school of thought, Trump has vowed to focus NASA on “deep-space activities.” Perhaps this will include looking for humanity’s new home.
Stephen Hawking did add a personal note to his critique of Donald Trump and the Brexit. The professor, who suffers from the degenerative and immobilizing disease ALS, wrote that with the “isolation imposed by my illness, I feel as though my ivory tower is getting taller.”
What do you think? Does Stephen Hawking have a credible point about humanity’s future post-Brexit and Donald Trump, or should the professor stick to theoretical physics and stay out of politics?
[Featured Image Bebeto Matthews/AP Images]