May 28, 2005

Interpreting "The Day After Tomorrow:" Two Alternatives

I finally got around to watching The Day After Tomorrow. For those not familiar with this film, the plot involves global warming resulting in catastrophic weather which ultimately leads to the next ice age. Despite the impressive special effects, it wasn't all that great and certainly doesn't break any new ground. However, it got me thinking about how people would actually respond if something like this were to happen.

Aside from the universal panic, it seems that there would be two rather different ways of understanding such a predicament. First, there might be the sort of response depicted in the movie - a fairly rational, scientific sort of understanding leading to pragmatic action (e.g., evacuations, planning for the future, use of technology, etc.). Second, I have no doubt that there would be a religious response. Christians would view such an event in biblical terms (e.g., end of the world, second coming, etc.) and probably act in accordance with this perspective (praying, etc.). It is extremely difficult to imagine how this would be even mildly productive but easy to imagine it interfering with the former approach.

If hypotheticals like this don't do it for you, focus on stem cell research instead.

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