Very smart people sometimes fall prey to very bad ideas.
One of those bad ideas is the notion that the Earth as we know it is about to come to a cataclysmic end. Our sins have finally caught up with us, and humans will be subjected to unbearable wrath. To some religious devotees, the wrath comes from God; to some environmentalists, it comes from Earth. In the end, we're all flambé; the only question is who gets the honor of lighting the kitchen torch.
A somewhat recent convert to the secular version of such doomsday prophesying is famed theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking.
Dr. Hawking has made the news twice this week for comments he made at two different conferences. At one, he said that, due to...