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 article will discuss whether this viewpoint has any merit.
The North American Indians, the South American Indians, the Africans and others, all had something very real to fear if the Europeans got to their land, therefore it is 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 too many Star Trek and Star War movies. Naturally, it is really 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 is, however, a noticeable distinction between Europe and the other continents on the one hand, and between Alien Spacecraft and Earth on the other. The difference is distance. To achieve another continents, the Europeans only needed some relatively primitive sailboats. But also for the aliens to arrive at Earth, dozens or hundreds of light years away, they might 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 possible for barbarians to achieve 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 after the fall from 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 the demise of slavery, using the spread of education for the masses, and so forth, should we commence to see technological progress.
Without a doubt, there could be complete degenerates out in space but they ought to be absolutely nothing to fear as it is unlikely that they may ever be able to leave their very own planet let alone survive the nuclear weapons stage when they ever get that far. Technological barbarians, such as the Klingons of Star Trek, may possibly appear in Hollywood and nowhere else. Now another question arises: Are friendly aliens something to fear?
Some have suggested that exposure to aliens would produce a dramatic upheaval in human society. My opinion with this is: Not necessarily. Perhaps decades ago there might have been some commotion but not today. Greater than sixty numerous years of ancient astronaut and UFO propaganda has produced a world where alien contact may turn out to be just another news event. As for the “upheaval,” I could consider three things that might happen:
1) The armaments industry could be affected. Knowing that advanced alien civilizations exist, chances are that humans will want to bind together as a species and can stop killing the other person. Indeed, it appears virtually certain that wars between humans will come to an end, and the countries in the Middle East will finally make peace. Jobs inside the armaments industry would need to be moved to infrastructure, space exploration, and consumer-related industries.
2) Social structures might be affected. Disparities in between the developed world as well as the third world may start to disappear as well as other inequities in human society. We will likely see higher taxes on the usvyot and much more awareness of education, technological development, and the colonization of outer space.
3) Organized religions may be affected. Fundamentalist concepts like creation are likely to be pushed to the background, but overall, religions may still proliferate being a mechanism for consolation and moral guidance.
Hawking acknowledges that aliens could have extremely advanced technology. The major flaw in the thinking is not realizing that such technology may be used to find ways of self-sustenance not including the barbaric plundering of inhabited planets. The chance that SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) will eventually pick-up an alien signal is certainly not to fear and, to the contrary, could even be something to welcome.