Which apocalypse scenario is most likely to happen?

Posted by: PetersSmith

It's the end of days, but how did these end of days most likely come about?

31 Total Votes

Asteroid impact

Boom: Several asteroids have collided with earth in recent geological history. The Chicxulub asteroid, for example, is theorized to have caused the extinction of the non-avian dinosaurs 66 million years ago at the end of the Cretaceous. If such an o... bject struck Earth it could have a serious impact on civilization. It is even possible that humanity would be completely destroyed. For this to occur the asteroid would need to be at least 1 km (0.62 mi) in diameter, but probably between 3 and 10 km (2–6 miles). Asteroids with a 1 km diameter have impacted the Earth on average once every 500,000 years.Larger asteroids are less common. Small Near-Earth asteroids are regularly observed. In 1.4 million years, the star Gliese 710 is expected to start causing an increase in the number of meteoroids in the vicinity of Earth when it passes within 1.1 light years of the Sun and perturbing the Oort cloud. Dynamic models by García-Sánchez predict a 5% increase in the rate of impact. Objects perturbed from the Oort cloud take millions of years to reach the inner Solar System   more
10 votes


When I die and they lay me to rest Gonna go to the place that's the best When I lay me down to die Goin' up to the spirit in the sky Goin' up to the spirit in the sky That's where I'm gonna go when I die When I die and they lay me to rest Gonna go ... to the place that's the best Prepare yourself, you know it's a must Gotta have a friend in Jesus So you know that when you die He's gonna recommend you to the spirit in the sky Gonna recommend you to the spirit in the sky That's where you're gonna go when you die When you die and they lay you to rest You're gonna go to the place that's the best Never been a sinner, I never sinned I got a friend in Jesus So you know that when I die He's gonna set me up with the spirit in the sky Oh, set me up with the spirit in the sky That's where I'm gonna go when I die When I die and they lay me to rest I'm gonna go to the place that's the best Go to the place that's the bes   more
5 votes
1 comment

Mass Destruction

"I am become death, the destroyer of worlds": The scenarios that have been explored most frequently are nuclear warfare and doomsday devices. There is difficulty in predicting whether such would exterminate humanity[citation needed], however a nucle... ar winter would cause significant upheaval in advanced civilizations. While it might be possible for someone to intentionally cause a global catastrophe, Eliezer Yudkowsky argues that it is more likely for a scenario like this to happen by accident   more
4 votes

Global Warming

I am super serious guys: Global warming refers to the warming caused by human technology since at least the 19th century. Global warming reflects abnormal variations to the expected climate within the Earth's atmosphere and subsequent effects on oth... er parts of the Earth. Projections of future climate change suggest further global warming, sea level rise, and an increase in the frequency and severity of some extreme weather events and weather-related disasters. Effects of global warming include loss of biodiversity, stresses to existing food-producing systems, and increased spread of infectious diseases such as malaria. It has been suggested that runaway global warming (runaway climate change) might cause Earth to become searing hot like Venus. In less extreme scenarios it could cause the end of civilization, as we know it. Using scenario analysis, the Global Scenario Group (GSG), a coalition of international scientists convened by Paul Raskin, developed a series of possible futures for the world as it enters a Planetary Phase of Civilization. One scenario involves the complete breakdown of civilization as the effects of global warming become more pronounced, competition for scarce resources increases, and the rift between the poor and the wealthy widens. The GSG’s other scenarios, such as Policy Reform, Eco-Communalism, and Great Transition avoid this societal collapse and eventually result in environmental and social sustainability. They claim the outcome is dependent on human choiceand the possible formation of a global citizens movement which could influence the trajectory of global development   more
3 votes

Global pandemic

Let's hope intelligent apes come with it: The death toll for a pandemic is equal to the virulence (deadliness) of the pathogen or pathogens, multiplied by the number of people eventually infected. It has been hypothesised that there is an upper limi... t to the virulence of naturally evolved pathogens. This is because a pathogen that quickly kills its hosts might not have enough time to spread to new ones, while one that kills its hosts more slowly or not at all will allow carriers more time to spread the infection, and thus likely out-compete a more lethal species or strain. This simple model predicts that if virulence and transmission are not linked in any way, pathogens will evolve towards low virulence and rapid transmission. However, this assumption is not always valid and in more complex models, where the level of virulence and the rate of transmission are related, high levels of virulence can evolve. The level of virulence that is possible is instead limited by the existence of complex populations of hosts, with different susceptibilities to infection, or by some hosts being geographically isolated.[58] The size of the host population and competition between different strains of pathogens can also alter virulence.[86] Interestingly, a pathogen that only infects humans as a secondary host and usually infects another species (a zoonosis) may have little constraint on its virulence in people, since infection here is an accidental event and its evolution is driven by events in another species. There are numerous historical examples of pandemics[88] that have had a devastating effect on a large number of people, which makes the possibility of global pandemic a realistic threat to human civilization   more
2 votes

Extraterrestrial invasion

This is our independence day!: Extraterrestrial life could invade Earth either to exterminate and supplant human life, enslave it under a colonial system, steal the planet's resources, or destroy the planet altogether. Although evidence of alien lif... e has never been documented, scientists such as Carl Sagan have postulated that the existence of extraterrestrial life is very likely. In 1969, the "Extra-Terrestrial Exposure Law" was added to the Code of Federal Regulations (Title 14, Section 1211) in response to the possibility of biological contamination resulting from the U.S. Apollo Space Program. It was removed in 1991. Scientists consider such a scenario technically possible, but unlikely   more
2 votes

Cosmic threat

Well, who saw this coming?: A number of astronomical threats have been identified. Massive objects, e.G., a star, large planet or black hole, could be catastrophic if a close encounter occurred in the solar system. In April 2008, it was announced th... at two simulations of long-term planetary movement, one at Paris Observatory and the other at University of California, Santa Cruz indicate a 1% chance that Mercury's orbit could be made unstable by Jupiter's gravitational pull sometime during the lifespan of the sun. Were this to happen, the simulations suggest a collision with Earth could be one of four possible outcomes (the others being Mercury colliding with the Sun, colliding with Venus, or being ejected from the solar system altogether). If Mercury were to collide with the Earth, all life on earth could be obliterated: an asteroid 15 km wide is believed to have caused the extinction of the non-avian dinosaurs, while Mercury is 5,000 km in diameter. Another threat might come from gamma ray bursts. Both threats are very unlikely in the foreseeable future. A similar threat is a hypernova, produced when a hypergiant star explodes and then collapses, sending vast amounts of radiation sweeping across hundreds of lightyears. Hypernovas have never been observed; however, a hypernova may have been the cause of the Ordovician–Silurian extinction events. The nearest hypergiant is Eta Carinae, approximately 8,000 light-years distant. The hazards from various astrophysical radiation sources were reviewed in 2011. If the solar system were to pass through a dark nebula, a cloud of cosmic dust, severe global climate change would occur. A solar superstorm, which is a drastic and unusual decrease or increase in the Sun's power output, could have severe consequences for life on earth   more
1 vote
1 comment

Experimental technology accident

The actual point when science goes too far: Whether the Hadron Collider finally produces that feared black hole or we are stupid enough to create an anti-matter bomb, this is something that doesn't seem out of the question. Nice job guys.
1 vote

Wrath of the All-Devourer

Humanity isn't worth saving.
1 vote
1 comment

Ecological disaster

We just never knew when to stop: An ecological disaster, such as world crop failure and collapse of ecosystem services, could be induced by the present trends of overpopulation, economic development, and non-sustainable agriculture. Most of these sc... enarios involve one or more of the following: Holocene extinction event, scarcity of water that could lead to approximately one half of the Earth's population being without safe drinking water, pollinator decline, overfishing, massive deforestation, desertification, climate change, or massive water pollution episodes. A very recent threat in this direction is colony collapse disorder, a phenomenon that might foreshadow the imminent extinction[66] of the Western honeybee. As the bee plays a vital role in pollination, its extinction would severely disrupt the food chain   more
1 vote

AI takeover/enslavement/extinction of humanity

"I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't let you do that". It has been suggested that learning computers that rapidly become superintelligent may take unforeseen actions or that robots would out-compete humanity (one technological singularity scenario). ... Because of its exceptional scheduling and organizational capability and the range of novel technologies it could develop, it is possible that the first Earth superintelligence to emerge could rapidly become matchless and unrivaled: conceivably it would be able to bring about almost any possible outcome, and be able to foil virtually any attempt that threatened to prevent it achieving its objectives. It could eliminate, wiping out if it chose, any other challenging rival intellects; alternatively it might manipulate or persuade them to change their behavior towards its own interests, or it may merely obstruct their attempts at interference   more
1 vote
1 comment

Nanotechnology Grey Goo

The day the earth stood still, anyone?: Grey goo (also spelled gray goo) is a hypothetical end-of-the-world scenario involving molecular nanotechnology in which out-of-control self-replicating robots consume all matter on Earth while building more o... f themselves, a scenario that has been called ecophagy ("eating the environment"). Imagine such a replicator floating in a bottle of chemicals, making copies of itself…the first replicator assembles a copy in one thousand seconds, the two replicators then build two more in the next thousand seconds, the four build another four, and the eight build another eight. At the end of ten hours, there are not thirty-six new replicators, but over 68 billion. In less than a day, they would weigh a ton; in less than two days, they would outweigh the Earth; in another four hours, they would exceed the mass of the Sun and all the planets combined — if the bottle of chemicals hadn't run dry long before   more
0 votes

Biotech Disaster

I've been preparing for this my entire life: Biotechnology can pose a global catastrophic risk in the form of natural pathogens or novel, engineered ones. Such a catastrophe may be brought about by usage in warfare, terrorist attacks or by accident....  Terrorist applications of biotechnology have historically been infrequent. To what extend this is due to a lack of capabilities or motivation is not resolved. Exponential growth has been observed in the biotechnology sector and Noun and Chyba predict that this will lead to major increases in biotechnological capabilities in the coming decades. They argue that risks from biological warfare and bioterrorism are distinct from nuclear and chemical threats because biological pathogens are easier to mass-produce and their production is hard to control (especially as the technological capabilities are becoming available even to individual users). Given current development, more risk from novel, engineered pathogens is to be expected in the future. It has been hypothesized that there is an upper bound on the virulence (deadliness) of naturally occurring pathogens. But pathogens may be intentionally or unintentionally genetically modified to change virulence and other characteristics. A group of Australian researchers e.g. unintentionally changed characteristics of the mousepox virus while trying to develop a virus to sterilize rodents. The modified virus became highly lethal even in vaccinated and naturally resistant mice. The technological means to genetically modify virus characteristics are likely to become more widely available in the future if not properly regulated   more
0 votes

World population and agricultural crisis

Time to find another planet to destroy: The 20th century saw a rapid increase in human population due to medical developments and massive increase in agricultural productivity made by the Green Revolution. Between 1950 and 1984, as the Green Revolut... ion transformed agriculture around the globe, world grain production increased by 250%. The Green Revolution in agriculture helped food production to keep pace with worldwide population growth or actually enabled population growth. The energy for the Green Revolution was provided by fossil fuels in the form of fertilizers (natural gas), pesticides (oil), and hydrocarbon fueled irrigation. David Pimentel, professor of ecology and agriculture at Cornell University, and Mario Giampietro, senior researcher at the National Research Institute on Food and Nutrition (INRAN), place in their study Food, Land, Population and the U.S. Economy the maximum U.S. population for a sustainable economy at 200 million. To achieve a sustainable economy and avert disaster, the United States must reduce its population by at least one-third, and world population will have to be reduced by two-thirds, says the study. The authors of this study believe that the mentioned agricultural crisis will only begin to impact us after 2020, and will not become critical until 2050. Geologist Dale Allen Pfeiffer claims that coming decades could see spiraling food prices without relief and massive starvation on a global level such as never experienced before. Wheat is humanity's 3rd most produced cereal. Extant fungal infections such as Ug99 (a kind of stem rust) can cause 100% crop losses in most modern varieties. Little or no treatment is possible and infection spreads on the wind. Should the world's large grain producing areas become infected then there would be a crisis in wheat availability leading to price spikes and shortages in other food products   more
0 votes

Wrath of the Void

The earth needs to be saved.
0 votes

Global Cooling/Ice Age

Not the movie: Climate change refers to earth's natural variations in climate over time. The climate has changed slowly such as during ice ages, and warmer periods when palm trees grew in Antarctica. It has been hypothesized that there was also a pe... riod called "snowball earth" when all the oceans were covered in a layer of ice. These climatic changes occurred slowly, prior to the rise of human civilization about 10 thousands years ago near the end of the last ice age when the climate become more stable. Since civilization originated during a period of stable climate, a natural variation into a new climate regime (colder or hotter) could pose a threat to civilization. In the history of the Earth, twelve ice ages are known to have occurred. More ice ages will be possible at an interval of 40,000–100,000 years. An ice age would have a serious impact on civilization because vast areas of land (mainly in North America, Europe, and Asia) could become uninhabitable. It would still be possible to live in the tropical regions, but with possible loss of humidity and water. Currently, the world is existing in an interglacial period within a much older glacial event. The last glacial expansion ended about 10,000 years ago, and all civilizations evolved later than this. Scientists do not predict that a natural ice age will occur anytime soon   more
0 votes


Not the movie: A geological event such as massive flood basalt, volcanism, or the eruption of a supervolcano leading to the so-called Volcanic Winter, similar to a Nuclear Winter. One such event, the Toba Eruption,occurred in Indonesia about 71,500 ... years ago. According to the Toba catastrophe theory, the event may have reduced human populations to only a few tens of thousands of individuals. Yellowstone Caldera is another such supervolcano, having undergone 142 or more caldera-forming eruptions in the past 17 million years. A massive volcano eruption would produce extraordinary intake of volcanic dust, toxic and greenhouse gases into the atmosphere with serious effects on global climate (towards extreme global cooling (nuclear winter when in short term and ice age when in long term) or global warming (if greenhouse gases prevail)). When the supervolcano at Yellowstone last erupted 640,000 years ago, the magma and ash ejected from the caldera covered most of the United States west of the Mississippi river and part of northeastern Mexico.Another such eruption could threaten civilization. Such an eruption could also release large amounts of gases that could alter the balance of the planet's carbon dioxide and cause a runaway greenhouse effect[dubious – discuss][citation needed], or enough pyroclastic debris and other material might be thrown into the atmosphere to partially block out the sun and cause a volcanic winter, as happened in 1816 following the eruption of Mount Tambora, the so-called Year Without a Summer. Such an eruption might cause the immediate deaths of millions of people several hundred miles from the eruption, and perhaps billions of deaths worldwide, due to the failure of the monsoon[citation needed], resulting in major crop failures causing starvation on a massive scale   more
0 votes


Not the movie?: Another possibility is a megatsunami. A megatsunami could, for example, destroy the entire East Coast of the United States. The coastal areas of the entire world could also be flooded in case of the collapse of the West Antarctic Ice...  Sheet. While none of these scenarios are likely to destroy humanity completely, they could regionally threaten civilization. There have been two recent high-fatality tsunamis—after the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake, although they were not large enough to be considered megatsunamis. A megatsunami could have astronomical origins as well, such as an asteroid impact in an ocean   more
0 votes

Geomagnetic reversal

A geomagnetic reversal is a change in Earth's magnetic field such that the positions of magnetic north and magnetic south are interchanged. The Earth's field has alternated between periods of normal polarity, in which the direction of the field was ... the same as the present direction, and reverse polarity, in which the field was the opposite. These periods are called chrons. The time spans of chrons are randomly distributed with most being between 0.1 and 1 million years with an average of 450,000 years. Most reversals are estimated to take between 1,000 and 10,000 years. The latest one, the Brunhes–Matuyama reversal, occurred 780,000 years ago. A brief complete reversal, known as the Laschamp event, occurred only 41,000 years ago during the last glacial period. That reversal lasted only about 440 years with the actual change of polarity lasting around 250 years. During this change the strength of the magnetic field dropped to 5% of its present strength. Brief disruptions that do not result in reversal are called geomagnetic excursions   more
0 votes

Wrath of the Darkness

Humanity needs to be destroyed.
0 votes
Leave a comment...
(Maximum 900 words)
PreferNotToBeLabeled says2014-08-04T12:38:13.8428592-05:00
The rapture LOL that's a good one.
PetersSmith says2014-08-04T12:39:41.3602996-05:00
PreferNotToBeLabeled: None of these are joke answers. While it may not be the most realistic one, all of the answers have some realism to them.
Skynet says2014-08-04T16:37:47.8680656-05:00
You're right: We should not be free to have thoughts about that one.
MrJosh says2014-08-04T21:28:52.7332339-05:00
Rapture shouldn't be on the list. I thought this was a serious poll until I saw that.
PetersSmith says2014-08-04T21:36:39.7035813-05:00
MrJosh: People have their own opinions. I try not to be biased.
Comrade_Silly_Otter says2014-08-05T00:03:39.9139457-05:00
I admire the amount of work put into this poll.
LogicalLunatic says2014-08-05T12:45:53.8156733-05:00
The rapture is a very real possibility, considering the state of our world today.
LogicalLunatic says2014-08-05T12:46:10.3785630-05:00
The rapture is a very real possibility, considering the state of our world today.
PreferNotToBeLabeled says2014-08-05T15:17:38.3606744-05:00
By adding the Rapture into this poll you've made this into a religion vs non religion poll.
PetersSmith says2014-08-05T15:18:22.1435993-05:00
PreferNotToBeLabeled: Not really, they are all possible scenarios.

Freebase Icon   Portions of this page are reproduced from or are modifications based on work created and shared by Google and used according to terms described in the Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution License.

By using this site, you agree to our Privacy Policy and our Terms of Use.