Paul Davies disagrees with Stephen Hawking: When British cosmologist Stephen Hawking warned against contact with extraterrestrials in a new Discovery Channel documentary, … [his] comparisons with Columbus … reflect the rampant anthropocentrism that pervades much speculation about alien life. Just because we go around wiping out our competitors doesn’t mean aliens would do the same. A civilization that has endured for millions of years would have overcome any aggressive tendencies, and may well have genetically engineered its species for harmonious living. Any truly bellicose alien species would either have wiped itself out long ago, or already taken over the galaxy.
Why argue about the probabilities of something that is all purely speculative? Isn't it likely that whatever scenario best reflects our own internalized fears and/or hopes is the one that will resonate? Anyone who has a comment here that something or other is "most likely" is blowing smoke up your a$$.
It's far more interesting to list all the possibilities, and see if anyone has any we haven't heard before.
As a practical matter, however, wouldn't it be prudent to plan as if the worst one we can come up with is the most probable? "If you want peace, prepare for war."
Similar opinion at Sentient Developments: http://feedproxy.google.com...
Yes that quote seems very weak. They might have engineered to be peaceful along amongst themselves (if they have weapons such that existential risk is still a threat to them even once space-faring that is probably a requirement for long term survival), but no reason for them to have compassion for weak outsiders.
However Davies made a legitimate point elsewhere in the book that any advanced aliens who would detect radio signals would probably be able to detect our existence on Earth in any case. Shouting out deliberately probably doesn't change our chances much.
I don't think we should worry too much about aliens coming and wiping us out in response to our primitive radio signals, for two reasons.
1. if aliens do want what to kill us, they probably don't want to wait for radio signals. As we've noticed ourselves, they seem to be pretty rare. If they really feel the need to gobble up earth-like planets or sterilize potential competitors, they will need a more pro-active method of doing so, rather than relying on their targets choosing to broadcast radio signals.
2. if hostile aliens can cross interstellar distances, they are going to have the ability to wipe us out with barely a thought. Even with simple chemical rockets and the advantage of being at the top of our gravity well, they could drop big rocks on us that would wipe out all life. There's no point worrying about something we couldn't even stop if we wanted to.
yes, just to be clear - it was a "for-instance" example of the concept that highly advanced technologies can produce unlimited amounts of anything without needing to consume matter. I don't think that the Culture novels represent reality, they just represent a conceptual shorthand for various kinds of future innovation.
Most likely once a civilization reaches a certain level of technology it (or a subset of it) will create robots that will expand in all directions at close to the speed of light visiting everyhting that looks interesting/dangerous/useful. As a result there will be no way to hide since the cost of a self replicating probe visiting earth (whether we exist or not) is negligable.
that probe will either jsut gather whatever inforamtion it cares about replicate and we probably wont notice (and if we do it probably won't care) and go on its way or it will strip the earth of whatever resources it wants probably killing us in the process.
If yelling to the sky matters at all (which seems to imply a someone odd combination of factors - like all civilizations dont like to explore unless they really have to and dont like to use probes) but if that is the case even in the best case they are likely to be trouble either by us as individuals being below their level of comprehension (like skin cells) or their wanting to uplift us in ways we might not like.
Thought experiment: were you a future-seeing Mayan priest in AD500, would you recommend immediate contact with Eurasia, or waiting as long as possible? My guess is as soon as possible, lest the techno-gap increase further.
Continuing the parallel, we yell to the skies, are discovered by a probe, which allows us to, given light-years of distance, catch up somewhat by the time the invasion fleet arrives.
My hunch: Intelligent life is very rare, other advanced civilizations probably exist but are on worlds that are generally extremely far away, and interstellar travel is very, very difficult, even for very advanced civilizations. My conclusion: We will be in communication with other civilizations perhaps a thousand years or more before we ever meet them, or even meet their robotic probes. We will then have several millenia to discuss and negotiate in advance, both with them and among ourselves, to determine just how any such meeting should take place and if we need to prepare for violence or not. Without intending any disrespect, I'm guessing that when that distant time comes, no one will care what Stephen Hawking, Robin Hanson, or Paul Davies had to say about it way back in the early 21st century, with the possible exception being if one of them comes up with a really quotable quote (e.g., "give me liberty or give me death") or something similar. So... until the first confirmed communication with advanced alien beings takes place, I'm not going to worry about it. Meanwhile, here's another thought for you: Nearby asteroids (which are proven to exist and proven to be dangerous if/when they hit us) are a genuine (if uncommon) threat to the Earth. What if distant space aliens just happened to be willing to suggest effective ways for us to protect ourselves from asteroids? Maybe we should ask them, hmm? Of course, that would be a bit more difficult if we were too afraid to talk to them.
typo:)scheme or blueprint
You should lie where you can trick yourself in thinking that you are not lying.
If you leave the telescope unpluged or don't use it and get caught what will you say?
But you can always say there was hope about the aliens hear you with the radio telescope, even if they prove it is impossible.
Some people, like Hawking, suggest we should hide because we can't know if aliens are altruistic. Well, what if there are extremely altruistic aliens who would make our lives far better if they discovered us? What if we flagged down some immortal ETs who are horrified by sickness and death and insist on saving us from ourselves? I haven't come across any reason why that's less likely than meeting aliens who want to use Earth as a McDonald's drive-through.
I do think that it's silly to imagine we could hide from aliens (hello, big ball of oxygen), so in my opinion, we might as well stick out our thumb and hope for the best.
Maybe Paul is going to have another stab at the Templeton Prize - for showing how angelic alien races must be.
They *are* an instance of the idea in question.
This is one of those topics where supposedly rational people seem to feel free to make blatantly unsupportable statements with impunity.
Their arguments often seem to go like this:We cannot hope to know what an alien species is like, therefore they must pose no threat/are peaceful.