Apocalypse Soon?: Wagering on Warnings of Global Catastrophe


185 pages
Contains Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-7735-2437-1
DDC 363.34'01'12




Reviewed by Geoffrey Harder

Geoffrey Harder is a public services librarian and manager, Knowledge Common, in the Science and Technology Library of the University of Alberta.


Apocalypse Soon? addresses two important issues: the state of the global
environment, and the presentation of information—or
misinformation—in the media and elsewhere. Haller’s impetus for the
book is to examine the criteria used in the evaluation of “doomsday”
evidence. This is a fundamental step that is often missed, as we find
ourselves cornered into making decisions based on weak or misinterpreted

Haller guides the reader through selected examples of environmental
models currently used for prediction. The examples he uses suggest that
these models are often erroneously interpreted and extrapolated beyond
their usefulness to make important decisions or policies concerning the
environment. He takes the position that a Pascalian wager is the prudent
approach, employing precaution and careful planning wherever possible to
minimize the chances of an apocalyptic end to the natural world.

Haller does not provide an environmental solution but rather presents
a set of principles that can be used to make well-informed choices. His
strong case for evidence-based decision-making is timely in the light
of growing concerns about the Earth’s ecosystem. It is hoped that
Apocalypse Soon? will find a suitable audience, not just with academics
but also with those who set the agenda for environmental
decision-making, or, at the very least, that it will compel players on
both sides of the apocalyptic debate to further consider the evidence
they use to support their positions.


Haller, Stephen F., “Apocalypse Soon?: Wagering on Warnings of Global Catastrophe,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 21, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/9955.