Hawking warns of alien contact

Discussion in 'Astronomy, Exobiology, & Cosmology' started by baftan, Apr 25, 2010.

  1. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

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    Any species technically savy enough to tranverse space to our little section of the universe would clearly have evolved to the point where materialism is no longer meaningful. Beings capable of extensive space travel will be able to harness the power of the universe. Our meager existence and capability pale in contrast to such power. So they very well may be space hippies.
     
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  3. Doreen Valued Senior Member

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    'May be' being the key phrase. On the other hand, they may use us like the Romans used people as fodder for gladiator sports. They might think our world looked similar enough to their own to possibly be useful, arrive, kill us and then carefully test the soil, water and air.

    If you think about the homo sapians from richer countries have come to poorer countries and the variety of reasons and approaches, all sorts of horrible things could happen.

    We could have the equivalent of big game hunters - but think how the american buffalo was 'hunted'.

    Or private companies who see us as an opportunity to test adaptable, mutating viruses - for use against other alien civilizations who are a real threat.

    Hell, just a bunch of 'drunk' alien idiots out on a 'joyride' could think it was fun to do whatever to a primitive species.

    Not that any of this is necessarily what would happen, but there is no reason at all to rule this out.

    It might even be considered prudent to nip any potentially space travelling civilization in the bud early on.
     
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  5. Enmos Staff Member

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  7. Doreen Valued Senior Member

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    Oh, I meant people from a specific municipality in the Philliipines, Sapian municipality, that is. I believe alien, space travelling species will be most like them.
     
  8. Enmos Staff Member

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    Huh?

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  9. Doreen Valued Senior Member

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    and here you can see a typical Sapian festival.....
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VWxPWDeIX5Y

    Note the similarities between Sapian and Alien garb.

    (p.s. i am just playing around, pretending I did not make a spelling mistake)
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2010
  10. John99 Banned Banned

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    The initial comment (by Hawking) is not really anything worth getting excited about. As has been mentioned earlier, this is the plot from a movie. I think what he is referring to is the fact that since it is so hard for people from Earth to find thing in the vast outskirts of space then other intelligent life forms would face the same problem and just may not put searching for others as a top priority. For just as every star looks the same, so shall every intelligent creature (see post #38 for reference). Meaning the intelligence of humans and there is the extremely good possibility that humans are the intellectual boundary of ALL living organisms weather or not supernatural entities exist, i cannot comment on that. For large populations of breeding organisms, it is my opinion that humans denote an upper boundary. A limit, a limit in life that cannot be crossed, given the laws of nature. I know that they would look virtually identical because there is only one way that can happen and given all the components then i MUST conclude that there are identical creatures to humans in various parts of the universe. This means that there is also the chance that we would have a clone somewhere because if two identical humans (DNA and other factors) get together they would produce an identical clone of someone here on earth. Now this does not mean a clone in terms of emotions or anything that would be impacted by nurturing or interactions with other. So they can be different in that way, but i would be virtually identical in appearance and intelligence.

    We also can take into account all the variations of humans, given climate difference i cannot see the4m looking too much different. So i say identical.

    I am going to come back and add to this, this is the rough draft.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2010
  11. madanthonywayne Morning in America Staff Member

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    Space hippies would never make it into space. They'd sit around getting stoned and communing with nature.

    This quaint idea that intelligence and/or advanced technology implies benevolence has no basis in reality. It reminds me of an old movie in which an alien commented on how backward earth civilization was. His proof? The men still wore ties.

    Intelligence, ties, and benevolence are all independent variables.
     
  12. synapse Registered Member

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    I guess what I'm trying to say is that a lot of people act like humans are the end product of evolution. I think we're just another rung in the ladder.

    Look at it this way.

    Prokaryotes were the dominant form of life for the great majority of life's history on Earth. Then something weird happened. First we witnessed the birth of organelles within individual cells (which, by all accounts, seems to be a product of symbiosis) and then multicellularity. From that point on, carbon-based life witnessed an explosion in diversity. In the relatively short period of time since the advent of multicellular organisms, we have (by many measures) generated the most biological diversity ever.

    I think it's the same way with humans.

    While non-directional competition was the logical way to go for a while, our own version of "multicellularity" (think of humans as individual cells and organizations as tissues, organs and organisms) has proven to be the organizational principle of choice. The multicellular organisms in our society (think governments, special interest groups, corporations) have absolutely dominated the single-celled organisms, blindly competing amongst each other (think you, the peasants). If you think that an advanced civilization capable of interstellar travel is going to be as stupid and easily amused as ours is, I think you should stop reading this right now. Thank you for your time.


    For those still with me, let's use another analogy.

    In the evolution of multicellular organisms, neurons were a huge leap, right? They allowed cells to communicate orders of magnitude faster, which meant that organisms could better respond to their environment and their individual cells could better communicate with each other. A relatively short period of time later--here we are.

    If you think of the Earth as an organism (and why shouldn't it be?), the above has profound implications. Just as neurons allowed for the development of consciousness, the development of humans has, in a sense, made the Earth conscious. We are the brain of the Earth. Our discovery of language was analogous to the dawn of neuronal signaling. It allowed us to transmit an unprecedented amount of information and, just like the brain records its own history, it gave the human species a collective "memory" of sorts.

    What I'm saying is that this explosion in evolution that we call technology is analogous to every other revolution in evolutionary history. When we put up telephone cables, we made longer, more efficient neurons. When we discovered the internet, we essentially connected these neurons to each other, creating a vast neural network. You can think of us as being the creators of technology but I don't know that you'd be justified. I mean, proud, free-willing beings that we are, we're just a way for DNA to replicate itself. Why shouldn't DNA be a way for information to organize itself?

    Technology is just another step in evolution. We can already see the symbiosis. Where would people be without their clothing? How could we have triumphed over primitive races without fire? What would you be doing if you weren't on the internet?

    My point is this: you assuming that the next dominant species is going to be very human-like is comical, like plants assuming that they would be sovereigns of the land for the rest of Earth's history.

    Let's evolve, shall we?
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2010
  13. synapse Registered Member

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    Benevolence is a word that you used. It has connotations of good and evil, which, you would agree, is just opinion.

    What I'm talking about is logic.

    It's not logical to have everyone pursuing their own vapid interests, wasting all of the Earth's available resources in the process. When cells start doing that in your body, they're identified as a tumor and promptly eliminated.
     
  14. synapse Registered Member

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    Uhh, that was a rhetorical question

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  15. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

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    Then you haven't actually read his comment. There is no such implication.

    WTF? No they don't.

    And that claim has not been substantiated.

    And that is yet more specious rot.

    Can you support that opinion with anything substantial?

    No, you believe, you don't know. And the comment "only one way things could happen" is also sheer nonsense.

    Still clueless... All of the above is baseless, uninformed supposition.

    Don't bother, it's insupportable nonsense.
     
  16. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

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    I think you missed the point. Who said that advanced technology implies benevolence? Technology is not the issue in and of it self and technology is not something that either you have or do not have. Technology is not linear and particularly the social impacts of technology are not linear as you imply. The benefits of extremely advanced technology - a level of technology that we have never known - is the issue. The roll of economics (a social science) given an extreme level of advanced technology is the issue.

    When one possesses technology which allows for the solution to the fundamental economic problem...lack of resources...then you have a game changing event. Once that level of technology has been achieved, it is simply wrong to imply the same old models of economic scarcity. Because you are trying to solve a problem that no longer exists.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2010
  17. cluelusshusbund + Public Dilemma + Valued Senior Member

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    I dout we have a choise... it does apear that evoluton will continue... an who knows... our known universe may be as insignificent to mor highly evolved entities as a speck of dust is to us... but one way or anuther us humans are an indangered species... ether by destruction or evolvin beyond ourselfs.!!!
     
  18. synapse Registered Member

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    I wholeheartedly agree.
     
  19. Nasor Valued Senior Member

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    There's a big difference between "possibly habitable" and "has an intelligent civilization launching stuff out into space living on it."
    I agree with you that it seems unlikely in the extreme that aliens would come to Earth to steal our resources. The problem is that they might decide that it's prudent to simply kill us preemptively, before we're able to cause trouble for them. This could be a perfectly reasonable, logical decision for them. After all, they will surely value their own survival more than our own. There is no clear reason to believe that they would place any value on our survival.

    Part of the problem is that once you're able to accelerate things to near the speed of light, you are probably able to wreck anyone's planets at will by simply crashing stuff into them. Since the missile (or whatever) is traveling at near the speed of light, the target won't see it coming until it's too late. This is probably a fundamental feature of physics, and not something that a sufficiently intelligent race could find a way to work around. This could give any aliens a strong incentive to exterminate other species, even if the target species was much more primitive. Suppose nuclear missiles were the best weapons possible, and impossible to defend against - whatever else your civilization might achieve, once you develop nuclear missiles, you're more or less done with weapons. You're from a highly advanced society, and one day you learn that a tribe of (relative) primitives on an island is probably going to develop nuclear weapons soon. Once they have them, they will be able to wipe you out at will and there's nothing you could do about it. Of course, you can always nuke them yourself now to be on the safe side. Would you do it? Most people would agree that it would be morally reprehensible, but I'm sure you could find at least a few people willing to support the notion. Okay...now imagine it's not a tribe of humans, but of iguanas. Now how do you feel about preemptively nuking them? A lot less bad, right? And you and the iguanas are at least from the same planet.

    Of course, it's possible that any aliens out there would have some sort of philosophy or ethics that caused them to respect all intelligent life. But so far as I can tell, there is zero evidence to support this. They might think that way, or they might not. No way to tell. Just because they cooperate amongst themselves doesn't mean that they would value alien life (us) at all. Ants from the same colony never fight, but they're perfectly willing to wage vicious wars against other ants.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2010
  20. madanthonywayne Morning in America Staff Member

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    The species still evolved under conditions of scarcity and certain patterns of thought and behavior come naturally.

    Furthermore, regardless of how an alien species evolves and learns to work together; they might well see us as either a threat or simply vermin to be exterminated.
    In the context of this thread, I'd consider "benevolent" any alien species that didn't take direct action intended to do us harm.
    Irrelevant. The Borg, for instance, would fit your description of an alien species in which everyone does not pursue his own "vapid interests"; yet they are one of the most hostile species ever conceived of in SciFi.
     
  21. sifreak21 Valued Senior Member

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    me and a work buddy had a conversation about this today he brought up a good point that i hadnt thought of yet

    he agreed that yes there is life outside of earth and most likely some that is far far more advanced than us, but then he went on to say, human beings are ruthless selfrighous prics and we cant even accept people of a different race, religion, or even color. So that being said how would we beable to accept the fact that there is other life out there, and if we ever do meet them we will most likely try to kill it because its "different"
     
  22. WillNever Valued Senior Member

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    2,554

    Okay, here are my opinions regarding Stephen Hawking's xenophobia:


    (1) While I respect Stephen Hawking's intellect, I feel that he is demonstrating unjustifiable paranoia here.

    (2) If intelligent and technologically advanced aliens exist anywhere within our quadrant of the galaxy, then they should already know about us.

    (3) And if they already know about us... and if they were somehow coveting our world... then they would already be here by now, and they would have already destroyed us.

    (4) Therefore, if they are not here yet (and so far as we know, they are not) and if they have not already destroyed us (they haven't)... then (a) they may not be able to reach us, due to the distances involved or (b) they do not possess the means to destroy us without also destroying this planet, thus rendering it useless to them or (c) they simply have no desire to wipe out the human race, nor do they have any interest in stealing our planet.

    (5) Conclusion: technologically advanced alien beings either (a) do not exist or (b) can not reach us or (c) are incapable of destroying us without ruining this planet or (d) do not have any hostility towards us.


    Logic.
     
  23. Nasor Valued Senior Member

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    How is it logical to allow a threatening race to continue to live and advance their technology? If aliens came across Earth and concluded we had nothing to offer them other than the possibility of future problems, doesn't it make perfect sense to exterminate us? If the hypothetical aliens are as united and dedicated to the greater good of their own civilization as you imagine they might be, that could just make it worse. See my above ant example.
     

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