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Author Topic: Do you agree with Hawking (about Aliens)?  (Read 18690 times)

Offline latebind

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Do you agree with Hawking (about Aliens)?
« on: 26/04/2010 13:07:25 »
I tend to agree with Hawking, I think intelligent life out there would not be peaceful, just look at us!

He is right when he says we should just stay quite and hope nobody notices, cos if u think about it logically the more basic an organism is, then the more peaceful it is,and the more intelligent organisms get the more dangerous they become.


I hope if there is intelligent life out there, that they dont know we here.
« Last Edit: 26/04/2010 13:52:59 by latebind »


 

Offline Geezer

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Do you agree with Hawking (about Aliens)?
« Reply #1 on: 26/04/2010 15:43:07 »
Quite apart from the biological hazards, it does not matter how "civilised" other beings might be. It would be extremely expensive to mount an expedition to go trolling around the galaxy, so I would suspect their motives would be not be entirely scientific.

I think that is a motivation behind human exploration too.
 

Offline graham.d

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« Reply #2 on: 26/04/2010 17:02:12 »
What a pair of miserable pessimists you are. Given the age of our solar system compared with others in the galaxy there are likely to be vast differences in the age of any species in the galaxy. If it turns out that space travel to other stars is possible then there are likely to be species out there who have already been there, done it and acquired the tee-shirt. And they could be millions of years ahead of us! It is indeed quite likely we are already on their books (if we are in any way of interest), whether we signal our existence or not. If they choose to visit us, and they may have already, you can be sure that we would not know about it. Our technology would not be up to it. This is really why CETI is a waste of time. The only intelligent aliens who would be likely to be found are those who are within a few years of our state of development and so can't get here anyway. I doubt we would recognise the stray emissions from anyone in advance of us.

I will not lose sleep worrying about this :-)
 

Offline Geezer

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« Reply #3 on: 26/04/2010 17:54:37 »
Not pessimists. Realists.

The Earth is a very desirable piece of real estate. Any aliens that do show up around here are bound to be technologically far in advance of us, and they are likely to look at us as a primitive life form that's overcrowding the place and generally buggering it up, much the same way as we look at a plague of rats.

We need to keep schtum. Turn off all the RF transmitters now. Don't say we didn't warn you!
 

Offline LeeE

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Do you agree with Hawking (about Aliens)?
« Reply #4 on: 26/04/2010 18:12:12 »
What Hawking has said is certainly plausible, as are the various opposite views, but all views are pure speculation because there is no evidence to support any view over the others.  All that can be done is to project different human traits onto hypothetical aliens, and here Hawking has chosen one particular trait over many others.

Trying to hide the presence of the human race on Earth is futile (security through obscurity never works) and may even be counter productive.  Even if we could conceal the presence of human life on Earth we cannot conceal the entire planet, so if the planet is attractive to aliens then I would think that the fact that there is already non-primitive life on it is more likely to act as a deterrent than a spur, unless you assume, of course, that what they really want is a fight and not resources.
 

Offline Geezer

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« Reply #5 on: 26/04/2010 18:20:40 »
I tend to think the only reason they would be here is because they were looking for a place to colonize. They might not be looking for a fight, but they would view us a big nuisance.

Why else would they expend vast resources (and time) to come here?

(I realize nobody is going to win this argument  ;D)
 

Offline LeeE

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« Reply #6 on: 26/04/2010 18:56:28 »
...but they would view us a big nuisance.

Indeed.  If they can get here from a distant star (none of the near stars show any evidence of life) then they could go somewhere else where they didn't have to deal with that nuisance.

Of course, there's the possibility that eliminating the human race could be trivial for them and hardly a nuisance at all, but in that case there would be nothing we could do about it.

What it seems to come down to is that if aliens are interested in the planet (which we cannot conceal), either for resources or for colonisation, then knowing about human life on Earth is either going to act as a deterrent or won't be a significant factor.
 

Offline Geezer

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« Reply #7 on: 26/04/2010 20:13:50 »
...but they would view us a big nuisance.

Indeed.  If they can get here from a distant star (none of the near stars show any evidence of life) then they could go somewhere else where they didn't have to deal with that nuisance.

Of course, there's the possibility that eliminating the human race could be trivial for them and hardly a nuisance at all, but in that case there would be nothing we could do about it.

What it seems to come down to is that if aliens are interested in the planet (which we cannot conceal), either for resources or for colonisation, then knowing about human life on Earth is either going to act as a deterrent or won't be a significant factor.

So, basically you're saying that if they ever decide to show up, we're pretty much screwed! I think I'd agree with that.

If we are lucky, they might keep us around for entertainment value. I wonder if they'd have a sense of humour? I would think any advanced civilization would have to.
 

Offline JP

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« Reply #8 on: 27/04/2010 04:37:11 »
Here's one of the (many) articles summarizing his point: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/8642558.stm

No one's going to win this argument, but Hawking makes a good point when he says that when Columbus met the native Americans, things didn't turn out so well for them.  Indeed when technologically advanced human civilizations met less technologically advanced civilizations, things generally went disastrously for the latter groups.  Does this reasoning hold for non-earth intelligent life?  It's impossible to tell since our sample size is 1 and we have an observational bias. 
 

Offline graham.d

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« Reply #9 on: 27/04/2010 15:38:38 »
You know the concept that generals are always planning on fighting the last war and not the next one? There is an anology here. Wars in the past were fought over real estate for colonisation because of expanding populations. I don't see this being an issue for the technologically advanced countries in the world now. Things have changed. Arguably recent wars have been about natural resources, but I don't see that the earth is likely to have raw materials not available elsewhere with less damaging consequences. A civilisation with the capability to get here would probably not have a problem in acquiring minerals and other items can probably be synthesised. They may be interested in the less tangible, art and culture, but it would definitely be counter productive to destroy the population to get it :-) I don't think extrapolation of earth's history is a good model unless you take into account a lot more facts.

That is not to say contact with an alien culture could not be destructive. It could. But I think the destruction would be more likely from our inability to manage the responsibility of any sudden increase in our technological ability rather than by the deliberate acts of an alien race.

I will say again, if interstellar space travel is practically possible and if life exists elsewhere in the galaxy (it seems very likely) then any aliens who could get here are likely to be hugely technologically advanced compared with us. Not just us compared with (say) 100 years ago but thousands to millions of years. They would be very likely to know of every planet in the galaxy and if they wanted the earth could have taken it before man existed.

SciFi movies and computer games have a lot to answer for :-)
 

Offline LeeE

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Do you agree with Hawking (about Aliens)?
« Reply #10 on: 27/04/2010 16:13:21 »
I don't think that the Columbus-North American Indian scenario is as simple as Hawking might have us believe.  The North American Indian population wasn't really decimated until the 19th century, when competition for land became an issue, long after the initial 'discovery' by Columbus and the first settlements were formed.  There were many instances where the early settlers got on pretty well with the indigneous indians (as well as quite a few where they didn't, of course).

Perhaps Hawking should have used the Spanish conquest of the Aztecs instead.
 

Offline latebind

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Do you agree with Hawking (about Aliens)?
« Reply #11 on: 27/04/2010 17:54:51 »
One thing that I personally feel is in favour for us, is the fact that our planet is fairly small, and probably not worth the energy it would take to get here and mine it.

ALSO I'm pretty sure most elements that are on earth can be found on other planets in our solar system and other solar systems, but I still agree with Hawking that the risk is just too much to take(at least until we have the  proper weaponry)
 

Offline graham.d

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« Reply #12 on: 28/04/2010 08:32:39 »
Good grief. Now we are planning a war!!!
 

Offline quibitheed

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« Reply #13 on: 28/04/2010 09:51:29 »
I would imagine if there were an alien species capable of crossing the interstellar void that it evolved in a more or less similar way to us. That evolution took billions of years to create the capability. We are still a long way off from traversing the gulf between the suns and I would hazard the guess that long before we do that we will learn how to process the ordinary and common minerals and metals found in a solar system into whatever we want them to be. Therefore I would posit it unlikely any alien species would be interested in coming here to harvest our resources. Further I would guess that any species that has evolved to the point of interstellar capability has learned to love and respect the richness and diversity of life for its own sake, not as something merely to exploit. So I disagree with Hawking.
 

Offline graham.d

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« Reply #14 on: 28/04/2010 10:34:25 »
Good quibitheed. I was beginning to despair.
 

Offline latebind

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« Reply #15 on: 28/04/2010 11:50:54 »
Aliens will not be friendly, its a fact of life. Its only because we are human that we try to see the good side of them and happily imagine them with outstretched arms like ET, but I seriously doubt they will be as caring as us, we are a very very very special race.
 

Offline graham.d

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« Reply #16 on: 28/04/2010 13:05:39 »
That is not a very scientific comment latebind. I can see no supportable evidence for your assertion. All species tend to try to act in a way that is of benefit to themselves. Humans are no different in this respect: either personal, family or tribe (country, state, race, religion, football team etc). The fact that this is sometimes restrained is, maybe, a measure of our greater understanding of the world, but is rare and rather recent in human history. I would contend that aliens would, currently, have no advantage in contacting and dealing with humans. We would have nothing they would want. I perceive the danger is in humans being able to manage any rapid advance in technology that might arise. We don't manage very well what we have as it is - nuclear technology, genetic engineering, climate change etc.
 

Offline latebind

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« Reply #17 on: 28/04/2010 14:35:15 »
That is not a very scientific comment latebind. I can see no supportable evidence for your assertion. All species tend to try to act in a way that is of benefit to themselves. Humans are no different in this respect: either personal, family or tribe (country, state, race, religion, football team etc). The fact that this is sometimes restrained is, maybe, a measure of our greater understanding of the world, but is rare and rather recent in human history. I would contend that aliens would, currently, have no advantage in contacting and dealing with humans. We would have nothing they would want. I perceive the danger is in humans being able to manage any rapid advance in technology that might arise. We don't manage very well what we have as it is - nuclear technology, genetic engineering, climate change etc.

Hehe I agree with you, I dont know what came over me :)
Anyway, let the science continue --

So, I'd like to know what the odds are of 'complex' life elsewhere in the universe? Hawking states that just because of the maths alone, aliens are a rational debate to have.

Is there anyone who knows how to calculate this stat?  That would be really fun to see...
« Last Edit: 28/04/2010 14:38:29 by latebind »
 

Offline graham.d

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« Reply #18 on: 28/04/2010 15:06:54 »
There's the famous Drake equation but regrettably it has too many unknowns to be very useful. However, it would seem to me surprising if intelligent life is in any way unique given the number of potential places it could occur and the time that has elapsed to allow it to develop. Life on earth has only occupied a small fraction of the time that has been available and there are stars very much older than the sun. Finding life, of any sort, anywhere, would certainly give huge credance to this view, but, of course, at the moment this is really speculation without facts to back it up.

Historically, humans have only changed their view that they are somehow special when forced by the evidence to do so. I tend to take the view that it is unlikely that humans are in any way special and we probably lie in no distinct place in a statistical distribution of life in the galaxy.

 

Offline imatfaal

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« Reply #19 on: 28/04/2010 18:44:20 »
There is a nice short discussion on seti, alien life and the Drake equation on the 28th jan 2010 edition of BBCs material world - including an interview with Frank Drake himself.  the podcast is available on the material world section of bbc website (apologies for plugging a different podcast)
 

Offline jrussell

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Do you agree with Hawking (about Aliens)?
« Reply #20 on: 29/04/2010 11:10:55 »
....interesting topic.

i think

a) the universe is massive, perhaps infinately so
b) the universe is old, perhaps even older than current guesses

the opportunity is certainly there for life to exist.
as to the earth being desireable for conquest, i think that depends on the life-form; we know that to survive here one has to be carbon based requiring a nitrogen rich atmosphere. however, life does exist on this planet that survives in extreme eco-systems - take the tube like worms that survive under water through chemosynthesis. therefore, life only has to be adaptable, which evidence dictates it is, and have the time to develop, which there has been. that would not make any advanced civilisation necessarily aggressive.
 

Offline Emilio Romero

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« Reply #21 on: 29/04/2010 13:28:20 »

I think that the clearest evidence that there is INTELLIGENT life elsewhere in the universe rests in the fact that they have NOT come HERE...  :D :D :D
 

Offline latebind

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« Reply #22 on: 29/04/2010 13:45:49 »

I think that the clearest evidence that there is INTELLIGENT life elsewhere in the universe rests in the fact that they have NOT come HERE...  :D :D :D

HAHA LOL :) I like that one!
 

Offline Geezer

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« Reply #23 on: 29/04/2010 23:59:19 »
Call me cynical if you like, just don't call me Shirley. If aliens ever happen to show up in these parts, we're doomed.

(Yeah, thrice doomed I tell ye! Wo! Wo is we! Doomed I tell ye!)

Assuming they are not simply looking for an alternative source of protein, or some comfy new digs, and they are here on a purely scientific mission, their arrival will precipitate all kinds of destabilizing influences.

The mere mass of politicians rushing to meet them is likely to tip the Earth off its axis.



 

Offline latebind

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« Reply #24 on: 30/04/2010 11:28:16 »
Call me cynical if you like, just don't call me Shirley. If aliens ever happen to show up in these parts, we're doomed.

(Yeah, thrice doomed I tell ye! Wo! Wo is we! Doomed I tell ye!)

Assuming they are not simply looking for an alternative source of protein, or some comfy new digs, and they are here on a purely scientific mission, their arrival will precipitate all kinds of destabilizing influences.

The mere mass of politicians rushing to meet them is likely to tip the Earth off its axis.


Hehe lol, I wonder if they would be interested in taking the politicians with them?
 

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Do you agree with Hawking (about Aliens)?
« Reply #24 on: 30/04/2010 11:28:16 »

 

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