I have always been a strong proponent of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI). Like the late Carl Sagan, I wanted an answer to the question Are We Alone? Like Sagan, I felt that informational and cultural exchanges with extraterrestrials could be of great benefit to humankind.
Consequently, I was somewhat dismayed last year when read that Stephen Hawking, arguably the greatest living scientist, fears aliens. He suggests that we stop sending out signals because if the aliens find out we exist, they will come here to plunder our planet. He surmises that the aliens have already exhausted all the resources of their home planet, so now they are looking for fresh planets to exploit.
I was even more dismayed this year when I heard that Michio Kaku, another of our great scientists, echoes Hawking's fear of aliens in a radio interview. Kaku states that Sagan made a huge mistake sending a disk out into deep space because that disk tells the aliens (on the infinitesimal chance that anyone will ever find it) where we are located, and presumably they (the aliens) will promptly come here to wipe us out.
Kaku goes on to declare that, like Bambi fighting Godzilla, we would be helpless against the aliens because predators (man-eating aliens) are always more intelligent than the prey (us humans). But he is not completely pessimistic; he notes that because of DNA differences between us and the aliens, the aliens might not want to eat us for dinner.
My opinion on this is: It is absurd to believe that a civilization with technology so advanced that it can travel across the galaxy would be unable to find a way to manufacture its own food supply. Even the Star Trek crew could do that. Besides food, minerals are also found on Earth, but many if not most of these minerals can also found on every other planet in our solar system and also on billions of other planets in our galaxy, inhabited with life or not. And please note that the obvious choice for energy resources would be stars rather than planets. Aliens would have no necessity at all to plunder planet Earth.
One of the main reasons humans acquired intelligence is because of our pioneering spirit. Only the apes remained in the trees. The humans ventured out to populate the entire planet. The Asians risked death crossing the Bering Strait into the Americas. Columbus risked death crossing the Atlantic. The Polynesians risked death crossing a vast ocean to populate the Pacific islands.
Now, all of a sudden, our great scientists, Hawking and Kaku, come along and tell us that we should become a race of cowards, that we should cuddle up in fear, and hide. For my part, I feel that it would be better for us to do the opposite: to revitalize our pioneering spirit by reaching out into space. Indeed, in view of the limited lifespan of our Sun and planet, there can be no doubt that the long-term survival of humans depends upon our moving out into space. And if the aliens do wipe us out, at least we will go out as a proud species, true to our heritage.
Hawking and Kaku need to know something: the greatest threat to the short-term survival of humankind are not man-eating aliens, but rather the thousands of nuclear weapons that we have accumulated and refuse to eliminate. Those weapons are a ticking time bomb that could terminate our existence at any time. And guess what might be the best assurance that those weapons will never be used for self-destruction: the sanity we acquire from alien contact.
Morten St. George is the founder of The Andean Sky God Website, a site that resurrects the ancient astronaut theme in regard to Tiwanaku and the Nazca Lines. He has written various alien-related articles including Reflections on the Fermi Paradox.
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Morten St. George is the founder of The Andean Sky God Website, a site that resurrects the ancient astronaut theme in regard to Tiwanaku and the Nazca Lines. He has written various alien-related articles including Reflections on the Fermi Paradox. Visit www.mortenstgeorge.info.
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