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Martin Rees: what are the limits of human understanding?

Britain's most eminent astronomer confronts the question of whether there will ever be an unsolvable problem

By Martin Rees   December 2018

The Sun formed 4.5bn years ago, but it’s got around six billion years more before its fuel runs out. It will then flare up, engulfing the inner planets. Any creatures witnessing the Sun’s demise won’t be human—they’ll be as different from us as we are from a bug. Post-human evolution could be as prolonged as the Darwinian evolution that has led to us.

And evolution is now accelerating; it can happen via intelligent design on a technological time-scale, operating far faster than natural selection and driven by advances in…

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