Commentaries: Stephen Hawking’s Aliens

An interresting commentary listing from many scientists on the subject of Alien life prompted by Stephen Hawking’s recent program that brought this subject up.

From Journal of Cosmology

An Example:

7. Aliens and Stephen Hawking: The Wisdom Principle. Pushkar Ganesh Vaidya, Indian Astrobiology Research Centre, Mumbai – 400103, Maharashtra, India.

THE WISDOM PRINCIPLE

Subjugation by aliens is a clear danger. It can be military subjugation, cultural subjugation or even misguided attempts to uplift Human civilization and in the process destroying the very nature of the Human civilization (Dick and Harrison 2000).

Dr. Hawking’s assertion is analogous to what is known as the “The Wisdom Principle”. It states that “Any advanced civilization in the universe does not want to be visited ‘first’ by any other more advanced civilization” (Vaidya 2002). In short, it would be ‘wise’ of a civilization to ensure that it does not play host to any advanced alien race.

Interestingly though, even if we are not too keen to announce our presence, aliens can still find us. We are already detectable within 50 light-years, courtesy our transmissions and everyday a new stellar system is exposed to signals from Earth (Shostak 2003).

ALIENS AND NATURAL SELECTION

It has been speculated that life anywhere in the universe will be underpinned by Natural Selection. Richard Dawkins writes in The Blind Watchmaker “One way to dramatize this point is to make a prediction. I predict that, if a form of life is ever discovered in another part of the universe, however outlandish and weirdly alien that form of life may be in detail, it will be found to resemble life on earth in one key respect: it will have evolved by some kind of Darwinian natural selection” (Dawkins 1996).

A similar speculation is made by John Maynard Smith in his The Theory of Evolution “Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection is the only workable explanation that has ever been proposed for the remarkable fact of our own existence, indeed the existence of all life wherever it may turn up in the universe. It is the only known explanation for the rich diversity of animals, pants, fungi and bacteria” (Maynard Smith 2000).

Just as the laws of physics have been found to hold universally; it has been speculated that the Darwinian natural selection will hold universally and so would the famous “survival of the fittest” concept. Thus, we have good reason to believe that aggressive instincts will be present in aliens as well. To what extent aliens can curb their aggressive instincts (or else they will possibly self-destruct) is anybody’s guess. Will aliens be proactively aggressive, reactively aggressive or practitioners of Gandhian non-violence?

ALIENS: A WORD OF CAUTION

The premise of Dr. Stephen Hawkings’s recent warning and that of the Wisdom Principle is that of caution. Do we really want technologically advanced aliens to visit us first? What would become of the human race if alien visitations became a reality?

We are doing well on Earth today because we are the most intelligent and technologically advanced of all the Earthly creatures. For us to do well in the universe and be safe, we will have to be the most technologically advanced creatures in the universe or be wise enough to not get subjugated by a more technologically advanced alien civilization. If we thought the struggle for existence was over then we must think again.

REFERENCES

Vaidya, P.G. (2002). The Wisdom Principle. Akash Darpan, Jan-Feb 2002, pp.17-18.

Dick, S., Harrison, A. (2000) Contact: Long-term Implications for Humanity. In: When SETI Succeeds: The Impact of High-Information Contact. The Foundation For the Future, Washington, pp.20.

Dawkins, R. (1996). Doomed Rivals. In: The Blind Watchmaker. Norton & Company, Inc, New York, pp.288.

Maynard Smith, J. (2000). Foreword to the Canto Edition. In: The Theory of Evolution, Cambridge University Press, U.K, pp. xv.

Shostak, S. (2003). Can Aliens Find Us? Retrieved 12:48, April 28, 2010, from http://www.seti.org/Page.aspx?pid=751.

 Another Example:

12. Evolution and Alien Visitors From the Stars, Rhawn Joseph, Ph.D. -Emeritus, Brain Research Laboratory, Northern California.

In 1972 and 1973, NASA attached a pair of gold anodized aluminum plaques to the Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11 spacecraft, in the hope they would be intercepted by aliens. The plaques featured a nude male and female, along with several symbols designed to tell extraterrestrials about humans and the location of the Earth.

In 1977 NASA sent a complex recorded message to the peoples of other planets: the Voyager Golden Record, which was attached to the Voyager spacecraft. This was NASA’s way of saying to Aliens: “hello!”

So far, Aliens have not responded.

REACHING OUT TO PREDATORY PLANETS?

If there is complex ET life, is it a bad idea to make our presence known? Are we announcing to predators: “Come and get it?” or to would be conquerers: “We have a great planet, why don’t you kill us and make it your own?!!

“If “aliens” are anything like humans, then perhaps we should be afraid, very afraid…. for the likelihood is they would conquer, destroy, exploit, and enslave.

And if they came in peace, the likelihood is the humans of Earth would attack them and seek to conquer, exploit, “study,” and enslave…

ARE WE ALONE?

Some scientists believe life exists only on Earth. Others such as Beer, King, Livio, and Pringle, propose that life in the universe is rare. Nobel Laureates Svante Arrhenius and Francis Crick, and esteemed scientists including Lord Kelvin, Hermann von Helmholtz, Sir Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe, are of the opinion that life may be pervasive throughout the cosmos. This is also the view of this author: the genetic seeds of life swarm throughout the cosmos and life arrived on the early Earth buried in planetary debris; the possible remnants of the parent star which gave birth to our own (Joseph 2009a,b; Joseph and Schild 2010a,b).

If these theories are correct, life may have taken root and evolved on innumerable worlds much older than our own.

Or perhaps ET life is limited to microbes, or ET does not exist at all.

From the perspective of a hypothetical ET, maybe what has taken place on this planet is so common and mundane, there is no motivation to communicate with a world that is just like a trillion other planets swarming with human-like creatures. Or maybe the humans of Earth are so violent we have been cut off from the rest of the cosmos, isolated, like a disease.

The nature of life, is death, over 99% of all species have become extinct. If the history of the Earth were a 24-hour clock, fully modern humans have been on this planet for only 15 seconds. Unlike other animals, humans flirt with species-wide mass suicide and mutual self-destruction. The human animal can also become extinct. Maybe this is what the future has in store.

If human life evolved on other worlds, perhaps they are no more; self-destructing in poisoned planets or the nuclear fires of their own making. Maybe this is a pattern throughout the cosmos: humans evolve and destroy human-life, bequeathing their planets to insects and microbes: the end….And before the universe could take a breath, they were no more.

EXTRATERRESTRIALS: WHERE ARE THEY?

Given our own curiosity as to life elsewhere in the cosmos, it is certainly conceivable that some of those who have evolved in the more ancient corners of the cosmos might be interested in and quite capable of not just observing, but visiting the Earth. If that is the case, it might be asked, then why don’t they announce themselves and open up lines of communication?

Perhaps, like good anthropologists they merely observe and gather information, and for the most part leave Earthlings to behave largely unmolested. Speculating wildly, maybe it is even against some type of Cosmic law. Or there is little or no motivation to visit a world that is just like a trillion other planets swarming with violent, sex-obsessed, power-hungry human-like creatures.

Or, perhaps the humans that evolved on other worlds self-destructed in the nuclear fires of their own making. That is, life appears, undergoes metamorphosis, humans emerge only to destroy human-life, the end.

As humans have a propensity for exploration, curiosity and the seeking of knowledge, it could be assumed that those aliens who have reached a similar or advanced level of neurological development would, like Earthlings, share similar social- emotional, and intellectual inclinations, including curiosity, jealously, and pride. Regardless of differences in physical appearance, some advanced alien species -at least those who have evolved from mammal-like creatures- would likely behave, feel, and think in a manner grossly similar to human earthlings.

For example, like humans, it might be expected that some aliens would thirst for knowledge, or revel in games, sports, competition, conquest, exploitative acquisition, and the glory of rape and slaughter of war. Like modern humans, some aliens would be conquering, enslaving, predatory killers, with little or no compassion for the vanquished. Some aliens might be expected to behave in an irrational and destructive manner, whereas yet others would be seekers of knowledge, wisdom, and spiritual growth.

It is naive, however, to believe that radio or TV transmissions are a yardstick for the measure of intelligent alien life. Highly creative, artistic, talented, and intelligent humans sporting a brain 1/3 larger than modern humans, stalked the Earth over 30,000 years ago. Without benefit of radio, TV, or electricity, Neolithic cultures built Stonehenge, the ancient Egyptians erected the pyramids and in ancient China the “Great Wall.” The ancient Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Mayans, and peoples of India, and so on, developed science, culture, religion, and created monumental buildings, temples, and empires–all without the benefit of radio, TV or vehicles which could propel them through space. The failure to detect electronic transmissions or space craft from other planets does not mean we are “alone.”

Moreover, on some worlds, highly intelligent species, with an intellect comparable or far superior to humans, may have “evolved” from mammals other than primates, such as wolves and canines, or even insects or plants. Indeed, there may be “dog stars” where upright Canis sapiens sapiens stare into space wondering if they are alone; and planets blooming and buzzing with highly evolved intelligent vegetable and insect life.

On some ancient worlds, mammals may never have evolved, such that the metamorphosis of increasingly intelligent life arose from a completely different branch of the forest of life. The direct line leading to hominids may have been killed off due, perhaps, to that planet’s unique environment, climate, atmosphere, gravity, and distance from the sun, and/or because the planet passed through a viral cloud of contagion or was struck by massive debris which chopped off the branch that would lead to primates just before that branch began to bloom.

EVOLUTION IN THE ANCIENT CORNERS OF THE COSMOS

Consider, as a further thought experiments, the future of human evolution on this planet. If science marches on, and given advances in genetic engineering, the creation of designer babies, designer babies designing their own superior babies, future humans which genetically engineer their own brains and bodies… and imagine the nature of human life 1000 years from now. What of humans a million years from now? Or a hundred million? Or a billion? Then what of those planets which shine in the darkness of night which were formed billions of years before the Earth became a twinkle in god’s eye. If life evolved on these ancient worlds, what might they be capable of as compared to the humans of Earth?

From the perspective of modern humans, these evolutionary advanced alien humans might seem as gods, even if they were still humans. And modern humans might seem like reptiles in comparison. Indeed, even the “gods” may have “gods” who have “gods”, and if some of these “gods” are devils and if they ever set their alien eyes on planet Earth, Hawking’s nightmare vision could become a hellish reality.

ReferencesJoseph, R. (2009a). Life on Earth Came From Other Planets, Journal of Cosmology, 1, 1-56.Joseph, R. (2009b). The evolution of life from other planets. Journal of Cosmology, 1, 100-150.Joseph R., and Schild, R. (2010a). Origins, Evolution, and Distribution of Life in the Cosmos: Panspermia, Genetics, Microbes, and Viral Visitors From the Stars. Journal of Cosmology, 2010, Vol 7, IN PRESSJoseph R., and Schild, R. (2010b). Biological Cosmology and the Origins of Life in the Universe. Journal of Cosmology, 5, 1040-1090.Joseph, R., and Wickramasinghe, C. (2010). Comets and contagion: Evolution and diseases from space. Journal of Cosmology, 7. In press. 

From Journal of Cosmology

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