Stephen Hawking, the noted physicist, has expressed a deep personal fear of aliens, so much so that he hinted that we should stop trying to find them, stop mailing out 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 if the Europeans came to their land, therefore it is understandable that earthlings, like Hawking, might fear aliens visiting this planet. This fear stems mainly from superimposing human mentality on the aliens, not forgetting watching way too many Star Trek and Star War movies. Needless to say, it is really 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 and the other continents on the one hand, and between Alien Spacecraft and Earth on the other. The distinction is distance. To arrive at one other continents, the Europeans only needed some relatively primitive sailboats. But also for the aliens to achieve Earth, dozens or hundreds of 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 is possible for barbarians to accomplish higher technology. Two of the most barbarous epochs in human history were a) the hundreds and hundreds of years preceding the dawn of civilization, and b) the thousand-year period pursuing the fall from the Roman empire. Both in epochs, technological progress was virtually nil. Only if human civilization became less barbarous, with all the demise of rule by hereditary delinquents referred to as royalty, using the demise of slavery, with the spread of education to the masses, and so forth, can we start to see technological progress.
For certain, there may be complete degenerates in space but they should be nothing to fear as it is unlikely that they will ever be able to leave their own planet not to mention survive the nuclear weapons stage if they ever get that far. Technological barbarians, like the Klingons of Star Trek, might only appear in Hollywood and nowhere else. Now another question arises: Are friendly aliens something to fear?
Some have suggested that contact with aliens would cause a dramatic upheaval in human society. My personal opinion with this is: Certainly not. Perhaps decades ago there could have been some commotion however, not today. More than sixty many years of ancient astronaut and UFO propaganda has produced a world by which alien contact may come to be merely another news event. As for the “upheaval,” I will think of three stuff that might happen:
1) The armaments industry could be affected. In the knowledge that advanced alien civilizations exist, it is likely that humans would want to bind together as being a species and definately will stop killing one another. Indeed, it seems like virtually confident that wars between humans will come with an end, and the countries of the Middle East will finally make peace. Jobs inside the armaments industry will have to be transferred to infrastructure, space exploration, and consumer-related industries.
2) Social structures could be affected. Disparities involving the developed world and also the third world may begin to melt away as well as other inequities in human society. We will likely see higher taxes on the usvyot and a lot more focus on education, technological development, and also the colonization of outer space.
3) Organized religions might be affected. Fundamentalist concepts like creation are likely to be pushed to the background, but overall, religions may carry on and proliferate as being a mechanism for consolation and moral guidance.
Hawking acknowledges that aliens may have extremely advanced technology. The major flaw in his thinking will not be understanding that such technology could be used to find ways of self-sustenance excluding the barbaric plundering of inhabited planets. The opportunity that SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) will ultimately pick-up an alien signal is absolutely nothing to fear and, towards the contrary, could even be something to welcome.