The boy who knew too much: a child prodigy

This is the true story of scientific child prodigy, and former baby genius, Ainan Celeste Cawley, written by his father. It is the true story, too, of his gifted brothers and of all the Cawley family. I write also of child prodigy and genius in general: what it is, and how it is so often neglected in the modern world. As a society, we so often fail those we should most hope to see succeed: our gifted children and the gifted adults they become. Site Copyright: Valentine Cawley, 2006 +

Monday, October 27, 2008

Space colonization and the survival of Mankind.

How long will Mankind endure? Will humans live to see the embers of the Universe die...or will we only last a few more brief decades and then be gone?

One thing is for sure: if Mankind stays on Earth, we are doomed. This is not to say that the Earth is immediately imperilled, but it is to say that nothing that lives on Earth can endure forever. No lifeform that exists on but one planet, could ever be immortal. At some time, a catastrophic event - such as asteroid impact, war, or epidemic, will ensure the end of humanity, on Earth.

It is fashionable to decry space exploration. Many people who should know better speak of space exploration as if it had no value or purpose at all. They say that the money would be better spent on alleviating third world poverty, etc. What they do not understand, however, is that we have no choice, where space exploration is concerned, if we wish to see the long-term survival of Mankind. Without space colonization, Mankind will not survive, that is for sure.

What, for instance, does establishing a colony on the Moon, or better still, Mars, achieve? As long as the number of people on the Moon or Mars, is above the threshold of about 150 to 180 people required for long-term survival of the colony (through prevention of too much inbreeding) and as long as the colony is self-sustaining, it would achieve a very important goal, indeed: a backup for humanity, itself. Were humans to be wiped out, on Earth, enough would survive on the Moon or Mars, to allow Mankind to continue on the colonized world - or to replenish Earth, itself in a reverse colonization (an idea first suggested, I believe, by Paul Davies).

One colony gives humanity two chances of long-term survival. Simply having one, single, viable colony greatly enhances the prospects that humanity will have a long-term future. More colonies would further increase the probability that Mankind will endure. The best kind of colonies will be those in other star systems, for that would increase the measure of security even further. Interstellar colonies will, however, be further in the future, being rather more difficult to establish.

So, if you want humanity to survive ino the distant future, do what you can, today, to influence decision-makers, to back space colonization. Do what you can to ensure that Moon and Mars colonies (which are envisioned) get the funding they need. Back politicians who back space exploration. Space colonization should be one of humanity's top priorities, but it isn't. The war in Iraq is reckoned to have cost 3 TRILLION dollars, according to an article in March, 2008 in the Washington Post, by Linda J. Bilmes and Joseph E. Stiglitz. Given that, what would you guess NASA's annual budget to be? Have a good guess. Well, it is just 16 billion dollars a year. The Americans have just spent 187 years worth of NASA's budget on a war without end. Just imagine what spending that money on space colonization would have achieved: Mankind's long-term future would have been assured. Does killing people in Iraq ensure the long-term future of humanity? Or does it ensure long-term turmoil on Earth? I would rather have seen every single war dollar spent as a space dollar: for then Mankind would have a better future, indeed.

Wherever you are in the world, vote for those who are backing space ventures. The future of Man depends on it. If you can think of any other way to support space colonization...then do so. I, for one, would like the comfort of knowing that Man was not just a one planet species - for then we would have a chance of enduring.

The technology we need to do this, already exists: all that is in doubt is the funding and political vision. Why not try to open the eyes of decision makers, to a deeper view of Man's future?

(Interesting footnote: Three well known physicists have each spoken in favour of space colonization as a means to safeguard humanity: Stephen Hawking, J. Richard Gott III, and Paul Davies. The first two, in particular, have stated that this is an urgent matter which needs to be done, soon.)

(If you would like to learn more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific child prodigy, aged eight years and seven months, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, five years exactly, and Tiarnan, twenty-eight months, please go to: I also write of gifted education, IQ, intelligence, the Irish, the Malays, Singapore, College, University, Chemistry, Science, genetics, left-handedness, precocity, child prodigy, child genius, baby genius, adult genius, savant, wunderkind, wonderkind, genio, гений ребенок prodigy, genie, μεγαλοφυία θαύμα παιδιών, bambino, kind.

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 12:44 AM 


Anonymous Jorge said...

A very interesting matter, I agree.
Now, the problem about the non-investment on space colonization lies on plain simple ignorance from the part of actual governments.
Because most politicians these days want immediate results to their decisions.
It's really easy to send a bunch of happy patriotic and unsconscious ''teens'' to the middle of Iraq to shoot some folks for reasons who aren't clearly justified.
I mean, it's justified, but anyone who can 'think' would understand that their are foolish, and pointless.
It costs a lot of money dude!
Come on! It's for the sake of humanity! Killing people is for the s--- something's wrong here.
So what about space exploration! Funding that kind of research would be very important to the evolution of mankind! Well that sounds really good. But that would take some time, would it? Eh, someone will do it someday, right?

I just describes the thoughts of the average politician. It saddens me.
But yes, the point that you made is totally correct.
The great objective of mankind is reaching perfection (I believe).
Man can know as much as He wants, and only His mind can keep Him from so.
Everything is possible. No mundane wars or pub politics will contribute in ANY means the evolution of mankind.

You took the matter as important for the survival of mankind.
I just chose to go for a more idealist point of view, not that I support the survivalist one, of course.
Thank you for your attention.

11:54 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Yes, Jorge, it seems very difficult for modern governments to do what is right by mankind as a whole and its future. They are very shortsighted. In some ways, they are stupid...but this is a very difficult matter to change since people actually chose politicians like that.

I hope the situation changes before mankind is in too much trouble.

Best wishes

5:11 PM  
Blogger JohnF said...

While I agree with and praise everything you said, A few ideas:

Far better than saying a Lunar colony or Mars colony would ensure survival, we need to think in terms of expanding life across the solar system, to inhabit the solar system.

Read "Mining the Sky" by John S. Lewis. More than another branch of human civilization, he establishes strong reasons to predict that one day (if we get out there), the economics of the space-faring part will drive the human civilization. Far more resources and room for economic growth, and the surface of one (or 2 or 3) tiny planet is insignificant.

See also the work of Gerard K. O'Neill, on space colonies
Far more important that planets, freely orbiting habitats can have better economies and living conditions for humans and Gaian life in general. No new inventions needed, as you said.

Thank you for pointing out the true scale of our spending on space. $13 billion a month in Iraq...
R.Zubrin showed numbers to prove that Americans spend more on each: fast foods, illegal drugs, sports gambling, and lotteries, than on NASA.

John Frazer
Boulder, Co

3:10 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Thank you, John, for your resources and supportive opinion.

My point was the logical one that two homes makes it almost certain that long term survival will occur...however, many homes is better still. Ideally, we should be encircling many stars within a few generations, if we are to survive indefinitely. That, at least, should be the goal. We have the resources to do it - if only, as you note, we would redirect resources from trivial spending, to this vitally more important area.

Just stopping major wars and spending the money on space would do it in a matter of years.

I shall check out your links. Thanks.

4:09 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

By the way, John, I am aware of the work of O'Neill. I am also aware that there doesn't seem to be any interest, presently, from the US to fund such a thing. There is interest, however, in a Moon or Mars colony: that is why I advocate it, because it is something that will be supported. O'Neill habitats no doubt could be built with present technology...but that doesn't mean they will be. I think a planetary surface colony is more likely given the way people currently think.

6:30 PM  

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