• Question: Would you rather have world peace or find the cure to cancer?

    Asked by mirza to Joel, Kristian, Tim, Venus, Zachary on 20 Nov 2013.
    • Photo: Tim Hollowood

      Tim Hollowood answered on 20 Nov 2013:

      Mirza…well you do ask very difficult questions. Just because I am scientist does not give me any extra insight into a question like this….your answer is just as good as mine. I would say on balance I would rather have world peace but then I know that having world peace is very unrealistic and would be unlikely to last. On the other hand having a cure for cancer is realistic and once we had the cure then it’s likely that we would have the cure for all time because cancer is not like a virus that can mutate. So actually maybe I’ve changed my mind, the cure for cancer would help prolong the lives not just of people now but all the way into the future, whereas curing world peace would never last and so would be nice but less valuable than the cure for cancer over the fullness time.

    • Photo: Kristian Harder

      Kristian Harder answered on 20 Nov 2013:

      It is probably true that cancer causes more deaths than war. But I’d say there may be a *lot* more people suffering from war or even just risk of war than people actually dying from it. Therefore I personally think war is the bigger problem right now, and ending it immediately would improve life for a large fraction of the population on the planet. And then we can sit down calmly and work on cures for the various types of cancer.
      But of course if we are genious enough to really end one of them at once, then maybe we are good enough to fix both at the same time. 😉

    • Photo: Zachary Williamson

      Zachary Williamson answered on 21 Nov 2013:

      Hi Mirza. I’d prefer world peace over a cure to cancer.

      World peace wouldn’t just immediately save lives, it would allow so many people on this planet to productive, useful things with their lives instead of just trying to survive in conflict-ridden nightmares. The overall prosperity and technological progress of humanity would rapidly increase.

      I understand that finding a cure to cancer is extremely important. My mother died of breast cancer when I was little so I know what an evil disease it is. However finding a cure is something that can be achieved with a lot of hard work and experimenting.

      World peace, on the other hand, is not something that humans are remotely capable of achieving in the near future. It would require mastery over the violent tendencies of human nature, which is, in my opinion, basically impossible at this moment in time.