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 sending out signals to keep our existence a secret, less the aliens discover us and come here to wipe us out. This 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 got to their land, so it is understandable that earthlings, like Hawking, might fear aliens visiting this planet. This fear stems mainly from superimposing human mentality on the aliens, in addition to watching a lot of Star Trek and Star War movies. Needless to say, it is really mandatory for Hollywood to turn 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 and the other continents on the one hand, and between Alien Spacecraft and Earth on the other. The distinction is distance. To achieve another continents, the Europeans only needed some relatively primitive sailboats. But for the aliens to arrive at 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 does not support the concept it is easy for barbarians to attain 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 in the Roman empire. Both in epochs, technological progress was virtually nil. Only once human civilization became less barbarous, with all the demise of rule by hereditary delinquents known as royalty, with all the demise of slavery, using the spread of education to the masses, and the like, do we commence to see technological progress.
Without a doubt, there may be complete degenerates out in space but they should be absolutely nothing to fear since it is unlikely that they can ever be able to leave their particular planet much less survive the nuclear weapons stage if 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 result in a dramatic upheaval in human society. My personal opinion on this is: Not really. Perhaps decades ago there could have been some commotion however, not today. More than sixty years of ancient astronaut and UFO propaganda has produced a world where alien contact may grow to be merely another news event. When it comes to “upheaval,” I will consider three stuff that might happen:
1) The armaments industry might be affected. In the knowledge that advanced alien civilizations exist, chances are that humans may wish to bind together as being a species and will stop killing the other person. Indeed, it seems like virtually confident that wars between humans should come to an end, and also the countries of the Middle East will finally make peace. Jobs in the armaments industry would have to be transferred 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 start to melt away as well as other inequities in human society. We will likely see higher taxes on the usvyot and more awareness of education, technological development, and 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 carry on and proliferate as a mechanism for consolation and moral guidance.
Hawking acknowledges that aliens might have extremely advanced technology. The major flaw within 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 chance that SETI (Look for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) will eventually get an alien signal is certainly not to fear and, to the contrary, could even be something to welcome.