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Earth's daily woes prompt 'off the planet' theories

Thanks to aheggie for the link

In a world of chaos, rational thought must be our priority.

Life is precious and beautiful, and the simple fact it will some day come to an end for each of us is depressing enough, without people going out of their way to exaggerate the doom and gloom. We've long had doomsday and millennial cults of one kind or another, and while religion provides comfort for many, for others it threatens an awful reckoning. At The Australian, we leave matters of spiritual belief for the conscience of the individual but we do unashamedly promote the liberating power of rational thought. It is the triumph of reason that sets humankind apart, that has freed us from superstition, enabled us to prosper, to develop wondrous cultures, to travel and explore from the depths of the oceans to the fringes of the universe. Without the knowledge we have amassed over countless generations, we would live in fear of darkness, cower at a lunar eclipse lest it signal the end of the world or live much shorter lives, dying from preventable or treatable diseases. Science and knowledge have provided us with great advantages, yet some of us seem intent on abandoning that legacy in favour of New Age fatalism or Gaia and Mother Earth spiritualism.

Individual belief is one thing, but when these attitudes distort public debate and our education system, it is time to speak out. Such nonsense has reached a crescendo in the wake of the Japanese tsunami disaster. Yesterday, we mentioned an ABC broadcaster wondering whether the "Earth might be sending us a message", and an emotive piece on the ABC website about the awesome force of nature has triggered responses such as these: "Perhaps if we could live within the balance of nature better"; "This makes me wonder if the world will not violently readjust itself at times when the irritation of human usage grows too great"; and "Why don't we think of living (in) more harmony with nature?"

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