Be Afraid? Be Very Afraid???

April 28, 2010

Brit Trogen

Science in Seconds blog Brit Trogen

Discussions on the possibility of extraterrestrial life took an interesting turn a few days ago, when a certain notable scientist expressed a rather controversial view: 


"We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn't want to meet. I imagine they might exist in massive ships, having used up all the resources from their home planet. Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonize whatever planets they can reach…

If aliens ever visit us, I think the outcome would be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which didn't turn out very well for the Native Americans."

So spoke Stephen Hawking, in the new Discovery Channel show “Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking.” His recommendation? If we ever do detect alien life, we lay low and hope they don't find us.

Hawking is one of the most brilliant minds on the planet. And of course, he has a point. If intelligent life does exist out in the vastness of space, and mathematically this is very probable, we have no way of knowing whether it’s likely to be hostile or not.

But if a fresh new planet is what they were searching for, why in the universe would they choose to come to Earth? Pandora, sure. But Earth? We barely have the resources to support our own sorry population, let alone that of superior alien overlords. And in another hundred years, the aliens might not find anything at all.


So I’m afraid I have to disagree with Steve-O on this one. If intelligent aliens are out there, I’m sure as hell not going to hide in the fear they might take over our measly planet.

At this point, it’s almost the best thing we can hope for. 



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