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Quora Answer : What experiments have had the most potential for harm to life on this planet (if something went wrong or because the scientists didn’t know what would happen)? Perhaps involving particle acceleration, nuclear energy, viruses or genetic engineering?

Dec 25

Genetically engineered viruses have great potential to harm human life.

Look how much damage a natural virus like COVID-19 has done. And look how much knowledge and understanding we're now able to apply to analyse and counter that virus.

Now imagine what serious application of that human knowledge applied to biological weapons research could achieve.

A bad research project and a careless accident could wipe out millions of humans.

OTOH, a single virus aimed at humans would be unlikely to hurt many other species. So life on the planet would be OK.

There seems to be an outside chance that some kind of particle experiment might create a mini black-hole that would swallow the Earth. That would be bad, but it's pretty unlikely.

The most destructive "experiment" we are doing is taking all the fossil fuels out of the ground and burning them in a few decades. That might cause major havoc with the ecosystem, including driving many species extinct, possibly even us.

It won't kill ALL life. Some species will survive global warming of 5 - 10 degrees. But humans are unlikely to. (Partly because all the staple grains we rely on like wheat and rice etc. were only evolved / bred within a 5 degree window. Outside that window, we don't know is these staples of our food supply can survive.)

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