The Next Million Years
It’s anybody’s guess how the stock market will be behaving next month, but broad prophecies about the next million years can be made with reasonable confidence, according to Sir Charles Darwin. The author believes that life is a whole lot cozier today than it will be in the remote future. For one thing, Darwin doubts whether man will ever find a source of energy as convenient as oil or coal, both of which will be exhausted within five centuries. He cites reasons why nuclear fission is not likely to prove a long-term solution to the problem, and suggests that man may eventually have to resort to windmills or even to superintensive cultivation of the vegetable (which converts sunlight into energy). Meanwhile population will be multiplying at an infinitely greater rate than any possible increase in the food supply — whence famines and wars for food. Yet another ominous trend is that the people who are “best” from the eugenic standpoint are producing far fewer children than the less favored, with the result that the human species will probably degenerate. Sir Charles is inclined to think, in fact, that we are today living at the end of “the greatest of golden ages” in man’s history.