Jeanette Winterson on Stephen Hawking

"[Stephen] Hawking doesn't have an answer because he is a scientist and the moral and ethical problems the human race must confront are not scientific questions."

- Jeanette Winterson

Writing in London's Evening Standard, the novelist Jeanette Winterson is not surprised by Stephen Hawking's inability to conclusively answer to his own internet poll, which poses the question 'how can the human race sustain another 100 years?'. The poll, which has received more than 25,000 responses so far, has stumped the author of it; the best he can hope, as Winterson puts it, is that "science can be employed to modify our warlike instincts for long enough to give us time to colonise space and quit this troubled rock" – a task which will likely take at least a century.

Winterson points out that our problems are down to human nature, which genetic and biochemical modifications are unlikely to mitigate. And if escaping the planet is the only solution, what is to prevent us from fouling our next nest in exactly the same way? Instead of throwing money at science, she advocates putting it into education in the hopes of teaching us "how to think, and how to confront [ourselves] and, by extension, the world we live in".