10 September 2008

It's the end of the world as we know it...and I feel fidgety.

It was always going to happen. It was just a matter of when. It might be now. It might be some time in the future that scientists destroy the world, but it might be right now. The Large Hadron Collider will be switched on tonight and even the scientists who designed and built it don’t know for sure what will happen. Despite that not knowing they are 100% sure that nothing bad will happen. I wonder about that. “I don’t know what will happen. Nothing bad will happen.” Is that credible? It seems like the Bay of Pigs fiasco all over again. A government think tank in Washington said that the Bay of Pigs invasion would work but it didn’t and it turns out that the think tank only thought that it would because they had convinced themselves that they were right, despite the evidence showing that they were wrong. Psychologists call it “group think”, I think. I learned about it at Uni. The boffins at CERN have convinced themselves that nothing bad will happen, but they also admit that they don’t know exactly what will happen. That worries me. They say that they want to know what happened a billionth of a second after the “Big Bang” so they are trying to replicate the “Big Bang”. I’m not sure recreating the universe from scratch is a good idea.

If the world ends tomorrow none of us will have any regrets because we will all be dead. I just hope it happens in an instant and not a kind of “Oh dear, we seem to have created a black hole that is starting to consume the planet and will be finished by about tea time tomorrow. Sorry.” The mass panic would be horrendous. Probably best not to say anything in that case. “Oh yes, everything went splendidly. Marvellous result. Sorry about the mess, we’ll clean that up on Monday. I promise.” So beware. If the CERN mob start telling the world that everything went remarkably well we should all be very, very concerned.