There are several “what-if” scenarios present that people discuss all the time. In science, this is a regular occurrence. The entire area of theoretical physics is built on this concept. There are several scary scientific what-ifs that are important to think about. At the end of the day, if we think about them then we will find out how to fix those problems if they do come up. By not discussing them, we’ll be unprepared if and/or when they do.
In this article, we will be going over several of these scary scientific what-ifs that plague people today. Some will revolve around scenarios that could very well happen at any point. Others are impossible scenarios that might only be a true issue for our doppelganger in another universe. Yet they are still worth exploring due to how incredible they happen to be. Others will be simple questions that have real-world testing or knowledge behind them. Let’s get started!
What If: Humans Were Twice As Intelligent
When we bring this particular point up, we want to stress “average” intelligence. As the likes of Stephen Hawking and Albert Einstein were geniuses and therefore actually were twice as intelligent as the average. A few great things could come from this though. We could master new things much faster, allowing us to learn things like languages fluently in weeks rather than years. It has also been stated that those with higher IQs lived longer on average. Yet they are also prone to more drug use than the average population too.
While those might be true on average, it isn’t guaranteed. This gets into the scary scientific what-ifs when you consider what some brilliant men have done. Einstein, without initially intending to, invented the atomic bomb. We’ve seen many support the possibility of Eugenics or a “master race.” We would likely see a more efficient world that would care less about morality and only statistical effectiveness. That also comes with issues such as what we see in the Trolley Debate. As in, statistically you save five versus one. Whereas today we do all we can to save all six, even if we cannot, that would likely not happen here.
While it is known today that a person does not have to nor needs to shower/bath every single day, it is done by most people in developed countries. Less developed or third-world nations, as well as tribes across South America and Africa, do not practice this as frequently. With some bathing only once or twice a week. This was even the method used by people thousands of years ago. It might be true about every day, but what if you did not shower for all 365 days in a given year?
First, your skin would be quite oily and would eventually begin to become irritated. This would more than likely result in rashes or splotches throughout and itching problems. You’ll also begin to develop acne all over your body, with some places being worse than others. Should you get cut, your body is so unclean that this cut could become infected far quicker if you did not clean the area. Moreover, you’d obviously have a terrible body odor.
What If: The Moon Suddenly Disappeared Or Never Formed
For quite a long time, we looked to our Moon as nothing but something compelling in the night sky. But we now know how crucial it is to our world. Imagine that the Earth never had a moon or if ours suddenly disappeared. First, we’d no longer rotate on an axis. The Moon currently assists with this due to the gravity it brings. It pulls while the Earth also pulls, but without this, it would simply rotate completely vertical or even fall out of its normal placement in the solar system. This gravity from the Moon also impacts our tides, helping them rise and fall.
They’d diminish about 40% and move much slower too. Several other issues could happen without our Moon’s gravity too, such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. That is due to the gravitational pull the moon has on the core of our planet. Our Moon also offers light in our night sky and without it, animals and even ocean travelers would be confused and in complete darkness during the night. Many animals need the Moon to see at night to hunt, so some animals might die off entirely or need to change their hunting hours, which could be hard. Talk about scary scientific what-ifs.
Our Earth has its limits. While it was not always as large as it is today, it was also once going to be much bigger. This changed up a bit and debris from the Earth ended up going into the development of the Moon for instance. Our Earth’s diameter is exactly 7,917.5 miles. If we double this, we’d get to 15,835 miles and that comes with a lot of issues. By becoming larger, our gravity would also increase dramatically. That could mean our Moon would no longer have as big of an impact firstly. However, this increase of about eight times more gravity would impact our landscape dramatically.
All living beings like plants and animals would be crushed underneath this new gravity. Plants would rise back up to evolve in this new gravity, eventually leading to a stronger species. Land animals would likely die off and if humans did survive this new gravity, we’d struggle to do most anything. Our cars would not take us anywhere, airplanes would struggle to fly, homes would potentially crumble too. Most humans would die within months. Smarter humans would retreat to underwater environments where the impact of the increased gravity could be felt less. Scary scientific what-ifs like this can keep you up at night.
What If: Dinosaurs Were Not Wiped Out, And Lived Among Humans
If a massive meteor did not hit Earth and cause the infamous Ice Age to wipe out the dinosaurs, they might potentially still live among us today. Yet it is quite likely that they would not be as massive as the fossils we see today. In fact, one of two things would have to happen. 80 million years ago, oxygen levels were higher. In fact, this era had roughly 50% more oxygen than our modern air. We found this out by testing amber from that timeframe, which contained 25 to 35% more oxygen than modern amber.
Yet this averaged at around 30% more oxygen. This means eras like the Cretaceous or Jurassic were supercharged with oxygen, and that allowed the dinosaurs to grow to such a large size. If humans lived under that same oxygen, we’d also begin to evolve into a much larger size too. Meanwhile, if the dinosaurs lived under our modern oxygen, they’d begin to become far smaller than they were during those major eras. Today, we know dinosaurs evolved into our modern birds of prey like condors and eagles. Therefore, it is likely they’d still evolve into this or become hairy komodo dragon-type animals.
What If: We Lived Closer To The Edge Of The Milky Way Galaxy
This is a question many have proposed, and it’s worth discussing. If we lived closer to the edge of the Milky Way Galaxy, what would happen? We now know most large galaxies have a black hole in the center, most of which have a strong level of gravity and it would likely be too much for us to live closer. Our solar system is about two-thirds away from the center. But what if we were at the Milky Way’s edge? Well, we know most of the metallic elements tend to be closer to us now.
They’d likely not be as present but still around the edge, so life would likely develop roughly the same as it does now. Yet near the edge, planets like Earth can form but gas giants do not tend to exist here. This means our solar system’s gas giants, Jupiter, Uranus, Neptune, and Saturn, would not exist. They currently assist us a lot as their gravity sucks in debris and many asteroids that could come for us. Without them, we’ll likely be hit regularly by space debris. The strength of our gravity could also differ and this could even affect how time works, on top of our rotation around our star.
Neanderthals were the dominant group of humanoids for a long time. It had been widely assumed that they died out completely in the Eurasian territory roughly 40,000 years ago. But this is not exactly true. We know there were pockets of neanderthals that lived thousands of years after this. However, what if they never died off and lived into modern times? It is quite possible they’d be much like us.
Yet in the scary scientific what-ifs to consider, we know they were often stronger and even more agile than modern humans. It is unclear when the line between modern humans and neanderthal split. Yet we know if they lived into modern times, it is very possible they’d begin to interbreed with modern humans. This would slowly create hybrids between the two human species types. Due to the gifts from both, it is pretty likely that this hybrid would become the dominant human species.
Seasons on Earth are constant for pretty much everyone, regardless of where you live. Some seasons, however, are more impactful for people due to their location. But what if no seasons existed? This would mean our Earth is no longer on an axis and would not spin in the regular motion we see today. This would result in humans having to live near the Earth’s middle section, as this is where most of the warmth would be. It is also where all the agriculture would grow and where most of the animals will congregate too. Due to the rise of animals, we might never develop our modern agriculture.
This is likely a good thing in theory, but any crops we did see would also have a larger rate of insects and thus more insect-borne diseases. Most of our technology came out of the idea that we wanted to keep warm during colder months. If most technology is rooted in tech founded on warmth, then they’d never be formed and we’d likely lose our technological revolution periods. Think about it, most of the technology we use today would be gone. Now that is one of the scary scientific what-ifs we’re happy to never have to go through.
What If: A Healthy Man Did Not “Release” For A Full Year
It is likely impossible for a healthy male between the teenage years into his 50s to never have any form of sexual release in a given year. But what if a healthy male between 16 to 55 tried to avoid any form of release for 365 days? He might likely make it a few weeks, perhaps a few months. But it might be very difficult to do this much further, especially if they did release regularly before stopping. What would happen if they tried? First, psychological problems can plague this man. He must have the self-control to not even think about sex or any man/woman in a sexual light. This self-control can take a mental toll on him.
He will have a larger chance of discharge, especially while sleeping. The male prostate is also at risk, as cancer can develop here. Regular release (up to 21 times a month) is recommended by Harvard University to limit prostate cancer risk. No release would result in a higher chance of prostate cancer by proxy. On top of this, a lack of release could even begin to cause pain to the testicle region, as the build-up of sperm will have nowhere to go. The body will break this down eventually but it would take a long time. Meaning he’d have to deal with potentially severe testicle pain until this happens.
What If: You Or The Earth Were Sucked Into A Black Hole
While it is unknown what happens the moment something or someone is completely sucked into a black hole, we do know what happens before this. If a human being is sucked into one, those watching will see this happen for a long time. Black holes are on their own time and you could watch someone go through for weeks. This is not because they are taking that long to go through. Rather, due to what little light we are getting showing this. Black holes can even greatly change how time works on planets. This was represented well in the movie Interstellar. Three members went down to a planet that orbited a black hole.
They were maybe gone three hours but the fourth member that remained on the ship was there for 20 years in comparison. This would likely be what happens if a planet is sucked in, as it would not break down immediately and would slowly be sucked in little by little. Gravity would change the time all around, so it would feel slower than it actually is for those on Earth. Once something goes in the immense gravity crushes and stretches everything. Making it a death sentence. Some believe if white holes are truly possible, anything a black hole sucks in could be popped out back to normal from this white hole.
We now know that molecules that make up literally everything we can see are formed when protons from an atom share electrons. While they all form the same, there has been a theory that if molecules were stronger, we’d benefit heavily from this in some form. Yet this might not be true. We know the relationship that drives protons to give their electrons works on an electromagnetic force, which is key. Yet this is when it gets to the scary scientific what-ifs possibility. Think about how magnets work. Two magnets literally are attracted to each other and it takes some force to separate them.
Take your refrigerator magnet and exchange it with a high-powered magnet you might see at a landfill. One is much stronger and has a higher strength pulling, but also in pushing. If protons had that strength, the relationship with electrons would be much different. This means life itself would likely never occur. We might never even see stars or planets on top of that. Positively charged electrons and negatively charged electrons are perfectly aligned to make life and the building blocks of the universe itself possible. Changing this molecule strength sounds interesting until you realize you wouldn’t exist.
Unlike what you might have heard in your grade school science class years ago, our Sun is not really that big. In fact, it might seem large to us but compared to other stars, it’s pretty small. However, it’s not a small fry either and works perfectly for our solar system’s specific needs. Our Sun is able to work well for us at its current size but if it were exactly half its size, it would be referred to as a Red Dwarf star. This is because the smaller it is, the less heat it possesses.
The redder our Sun is, the less heat it has. Add in the dwarf size and it would cut down the habitable zone by a dramatic amount. Our Earth would no longer be in this sector. We’d become a frozen rock. Venus could not sustain life due to several issues it possesses but Mercury would be at the best distance to sustain life. Chances are, we’d be living there if it could somehow ensure water, plants, and other much-needed things we’d need.
For many years, it was widely believed that the Greek Gods (who later became Roman Gods) were real. Each was responsible for something different yet important. Well, usually. There was some crossover here and there. Early on, it was actually females that were represented as Gods more than males funny enough. That is why Athena and Ares are both Gods of war but possessed additional stuff like Ares with courage and Athena with handicraft and practical reason. In the world of scary scientific what-ifs, let’s pretend the Greek Gods were real beings. The world would likely be chaotic.
Since we know who is responsible for any and all specific things, we could easily blame that God for any problems, never taking responsibility for our own failure. Gods also mated with normal humans to create Demi-Gods as well as various monsters in mythology. Some were just created at random. Meaning we’d have super-powered, out-of-control beings that would plague our world often. Other Gods might dislike particular humans and would seek to take them out, making life a literal hell to live through if you get on the bad side of a God.
The eyesight of most birds of prey as well as many hawks and falcons is pretty impressive. They are able to see so well due to an evolutionary need. Since they’re up in the sky, they need to be capable of seeing down far enough to see any potential prey they want to take down for food. Eagles are said to be the birds of prey with the best eyesight, and it comes with many benefits. They are able to see at a distance equal to most binoculars. But unlike binoculars for humans, eagles are able to zoom in and out within their own eyes. Plus, they see in great colored detail that would make 8K televisions blush.
On top of this, eagles can see well in the day and night and do not require a lot of light. In spite of their size, eagle eyes are the same size as human eyes. Therefore, we could switch them out with our eyes without a noticeable anatomical difference. The real issue in this concept is that, in spite of seeing 4 to 8 times greater, our brains might also not know how to handle the amazing array of shades and colors. Plus, our human eyes are curved and bend light, creating an upside-down image in our retina. The brain ends up turning the image around, meaning we might actually see upside-down completely with eagle eyes.
While it is unlikely any government would ever sanction a real-life “Purge” event, let’s pretend every nation on Earth offers this one day a year. In the Purge movies and lone television show, we know all crime is legal for usually a 24-hour period. During this time, stores can be robbed, sexual crimes can be done, and people can be killed within this 24-hour period. None would be charged for the crimes during the Purge time limit. In the world of scary scientific what-ifs, a real Purge would work a lot like we see it play out on screen.
Although, the ideology that we’d somehow live in peace or without crime the other 364 days is illogical nonsense. It is very likely that insurance costs for businesses and healthcare would go up depending on the person’s potential Purge threat. It’s obvious that insurances would narrow down potential Purge locations and which are at the most risk. Naturally, this also means the Purge would cut down on populations. Governments would likely take advantage of this to commit international crimes. Plus, people might use the Purge to target specific business leaders or politicians, effectively taking out many national leaders.
A lot of people might discuss the idea of Earth’s magnetic poles flipping. They’ll likely claim it could be an extinction-level event for life as we know it. Therefore, it makes sense to assume it belongs on the scary scientific what-ifs list that people should fear. But it’s actually not as bad as people seem to think. How do we know this? Well, because the north and south magnetic poles have switched before. It actually happened hundreds of times, and it is clear our ancestors lived through it.
However, the last switch happened 780,000 years ago. Meaning, we’re due any time now. During the switch, the geomagnetic field is weak as iron atoms in our liquid outer core are gradually reversing their orientation. This happens slowly, but right in-between can be rough on living beings. This is because Earth’s magnetic protection is weakened, allowing more space radiation to hit the planet. If it happened today, we’d see electrical circuits and grids fry on top of higher rates of cancer.
We know that about 300 million years ago that Pangea came to be. It was one supercontinent that made up the entire land body on Earth. Yet around 175 million years ago it began to break apart. First, we saw some continents remain together like Africa and South America. Australia and Antarctica as well as the massive (now underwater) New Zealand continent were together too. Slowly, many broke apart and the continents ended up where they are now.
What if Pangea never broke apart? This is actually one of the scary science what-ifs that would have changed the entire planet both positively and negatively. On the positive, people would likely never completely separate out but animals would be far different. For example, animals only found in Australia or random islands might have never evolved the way they did. Humans would evolve differently as well. Plus, Pangea was centered and it means most of the landmass would be centered near the equator. Making most landmass hot and arid, with many living near the shores. Making the true center uninhabitable.
In theory, having any form of teleportation would be awesome. You could literally head pretty much anywhere you wanted within seconds. However, this is one of the scary scientific what-ifs due to what this can allow people to do. The ability to teleport is somewhat limited as technology will likely have to be built to allow for teleportation travel to places like, say, Mars for instance. But anywhere on Earth would be capable of teleportation.
While the best thing would be to have specific teleportation terminals, it would defeat the purpose. Especially if the terminal was not close to your destination. Therefore, you’d need to be able to go anywhere. That presents major issues, as an assassin could easily teleport into someone’s home. We might see similar issues when it comes to teleportation into, say, the White House or the local State House. That means teleportation blockers would need to be made, but any tech can be hacked.
It is often claimed that cats have nine lives. This is likely due to how house cats land on their feet when dropped or how many escape random harm. Of course, they only have one life. But let’s pretend it’s true that nine lives are present but not for cats, for humans. While this will turn into one of the scary scientific what-ifs that will become a problem, just think about it. You have nine lives, so how will you use them? Let’s say you could choose what age you wanted to start each time, after the first life.
Most would pick teenage years and up. Now, in spite of any life, you’ll come in with all the knowledge you developed before and will be in a likely much younger body. But this also presents many problems. If someone murders another person, they get life in prison usually. Let’s say this person has 6 lives left. They could commit suicide and will get out of prison. It also allows a person to take crazy risks, which could harm others. As one could run into a place with a bomb, for example. Plus, we have to wonder, if a person develops a mental or health complication, would this follow them from life to life? It’s a lot to consider.
It is quite unlikely, a solid 99.99% in fact, that a zombie apocalypse won’t happen. However, we do have specialized herbs and hypnosis techniques that could result in someone controlling another person’s actions. They could even convince them they are a zombie too. That is why this is part of the scary scientific what-ifs that could take place. It is not that the zombie is real but that a person’s brain can be altered. Just look at the recent political climate to show how convinced someone can be.
Even if what they believe is completely untrue, they can be convinced. Especially if the person is someone they like or a cult of personality. We also know there are parasites that a person could be infected with, which could very well cause a problem to take place. Funny enough, we’ve written about several scientific ways a zombie apocalypse could happen before. We’d recommend checking that out when you can.
What If: Earth’s Insects Suddenly Vanished Overnight
We might not like the creepy crawlies, but insects are a massive part of our world’s ecosystem. There are literally trillions of them across numerous different species lines all over the world. Each one does a critical job for our environment so much so, regions have felt problems when specific insects types dropped off. Therefore, when we think about scary scientific what-ifs, losing all insects on Earth is near the top of the list. Roughly 80% of all plants on Earth are flowering.
That means they must go through pollination. Who ensures this happens? Insects, such as bees and butterflies. Without insects that assist in pollination, most of the world’s plant life would die. That would guarantee a vast food chain collapse. This collapse would kill most mammals and birds, and many of them also use things like trees for homes. Those trees would begin to die off and all the fruits or vegetables they have. Literally, without insects, humans will be extinct within a few years max.
What If: We Discovered Sentient Life In The Universe
While we technically have many sentient beings on Earth besides humans, such as our primate friends, dogs, cats, etc. We have yet to find another sentient species outside our own planet. It is widely assumed that life exists elsewhere, but without proof of this, it is just a guess. But what if we discovered a sentient species elsewhere? Moreover, what if we discovered another intelligent sentient species like humans?
As cool as it might be, it’s one of the scary scientific what-ifs we need to be concerned about. Let’s first state the obvious. The species might or might not be more intelligent than us. They also might wish to enslave humans or make us their pets. It is also possible they’d want to wipe out all human or sentient life and replace us with their own kind. They will at least have a language we do not know, as well as customs we are not aware of. Making communication a bit dicey, at least at first.
Everyone wants time travel to be real, and it sort of is. We now know spacetime is its own time and gravity is what dictates time on various planets. We simply adjust to this and therefore all time is based on gravity levels. This is why we could likely jump several years in Earth time within a few hours. It’s really all about speed and how fast we’re moving. However, while we could jump forward we cannot go backward. But what if we could? If this could take place, one of two things would likely happen.
First, branched realities or multiverses would be formed (if they are not already). Anything we change will start its own new reality or universe. The original reality would remain unchanged. On the other end, we’d have one universe but any changes would not be noticed. The rest of the world will never know anything else occurred, and it is likely the longer you remain in this changed reality, the less you’ll remember about the former. Thus, if time travel was real then we’d never really know it was, no matter which version of it we find ourselves in.
To be fair, in pretty much every religion and even in history, there are stories about a “great flood.” The stories might differ a bit, where some claim the whole world flooded while others claim a specific region did. It is really all in what you want to believe. But let’s go with the Christian version, involving Noah, his great ark, and the flood of 40 days and 40 nights. If this happened, some great event would need to cause it as this is a flood of the entire world. Let’s say two large meteors broke through and landed in the ocean, coming with their own water. They also land in both artic areas and melt all the ice.
This would likely result in flooding, but it would first start tidal waves that will drastically hurt cities near shores worldwide. They’d completely flood and we’d likely see all land underwater for a short time. Water would go down a bit, but we could assume in the U.S. that both the East and West coasts would be completely underwater. The water might begin to freeze up again one day, allowing these shoreline cities and states to rise back up. But not for a while. Major electrical grids, oil lines, and much more would be hit hard. Many plants and animals would be hit hard and we’d be in an extinction-level event.
Funny enough, asteroids have hit the Earth before and did nothing worth note. But much larger ones caused mass extinctions in world history. Such as the one that caused the Ice Age to take place. This asteroid was quite large, but an asteroid does not necessarily need to be massive to cause damage. If an asteroid the size of the average New York apartment hits the Earth, it could level a small city. That is because it would likely hit with a great deal of speed. If it landed in the middle of a city, this speed would cause an impact that would increase its damage potential. Let’s look at it in terms of a quarter.
The coin falls and hits the Earth, it would likely be felt but not much. Damage potential would maybe be about 5 to 10 feet max. Now let’s combine two quarters, the damage potential would be 20 to 40 feet. Keep combining and you’ll see a huge issue. The size combines with speed to create damage potential even greater than the size. Extinction level asteroids hit and blocked out sunlight for quite some time, due to dust and smoke rising. This caused global temperatures to drop, because sunlight could not pierce through. We now have some protectors from these asteroids but none of them are guaranteed to work.
Where do we find this stuff? Here are our sources: