Stephen Hawking, the noted physicist, has expressed an in-depth personal fear of aliens, so much so that he hinted that we should stop searching 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 as well as others, all had something very real to fear when the Europeans came to their land, so it will be understandable that earthlings, like Hawking, might fear aliens coming to this planet. This fear stems mainly from superimposing human mentality on the aliens, not to mention watching a lot of Star Trek and Star War movies. Needless to say, it is pretty much mandatory for Hollywood to transform 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 reach 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 is actually possible for barbarians to achieve higher technology. The two most barbarous epochs in human history were a) the thousands of years preceding the dawn of civilization, and b) the thousand-year period after the fall of the Roman empire. In both 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, with all the demise of slavery, with the spread of education towards the masses, and so forth, do we start to see technological progress.
For sure, there may be complete degenerates outside in space but they ought to be absolutely nothing to fear since it is unlikely that they may ever have the capacity to leave their very own planet not to mention survive the nuclear weapons stage should they ever obtain 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 connection with aliens would cause a dramatic upheaval in human society. My personal opinion with this is: Not really. Perhaps decades ago there would have been some commotion but not today. Greater than sixty numerous 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 things which might happen:
1) The armaments industry could be affected. In the knowledge that advanced alien civilizations exist, chances are that humans may wish to bind together as being a species and can stop killing each other. Indeed, it seems like virtually certain that wars between humans can come with an end, and also the countries in the Middle East will finally make peace. Jobs within the armaments industry would need to be transferred to infrastructure, space exploration, and consumer-related industries.
2) Social structures may be affected. Disparities between the developed world and the third world may begin to melt away along with other inequities in human society. We are going to likely see higher taxes on the usvyot and more awareness of education, technological development, and the colonization of outer space.
3) Organized religions could be affected. Fundamentalist concepts like creation are likely to be pushed to the background, but overall, religions may continue to proliferate as a mechanism for consolation and moral guidance.
Hawking acknowledges that aliens may have extremely advanced technology. The main flaw in the thinking is not really realizing that such technology can be used to find ways of self-sustenance not including the barbaric plundering of inhabited planets. The chance that SETI (Hunt for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) could eventually pick up an alien signal is absolutely nothing to fear and, towards the contrary, might even be something to welcome.