Science is going to kill us.
One of these days, some brainiac is going to create exactly the wrong invention, and we’re all going to be doomed. I’m not talking about an anti-matter bomb, or a super virus… but something innocuous looking like a box that lets you see three seconds into the past or a stapler that makes martinis out of cold cream and chewing gum.
Imagine it, Dr. Smartipants invents the three-second machine. It’s expensive and largely useless, so it becomes something of a novelty, and is quickly forgotten. Then, ten years later the Japanese discover a way to push the window back to an hour. (They do it by accident, while looking for the solution to maximally absorbent toilet paper that’s safe to eat.) The Germans combine the breakthrough with their new sauerkraut processing technology, and now we can look almost 48 hours into the past.
Suddenly there are a million uses for Dr. Smartipants’ box, (the good doctor himself was cut out of the profits of the project early on by Cal Tech, who claimed the rights to it because the doctor got the idea while watching a Cal Tech football game) from diagnostic medical scans to solving crimes. Because the device becomes so useful and commonplace no one really notices when private companies continue to push back the window, and begin using it to scan backwards along an employees’ entire history, retroactively firing people six years earlier when it is revealed that it was that employee who vomited in the fern at the company Christmas party.
As the box sees further and further into the past first anthropologists, the archeologists begin using it to advance their fields a millionfold overnight. We see ancient man, we see the missing link, we see the first mammals… we see dinosaurs.
And then some dumbass fucks it all up and the party is over. We see the beginning of all life on Earth. The best thing that could possibly happen is that we see an old man in a white toga zipping around on his supercharged vespa trying to create all the little animals on the whole friggin’ planet in time for last call at 11:00 Saturday night.
But we won’t.
No… we’ll see some drunk, redneck alien crash-land his spaceship into the Middle East, and his pet bacteria will get out and before you know it… BANG! Swimming pools and movie stars. And what do you think is gonna happen then? How do you think the whole world of religious fruitcakes is gonna handle visible proof that all of their books are wrong, and that god is a three-eyed green hillbilly who smells of knock-off Wild Turkey?
Maybe I’m worrying over nothing. The truly and devoutly religious among us have displayed an incredible aptitude for ignoring the parts of the world they do not wish to see, even when it is right in front of their face. Perhaps they would simply ignore this as well. In truth I rather hope so.
I’m waiting for my patent approval on that martini-stapler and I don’t want to have to feel guilty about it.