Stephen Hawking, the noted physicist, has expressed a deep personal fear of aliens, so much in fact 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 yet others, all had something very real to fear when the Europeans came to their land, therefore it is understandable that earthlings, like Hawking, might fear aliens arriving at this planet. This fear stems mainly from superimposing human mentality on the aliens, not forgetting watching too many Star Trek and Star War movies. Needless to say, 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 exists, 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 arrive at another continents, the Europeans only needed some relatively primitive sailboats. But for the aliens to achieve Earth, dozens or numerous light years away, they could need quite sophisticated spacecraft. The critical question, therefore, is: Can a barbarous civilization develop higher technology?
Human history does not support the notion that it is feasible for barbarians to attain higher technology. The two most barbarous epochs in human history were a) the tens of thousands of years preceding the dawn of civilization, and b) the thousand-year period following the fall in the Roman empire. In 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 the demise of slavery, with the spread of education towards the masses, and the like, should we commence to see technological progress.
Without a doubt, there may be complete degenerates outside in space but they must be absolutely nothing to fear as it is unlikely that they will ever be able to leave their particular planet not to mention survive the nuclear weapons stage should they ever obtain that far. Technological barbarians, such as the Klingons of Star Trek, might only happens to Hollywood and nowhere else. Now another question arises: Are friendly aliens something to fear?
Some have suggested that contact with aliens would produce a dramatic upheaval in human society. My opinion about this is: Not really. Perhaps decades ago there would have been some commotion however, not today. Greater than sixty years of ancient astronaut and UFO propaganda has produced a world in which alien contact may grow to be yet another news event. With regards to “upheaval,” I will think of three stuff that might happen:
1) The armaments industry might be affected. Knowing that advanced alien civilizations exist, it is likely that humans may wish to bind together as being a species and will stop killing each other. Indeed, it seems virtually certain that wars between humans can come with an end, and also the countries from the Middle East will finally make peace. Jobs inside the armaments industry will have to be moved to infrastructure, space exploration, and consumer-related industries.
2) Social structures may be affected. Disparities in between the developed world and the third world may begin to disappear as well as other inequities in human society. We shall likely see higher taxes on the usvyot and more awareness of education, technological development, and also the colonization of outer space.
3) Organized religions might be affected. Fundamentalist concepts like creation could be pushed in to the background, but overall, religions may carry on and proliferate as a mechanism for consolation and moral guidance.
Hawking acknowledges that aliens may have extremely advanced technology. The major flaw within his thinking is not really realizing that such technology could be used to find ways of self-sustenance not including the barbaric plundering of inhabited planets. The opportunity that SETI (Hunt for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) will eventually get an alien signal is nothing to fear and, to the contrary, may even be something to welcome.