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Dr_Dredd's avatar

Do you agree with Stephen Hawking?

Asked by Dr_Dredd (10528points) April 26th, 2010

The famous British physicist has said that if aliens are out there, humans should avoid contact with them, as the results could be devastating. In a new television series, he states, “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.”

Do you agree or disagree? Why?

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46 Answers

deni's avatar

How does he know that?! Why do we assume such negative things about every other possible living thing that could be in this universe? Disagree.

loser's avatar

I’ve actually been pondering that all night and I’ve decided that if aliens were to make it to our planet, they would be making the trip because they want something and not just to become our new bff’s. I agree.

MacBean's avatar

I agree because I just read Invasion of the Body Snatchers, so that’s on my mind.

mattbrowne's avatar

Both. We should first observe and analyze and then make a decision. Depending on the nature of the intelligent aliens we should either make contact or avoid contact.

earthduzt's avatar

I personally don’t agree with that. My theory is that any intelligent lifeform that is able to travel such distances effectively and efficiently are so far advanced that violence or any form there of would not even register in their brains. They would have evolved beyond that. Now they may take in some of us for their own scientific research, but as far as lining us all up and using us as sex slaves or whipping us to do their bidding, I personally don’t think thats how that will pan out as that sort of thinking would be beyond their current way of thinking, they would have outgrown that barbarism many many many years ago.

MarcoNJ's avatar

I think the man is on to something. If aliens did visit us, I seriously doubt they came all this way just to sight-see.

rebbel's avatar

Y.e.s., i. d.o. .

wonderingwhy's avatar

I’d be more concerned about it in a “Spanish arriving in South & Central America in the 1500’s – think smallpox” kind of way. All it would take is one bug taking a great liking to our environment/physiology and adapting quickly.

Blackberry's avatar

You don’t need Hawking to figure that out. Hello…....look at how we conduct ourselves concerning human aliens lol…..An actual creature from another galaxy would only be disastrous.

Pretty_Lilly's avatar

“We should avoid contact”????
Let’s be realistic,humans would not have a choice,what are we going to do ?
Require them to have a Alien registration card ? Give Arizona law enforcement the power to stop them and question them ?
If Aliens wanted to take over this planet,they would have done it a long time ago and it would take them a good 10 minutes to bypass our defenses!
*My uncle loved to watch the Sci-Fi series Star Gate”
They had an interesting concept ! There were numerous alien races wanting to take over the planet, destroy or enslave humanity but there were also alien races willing to protect human and believed it would be best for us to remain completely oblivious to the whole thing !

janbb's avatar

I read this, but at this point, I feel we are far more likely to destroy our planet and ourselves before it comes to aliens. I’m not planning to lose any sleep over it.

CMaz's avatar

Stephen Hawking is educated in Applied mathematics and Theoretical physicist.
That writes Science Fiction.

Don’t get them confused.

j0ey's avatar

Ok….We can not be certain an alien civilization is going to be as savage and violent as we are.

In the future, if we traveled to a planet that had resources we needed, and there were creatures on that planet that we regarded as “lesser” beings than ourselves, we would kill them and use them with no hesitation or remorse. I mean, look how we treat the animals on our own planet. If we take this scenario and apply it to an alien civilization that is to humanity as humanity is to a herd of cattle, then yes they will fuck us all up.
I guess it is possible..

BUT that is a human scenario, coming from a human brain. I think we have as much hope in predicting the actions of aliens, as a pet pig has in predicting the actions of a farmer…..he may want you to be a show pig, or a prize ham. I think that’s the plot of charlotte’s web

Conclusion…..I think it is wrong to say I agree or disagree, because it would be an uneducated guess, as I only have human experiences and actions to draw from.

ebfable's avatar

I agree. First off, i will list the possibilities i think would happen with alien contact:
First, we can suggest that they may be peaceful and help our civilization advance beyond its wildest imagination.
Second, we can suggest that the aliens may not even think of us as equals seeing as our technology is not up to speed for traveling great distances in the vacuum of space.
Third, we can suggest that the aliens may only be interested in the Earth itself (like in the show when they discuss nomad aliens)
Lastly, we have no formal way of communications. There will be huge language barriers and perhaps we could give the wrong idea and vice versa.

With these predictions stated, I will say why I agree we should avoid contact, (at least at this time):
First, if our technology is allowed to be advanced to limits that we cannot yet comprehend, who knows what that new found power would be used for. For that matter, who would get that power? I bet there would be world competition for technology. *Here comes the arms race
Second, if we are not seen as equals, we may just be biochemical energy to the aliens to be used as they see fit. Whether it’d be slavery or source of food, no one will know. The only thing i do know about this hypothesis is that there is no happy ending.
Third, if the aliens are interested in the Earth for natural resources, then we can kiss our home goodbye. It’s bad enough we’re depleting our known resources.
Lastly, the communication barrier will prove difficult to surpass. Slight actions can be misinterpreted and influence unwanted actions. Until we develop some kind of way to send a universal message that is understood by any alien, we may need to think more cautiously about if we want to be involved with aliens.

All in all, if human-beings do not suffer at the hands of the aliens, then the technology brought forth will bring suffering among us (in my opinion). In a world of nuclear arms constantly being checked, who can imagine what would happen with extraterrestrial technology. With that, I agree.

jfos's avatar

1) I think we should be looking into defensive measures—not to be confused with offensive measures. I don’t think we should have missle launchers pointed to the skies and whatnot.

2) I don’t think that we should spend money on these measures before we spend money to bring water and food to impoverished people on our planet.

3) Working on such defensive measures would likely be beneficial in terms of diplomacy. Alien invasion would affect Iran and North Korea, Russia and Nigeria, New Zealand and Argentina all the same.

4) I think a joint-venture between us and said aliens could be hugely beneficial to our planet and its inhabitants.

filmfann's avatar

Larry Flynt is right! If aliens come here, they are gonna be looking for a new vacation spot.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

I agree with him. Natural selection makes every species self-serving, and if we make contact with aliens we would be inviting a turf war. But then the probability of contacting aliens is low, and the probability of ever traversing space to make personal visits is even less likely. I doubt it is an issue we will have to deal with in our generation, or the next.

CMaz's avatar

“Ok….We can not be certain an alien civilization is going to be as savage and violent as we are.”

I disagree. And, “savage and violent” is subjective. But, I do not see “other” civilizations much different then our own. After all there is a constant in the universe.

It would not be much of a stretch to see them with the same dispositions as our own.

philosopher's avatar

I understand Hawking’s feelings.
How can we analyze beings who are way more advanced than us?
I understand the desire to contact other intelligent life forms; but they may be dangerous to us. They may wish to enslave us all. They may wish to have all Earth’s resources.
Assuming that because they are more advanced their intension’s are altruist is very naive.
Many humans would take advantage of other sentient beings .
I often think they observe us but do not contact us because we are too primitive.
I also think that some of the stories about people being taken a broad UFOs maybe true.
Astronauts have said, they observed UFOs in space.
I prefer we error on the side of caution. One mistake could end life as we know it.

jfos's avatar

@philosopher Everything in space was a UFO until we analyzed it.

philosopher's avatar

Not everything is a life form.

jfos's avatar

@philosopher I agree with you completely. A UFO is an Unidentified Flying Object. It does not necessarily imply life—only lack of identification, flight, and matter.

OpryLeigh's avatar

I agree to a certain extent. I think it would be far safer to be prepared for the worst but hope for the best if there ever did come a day where we were contacted by aliens and to a certain extent I think we should be careful about what information we offer to any alien life forms. I wish I could agree with @earthduzt but I think we would be very naive if we assumed that aliens would have evolved beyond violence. Just because they maybe far more advanced than us certainly doesn’t mean that they will definately be any less violent than us. I also strongly agree with @wonderingwhy and think that for our sake and for the alien’s sake we should be very careful in that sense.

mattbrowne's avatar

@philosopher – If they are more advanced than us, perhaps close to being Kardashev Type II civilization able to harness all of the power available from a single star, you really think they need slaves? For what? They will have machines doing all the work.

wundayatta's avatar

I think that as creatures expand in numbers, they also need to expand in territory. I think the main reason that humans are willing to spend the resources to venture out to map new territory is to pave the way for exploitation of the resources they find. I don’t think aliens will be any different.

Some people suggest that there are discovery missions that are purely in the interests of science. But I once again say that the reason why we engage in speculative science is the hope that it will pave the way for some “useful” technology.

There is no such thing as a peaceful exploration mission. It’s all about getting a competitive advantage—either in terms of military strength (space exploration) or technological strength (all other forms of exploration).

If an alien makes it to earth, we would do well to heed Hawkings’ warning. They aren’t here to make friends. They are here to map the area and see if there are any resources they can exploit.

The amount of resources necessary to travel interstellar space is beyond imagining. I don’t think a civilization would put the resources together to do that without a serious plan for exploitation of whatever they find.

However, I doubt that we will see any aliens, ever. As I said, the resources necessary to create an interstellar mission are prohibitive. It would probably be out of desperation that any civilization would try to do this. Maybe their planet was dying or something. They would come loaded for bear, to make sure they would not be turned away whenever they got to where they were going. It’s a one way, one chance trip. It either succeeds or everyone dies.

So, unlikely to ever be faced with this scenario, but if we are, we would do well to bulk up our defense and be prepared for all out war.

earthduzt's avatar

@mattbrowne great answer is partly what I figure, they would not “need” us…they would see us as very primal and maybe help us rather than hurt us.

They would see our wars and bickering something that a primitive soceity does and maybe perhaps they were at one point that way. If they are able to traverse the universe they probably have every single thing in their life technology supported and would not even bother with us nor our resources here. But this is my theory on the whole alien intervention issue

CMaz's avatar

When we landed n the moon. Was our intention to invade?

GladysMensch's avatar

Agree… but for other reasons.
People freak out to the point of extreme violence over someone drawing a picture of their god. Imagine the reaction when there is proof that we are not alone; we are not special; we are not the chosen. Most of humanity would be stricken of their core beliefs. Humanity would be scared out of their minds.
Then there would be those who claim that other humans are siding with the aliens and betraying humanity. FFS, people beat the piss out of each other for liking the opposing baseball team. “They contacted your country first. Obviously, you’re working with them to take over!” It would be chaos.

philosopher's avatar

I hope and pray that you are right.
Life experience has taught me to error on the side of caution.
A lesson young people often dismiss. People under forty . The older I get the more the age goes up in my head.
Maybe I watch too much Scifi. Maybe some of their scripts close to a feasible reality. Not one we wish to live.

trailsillustrated's avatar

I agree I agree

ratboy's avatar

Yes. I’ve heard that people taste like pork. Pulled People Sandwiches, maybe.

tinyfaery's avatar

“We’d Make Great Pets”

DarkScribe's avatar

Don’t worry – Bruce Willis will save us.

mattbrowne's avatar

@philosopher – Yes, a certain risk remains. Therefore we should observe very carefully first, before making a decision about contact. However, there’s nothing we can do about our radio waves. They are on their way. The first series of Dynasty has already passed the star called Fomalhaut, about 25 light-years away. So if the aliens decode our signals and take a good look at the Carringtons, they might decide to stay away from our planet anyway. And if not, well, yes, there’s always Bruce Willis :-)

filmfann's avatar

When Columbus came, he brought with him a lot of diseases that the indians didn’t have immunities for. The thing we would need to worry about from ET are the diseases he doesn’t realize he is subjecting us to.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

@DarkScribe I thought Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum would save us. :-)

Great discussion, folks! I personally think that Hawking might be right, but we may not have a choice about contact. The aliens would probably force the issue.

CMaz's avatar

Always looking at the negative scenario.

I think if Aliens visit. They will bring cheese cake covered in cherries.

What would Steven Hawking know? He can’t eat cheeses cake.

philosopher's avatar

I pray your Serrano is closer to what reality presents.
I will always fear the worst because life has taught me that Murphy’s law is true.

philosopher's avatar

Professor Hawking’s was on Larry King tonight.
He will have a show on Discovery Channel on Sunday night at 9 PM.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

@philosopher Cool! I’ll have to check that out…

philosopher's avatar

I am looking forward to the series on Discovery Channel Sunday nights at nine.

Silhouette's avatar

I’d avoid them because they have a thing for anal probing and it’s not really my cup of tea.

CMaz's avatar

I want to change my Serrano. Cheese cake and anal probing for everyone.
Oh, and a nice cup of tea. ;-)

philosopher's avatar

I just got an email about this if anyone wants to read the information.

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