Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Much Ado About Hawking
When the world's most famous Scientist speaks, people listen. Now that the furor over his remarks, that we should be quiet lest the aliens invade us has died down, I'll add my two cents.
Well first, he may be right, and if so then there's nothing we can do about it. He may be wrong too. Since we can't know one way or the other, don't worry about it. Que sera, sera.
Second, it's a bit anthropocentric. What the Spanish, Portuguese, German, and English colonists did in the Americas is a done deal. The old high-tech-rapes-low-tech stuff. Hopefully the aliens will be more like the French in the Americas, and have sex with us. ;-) Unless they're some form of land squid. Ew.
But more importantly, that was Human on Human stuff. Who are we to say that if they just plain exterminate our greedy, lying, selfish species, it won't be for the good of The Galaxy? We're not all winners, let's be honest. And good people can go bad. I'll bet they figure that one out pretty quick after a decade of observation.
In any event, I'd be more worried if aliens on say Europa, Titan, Tau Ceti II, Epsilon Eridani IV, Procyon XII or wherever aliens dwell, were visited by the Humans of Earth. OK, at first we'd be nice because the first visitors would be Scientists who of course are wonderful people, but our businessfolk and their lawyers won't be far behind. THEN we can talk resource-stealing, as in the movie, Avatar. Except with a realistic ending.
Third, I pay little creed to Drake's equation. It goes so non-linear so fast any result is pretty moot, IMO. What we need is more data to firm up some of those variables, and given Astronomy, we're getting there.
Fourth, we're going pretty quiet as it is, as we switch from radio to cable and low-earth orbit communication. Looking for us in the radio spectrum, they'll see us "go quiet." They may know why. Or they may not and figured we just exterminated ourselves. Which we still might.
Have a nice day. :-)
Actually, I'm glad Hawking brought attention to himself again. His personal story of courage is quite inspirational, and hopefully people will remember his previous and more important remark regarding getting the heck off this planet while the getting is good. Having all our eggs in the one basket that is our 8000-mile ball of rock is not good, aliens or no aliens.