Stephen Hawking Update: "Alien Contact Not a Wise Idea" (A Weekend Feature)
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April 25, 2010

Stephen Hawking Update: "Alien Contact Not a Wise Idea" (A Weekend Feature)

Top10_exoplanets_oldest_planet_2_2 Stephen Hawking proclaims in a new television upcoming Discovery Channel documentary series, that in a universe with 100 billion galaxies, each containing hundreds of millions of stars, it is unlikely that earth is the only place where life has evolved.

"To my mathematical brain, the numbers alone make thinking about aliens perfectly rational," he said, according to Great Britain's The Sunday Times. "The real challenge is working out what aliens might actually be like."

"We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn't want to meet," Hawking 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."

In his famous lecture on Life in the Universe, Stephen Hawking asks: "What are the chances that we will encounter some alien form of life, as we explore the galaxy?"

If the argument about the time scale for the appearance of life on Earth is correct, Hawking says "there ought to be many other stars, whose planets have life on them. Some of these stellar systems could have formed 5 billion years before the Earth. So why is the galaxy not crawling with self-designing mechanical or biological life forms?"

Why hasn't the Earth been visited, and even colonized? Hawking asks. "I discount suggestions that UFO's contain beings from outer space. I think any visits by aliens, would be much more obvious, and probably also, much more unpleasant."

Hawking continues: "What is the explanation of why we have not been visited? One possibility is that the argument, about the appearance of life on Earth, is wrong. Maybe the probability of life spontaneously appearing is so low, that Earth is the only planet in the galaxy, or in the observable universe, in which it happened. Another possibility is that there was a reasonable probability of forming self reproducing systems, like cells, but that most of these forms of life did not evolve intelligence."

We are used to thinking of intelligent life, as an inevitable consequence of evolution, Hawking emphasized,  but it is more likely that evolution is a random process, with intelligence as only one of a large number of possible outcomes.

Intelligence, Hawking believes contrary to our human-centric existece, may not have any long-term survival value. In comparison the microbial world, will live on, even if all other life on Earth is wiped out by our actions. Hawking's main insight is that intelligence was an unlikely development for life on Earth, from the chronology of evolution:  "It took a very long time, two and a half billion years, to go from single cells to multi-cell beings, which are a necessary precursor to intelligence. This is a good fraction of the total time available, before the Sun blows up. So it would be consistent with the hypothesis, that the probability for life to develop intelligence, is low. In this case, we might expect to find many other life forms in the galaxy, but we are unlikely to find intelligent life."

Another possibility is that there is a reasonable probability for life to form, and to evolve to intelligent beings, but at some point in their technological  development "the system becomes unstable, and the intelligent life destroys itself. This would be a very pessimistic conclusion. I very much hope it isn't true."

Hawkling prefers another possibility: that there are other forms of intelligent life out there, but that we have been overlooked. If we should pick up signals from alien civilizations, Hawking warns,"we should have be wary of answering back, until we have evolved" a bit further. Meeting a more advanced civilization, at our present stage,' Hawking says "might be a bit like the original inhabitants of America meeting Columbus. I don't think they were better off for it."

Posted by Casey Kazan.

Source: New Scientist

Comments

I think Hawking is making a common mistake wrt alien life: thinking that it would be in any way like us. Humanity in its present form is far from the end-all and be-all of creation. We are an immature species not just technologically, but morally and mentally. If an intelligent species is to survive to become millions (or even billions) of years older than us, they are not going to use up all the resources on their home planet and then go expanding looking for more worlds to take over and colonize. An advanced civilization should not have energy scarcities; they should get plenty from solar, nuclear, maybe even antimatter. Ditto for matter: asteroids and uninhabited planets should provide all the metals and minerals they need, and molecular nanotechnology should allow for recycling of most anything.

I personally think that _intelligent_ life is pretty rare; my own best figures for the Drake equation give answers in the low single-digits for this galaxy. Thus, I think it's quite possible that there could be intelligent life out there, but that it's simply too far away for contact to be practical. Nonetheless if there was intelligent life out there not too far away, they may have no interest in contacting us. They would be as far ahead of us evolutionarily as we are above ants, and when was the last time humans tried to set up diplomatic relations and technology exchanges with an ant hill? Quite frankly I don't see that we would have anything to offer them, beyond perhaps a few new entries in their version of Encyclopedia Galactica.

Andrew,

I tend to agree. Humanity is still in the early days. Our technology has led to us becoming immature and arrogant.

I hope that our alien friends have involved on to a higher level if they are cruising the galaxy.

The universe isn't like Star Wars. Let's get real, the universe is a place of peace I imagine.

Aliens probably won't contact us until American Idol is off the air. At least I hope, because if they watched that show we're all going to die

i definitely think professor hawking has a point. i think people should be aware of the possibility at the very least. i was sort of hoping that extra terrestrials would share their technology and help us develop, but logically, if they venture anywhere near us, they might just be looking for resources..

Though I think it is wise to be cautious about contacting aliens, one cannot expect to avoid contact pro-actively unless there is a reason to believe that aliens are hostile. What Hawking is saying is similar to 'Don't climb Mt. Everest. It is very cold up there and you will die'. But humans do climb Mt Everest and survive though caution is of paramount importance as it would be in contacting aliens.

I agree with Anrew-really intelligent aliens would find resources in the infinite Cosmos. One reason why nobody contacts us is our VIOLENT NATURE. Even entertainment is mostly violent, not to mention our WEAPONRY,especially BIOLOGICAL!

Talking about VIOLENCE. RELIGION makes stories about "AFTER LIFE",selecting one nation as CHOSEN. .IT irritates many others who decide to make NUCLEAR 'THINGS' to destroy that RELIGEOUS BOGUS. France is ready to defend "selected by GOD people' with Nuclear facilites.
I just wonder what FRENCH PEOPLE think of this-Iran may be suported by MOSLIMS who have nuclear TOOLS OF DEATH.
So, 7 billions would depend on who strikes first?
Are ALIENS so stupid to contact us?

Speculation, conjectures, possibilities, at best just GUESSES !!
Hawkins or not, we are still too ignorant to understand ourselves much less to understand another entity with much superior acquisition of what Life really means, and so on....

Stephen Hawkins actually sucks !!

through extensive research of third rock from the sun and the coneheads i can assure you we have nothing to fear. so everybody relax.

Sumarized the movie 'Independance Day'.

Stephen Hawking is absolutely right, when we talk about aliens, humans, gods etc.. not the ones that are in some bible or stories, but the real ones, and we look at life here on earth. How life actually works, in different countries etc.. how finance works, how companies compete against each other how countries compete against each other etc.. how a sperm have to race against another sperm to fight for it's own survival; well basicly life is a fight. To be able to find life on another planet is just a race, we can only see out there in space according to how technology advanced we are. We are not ready yet. We will be soon. It's will be how well we manage intelligience and our resources and all work together to be able to become a space race. Right now we haven't seen any "aliens" yet. They are there, doesn't mean that if they are not in the holy book that they are not here. Our eyes are closed, technology low, that we can't see or travel yet. So, trying to broadcast a signal is just like a lamb dripping blood right to it's hide out. Unfortunately here on earth we are trying to fight each other etc.. which is in the process to all uniting soon.. One world government is the only way.. all work together.. keep enough firing power.. if just in case our broadcast have attracted some nasty ones.. who knows.. they share knowledges between all humans.... and work together.. look after the planet at the same time... save the gold!!! :) and take all and leave... (NOT!!!) Are we ready yet?? May be in about 2 - 3 yrs.. we'll see.. ciao.. ma enlish so bad.. sorry.. wanna get better.. but i don't care..

In his book - Brief history of time ..he points out that things do not happen in an arbitrary manner,but in a certain underlying order..which is really true ..but his notions on bilogical life is irrational .

Our expantion into the universe will driven by large companies, looking for new life to sell shit to.

It's too late to try and not be noticed. We've been broadcasting our presence to everybody in the Universe ever since Marconi invented the wireless. If there's anybody out there to recieve the signals, "I Love Lucy" is out there to be picked about sixty light years away from us. This means that we have already sent unintended messages to over 10,000 stellar systems in a spherical diameter two hundred and twenty light years across and it keeps getting bigger. Either there are no civilizations within that area advanced enough to receive the signals or they are ignoring us,or they have not had time to send a reply. The other thing is that even if they are picking up our transmissions, it is not that easy to travel from one star to another. If it were otherwise,they would already be here broadcasting demands for our surrender.

"The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs and explosions and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, prejudices, to be found only in the minds of men. For the record, prejudices can kill, and suspicion can destroy, and the thoughtless, frightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all of its own: for the children, and the children yet unborn. And the pity of it is that these things cannot be confined to the Twilight Zone."

-Rod Sterling "The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street."

What intellegent life form would want to visit us? If I were an alien I wouldn't even stop here for gas!

You will unlikely find another advanced civilizaton seeking us unless it was absolutely vital to our existense(friendly) or to theirs(hostile).
Remember there are still entities that will need to create vessels and gather fuels and crew and create systems to monitor that stuff. So they would have to be masters of economics ,trade and military conduct amongst their peoples(that is not to say that those things are good or evil,pure political). And if they are militant then they have been at war amongst themselves in order to acheive...order.

I cannot see why any other intelligent life has to always be viewed as so much more advanced than us. Whats wrong with the idea that there is another life sustaining planet, with beings much like us, looking out into space and wondering the same thing as us with regards to life on other planets? I like to think that we are not alone and that one day, when the time is right, we will discover other life forms on other planets.

Who knows, maybe we have been visited by other beings throughout history or perhaps those alleged events were just time travelling humans. I'm not one to speculate about things that I know nothing about and right now nobody on this planet has a clue. It is all just speculation and wishful thinking but without these ideas we would never progress.

I personally think we should invest more time and resources into exploring our own world than we do others. There is still a large percentage of the earth that has yet to be explored, albeit mostly beneath the ocean.

In conclusion I honestly cannot see us making contact with intelligent life in our lifetime but I certainly see us finding other life forms (organisms/cells)on other planets within the next 50 years.

Luke, I think the point is that if we were actually to make contact with an alien race, they would have to be more advanced that us, because the chances that we would make contact with a civilization at our level or less are slim to none.

I agree with Professor Hawking. What are we hoping for in a meeting with E.T.? After the excitement of finding another intelligent race of beings in the universe died down, then what? Hope they share their technology with us? How do we know their technology would work with us, especially if it's biologically based? How do we know we would be smart enough to understand it? Would we want them becoming permanent residents of our planet? What if they wanted to rule the Earth? Could we stop them? What if they brought disease with them that wiped out our species? What if they decided that human eyeballs are delicacies? Too many "what if's". I'm perfectly content with keeping ourselves a secret from aliens.

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I'm very sorry Earthlings--We are already in company of Aliens--They are among us -But they have a way of conceling their visability==In only very slim circumstances-can they be seen--!!We can't catch their images because they are only visable during a fierce lighting storm--We would be killed--some peole have survived a lightning strike--but only a few--The ones that do survive--can see these beings--but are not sure what they see--& are scared to death to tell anyone--Because these beings are so horrible--they think that if they reveal the true idenity of these beings they will die a horrible death!!

I'm an alien

One Sunday womens timberland boots morning, I was told that someone was waiting for me in timberland 6 boots office. The young person who answered the rectory timberland boots door said that it was "the woman who said she left all the notes." When I saw her mens timberland boots I was shocked, since I immediately recognized her from church but had no timberland boots outlet idea that it was she who wrote the notes. She was sitting in a chair in timberland roll top boots office with her hands folded in her lap. Her head was bowed and when she raised white timberland boots it to look at me, she could barely smile without pain. Her face was disfigured, and timberland classic boat skin so tight from surgical procedures that smiling or laughing was very difficult for her timberland kids waterproof boots . She had suffered terribly from treatment to remove the growths timberland shoes that had so marred her face. We chatted for a while that Sunday morning and agreed to meet for timberland womens premium boots lunch later that week. As it turned out we went to lunch several timberland boots women times, and she always wore a hat during the meal. I think that treatments of some timberland shoe company sort had caused a lot of her hair to fall out. We shared things about our lives. I told her about my women timberland shoes schooling and growing up. She told me that she had worked for timberland 6 inch years for an insurance company. She never mentioned family, and I did not ask. I have thought about her timberland mens custom often over the years and how she struggled in a society that places an incredible premium on looks, class, wealth and all the other fineries of life. She suffered from a disfigurement that cannot be made to look attractive. I know that her condition black timberland boots hurt her deeply.CLS http://www.timberland6inch.com/

It was very unexpected to read such a posting by Stephen Hawkin who reputedly is a scientist of note. All speculating in regard to the existence of other intelligent life forms in our Universe and even in our Galaxy must start with the well photographed, documented and investigated Crop circles that already appeared since 17th centuary on earth and since 1970 more than 200 of them. This should be part of the knowledge of a scientist wishing to express a opinion on the existance of aliens and also if they are friendly or not. A intelligence that could form the intricate and very artistic crop circles in matter of hours, with designs that encode obscure theorems based on Euclidian geometry as well as that of sacred geometry. Certainly such a intelligence have no harmful intentions towards earth, as they could already long ago have come forward. So the bottom line is please explain the crop circles if you do not believe in alien presence. The Governments debunking of crop circles have not been succesful either.

uary on earth and since 1970 more than 200 of them. This should be part of the knowledge of a scientist wishing to express a opinion on the existance of aliens and also if they are friendly or not. A intelligence that could form the intricate and very artistic crop circles in matter of hours, with designs that encode obscure theorems based on Euclidian geometry as well as that of sacred geometry. Certainly such a int

A very good post ,I like it very much ,hope you will give another post asap


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