Stephen Hawking, the noted physicist, has expressed a deep personal fear of aliens, so much so that he hinted that we should stop searching for them, stop sending out signals to keep our existence a secret, less the aliens discover us and come here to wipe us out. This information will discuss whether this viewpoint has any merit.
The North American Indians, the South American Indians, the Africans as well as others, all had something very real to fear if the Europeans came to their land, therefore it is understandable that earthlings, like Hawking, might fear aliens coming to this planet. This fear stems mainly from superimposing human mentality on the aliens, not to mention watching a lot of Star Trek and Star War movies. Obviously, it is really mandatory for Hollywood to turn the aliens into man-eating predators for purely business reasons: carnivorous aliens sell more theater tickets than benevolent aliens.
There is certainly, however, a noticeable distinction between Europe and the other continents on the one hand, and between Alien Spacecraft and Earth on the other. The difference is distance. To arrive at the other continents, the Europeans only needed some relatively primitive sailboats. But also for the aliens to achieve Earth, dozens or countless light years away, they might need quite sophisticated spacecraft. The critical question, therefore, is: Can a barbarous civilization develop higher technology?
Human history fails to support the notion that it really is easy for barbarians to accomplish higher technology. The two most barbarous epochs in human history were a) the tens of thousands of years preceding the dawn of civilization, and b) the thousand-year period pursuing the fall of the Roman empire. Within both epochs, technological progress was virtually nil. Only once human civilization became less barbarous, with all the demise of rule by hereditary delinquents referred to as royalty, with all the demise of slavery, with the spread of education for the masses, and the like, do we commence to see technological progress.
Without a doubt, there may be complete degenerates outside in space but they must be nothing to fear since it is unlikely that they may ever have the ability to leave their particular planet much less survive the nuclear weapons stage if they ever have that far. Technological barbarians, just like the Klingons of Star Trek, may only exist in Hollywood and nowhere else. Now another question arises: Are friendly aliens something to fear?
Some have suggested that exposure to aliens would result in a dramatic upheaval in human society. My opinion with this is: Not really. Perhaps decades ago there would have been some commotion although not today. Greater than sixty years of ancient astronaut and UFO propaganda has produced a world in which alien contact may come to be just another news event. As for the “upheaval,” I could think of three things which might happen:
1) The armaments industry might be affected. Knowing that advanced alien civilizations exist, chances are that humans will want to bind together being a species and will stop killing one another. Indeed, it seems virtually certain that wars between humans should come to an end, and also the countries of the Middle East will finally make peace. Jobs within the armaments industry will have to be moved to infrastructure, space exploration, and consumer-related industries.
2) Social structures could be affected. Disparities in between the developed world and also the third world may start to melt away as well as other inequities in human society. We will likely see higher taxes on the usvyot and more awareness of education, technological development, and also the colonization of outer space.
3) Organized religions might be affected. Fundamentalist concepts like creation are likely to be pushed into the background, but overall, religions may carry on and proliferate as a mechanism for consolation and moral guidance.
Hawking acknowledges that aliens could have extremely advanced technology. The major flaw in the thinking is not really understanding that such technology can be used to find ways of self-sustenance excluding the barbaric plundering of inhabited planets. The possibility that SETI (Look for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) will eventually pick-up an alien signal is certainly not to fear and, for the contrary, might even be something to welcome.