Terrorist Attacks vs Cultural Suicide: Which Most Threatens Human Survival
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On September 11, 2001, terrorists commandeered four commercial airliners and crashed two into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City; the third crashed into the Pentagon near Washington, DC; and, in the fourth, some airline passengers resisted the terrorists and the plane crashed in a rural area of Pennsylvania. Since then, the United States has had an almost obsessional fear of terrorists. Former New York City Major Rudy Guliani even used the events of September 11 as a centerpiece in his failed political campaign for the US presidency. Terrorist acts do kill many people and are given much attention in the US news media. However, global climate change and other factors, such as exponential human population growth, have the potential to cause millions, even billions, of deaths _ many more than the hundreds and thousands being killed by terrorists. This paper attempts to put the cultural risks in perspective and to propose that inadequate social evolution has placed humankind in a more precarious situation than any terrorist attack could possibly do. What humans are doing to themselves is far more threatening than anything that terrorists have accomplished so far.