I’m no Steve Hawking…

Like many others across the internet, I do not exactly see eye-to-eye with Mr. Hawking on the subject of why we should not seek to contact extraterrestrial life.

“We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn’t want to meet,” Hawking said.

“I imagine they might exist in massive ships, having used up all the resources from their home planet. Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonise whatever planets they can reach.” 1

While I can certainly understand the basis for his thoughts, my path of logic on the subject is a bit different.  If an alien species has the technology to visit our planet, we can infer some of the following:

  • They either have the ability to travel vast distances, or the ability to travel from point-to-point in order to reach our planet from their current location.
    • Either of the above would suggest they have a better understanding of many areas of science, including: mathematics, biology, physics, medicine as well as technology and self sustaining environments.
    • Creatures with that level of understanding should understand that species from separate, highly-evolved biological systems can not directly interact without extraordinary biological risks to both species.
      • If ants migrating across continents on ships seems like a problem – imagine the potential risks posed by a ship from another planet landing here.
      • The consequences could be catastrophic for both parties, from even a microscopic level interaction
    • The most probable form of contact would be a remote signal, or a sterilized robotic vehicle.
  • Based on our research thus far there appears to be more uninhabited planets than habited ones.   That arrangement should make finding natural resources an easy task for beings with advanced travel and research capabilities.
  • If an alien civilization was not able to interact with us on a physical level, and they had the ability to find resources on other uninhabited planets – the only purpose they would have for contacting us would be to share knowledge.
    • Beings with an advanced understanding in so many areas should also recognize knowledge for what it is – power.
    • It is doubtful they would remotely share knowledge with a less advanced society.  In a more primitive society, such as our own, corruption and abuse of power is to be expected.  To share knowledge not yielded from experience would only encourage a greater abuse of power.

Based on the above points, it seems to me that the if we are able to establish contact with an alien society – it would be with one at a similar point in evolution (mental and social) to our own – who are unable reach us by travel, and distrustful enough to share anything meaningful in a rushed manner.

What do you think?

1 See: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/space/7631252/Stephen-Hawking-alien-life-is-out-there-scientist-warns.html