PDA

View Full Version : Stephen Hawking Warns Over Making Contact with Aliens



Keith Millea
04-26-2010, 06:52 PM
http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2010/04/25

Published on Sunday, April 25, 2010 by The Sunday Times/UK (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/science/space/article7107207.ece) Stephen Hawking Warns Over Making Contact with Aliens

by Jonathan Leake

THE aliens are out there and Earth had better watch out, at least according to Stephen Hawking. He has suggested that extraterrestrials are almost certain to exist - but that instead of seeking them out, humanity should be doing all it that can to avoid any contact.

http://www.commondreams.org/files/article_images/Hawkings.jpg
The suggestions come in a new documentary series in which Hawking, one of the world's leading scientists, will set out his latest thinking on some of the universe's greatest mysteries.

Alien life, he will suggest, is almost certain to exist in many other parts of the universe: not just in planets, but perhaps in the center of stars or even floating in interplanetary space.
Hawking's logic on aliens is, for him, unusually simple. The universe, he points out, has 100 billion galaxies, each containing hundreds of millions of stars. In such a big place, Earth is unlikely to be the only planet where life has evolved.

"To my mathematical brain, the numbers alone make thinking about aliens perfectly rational," he said. "The real challenge is to work out what aliens might actually be like."

The answer, he suggests, is that most of it will be the equivalent of microbes or simple animals - the sort of life that has dominated Earth for most of its history.

One scene in his documentary for the Discovery Channel shows herds of two-legged herbivores browsing on an alien cliff-face where they are picked off by flying, yellow lizard-like predators. Another shows glowing fluorescent aquatic animals forming vast shoals in the oceans thought to underlie the thick ice coating Europa, one of the moons of Jupiter.
Such scenes are speculative, but Hawking uses them to lead on to a serious point: that a few life forms could be intelligent and pose a threat. Hawking believes that contact with such a species could be devastating for humanity.

He suggests that aliens might simply raid Earth for its resources and then move on: "We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn't want to meet. 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 colonize whatever planets they can reach."
He concludes that trying to make contact with alien races is "a little too risky". He said: "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."

The completion of the documentary marks a triumph for Hawking, now 68, who is paralyzed by motor neurone disease and has very limited powers of communication. The project took him and his producers three years, during which he insisted on rewriting large chunks of the script and checking the filming.

John Smithson, executive producer for Discovery, said: "He wanted to make a program that was entertaining for a general audience as well as scientific and that's a tough job, given the complexity of the ideas involved."

Hawking has suggested the possibility of alien life before but his views have been clarified by a series of scientific breakthroughs, such as the discovery, since 1995, of more than 450 planets orbiting distant stars, showing that planets are a common phenomenon.

So far, all the new planets found have been far larger than Earth, but only because the telescopes used to detect them are not sensitive enough to detect Earth-sized bodies at such distances.

Another breakthrough is the discovery that life on Earth has proven able to colonize its most extreme environments. If life can survive and evolve there, scientists reason, then perhaps nowhere is out of bounds.
Hawking's belief in aliens places him in good scientific company. In his recent Wonders of the Solar System BBC series, Professor Brian Cox backed the idea, too, suggesting Mars, Europa and Titan, a moon of Saturn, as likely places to look.

Similarly, Lord Rees, the astronomer royal, warned in a lecture earlier this year that aliens might prove to be beyond human understanding.
"I suspect there could be life and intelligence out there in forms we can't conceive," he said. "Just as a chimpanzee can't understand quantum theory, it could be there are aspects of reality that are beyond the capacity of our brains."

© 2010 Times Newspapers Ltd.

Paul Rigby
04-26-2010, 07:40 PM
One scene in his documentary for the Discovery Channel shows herds of two-legged herbivores browsing on an alien cliff-face where they are picked off by flying, yellow lizard-like predators.

Yup, that's Lib-Dem canvassers for you, swooping up unsuspecting Grauniadistas by the grazing herd...and straight into the arms of the devouring monster Cameroon. Now there's a real ET for you.

Peter Lemkin
04-26-2010, 07:45 PM
While we like to see ourselves as 'evolved' and 'intelligent', most alien societies have had to survive and surpass the kinds of horrors [selfishness, war, oligarchy, greed, hate, environmental lack-of-awareness, et al.] we now face. They would look at us like evil cockroaches, most likely and might bring their intergalactic cans of 'Raid' spray. I took a course by Sagan and Shlosky in Intelligent Life in the Universe, and the most amazing two facts I came out of that course with were: 1] there are over one million intelligent civilizations in the 'visible/known' universe [getting larger all the time] and 2] the average age of an intelligent race that didn't self-destruct [like ours seems to be on course to!] was well over a million years PAST technology. We are barely 2.000 years beyond the beginnings of technology; 200 years from real technology. To them, we are dangerous, low-life, UN-evolved, un-proven and likely now un-democratic and civil [in the Galactic sense]!

David Guyatt
04-27-2010, 07:25 AM
While we like to see ourselves as 'evolved' and 'intelligent', most alien societies have had to survive and surpass the kinds of horrors [selfishness, war, oligarchy, greed, hate, environmental lack-of-awareness, et al.] we now face. They would look at us like evil cockroaches, most likely and might bring their intergalactic cans of 'Raid' spray. I took a course by Sagan and Shlosky in Intelligent Life in the Universe, and the most amazing two facts I came out of that course with were: 1] there are over one million intelligent civilizations in the 'visible/known' universe [getting larger all the time] and 2] the average age of an intelligent race that didn't self-destruct [like ours seems to be on course to!] was well over a million years PAST technology. We are barely 2.000 years beyond the beginnings of technology; 200 years from real technology. To them, we are dangerous, low-life, UN-evolved, un-proven and likely now un-democratic and civil [in the Galactic sense]!

I'm incline to agree Pete. When I read this article I thought it acurately reflected the somewhat restricted state of mind of the interviewee, Hawking, rather than the probabilities of how other intelligent life in the Cosmos may have evolved.

Helen Reyes
04-27-2010, 04:43 PM
This made me chuckle a little. I guess it's a news item because it's Hawking, and because there's a new television series involved. This has always been the question since the dawn of the modern UFO age in 1947: whther they come in peace or war. Radio dramas too numerous to mention have dealt with this, quite a few television shows and movies from the 50s onward as well.

Albert Bender comes to mind. He really wanted to make contact. His International Fyling Saucer Bureau even announced a World Contact Day when all members and the fellow-minded would intone inwardly a small statement asking the aliens to make contact. The problem is Bender got more than he counted on and was swept up in a Men-in-Black experience. He ended up repudiating the idea of World Contact Day, although some rock bands adapted his address to the aliens with some changes, despite the instructions that it was not to be recited out loud.

Jack Sarfati also said recently on Coast to Coast radio that the mechanical voice that contacted him by telephone in his youth in the 50s sounded like Stephen Hawking. This is another old plot device in the alien invasion thrillers: the aliens among us, even posing as anti-alien forces. Is Hawking perhaps really saying to those "in the know," in effect, "don't call us, we'll call you"? Sarfati probably didn't mean his UFO voice was Hawking, but taking him at his word is much more fun.

Sagan's work with the Soviet scientist in calculating roughly the probability of the number of civilisations in the galaxy was an important step in breaking the ice, in bringing the idea into the mainstream of scientific thinking. If I remember right, it produced SETI, among other projects. And the gold disc with driving directions to reach Earth, and the compact disc with the Beatles hits and other sounds from this planet, both sent out with no real expectation of ever being found by anybody, in the real world of astronomical distances. I read somewhere Sagan debriefed the Joint Chiefs of Staff on aliens once, early in his career. He toned it down a bit later at Princeton or Cornell or wherever it was.

Charles Drago
04-27-2010, 10:14 PM
Rig, as they say in the Navy, for heavy rolls:

Here comes Angelology.

David Healy
04-28-2010, 06:30 PM
I wonder if Hawking ever contemplated, "we ARE alone!"? And all that THAT entails....

Peter Lemkin
04-29-2010, 04:51 AM
While humans have made a few attempts to make contact [I forget which number Voyager had the gold plate with information on who had sent the spacecraft], the message is going out - at light speed - in an ever enlargening sphere of (somewhat) coherent radio, TV, and other electronic communication and activity. Someday, somewhere, they may well get Ernie Kovacs. Later they will get Dallas and our news and perhaps internet and who knows what else we are sending - publicly and secretly. However, I fear by the time it reaches the first intelligent civilization, if they are even interested to come and meet Ernie Kovacs - by the time they were to come most all life on this planet will be gone. This species, here, doesn't seem on the path of longterm survival to me...sadly....and I think that is what happens to most post technology civilizations. Only those who learn to, or somehow started out to, be tolerant, non-belligerent, empathic, and cohesively altruistic likely long survived. Science fiction is full of malevolent societies of even robot/cyborg societies - and they may exist - but they too likely do not last long. The very things we rant and rave about here on this forum - hate, greed, avarice, lying, spying, taking-advantage, war, etc. - are the very things that lead most post-technology societies to self-destruct, as ours seems well on its way to now. i.e. most advanced civilizations would not see us as 'intelligent', only as having had potential, but having not used it - unless I'm very wrong on the future of my species. Given the great distance between civilizations who can communicate and/or travel, unless they have conquered some aspects we don't yet even understand about space-time, few ever get to meet and fewer still want to. I think that is what Hawkings was thinking about.

I miss Ernie Kovacs. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=chDmPM_p0xc&feature=related

Helen Reyes
05-11-2010, 09:38 AM
Larry King on CNN yesterday had a discussion about Hawking's latest statement and Discovery Channel production. The head of SETI, Michio Kaku, SF writer David Brin and film-star and MUFON rep Dank Akroyd spoke. Akroyd made the point abducting people for ransom or otherwise is against US law.

Jan Klimkowski
05-11-2010, 05:03 PM
Akroyd made the point abducting people for ransom or otherwise is against US law.

:vroam:

What was he advocating as recourse?

A lawsuit?

A celebrity-led multimedia campaign?

The immediate teleportation to Sirius of a high-ranking delegation to assert US law?

Helen Reyes
05-11-2010, 08:15 PM
He wanted the FBI to take action. It was tongue in cheek, sort of, but it makes a subtler point: if it's military people screwing around and kidnapping people, hypnotizing them to believe a truck is a flying saucer and their captors were greys, there's still legal liability for kidnapping. Akroyd was the only one who seemed to be making a kind of sense, but Larry King didn't let him talk that much. He also brought up 9/11, saying if the aliens saw that, we can forget about them coming in peace, or coming at all. He was implying "inside job" without being explicit.

Ed Jewett
12-07-2011, 09:14 PM
U.S. Air Force Funds SETI, Will Investigate Using Radio Telescope Array to Detect and Track Orbiting Space Objects (http://cryptogon.com/?p=26381)December 7th, 2011Via: SETI Institute (http://www.seti.org/node/905):
The Allen Telescope Array (ATA) is once again searching planetary systems for signals that would be evidence of extraterrestrial intelligence. Among its first targets are some of the exoplanet candidates recently discovered by NASA’s Kepler space telescope.
“This is a superb opportunity for SETI observations,” said Jill Tarter, the Director of the Center for SETI Research at the SETI Institute. “For the first time, we can point our telescopes at stars, and know that those stars actually host planetary systems – including at least one that begins to approximate an Earth analog in the habitable zone around its host star. That’s the type of world that might be home to a civilization capable of building radio transmitters.”
The ATA had been placed in hibernation mode last April as the result of the withdrawal of the SETI Institute’s former partner, U.C. Berkeley, due to budgetary shortfalls.
…
The restart of SETI work at the ATA has been made possible thanks to the interest and generosity of the public who supported SETI research via the www.SETIStars.org web site. Additional funds necessary for observatory re-activation and operations are being provided by the United States Air Force as part of a formal assessment of the instrument’s utility for Space Situational Awareness (see www.seti.org/afspc (http://www.seti.org/afspc) for more information).
Posted in Technology (http://cryptogon.com/?cat=12), War (http://cryptogon.com/?cat=28)

Peter Lemkin
12-08-2011, 07:04 AM
No doubt many intelligent life forms are peaceful, but also cautious of those that are not. While we would pose no danger to them [their technology would consider nuclear weapons and lasers, etc. as primitive], they would not likely find human beings as heading in good directions, at best. Other intelligent life forms may be malevolent and would either be into planet mining or species collections for their zoo - even destruction for destruction sake. Were we more peaceful as a Planet and species we would stand a better chance, even if so little evolved technologically. Our best protection, however, are the great distances which, unless they have found ways to bridge them with wormholes in spacetime or faster than light speeds will be our greatest chance of protection. Better to listen for other intelligent life and not purposely broadcast to them. Our TV and radio is headed out at light speed as it is. Their first image of us will be Milton Berl and Cid Ceasar from USA and whatever the equiv. was in other countries.....not great advertising. That would soon be followed by evidence of nuclear tests and use and WWI and WWII. Again not great advertising.