Sunday, April 25, 2010

Stephen Hawking - Stay Away from Aliens at All Costs

Renowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking thinks we should reconsider our desire to reach out and contact alien life.

Hawking says it's a safe bet they're out there but that doesn't mean we'd enjoy a get together. From BBC News:

"...he warned that aliens might simply raid Earth for resources, then move on.

"If aliens visit us, the outcome would be much as when Columbus landed in America, which didn't turn out well for the Native Americans," he said.

Prof Hawking thinks that, rather than actively trying to communicate with extra-terrestrials, humans should do everything possible to avoid contact.

He explained: "We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn't want to meet."

If you still don't understand what Hawking is getting at, have a chat with a Plains Bison.


LMA said...

Interesting, since a few years ago Dr. Hawking said the future of the human race depended on us colonizing other planets to escape natural and man made disasters that could wipe us out.

I guess we would have to colonize planets where the life forms were sufficiently weak and vulnerable to us to destroy, like the Bison, or the Passenger Pigeon, etc.

Or, maybe the law of the jungle, kill or be killed, doesn't apply to the rest of the universe as it does to the Earth and we are just a primitive lower life form?

The Mound of Sound said...

There's more than a little "do as I say, not as I do" element to Hawking's warning. Yes, if we are going to survive as a species beyond the next million or two years we are going to have to transplant our kind to another planet but our survival long enough to acquire the resources and technology to pull that off is a longshot in itself.

I read an interesting assessment that held, while it's mathematically certain a universe as large as ours supports a great many intelligent civilizations, it's even more likely that, on their ascendancy, they too tend to engineer their own extinction or fall victim to cataclysmic events beyond their control.

This basically depicted a cycle of life from simple amino acids, to single cell creatures, to complex lifeforms to intelligent life to extinction and a return to the building blocks of life, amino acids. Sounds possible to me.

LMA said...

Well, we're all just recycled stardust anyway, aren't we?

Anonymous said...

This made me laugh out loud because I've never thought of it in that way before. I suppose he's got a point. Anyway we have our work cut out for us on our own planet, trying to avoid one cataclysm or another. Now I'm trying to think of whether there is a different historical example of people encountering another culture for the first time and not messing it up.

The Mound of Sound said...

Hello Lilian and welcome back, it's been a while. Yes, I think he does have a point. It certainly seems like poor odds to bet that a superior intelligence, of the sort that might be capable of seeking us out, would be benevolent. 15/85 against, maybe?

If they didn't exterminate us physically we probably would find their moral imperative unbearable. After all, hasn't our civilization evolved to respect and obey force, particularly the ruthless variety?

The Mound of Sound said...

Sorry for the incomplete thought but I meant to add that, if they didn't destroy us out of hand, would we be able to resist taking that as a sign of weakness, a trigger to attempt to destroy them? After all our triumphs, we really are a reactionary bunch, no?

Anonymous said...

hawking is a propaganda machine:

whats it gonna be...??