Should we be told about killer asteroid?

" If scientists detect a killer asteroid shortly before it slams into Earth, should the public be informed?

One researcher, Geoffrey Sommer of the Rand Corp., a Santa Monica, California-based think tank, believes the best answer in some cases is no.

Should an alert come too late to make a difference in the outcome of a global catastrophe, Sommer suggests governments should remain silent.

“If you can’t do anything about a warning, then there is no point in issuing a warning at all,” Sommer said earlier this month at an American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Denver.

“If an extinction-type impact is inevitable, then ignorance for the populace is bliss,” he said."

Forget for a moment the logistics of how they could manage to keep everyone in the dark.

If they could prevent people from finding out about an extinction level impact, should they???

They can’t prevent people from finding out. There are enough amateur astronmers out there that any major size object coming toward us would be picked up well in advance.


Zev Steinhardt

I’d sure want to know! Even if it was sure to wipe us all out in two weeks, that would be two weeks to prepare the family, to do a few things that need to be done, (that cute cashier down at the Quiki-Mart!), and a lot of praying.

Even a short warning would be enough for some people to get out of the impact area and give time for the various survialist-types to prepare, and give a least some people a slim chance of making though the impact and aftereffects.

Come on, Zev and Dread… play the game! Every one is going to die, and no one but the governments know about it.

Prepare them for what? I think I’d rather be happy and ignorant than morbid and fearful.

rioting, getting hunted down by all the people I’ve pissed off over the years, … <still trying to think of what it would be worth doing then that’s not worth doing now… seriously, what’s holding you back?>

Why? If you’re religious, you should be at peace with your god(s); (and such peace made under duress ain’t worth much IMO). If you’re not religious, no sense in praying.

Of course people should be told. Someone might just come up with a solution.

This is a hijack but along the same lines I’ve wondered if the government would ever bother telling citizens that a nuclear attack was in progress. Nuclear attack as in the Russian went nuts and let fly with everything they have. You have 25 minutes at best before it’s all over.

“If this had been an actual emergency you would be told to kiss your ass goodbye.”

I would like to be told. I may panic and scream like a little girl along with most of the population at first but you cant do that forever. There will be a time when reality sets in and you must make peace with yourself and Prepare to die. I may chose to fight, to be defiant or passively wait in peace. I may rethink my conservative attitudes i hold with my family. I may do some last minute experiences, I may formulate my own solution.

But I would like the opportunity to decide how I will die if the time is set in stone. I want closure. I want to say my last farewells to the ones I love. Offer peace with my enemies. Forgive the ones who wronged me and let go of all my hate.

Then I can go moon everyone on the Internet!

I’d want to know so that I could call in sick to work.

Why work your last two weeks? :wink:

Funny, but on the other hand, how much fun will those last weeks be when no one goes to work? The supermarkets get looted the first night, none of the truckers deliver food the next day, and we all spend the last two week sin quiet contemplation. We’re contemplating whether we’ll riot, kill each other, die of thirst when the water supply dies, or survive to be annihilated by the comet.

Blissful ignorance for me, please.

As I said in my IMHO thread on this subject,

I know this is silly but why would you steal so much food if youre not going to live long enuf to eat them all?

Why steal at all? You cant take it with you. I have enuf food and water to last me 2 weeks. If the utilities fail, I would survive. I’d take what I would need. Why pay? what are you going to do with the money? I might as well pay you with my credit card. Heck, I’d give you my credit card. It has a 10,000 dollar limit. Enjoy. Materialistic notions are kinda dumb in that situation.

We might lose some stations on my cable network because no one is around to fix them or broadcast anything. I might just enjoy watching my DVD movies. I might even go to a theater and see how they actually project the movies and let everyone have a free show. Good think I have about 3 boxes of ammunition. That should be enuf for protection needs.

I’d want to know!

It would be terrifying, awesome, catastrophic, supercool!

I’d much prefer that than going to work 9 to 5 and be making photocopies when the meteor strikes.

Just a guess, but everyone might not be as rational as you are.

Also, I hope you’ve got a generator… oh, and a small arsenal to keep away the people who want to watch your movies (or just take your generator to run their own movies).

For all of yas who want to know: What it it were 1 month away? 1 year? 10 years? 100 years? (Still assume no way to stop it and no way to survive it.) I guess I might like to know two or three hours in advance, to make sure I could be with my family.

I’d like to know so I could stop worrying about where my next paycheck is coming from.

In case of 100 percent certainty of immediate, total extinction, I think nogginhead makes a good case for keeping it secret, for reasons stated by nogginhead.

But the OP posits an “extinction-type” asteroid, which leaves open the possibility that immediate, total extinction may not be inevitable. If knowing about the event could increase the chance of survival even slightly, then the government would be obligated to give some kind of warning. To avoid total panic, they might couch it in ambiguous terms.

“Ahem, we’re not saying anything is going to happen, but we advise everyone to buy enough duct tape, warm clothes and canned food to get them through the next ice age and the collapse of civilization as we know it. AND DO IT NOW! Just in case.”

As for people wanting to prepare to die, we should all be ready to cash in our chips anyway.

Different Tact depending on time allotted.

And its not a matter of being rational. Everyone would go thru the 5 stages of death: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. When you reach acceptance, material matters are of no concern.

If it were a year away, I have more time to plan the things I want to do. Depending on finances I may work to get some of the things I need. I will max out my credit card tho. :smiley:

If it were 10 years or more. I aint going to worry about overmuch. Im sure someone will either come up with a plan to either save all or some (might even contribute to that effort if it isnt a global concern yet)

If it were 20 years or more, I’d look into construction of a bomb shelter/habitat in Lake Tahoe. Stock up and prepare. It may all be useless and futile, but it will keep me focused and sane.

How many women do I need to repopulate the earth without genetic defects?

Damn straight, the gummint should tell us. I would want to get drunk & high at least one more time.

I would go out in flaming glory…

Id go out and find the guy that always shouts:

“repent the end is comming”

Ill punch the bastard in the face!!!

then Il come back home and eat a alot…probably…jejeje

Billy Graham would have to know so he can organize “The Last Crusade, Really, I mean it”