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Science and Technology "Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known." - Carl Sagan.

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Old April 25 2010, 07:07 PM   #1
Edinburgh
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Contacting Aliens 'A Bad Idea', Warns Hawking

Aliens are very likely out there, according to eminent scientist Stephen Hawking - but we should keep quiet and hope they don't notice us.

In a new documentary for the Discovery Channel, the theoretical physicist warns against making contact with any extra-terrestrials.
Professor Hawking, who retired as the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge last year, claims such space life would only abuse Earth's resources and move on.
"We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn't want to meet," he said.
"I imagine they might exist in massive ships, having used up all the resources from their home planet.

"Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonise whatever planets they can reach."
"If aliens visit us, the outcome would be much as when Columbus landed in America, which didn't turn out well for the Native Americans."
The documentary, which begins on May 9, explores the British scientist's vision of the universe.
While most aliens were in all probability simple organisms such as microbes, Professor Hawking said it would only take a few intelligent ones to spell disaster for humans.
"To my mathematical brain, the numbers alone make thinking about aliens perfectly rational," he explained.
"The real challenge is to work out what aliens might actually be like."


Anyone want to have their say ?
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Old April 25 2010, 07:24 PM   #2
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Re: Contacting Aliens 'A Bad Idea', Warns Hawking

Isn't that just the plot to Independence Day?
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Old April 25 2010, 07:41 PM   #3
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Re: Contacting Aliens 'A Bad Idea', Warns Hawking

Servo wrote: View Post
Isn't that just the plot to Independence Day?
Ye it is,

But I've always thought the Voyager probe was a bad idea.
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Old April 25 2010, 07:48 PM   #4
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Re: Contacting Aliens 'A Bad Idea', Warns Hawking

This is already being discussed here:
http://trekbbs.com/showthread.php?t=119798
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Old April 26 2010, 03:33 AM   #5
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Re: Contacting Aliens 'A Bad Idea', Warns Hawking

Edinburgh wrote: View Post
Anyone want to have their say ?
Other than--apparently--every physicist who ever had their names in a newspaper?

Seriously: Stephen Hawking is very intelligent person, but he is--last time I checked--a physicist, not an anthropologist or an historian or even a biologist or anything else that imply any kind of knowledge whatsoever about what an alien civilization might develop into.
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Old April 26 2010, 06:08 AM   #6
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Re: Contacting Aliens 'A Bad Idea', Warns Hawking

Well, according to the random specials I've been seeing on the History Channel the last few days, aliens have already been here and gave ancient humans levitation technology, so...I think we're safe.

The HISTORY Channel. History. That means it happened.
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Old April 26 2010, 09:35 AM   #7
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Re: Contacting Aliens 'A Bad Idea', Warns Hawking

It's a bit of a 1950's idea. Maybe they would just want to explore. I think they would have resources enough of their own and enough technology.

It's a bit xenophobic.
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Old April 26 2010, 01:47 PM   #8
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Re: Contacting Aliens 'A Bad Idea', Warns Hawking

newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
Edinburgh wrote: View Post
Anyone want to have their say ?
Other than--apparently--every physicist who ever had their names in a newspaper?

Seriously: Stephen Hawking is very intelligent person, but he is--last time I checked--a physicist, not an anthropologist or an historian or even a biologist or anything else that imply any kind of knowledge whatsoever about what an alien civilization might develop into.
Point taken, but I have my doubts that people with those credentials would be any better off making predictions.

Alien civilizations are by definition ALIEN. We have no frame of reference to guess at their beliefs, motivations, or psychology. NONE. Maybe they follow a religion that requires them to kill any other sentient beings they encounter because they developed alongside another sentient race that tried to kill them. Maybe they have no emotions at all. Maybe they would chose to worship us as gods, maybe they'd chose to keep us as pets, maybe they'd enslave us or ignore us all together. Maybe they'd want to eat us, or maybe they're just here to teach us how to cook. All this supposition about how they'd have to be peaceful because to get to space they'd have to have got over their own conflicts and learned to be peaceful is MORE bullshit. We don't know how their brains work, how their societies might be structured, how strong their drives for self preservation are, what their history is....

The only things we know for certain is that a sentient alien creature needs a way to transmit and receive ideas and perceive the world around them. They probably need a way to move around. The rest you can fill in the blanks.

Any time anyone claims they know how a fucking alien civilization and mind would behave better than someone else is bullshitting you. Their guess is as good as mine or yours or anyone else's. Yes, that includes Hawking's guess.
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Old April 26 2010, 01:50 PM   #9
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Re: Contacting Aliens 'A Bad Idea', Warns Hawking

I used to assume that any civilization capable of crossing interstellar distances would be benevolent, or at worst indifferent. But I have been reconsidering lately.

One thing we have to remember is that being alien doesn't just mean that they look different, but they also think different - their minds are alien. Their concepts of ethics and morality could be completely different.

For example, in Peter F. Hamilton's science fiction novels Pandora's Star and Judas Unchained, the human race encounters an alien race called the Primes. Their way of thinking is so different from ours that negotiation is impossible. The Primes simply see other life as competition that needs to be eliminated.
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Old April 26 2010, 01:53 PM   #10
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Re: Contacting Aliens 'A Bad Idea', Warns Hawking

2012 folks, its going to be a seachange have no doubt, The Pope talked about aliens, now Stephen Hawkings, first contact is going to happen in two years.
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Old April 26 2010, 02:38 PM   #11
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Re: Contacting Aliens 'A Bad Idea', Warns Hawking

I think it takes some effort and concentration to get off a planet. It takes a lot of technology and a lot of power and I don't think bug eyed monsters would come here to rape our women and impregnate them and enslave us.

I think the reason we haven't been contacted yet, is because we are so savage, still fighting wars and killing each other. Even Trekkies are, though some of them get it a bit more than others.

That recent attempt at communication, where an ADVERT was beamed into space ,at another system, made me laugh!

As if they would want to buy anything of us! Even the Ferengi would laugh!
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Old April 26 2010, 02:53 PM   #12
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Re: Contacting Aliens 'A Bad Idea', Warns Hawking

Cheapjack wrote: View Post
I think it takes some effort and concentration to get off a planet. It takes a lot of technology and a lot of power and I don't think bug eyed monsters would come here to rape our women and impregnate them and enslave us.
Maybe they put all that effort in due to a religious prerogative that compels them to exterminate or convert all alien life.Maybe a species that views all other sentient life as competition, maybe their insanely xenophobic and become physically ill at the very thought of our existence. We have no idea.

Where did the notion that having technology = morality? The Third Reich was arguably the most technologically advanced culture on earth during WW2. Imagine they'd won the war, conquered the globe and eventually went out into the stars. How do you think a society with those attitudes would treat aliens of a similar or inferior technological level?
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Old April 26 2010, 02:56 PM   #13
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Re: Contacting Aliens 'A Bad Idea', Warns Hawking

john titor wrote: View Post
2012 folks, its going to be a seachange have no doubt, The Pope talked about aliens, now Stephen Hawkings, first contact is going to happen in two years.

Since you're from the future why not just tell us what happens?
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Old April 26 2010, 03:36 PM   #14
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Re: Contacting Aliens 'A Bad Idea', Warns Hawking

The constant factor in all games of life is survival.

If a species is unable to survive, or is reckless to the point of apparently not having the will to survive, then do we think that is an advanced species?

Even if an alien civilisation is based on ideologies -- lets say benevolent ideologies -- then they should know that those ideologies will not survive if they are physically defeated. Everything a species is and represents is tied to the survival and perpetuation of fragile material things.


I often think that life beyond ones home planet would just be nature on grander order of magnitude. Humanity may rule on earth, but sailing through the galaxy would be as a minnow in a vast ocean. We could run into nothing. We could run into sharks.
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Old April 26 2010, 03:52 PM   #15
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Re: Contacting Aliens 'A Bad Idea', Warns Hawking

There is a great deal more evidence and reason to believe that Hawking is right than there ever has been to support or defend Roddenberry's grandiose and utopian notion that if life similar to ourselves exists those creatures would cooperate with us.
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