Stephen Hawking, the noted physicist, has expressed a deep personal fear of aliens, so much so that he hinted that we should stop looking for them, stop broadcasting signals to keep our existence a secret, less the aliens discover us and come here to wipe us out. This short article will discuss whether this viewpoint has any merit.
The North American Indians, the South American Indians, the Africans and others, all had something very real to fear when the Europeans arrived at their land, so it will be understandable that earthlings, like Hawking, might fear aliens arriving at this planet. This fear stems mainly from superimposing human mentality on the aliens, in addition to watching too many Star Trek and Star War movies. Naturally, it is pretty much mandatory for Hollywood to change the aliens into man-eating predators for purely business reasons: carnivorous aliens sell more theater tickets than benevolent aliens.
There is certainly, however, a noticeable distinction between Europe as well as the other continents on the one hand, and between Alien Spacecraft and Earth on the other. The difference is distance. To achieve one other continents, the Europeans only needed some relatively primitive sailboats. But also for the aliens to arrive at Earth, dozens or numerous light years away, they would need quite sophisticated spacecraft. The critical question, therefore, is: Can a barbarous civilization develop higher technology?
Human history will not support the concept it really is easy for barbarians to achieve higher technology. Two of the most barbarous epochs in human history were a) the thousands of years preceding the dawn of civilization, and b) the thousand-year period pursuing the fall in the Roman empire. Within both epochs, technological progress was virtually nil. Only once human civilization became less barbarous, with the demise of rule by hereditary delinquents called royalty, with all the demise of slavery, using the spread of education for the masses, and so on, can we begin to see technological progress.
Without a doubt, there may be complete degenerates out in space but they must be nothing to fear because it is unlikely that they can ever be able to leave their very own planet not to mention survive the nuclear weapons stage should they ever obtain that far. Technological barbarians, just like the Klingons of Star Trek, might only exist in Hollywood and nowhere else. Now another question arises: Are friendly aliens something to fear?
Some have suggested that exposure to aliens would produce a dramatic upheaval in human society. My personal opinion on this is: Not really. Perhaps decades ago there would have been some commotion although not today. Greater than sixty many years of ancient astronaut and UFO propaganda has produced a world by which alien contact may grow to be merely another news event. With regards to “upheaval,” I can think about three things which might happen:
1) The armaments industry may be affected. Knowing that advanced alien civilizations exist, chances are that humans would want to bind together as a species and will stop killing each other. Indeed, it seems virtually sure that wars between humans can come to an end, as well as the countries in the Middle East will finally make peace. Jobs inside the armaments industry would need to be moved to infrastructure, space exploration, and consumer-related industries.
2) Social structures may be affected. Disparities between the developed world and also the third world may begin to melt off as well as other inequities in human society. We shall likely see higher taxes on the usvyot and a lot more attention to education, technological development, as well as the colonization of outer space.
3) Organized religions may be affected. Fundamentalist concepts like creation could be pushed to the background, but overall, religions may continue to proliferate as being a mechanism for consolation and moral guidance.
Hawking acknowledges that aliens could have extremely advanced technology. The key flaw in the thinking is not understanding that such technology could be used to find methods for self-sustenance not including the barbaric plundering of inhabited planets. The chance that SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) will eventually pick-up an alien signal is nothing to fear and, to the contrary, could even be something to welcome.