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Stephen Hawking Claims Aggression Will Be Downfall of Human Race

Professor Hawking has recently made headlines for a conversation he had with a student from California. The student was treated to a tour of London’s

Science Museum accompanied by Hawking as part of her prize package from the “Guest of Honor” contest by During their time together at the museum, she asked Hawking which human trait he would most like to change.

“The human failing I would most like to correct is aggression. It may have had survival advantage in caveman days, to get more food, territory or a partner with whom to reproduce, but now it threatens to destroy us all,” Hawking answered her, according to a British newspaper.

"A major nuclear war would be the end of civilization, and maybe the end of the human race,” he explained.”

Not only does human aggression no longer serve an obvious purpose, but technological advances, such as nuclear weaponry, have made it so that an incredible amount of damage could be done with very little effort by a small number of people.

Hawking isn’t the only prominent scientist to have made this observation; Carl Sagan was outspoken against the development of nuclear arms during his life.

The girl also asked the physicist which human traits he would like to see more often. Unsurprisingly, he commented that he would like to see more kindness and understanding. “The quality I would most like to magnify is empathy. It brings us together in a peaceful, loving state,” he replied.

Hawking then went on to discuss the immense importance of continued space exploration to the longevity of the human race. Again, echoing the sentiments of Sagan and others, Hawking spoke of extending the physical presence of humanity beyond the reaches of our own planet or even our own Moon.

"Sending humans to the Moon changed the future of the human race in ways that we don't yet understand. It hasn't solved any of our immediate problems on planet Earth but it has given us new perspectives on them,” Hawking explained. "I believe that the long term future of the human race must be space and that it represents an important life insurance for our future survival, as it could prevent the disappearance of humanity by colonizing other planets."

Adapted from a British newspaper

Answer the questions:

  1. When was aggression a positive trait of character?

  2. What would spell the end to the human race?

  3. Which trait Prof. Hawking would like to see more often?

  4. What does he see as a 'life insurance' for our species?

  5. Find a word in US spelling in this article from a British newspaper.


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