John Tierney wrote, "A Survival Imperative for Space Colonization", in the Tuesday July 17, 2007 issue of the New York Times (Science Section).
Tierney raised two key points, explaining the mathematical reasoning for these points. One point was that the there is a 95% probability that the human race will last at least 5,100 more years, but no more than 7.8 million years.
We only have 3,000 years of recorded history, and we might be extinct only 5,100 years from now. That is something to think about.
Then Tierney postulated that if the likelihood of human survival is heightened by establishing a human presence on another planet, like Mars, then we have a problem because there is a fifty percent (50%) probability that we will lose the ability to travel through outer space during the next 46 years.
No one has walked on the moon since Apollo 17 in 1972. We have lost two satellites and two space shuttles due to incompetent leadership. We really could lose the ability to put people on other planets, just like we can no longer build battleships.
I have long term plans, or hopes, for Confucianism in America. I hope we can start a Confucian Universiy with specialties in Education, Economics, Law, and Philosophy. Maybe this university should have a department focusing on the long term survival of the human race.
Confucianism has been slow to catch on in America. The poet Ezra Pound wrote his first translation of the Analects in 1937, 70 years ago. He promoted Confucianism in some of his writings, but World War II ended his efforts. My efforts to promote Confucianism might take as long as 15 to 25 years to bear fruit. If there is a chance we can lose space flight in 46 years, then an active Confucian community would have only 46-25=21 years to save our space flight capability.
We want to see individuals fulfill their humanity, to see leaders exhibit moral leadership, and to work for world peace (The Doctrine of the Mean). Maybe we need to add "working for the survival of humanity" to our Confucian goals!
The Ru Jia, the School of Scholars, is durable. We study works that are thousands of years old. We've already been on a mission to improve the lives of people for 2,500 years. Who else is better suited to ponder the long term survival of humanity?