The infuriating Bryan Appleyard had an interesting, doomsday predicting, article in the Sunday Times, ‘Waiting for the lights to go out‘. He suggests that the cultural assumptions have exactly reversed since the middle ages. At that time we had a faith in the imminent end of the world, but reason said it would continue. Now we have faith in progress (and, at the very least, survial), when reason says that these are The End Days.