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 +

Sunday, January 18, 2009

On considering the future of Mankind.

At times, I consider the future of Mankind, indeed, the future of not only Mankind, but of all life. It seems to me that, if not enough people give this matter due consideration, there may not be such a future, at all.

It doesn't take much observation to see that modern Mankind is a short-term thinker, in general: we are polluting our world, pushing thousands of species to extinction, annually, using up irreplaceable resources, ruining our climate, killing thousands, even millions of people, in far away places as a kind of national hobby, and devoting major portions of national budgets to institutionalized murder (war). We are, in short, a brutish species masquerading as an enlightened one.

Yet, I hope for a better future. I hope for a future with a more enlightened Mankind at its helm. There are, after all, among the people of the world, those who do consider the environment, who do seek to preserve species and prevent their loss. There are people who think ill of war and wish for a more peaceful world. There are those who are careful with resources and decry their waste. There is an environmental movement and there are peacemakers. There are even space programmes which promise a long term future for Man, by allowing us to expand beyond the confines of the Earth. There is, therefore, hope for Mankind, if these nascent positive forces are not drowned out, but come to prevail.

There are many short-term risks which Mankind needs to overcome if it is to survive: the forces of religious conflict, the possibility of epidemic, natural or man made, the spectre of global terrorism. These are all things which could, in the worst possible scenarios, bring the human race to an abrupt end. Beyond that, however, are other matters that are not to do with human actions. There is the aging of the Sun, its eventual swelling and swallowing of the Earth. This will require us to leave the Earth in the distant future for the outer planets, or other stars. Beyond that there is the dying of the stars, and the darkening of the Universe. One day it shall be colder than cold and darker than dark. It shall end as scattered neutron stars and black holes and not a lot else. It is unlikely that we shall be able to endure in such a world. There are, however, possible solutions, as detailed by physicist Michio Kaku. He has listed a number of escape routes that Mankind might use one day: use of naturally occurring wormholes, travel through black holes (using a probe), creation of negative energy, manufacture of baby universes (yes, making our own who said something about "playing God"), use of multi-light year sized atom smashers/particle accelerators (apparently feasible for a "Type III civilization"), and nuclear powered laser implosion machines. The idea behind all of these schemes is the finding of or construction of, a portal to somewhere else - another Universe, basically. My favourite is making baby Universes, which, according to physicist Dr. Guth, would actually only require: 1089 photons, 1089 electrons, 1089 positrons, 1089 neutrinos, 1089 antineutrinos, 1079 protons, and 1079 neutrons. Apparently, an entire Universe could be built from that - it reminds me of the five loaves and fish of one Mr. Jesus Christ.

Now, I give consideration to the long-term future survival of Mankind, because I value what Mankind is - or what the best of Mankind is. It seems to me that there could be no greater pity than that all of Mankind and His works should be lost, in time, or at the end of time. It would, in a sense, make all of what we do and are, utterly pointless. To let our lives and our race have lasting meaning, something of it must endure, for all time, then beyond time. There should be Mankind at the cold dark end of the Universe, (or his evolved descendants), and there should also be Mankind surviving this era, in other "Universes" if such there can be. All that we are, must not end.

I am conscious that, in thinking of the long-term future of Mankind, in this manner, that I am one of few who do. Dr. Michio Kaku has already given much consideration as to how Mankind could survive the end of the Universe - so there are others out there thinking on this matter - and so there should be, if we are to stand a chance of long-term survival, as a race and civilization. My thinking and concern, is in sharp contrast to those I talked to, a while ago and wrote of in another post, who didn't give a damn about the future of Mankind. So, though not alone in my consideration of this matter, I am probably outnumbered by those who just don't care. Such people should not be allowed to prevail, but those of longer term vision, should be empowered to do so.

In a way, it feels strange to be concerned for unborn people, civilizations and races far beyond my time. For though I am concerned about them, it is extremely unlikely that any of them will ever know of my concern, or care that I was concerned. It is, therefore, a unilateral, unidirectional concern. Those who consider the long-term future of Mankind, will not themselves be considered by that future, should it ever come. We shall, instead, be forgotten and it will be as if we had never been. Yet, though we do what we can to ensure that there is a far future, that far future will not know of us. Nevertheless, we still must do what we can, in whatever way we can, for those we hope shall be, in thousands, millions, billions of years from now. You see, if we are not concerned and do not act appropriately, they are very unlikely ever to be. Then, it is sure, that our civilization will go unremembered and unremarked, for there will be no-one to remember and to remark. If anything of what we are is to survive, we need to ensure that we have survivors, that we have descendants, that there are remote, far future civilizations descended from "modern" Man.

To do so, we must cultivate long-term thinking of our own. The environment should not be harmed. Species must be preserved. Resources must not be squandered. Wars should not be waged. Space must be colonized. Culture, science and technology, should be high priorities and all capable of such work, should be well-supported. If all these things are done, Mankind is likely to have a long-term future. It may be that Man will one day fill the galaxy and perhaps beyond. It may be that Man will watch the darkening of the Universe. It may well be that one day, Mankind may, as Michio Kaku dreams, (and I had pondered on, long before I had ever heard of Michio Kaku) start new Universes and populate them with our kind. Man could endure forever - but only if we take the steps necessary today, to ensure the security of all life on Earth and take the first steps beyond it, in the near future.

(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 @ 1:26 PM 


Anonymous Caleb said...

Michio Kaku also talks about Time travel. What do you think of that? Thanks.

11:30 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Hi Caleb,

I am not familiar with Kaku's writings on Time Travel...I will try to dig them up and comment at another time.

The implications of time travel, if feasible, are complex. One consideration is whether or not it could ever be routine. If so, the world we know would become very strange indeed. It strikes me as something with both great opportunity and great peril.

More at another time...

12:51 AM  
Anonymous Caleb said...


You can save some time by watching this YOutube video: Michio Kaku I think is a good popularizer of science like Carl Sagan before him.

My regards.

11:33 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Thanks, I will try to take a look.


1:36 PM  

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