Saturday, January 14, 2017

The Perils of Prognostication 

I will assert from the first day of this blog that it's easier to forecast the future a thousand years from now than it is to predict something more prosaic like tomorrow's weather. I'm sure my assertion must seem absurd to many people, but consider how long-term predictions have the advantage of time over near-term forecasts. I could be off by centuries in the long-term, but my prediction would still be essentially correct. If I claim, for example, that in a thousand years social pathologies and criminal violence will be a distant memory for humanity, it makes little difference whether the cure for these social ills is discovered next century or five-hundred years from now. The implications for world civilization would be profound. Scientists are even now discovering the links between violent crime and genetics. Understanding the root cause of a problem is the first step toward a solution.

 I can tell you with equal certainty that a thousand years from now communication with other intelligent life in the universe will be normal and routine. Do you think that God placed billions of stars in the night sky so that we would have something to look at while we drink chardonnay and soak in our hot tubs? The idea that humanity is alone in the universe is akin to the religion of Stone Age people who believe that nothing exists beyond the next valley. Our planet, the Earth, is just another neighborhood within a much larger community. We'll know soon enough. Bet on it.

So if there is a God, why doesn't he reveal himself? A pundit in the Washington Post asked this very question in the paper's editorial section on Christmas Day (no less!). He went on to ask why God doesn't simply rearrange the stars to spell out "GOD" in the night sky so humanity would know for sure that He exists. Allow me to answer for God insofar as our Creator is busy running a rather large universe and He isn't much inclined to reorder His creation for an atheist pigmy who presumes it's God's job to prove himself to us and not vice versa. God is not a magician. He's a mathematician and an engineer. The idea of a magical universe went out of style with the Greeks. Mr. Pundit is cordially invited to examine the subject of natural law if he wants to find God in the heavens.

Our pundit then went on to double-down in his arrogance by asking what difference would it make anyway if God did reveal Himself? "So what?" I'll answer this one as well. You see, if there's a God, then humanity has a purpose. And if humanity has a purpose, it's not much of a reach to conclude that mankind also has a destiny. It is my belief in human destiny, fortified by a firm belief in Providence, that compels me to contemplate the future. The realization then follows that the individual can become an active player in the process of completing God's unfinished universe.

Humanity today stands on the cusp of a social and economic crisis. Things are going to get rough for a time. Nevertheless, my readers should have confidence that a new day will emerge on the other side of chaos. Visionaries are even now at work creating a future civilization for humanity. More on what that will look like in another post. My readers should not fear the short-term problems, but rather view our current situation as a long-term opportunity to create something better.