Hawking on Aliens

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  • #2
It was silly.

The idea that Earth has some valuable resources that another civilization more advanced would want to plunder sounds ridiculous to me. Consider the fact that we've already seen extrasolar water planets (Earth isn't even a water planet it only has water covering the surface for miles: A water planet has water down to the core, hundreds of miles down). So water isn't one of them.

Okay then heavy elements? I'm sure there are other places more abundant with those too.

Diamonds? There are vast quantities of diamonds out there places far easier to get them from than Earth.

Oxygen? Look at the periodic chart it is common too.


Life? Yes we could be harvested for rare biological stuff DNA not seen elsewhere (the pharmecuticals in our bodies like in that BBC Sci-Fi movie?); but then just take samples and grow them. I would have to think how much more advanced a society is that can travel between stars and I doubt we have anything worth stealing.

Art? Human accomplishments? Doubtfull.


That isn't to say they would not be xenophobic or have some other reason to harm us. Perhaps to stop our expansion or some other paranioa: that I could see.

I can't come up with a reason for plunder though that would make such a grand feat as traveling across the stars to lug it all back seem worth it.



Personally I would hope that they would simply land and take over ; because I don't think humans should ever rule humanity but I don't rule out Aliens doing a better job than us.
 
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  • #3
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Stephen Hawking on aliens

Stephen Hawking warns over making contact with aliens

Stephen Hawking said it was "perfectly rational" to assume intelligent life exists elsewhere.
I have no problem with this statement, but ...

But he warned that aliens might simply raid Earth for resources, then move on.

"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," he said.
.... is it rational to assume that? Is he not projecting our impulses unto them? It is something we would do if we discovered a less technologically advanced intelligent life elsewhere.

His statement will feed on our fears and anxieties, and give more excuses to develop more weapons.

I think that Stephen Hawking is being irresponsible for making these comments.

By implying that we shouldn't do it ... well, guess what? That will certainly gives us more motivation to go ahead and do it.

Maybe that's his game plan.

Your thoughts, please.

Edit by Ivan: This post was merged into an existing thread
 
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  • #4
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It was silly.

The idea that Earth has some valuable resources that another civilization more advanced would want to plunder sounds ridiculous to me. Consider the fact that we've already seen extrasolar water planets (Earth isn't even a water planet it only has water covering the surface for miles: A water planet has water down to the core, hundreds of miles down). So water isn't one of them.

Okay then heavy elements? I'm sure there are other places more abundant with those too.

Diamonds? There are vast quantities of diamonds out there places far easier to get them from than Earth.

Oxygen? Look at the periodic chart it is common too.


Life? Yes we could be harvested for rare biological stuff DNA not seen elsewhere (the pharmecuticals in our bodies like in that BBC Sci-Fi movie?); but then just take samples and grow them. I would have to think how much more advanced a society is that can travel between stars and I doubt we have anything worth stealing.

Art? Human accomplishments? Doubtfull.


That isn't to say they would not be xenophobic or have some other reason to harm us. Perhaps to stop our expansion or some other paranioa: that I could see.

I can't come up with a reason for plunder though that would make such a grand feat as traveling across the stars to lug it all back seem worth it.



Personally I would hope that they would simply land and take over ; because I don't think humans should ever rule humanity but I don't rule out Aliens doing a better job than us.
they're here to steal YOUR ideas!!
 
  • #5
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He has lost it.
 
  • #6
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Wow wtf Hawking? Exert more brain power please.

I'm pretty sure if a civilization has lived long enough to conquer spacetime in its entirety they've been long rid of all war-like mentalities, lest they destroy themselves long ago. And I'm pretty sure there's enough resources in all the billions of planets to get their metals rather than coming here.
 
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  • #7
cristo
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.... is it rational to assume that? Is he not projecting our impulses unto them? It is something we would do if we discovered a less technologically advanced intelligent life elsewhere.
I didn't read his quote as him assuming that, he merely warned that that might happen. And it's quite possible that the resources he was talking about were not Earth itself, but the life-forms living on the planet.
 
  • #8
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Wow wtf Hawking? Exert more brain power please.

I'm pretty sure if a civilization has lived long enough to conquer spacetime in its entirety they've been long rid of all war-like mentalities.
Not necessarily.
Regardless of technological advancement, idealogical differences/intolerance amongst "intelligent life" can lead to aggression.
 
  • #9
radou
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All together, very pretentious, nothing else.
 
  • #10
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I was not to impressed with the new TV specials. I hope that in this universe for a civilization to have the knowledge to travel the galaxies that they must be 'good' in nature or they would self-destruct. Self-serving, dark and evil societies always seem to die out here on earth. Lets hope this is the same in all life forms. Because in evolution - whatever works stays - regardless.
 
  • #11


I didn't read his quote as him assuming that, he merely warned that that might happen. And it's quite possible that the resources he was talking about were not Earth itself, but the life-forms living on the planet.
That could be possible but then why not take samples then grow your own people and animals? I assume biological would mean living and living means "it can grow."

Or it could be like in that BBC show:
I think it was called Qauternaliean? It was a fun idea.
The idea was something like this.

Humans are turned into living pharmeceutical factories/farms. We are allowed to live our lives freely for the most part but now and then we are milked like cattle (through our brains?) for our biological ezymes, or fluids, or hormones, which are some byproduct of the products we consume. Since these Aliens (in the story) use biotech for everything some tailored part of our biochemistry is farmed and used to power their living spaceships.

I live in the United states (soon to be a medicalocracy) so sinister pharmecutical companies mining humans is not so outlandish.

Its a funny idea I like it.
It reminds me of the slogan "We are the veal!"
 
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  • #12
Kerrie
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“If aliens ever visit us, I think the outcome would be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which didn’t turn out very well for the Native Americans.”-from the link provided, words by Stephen Hawking.

This can be interpreted in many ways. For example, when Columbus landed, European disease wiped out score of Native Americans. The same could be true with alien life forms spreading diseases to us.
 
  • #13
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Why is Hawking so paranoid?
We all know there are dangers associated with alien contact, but to put it in such a framework to promote "avoid contact at all costs" is extreme and somewhat bizarre.

Additionally, an advanced space-based civilization might have very few diseases and perhaps no immunity to ours. Thus, I would be more worried about our diseases causing THEM harm.
 
  • #14
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It was silly.

The idea that Earth has some valuable resources that another civilization more advanced would want to plunder sounds ridiculous to me. Consider the fact that we've already seen extrasolar water planets (Earth isn't even a water planet it only has water covering the surface for miles: A water planet has water down to the core, hundreds of miles down). So water isn't one of them.
I expect they'd be looking for a good all round planet located in the Goldilocks Zone, as a new home ..or second home (for which they could claim back expenses). What's wrong, imo, is to assume that we would understand all the possible needs of an alien civilization. There could be a number of things we wouldn't consider.

What's "interesting" though, is that it's no secret that Stephen Hawking holds this opinion about trying to communicate with Aliens ..but why's he bringing it up now? And so publicly aswell.
 
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  • #15
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partly said:
what's wrong, imo, is to assume that we would understand all the possible needs of an alien civilization. There could be a number of things we wouldn't consider.
i expect they'd be looking for a good all round planet located in the goldilocks zone, as a new home ..or second home (for which they could claim back expenses).
o rly?
 
  • #16
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Maybe his computer-talky-thing was on the fritz and he didn't mean to say any of this. Maybe he meant to say that we should make contact with other life forms because the idea of an alien race invading/enslaving/slaughtering mankind for our most valuable resources (fig newtons I would presume) is an incredibly inane idea.
 
  • #17
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o rly?
lol.

..I wasn't really contradicting though.
 
  • #18
Ivan Seeking
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Forgive me for being blunt, but I don't think anyone here is in any position to mock Hawkings. It is clear that some people find this idea to be pretty silly. Let's move on, and be respectful.
 
  • #19
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What papers has he put out within the last 10 years? If it isn't much, then it seems like it could be an attempt at limelight again.
 
  • #20
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Stephen Hawking = Very Smart, Very Overrated.
 
  • #21
I wouldn't be worried about aliens wanting Earth for anything other than research. More than likely our planet wouldn't even be habitable for them. Its likely that aliens would have evolved in environments with different temperatures and pressures. I doubt we'd even be able to stand in the same room with an alien life form without being vaporized, crushed, frozen, or having our blood boil from low pressure or something like that. It seems unlikely that our diseases, or their diseases, would hold any danger. Their technology could be dangerous in our hands though. Even if they gave us a "beneficial" technology, it would probably be as disasterous as giving an assault rifle to a spider monkey.
 
  • #22
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I wouldn't be worried about aliens wanting Earth for anything other than research.
What do you mean? Like they would send their grad students here to study us and then write papers about it?
 
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  • #23
turbo
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Much of this this thread has been anthropocentric. That's not bad in itself, since self-preservation is not a bad thing, but let's get some perspective.

If an alien culture managed to show up here (even in the most benign way) they certainly would want to crawl over this blue ball with a fine-toothed comb. We have so many organisms, so many micro-environments, so many extreme environments (at least to our minds) that the Earth would be a treasure to them. We have deep ocean critters living on the emissions of volcanic vents at the bottom of the sea, we have arctic critters that can feast in good times and lay low in bad times and make it through season after season, and we have such a variety of life (of all kinds) living in the temperate, sub-tropical, and tropical zones, that it would take exobiologists millennia to make sense of it.

We could have micro-organisms in our soils, waters and air with characteristics and metabolic processes that could solve puzzles that they have been plaguing them for a long time. I think that the most reasonable response to expect from sentient aliens would be "do no harm, study, and do not disturb the natural order".
 
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  • #24
What do you mean? Like they would send their grad students here to study us and then write papers about it?
:D Pretty much yeah. I just meant that we would probably be interesting in the same way that deep sea creatures living near ocean vents or creatures under the antarctic ice sheet are interesting to us.
 
  • #25
Much of this this thread has been anthropocentric. That's not bad in itself, since self-preservation is not a bad thing, but let's get some perspective.

If an alien culture managed to show up here (even in the most benign way) they certainly would want to crawl over this blue ball with a fine-toothed comb. We have so many organisms, so many micro-environments, so many extreme environments (at least to our minds) that the Earth would be a treasure to them. We have deep ocean critters living on the emissions of volcanic vents at the bottom of the sea, we have arctic critters that can feast in good times and lay low in bad times and make it through season after season, and we have such a variety of life (of all kinds) living in the temperate, sub-tropical, and tropical zones, that it would take exobiologists millennia to make sense of it.

We could have micro-organisms in our soils, waters and air with characteristics and metabolic processes that could solve puzzles that they have been plaguing them for a long time. I think that the most reasonable response to expect from sentient aliens would be "do no harm, study, and do not disturb the natural order".
I hadn't seen your post before posting...its fascinating that we came up with the same examples of ocean vents and ice sheets...perhaps great minds do think alike. :D
 

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