Fear the aliens. Really?
I was killing some time at work today when I saw this article: “Study: If We’re Not Alone, We Should Fear the Aliens.” I was shaking my head before I even read it. Once I did start reading it, I wanted to smack anybody who thinks this. The basic point of the referenced paper in the article is: “Either we’re alone, or any aliens out there are acquisitive and resource-hungry, just like us.”
I doubt we are alone for the simple reason that we can’t be it. The stuff for life is everywhere in the universe, and given enough time, life should develop. Given more time, that life should become intelligent. I can’t prove that there is life out there, but the odds are for it.
Now, the real issue I have is people who believe that any aliens out there will be “resource-hungry.” As I said almost a year ago when Stephen Hawking brought this subject up:
First, if these aliens are so advanced, wouldn’t you think they would have figured out how to recycle? Mining an occasional comet or asteroid for certain materials is understandable, but – bad scifi movies aside – why would they have an insatiable thirst for raw materials?
Second, in all of human history we have only landed twelve people on the moon, but every day untold millions of condoms are used. Isn’t it likely, that long before these aliens figured out how to warp time and space to travel interstellar distances, they would have figured out how to not have baby aliens? Wouldn’t their ships have stable populations, and with recycling (and an occasional comet or asteroid) wouldn’t they already have the materials they need? Or are you suggesting they don’t do family planning because of some Space Pope, so their population is exploding which is why they have to consume everything?
A third option which I didn’t think of then, is, would aliens waste their precious resources on worthless crap? The next time you go shopping, look at all the products produced for the sake of looking good or following the latest celebrity inspired fashion and ask yourself, Is that the best use that could have been done with those resources?
Why can’t people accept that any advanced aliens out there will be smarter than us? Or, that they will have different values than us? In my Human Republic Universe, the spacefaring race that makes Contact with us are the Pentans. Now, one of the interesting things about the Pentans is that – unlike what we humans will do – they have no colonies. They don’t go out and find a Class P planet and set up a colony, because they don’t want to disturb whatever lifeforms may call that planet home. It may be a billion years before the scum looks up at the stars in wonder, but the Pentans don’t want to destroy that chance. They just mine asteroids and comets to build ships, and they live in their ships, in space stations, or back on their homeworld. Why couldn’t real aliens do that?