I really loved your arguments and I am not feeling like one who have the sufficient background information to argue with you. Therefore please forgive my misunderstandings and unprofessionalism. Yet I would like to protect my viewpoint.
‘…the numbers are on the side of hope. There are far more false predictions than actual, world-changing calamities.’ Dear Robert, with all due respect when I read these lines, I feel like something is forgotten, if there would be a slip away from the main idea. It’s like when we telling ourselves: things are not too bad, we've got the numbers to prove it, also ‘We should not automatically assume the worst’ and I agree with you in many points.
‘fear often prevails at the expense of our better judgment’. Fear can do this, I agree with you: there were lots and lots of theories about nuclear wars, lack of food, etc. My questions are: if there would be no one to warn humanity about those problems, could we for sure prevent them? or
What if all these theories would've been silenced with presumed contradictions right after speaking them out? - do not misunderstand me, I think we need the contrary and we should not live in fear.
But staying with the subject a nuclear war would be one of the worst scenarios for sure and we can agree on that. Should we not thinking and speaking about these dystopian possibilities/realities just because the numbers say so?
I see the liberal world is incredibly fragile and I am a natural born optimist. Every system is fatally vulnerable (think cyber wars). Am I just the one to see this? I doubt it.
Also, you mentioned the domino effect with a remarkable conviction as if there would be no ‘pieces lined up in exactly the right way’ and maybe you’re right, maybe there is no such correlation of events. But who can tell this for sure? I am not convinced by your criteria for predictions, and maybe that just me and my lack of knowledge about the subject. I am repeating myself: I am speaking about the feeling not the certitude. But I go further: maybe there were preventable wars if there would be more people to tell the worse scenarios again and again in times when needed and not people who try to underestimate the possibilities of them.