Maybe Stephen Hawking was right?
"Stephen Hawking thinks that making contact with aliens would be a very bad idea indeed."- The Guardian. April 2010
Having watched 4,000 (at least) alien invasion movies, I am always the one in the room who says "Not a good idea to advertise our presence in the galaxy." And then I think back when I was a kid and the Voyager probes were sent out with gold discs engraved with images of humans and our location in the Milky Way.
Bad Idea you fools at NASA!
Am I the only one who thinks that aliens coming to Earth would be really bad? Hawking thought so, and related to this topic is a fantastic blurb from Enrico Fermi, called the Fermi Paradox. The time is 1950. Physicist Fermi is sitting around one summer day, having a beer with fellow physicists, Teller, York, and Konopinski - according to Wikipedia - Oh, the beer part is made up.
Anyway, Fermi asked according to the story, if there are so many intelligent aliens out there based on the number of stars that must have planets that can support life, how come they don't come to Earth?
Good question, isn't it? If you accept that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old, and the universe is close to 14 billion years old, then all those super-advanced aliens should have been here long ago. In fact, that is one of the answers to this riddle, that if fact, the aliens came here and left. Nothing to see here, move on.
But, back to Stephen Hawking. The man was really smart, and he was adamant that waving a welcome sign is a very bad idea. Let's muse that for a second or two.
1) If aliens are smart enough to travel many, many light-years to get here, why did they do that?
2) If they are so advanced that they can jump around space instantly, then what could we offer them?
Let's consider answering these two questions (there are more, but this is a short blog). The aliens packed up, and let's say that they can't jump from point to point in space. So they hollowed out a huge asteroid, made it habitable, or they have a massive ship that can zip through space at a large fraction of the speed of light without getting whacked by random matter. It took them a million years to travel from one of the thousands of planets in our neighborhood, and now they are here.
So, they land in New York. You take them out for a pizza, and they all go back to their ship and travel another 800,000 years to go get soup from another primitive species like us. Do you find that hard to believe? I do. Rather, they are coming to Earth to grow their families, and our planet is already crowded. So, would all the humans please disappear, so we can fix this climate-changed and polluted world into something cozy for aliens with three heads and a lot of allergies.
Now, number 2 above poses the possibility that the aliens are so, so advanced that they just pop around the universe using wormholes or some other phenomena that we can't even conceive. They come here and see a bunch of two-legged, aggressive "bugs" and when you got too many irritating bugs, you have to call the exterminator.
I am not an expert on Stephen Hawking's mind remotely. However, if there was a reasonable chance that aliens would turn us into a food source, or simply vaporize us using some kind of human bug zapper, then it kind of makes sense to NOT INVITE THEM.
The wonderful series of books by David Weber which begin With Armageddon's Reef, tells the story of aliens that are just a little bit better at killing than we are. So, we end up losing the Earth and running to hide. It seems that the whole gamut of intelligence among extraterrestrials from slightly advanced to inconceivable intelligent, leaves us scratching our heads and asking "Why did we make ourselves so noticeable?"
Here's some links:
1) The Guardian Article about Stephen Hawking|
2) The Fermi Paradox:
3) How to tell if aliens are friends. I personally find this article silly and simplistic.
4) There are so many ridiculous articles about aliens coming to Earth that reading them might want you to invite the aliens just so they can experiment with the authors of the so-called "scientific analyses."
The likelihood is that aliens aren't coming here, and as Hawking pointed out if they could make the trip, we'd be better off just being a little, unseen dust ball over there on the edge of the Milky Way. Think about it like this: Do you really want ET's here that are capable of reading our DNA, like we read See Spot Run? Let's just keep our heads down and stay off the radar.