Stephen Hawking, the noted physicist, has expressed an in-depth personal fear of aliens, so much so that he hinted that we should stop trying to find 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 when 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 forgetting watching a lot of Star Trek and Star War movies. Obviously, it is pretty much mandatory for Hollywood to change 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 arrive at the other continents, the Europeans only needed some relatively primitive sailboats. As well as the aliens to arrive at Earth, dozens or hundreds of light years away, they could need quite sophisticated spacecraft. The critical question, therefore, is: Can a barbarous civilization develop higher technology?
Human history will not support the notion that it is actually feasible for barbarians to achieve higher technology. The two most barbarous epochs in human history were a) the tens of thousands of years preceding the dawn of civilization, and b) the thousand-year period after the fall in the Roman empire. In both epochs, technological progress was virtually nil. Only when human civilization became less barbarous, with all the demise of rule by hereditary delinquents called royalty, using the demise of slavery, using the spread of education towards the masses, and the like, do we begin to see technological progress.
For certain, there may be complete degenerates outside in space but they must be nothing to fear as it is unlikely that they will ever have the ability to leave their very own planet much less survive the nuclear weapons stage when they ever have that far. Technological barbarians, 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 cause a dramatic upheaval in human society. My opinion on this is: Not really. Perhaps decades ago there would have been some commotion but not today. More than sixty numerous years of ancient astronaut and UFO propaganda has produced a world in which alien contact may come to be just another news event. When it comes to “upheaval,” I could think about three things which might happen:
1) The armaments industry may be affected. Knowing advanced alien civilizations exist, chances are that humans will want to bind together as a species and can stop killing one another. Indeed, it appears virtually certain that wars between humans should come with an end, as well as the countries in the Middle East will finally make peace. Jobs inside the armaments industry would need to be transferred to infrastructure, space exploration, and consumer-related industries.
2) Social structures may be affected. Disparities in between the developed world as well as the third world may begin to disappear together with other inequities in human society. We will likely see higher taxes on the usvyot and much more awareness of education, technological development, and also the colonization of outer space.
3) Organized religions may be affected. Fundamentalist concepts like creation are likely to be pushed into the background, but overall, religions may still proliferate as 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 methods for self-sustenance excluding the barbaric plundering of inhabited planets. The chance that SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) will ultimately pick up an alien signal is certainly not to fear and, towards the contrary, might even be something to welcome.