Dr. David Morrison is the Director of the NASA Lunar Science Institute and Senior Scientist for Astrobiology at the NASA Ames Research Center. He holds a Ph.D. in astronomy from Harvard and is internationally known for his research on small bodies in the solar system, including advocacy for developing plans to defend the Earth from impacts by comets and asteroids.
A Fellow of CSI, he has written extensively on such fringe science topics as Velikovsky, cosmic catastrophes, UFOs, the creation science movement, and most recently the climate crisis caused by global warming. For the past two years he has been the primary scientist critic of the widespread fear that the world will end in 2012, and of the doomsday sleaze artists who use the Internet, blogs, and cable TV to frighten people for profit.
Dr. Morrison's discussion largely centers around the hoax of 2012.
David Morrison is director of the Carl Sagan Center for Study of Life in the Universe at the SETI Institute, former director of the NASA Lunar Science Institute, the senior scientist at the NASA Astrobiology Institute where he participates in a variety of research programs in astrobiology -- the study of the living universe.
Dr. Morrison obtained his doctorate in astronomy from Harvard University. He is the author of more than 155 technical papers and has published a dozen books. He has been a science investigator on NASA's Mariner, Voyager and Galileo space missions. Morrison is recipient of the Dryden Medal for research of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the Sagan Medal of the American Astronomical Society for public communication, and the Klumpke-Roberts award of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific for contributions to science education. He has received two NASA Outstanding Leadership medals and he was awarded the Presidential Meritorious Rank for his work as director of space at NASA Ames. Morrison was a founder of the multidisciplinary field of astrobiology, and he provides on-line answers to questions from the public sent to "Ask an Astrobiologist," found at: http://nai.arc.nasa.gov/astrobio/
Morrison is perhaps best known for his leadership since 1991 in defining the hazard of asteroid impacts and seeking ways to mitigate this risk. Asteroid 2410 Morrison is named in his honor.
Independent U.S. government agency established in 1958 for research and development of vehicles and activities for aeronautics and space exploration. Its goals include improving human understanding of the universe, the solar system, and Earth and establishing a permanent human presence in space. NASA, previously the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), was created largely in response to the Soviet Union's launch of Sputnik in 1957. Its organization was well under way in 1961, when Pres. John F. Kennedy proposed that the U.S. put a man on the Moon by the end of the 1960s (seeApollo). Later unmanned programs (e.g., Viking, Mariner, Voyager, Galileo) explored other planets and interplanetary space, and orbiting observatories (e.g., the Hubble Space Telescope) have studied the cosmos. NASA also developed and launched various satellites with Earth applications, such as Landsat and communications and weather satellites. It planned and developed the space shuttle and led the development and construction of the International Space Station.
multidisciplinary field dealing with the nature and existence of and search for extraterrestrial life (life beyond Earth). Astrobiology encompasses areas of biology, astronomy, and geology. The principal areas of astrobiology research can be classified as (1) understanding the conditions under which life can arise, (2) looking for habitable worlds, and (3) searching for evidence of life.
Very reminiscent of the 7th Day Adventist predictions of Armegeddon. The earth was meant to end in the early 20th century, this was then put forward to the 1930s, then the 1940s and on and on and on. The 2012 myth will persist however, along with the Adventists. There's a brilliant book called "When Prophecy Fails" which describes an actual doomsday sect that was used in a scientific study of such beliefs. Amazingly one of the students who volunteered to join the group actually came to believe the prophecy and, after it failed, persisted in his belief!
"The best way to learn is observe but refuse to take anything for granted..."
Why in the world wouldn't I take for granted what I have learned about the world? After all, much of it can be put to good use to improve mankind and thereby to relieve a lot of unnecessary suffering. I would even dare to say that ignoring what one has learned for the sake of making these capricious pseudo-philosophical points you seem to be fond of is a crime on humanity.
About China... you brought it up... I had absolutely no reason to get into a discussion about it. Which doesn't mean that I can't. But since I happen to have some rather direct exposure to Chinese people, I can ask them how they see the world (which I do at any occasion suitable). And they, interestingly enough, do not see all gloom and doom there but a rather profound improvement over the last decades. Some of them see so much improvement, indeed, that they are leaving the US to go back to China because of the enormous academic and economic opportunities there.
Now, China is not "just a country among the rest". China and India are key to the 21st century with almost 1.4 billion and 1.2 billion people, respectively. If either country should fail to support and improve the conditions of their populations, we are going to see very difficult problems ahead.
As for 2012... since there is no known physical threat, whatsoever, it's not even worth talking about it. The only thing worth talking about is the real threat associated with the educational gap that leads people to believe in such nonsense. Which brings me back to how important it is to teach people to be objective and to use the foundations of physical sciences to readily identify these scams when they encounter them.