Robert J. Sawyer on space colonization

Robert J. Sawyer has an op-ed in the Ottawa Citizen in response to Stephen Hawking’s call for space colonization, a call, you’ll recall (is that one too many calls?) that I agreed with. We need to move into space to protect our species from the threats that could extinguish us as long as we’re confined to one planet. Seems obvious to me, and probably to most science fiction writers. But, says Sawyer:

“Not everyone thinks so. Mr. Hawking may be the most famous British scientist, but close on his heels has to be Doctor Who, the fictional boffin of the long-running BBC TV series. And, as The Doctor said recently when dismissing a plea that he step in at the last moment to save Earth from destruction: ‘Everything has its time, and everything dies.’

Many doubtless agree with The Doctor. We’ve made an awful mess of this planet, and war seems to be our natural state. Perhaps we’re doing the universe a favour by having all of us in one place so we can easily be dispensed with. If humanity’s days are numbered, so be it.

But to Mr. Hawking — and to me — that’s treasonous thinking. Yes, the mantra of the last few decades has been, ‘Just because we can do something doesn’t mean we should do it.’ But when the thing we can do is save our species, then we have an obligation — to our genes, or to God, take your pick — to indeed do it. We should not go gentle into that good night; we must rage against the dying of the light.”

Preach on, brother!

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