Monday, April 26, 2010

Quote of the Day: Stephen Hawking on aliens and humans

The great astrophysicist thinks we should avoid aliens if at all possible:

If aliens visit us, the outcome would be much as when Columbus landed in America, which didn't turn out well for the Native Americans.


We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn't want to meet.

I have the utmost respect for Hawking, and I certainly appreciate the depth of his misanthropy (we can be an ugly species, to be sure, and our collective history in terms of how we treat each other isn't exactly a barrel of laughs) -- and, who knows, he may very well be right -- but I'm just not sure we should allow such fear to get the better of us.

Sure, there may be Klingons out there, but what's wrong with Vulcans? And didn't we meet them first? Those creatures from Independence Day were nasty, true, but the ones in Close Encounters seemed fine.

So who really knows? 

Alright... I'm making light of this. But who, even Hawking, is to say that a more advanced specied wouldn't be more, well, civilized, more humane, than we've ever been? Shouldn't we be open to that possibility?

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  • Hippies like you are why we'll be enslaved, consumed or both...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:29 AM  

  • Hippies? That seems to be an ever larger and more inclusive group as the born-yesterdays gain confidence.

    Fortunately the question is moot and it probably takes a hippie to comprehend the distances between stars and the odds against anything intelligent enough and powerful enough being able to travel between them. The odds of pointy eared humans with logical minds being anywhere at all at any time at all are essentially infinite.

    Besides how could they screw things up any worse than George Bush did?

    By Blogger Capt. Fogg, at 12:03 PM  

  • It is a mathematical improbability, near impossibility, that there is nomadic space-faring life traversing our universe on a course which would inevitably put them in contact with Earth. That said I would be more inclined to view them as a threat than allies. So yes hippies could go wave daisies at them and be incinerated by ray guns, me I'll be in a bunker with my right to bear arms.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:35 PM  

  • Reminds me of the clergyman who waved a bible at the Martians in the first "War of the Worlds" movie and got his self cremated by MArtian death rays.

    But Hippies? First you'd have to find some not yet pushing up daisies and still able to wave them. Any real hippies are pushing 70 by now, maybe retired to Palm Beach from Goldman Sachs or living on their boats in the Caribbean?

    I don't disagree about the vanishingly small likelihood or the need for extreme caution when dealing with bug eyed chlorine breathers who think we're vermin, but then there's practically nothing we could do against things who could manipulate time and space at that unimaginable level. We'd be like insects waving our scorpion stingers at nuclear weapons and they might not even notice us.

    Now what would the Beatniks do - the Wobblies, The Lost Generation, The Bullmoose party, the Scruby Seperatists if the saucers landed?

    By Blogger Capt. Fogg, at 2:51 PM  

  • I agree with Hawkins. Think if we
    went to a planet and we were much
    more advanced. It would be like the Europeans and the new world or
    worse. Any intelligence that could
    travel the vastness of space, would
    find it easier to manipulate us for
    what they want, kinda like we work
    horses,cows, dogs ect, and I doubt
    we'd have a clue. Get a clue, just another brick in the wall!

    By Blogger brick in the wall, at 5:24 AM  

  • They've been here for a long time,
    manipulating us, like a horse or
    trained dog. We don't have a clue.

    Another brick in the wall

    By Blogger brick in the wall, at 5:45 AM  

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