Stephen Hawking, the noted physicist, has expressed a deep personal fear of aliens, so much so that he hinted that we should stop trying to find them, stop broadcasting 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. Needless to say, it is pretty much mandatory for Hollywood to change the aliens into man-eating predators for purely business reasons: carnivorous aliens sell more theater tickets than benevolent aliens.
There is, 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 reach one other continents, the Europeans only needed some relatively primitive sailboats. But also for the aliens to achieve Earth, dozens or numerous light years away, they would need quite sophisticated spacecraft. The critical question, therefore, is: Can a barbarous civilization develop higher technology?
Human history does not support the concept it really is possible for barbarians to achieve 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 after the fall from the Roman empire. Within both epochs, technological progress was virtually nil. Only when human civilization became less barbarous, using the demise of rule by hereditary delinquents referred to as royalty, with the demise of slavery, using the spread of education to the masses, and so forth, should we commence to see technological progress.
For sure, there may be complete degenerates in space but they should be nothing to fear because it is unlikely that they will ever be able to leave their very own planet not to mention survive the nuclear weapons stage should they ever obtain that far. Technological barbarians, just like the Klingons of Star Trek, might only exist in Hollywood and nowhere else. Now another question arises: Are friendly aliens something to fear?
Some have suggested that contact with aliens would cause a dramatic upheaval in human society. My opinion on this is: Certainly not. Perhaps decades ago there might have been some commotion although not today. More than sixty many years of ancient astronaut and UFO propaganda has produced a world where alien contact may turn out to be just another news event. When it comes to “upheaval,” I can consider three things that might happen:
1) The armaments industry might be affected. Knowing advanced alien civilizations exist, chances are that humans would want to bind together as a species and definately will stop killing the other person. Indeed, it appears virtually sure that wars between humans should come to an end, and the countries of the Middle East will finally make peace. Jobs in the armaments industry would have to be transferred to infrastructure, space exploration, and consumer-related industries.
2) Social structures could be affected. Disparities involving the developed world and the third world may start to melt off along with other inequities in human society. We will likely see higher taxes on the usvyot and a lot more awareness of education, technological development, as well as the colonization of outer space.
3) Organized religions may be affected. Fundamentalist concepts like creation are likely to be pushed to the background, but overall, religions may carry on and proliferate being a mechanism for consolation and moral guidance.
Hawking acknowledges that aliens may have extremely advanced technology. The main flaw in his thinking will not be understanding that such technology can be used to find methods for self-sustenance not including the barbaric plundering of inhabited planets. The chance that SETI (Hunt for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) will ultimately get an alien signal is nothing to fear and, towards the contrary, might even be something to welcome.