Stephen Hawking is wrong-- I wanna see aliens

Abbies deep, dark secret:

Dr. Who makes me cry.

Every episode. Every episode I end up bawling for some reason or another. So I always watch it by myself, and I make sure to have some 'Family Guy' or 'Mighty Boosh' ready to cheer me up afterwords.

One of the worst is episode 158, "The End of The World".

God, to think of everything weve created on Earth, good or bad... the very last thing leftover from our civilization is a recording of Britney Spears singing 'Toxic'... Im not shitting you, it makes me tear up just writing about it.

But thats just it, isnt it? Nothing we do is lasting. The Sun is going to demolish Earth one day. And frankly, "The End of The World" is the best-case-scenareo. As Dr. Who says, humans actually made it. They didnt kill themselves off. So being demolished by the Sun is kinda a good thing.

The thing is, we probably will kill ourselves. Nukes, running out of clean water, some plague or another, humanity is going to end at some point. Its just a matter of what else we take down with us.

So Im pretty shocked that Stephen Hawking is telling us to shush and not attract the attention of alien life, cause they will probably be assholes and kill us (video).

Humans are going down at some point. This is a fact. I would much rather go down knowing we arent alone in the universe, than blowing ourselves up without knowing what else is out there.

*Alien fist-bump to Ethan*

More like this

I know it is not statistically significant, but every single scientist I read (or follow on Twitter) is categorically against Professor Hawking's stance on this issue. For the record, so am I.

Tyson even went on TV to say so.

The aliens are here. They are among us. They are named Dembski, Wells & Behe. And the entire AZ state legislature. None of them are human, as is evident from what they say and do. Be afraid. Very afraid.

What irks me most is that Hawking's opinion is being treated in the media as if it matters -- as if this is what Scientists Now Think⢠about the subject.

And the sad thing is that 100 credible voices could publicly express the contrary viewpoint (because, let's face it, when it comes to ETs, Steven Speilberg's opinion is just as credible as Stephen Hawking's) and they would be ignored because "SMARTEST MAN IN THE WORLD 'SAYS' LITTLE GREEN MEN WILL EAT YOUR BABBY'S FACE" just makes for better copy.

Forget aliens; I don't think I will ever figure out a human being who could simultaneously enjoy Doctor Who (yes), Mighty Boosh (yes)... and fuckin' Family Guy. (no, just no)

By minimalist (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

I dunno... I always think of this message from HM government, Public Service Film no.42; and I think Dr. Hawking knows it too:
How not to be Seen

By Onkel Bob (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

Everyone knows that the creepy tentacled aliens want our women. And now we have a woman admitting she wants aliens. Okay, if that's what you want, I ain't gonna stop you.

I'm pretty sure humanity is gonna be gonners within the next couple of centuries, which is one reason why I'm not having kids (the other being that I hate kids).

By Tyler DiPietro (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

I think what's far more important than all this talk of alien visitors is that Abbie has shown some love for the Boosh. That makes me all kinds of happy.

By The Chimp's Ra… (not verified) on 27 Apr 2010 #permalink

Mad props to Dr. Who <33333

Hawking is wrong for simple logical reasons. If an alien civilization is able to travel here, then we can almost guaranteed these two facts:

1) They aren't short on resources of any kind.

2) They aren't looking for real estate.

Anything capable of making the trip has no problem with resources - they have plenty and to spare. Moving a hunk of metal thousands of trillions of miles is no trivial task. And if there were some unenvisioned way to travel quickly and cheaply across such vast distances, they would still not visit an inhabited planet to get resources that are free for the picking from completely dead debris orbiting around the nearest star, wherever you might be.

Anything with the technology to make the trip would already know the broad nature of the planets orbiting any given star. They'd go someplace closer for real estate, and would terraform a dead planet before selecting an inhabited one that, for all they knew, could be occupied by extremely advanced and dangerous xenophobes (they'd know of life from free oxygen, and of technology from radio).

As for Doctor Who, another tragic thing about that episode was the nature of the native human on the voyeur ship. I'd rather die with the planet than be a flap of skin that threatens to dry up every two minutes.

All debates about extraterrestrial life end up suffering from the problem that everything we know for certain about extraterrestrial life can be summed up in the following line:

(I'd love to see what extraterrestrial life is like, but not so much if the learning experience was likely to be fatal.)

Nukes (Nuclear weapons) are a good point, but I'm going to have to use them as a quick soapbox if you don't mind.

The way to get rid of nuclear weapons is to make their contents more valuable for energy than as weapons. The way to do that is to build nuclear reactors that can consume weapons material. The way to do /that/ is to research and build breeder reactors - which solve a number of other problems as well (rarity of uranium-235; accumulation of nuclear waste; price of energy and, by proxy, a good slice of homelessness; anthro climate change; energy independence; reactor safety and security).

I agree with you about resources, but how do you know they aren't looking for real estate? Maybe our oxygen atmosphere is the very reason why they sought out our planet in the first place. And maybe they're closer than you think!

Terraforming is resource intensive and takes a very long time. Perhaps they don't have the time, and it may not be easy to find a suitable planet in a habitable zone. Maybe they need a temporary lodging until their new home is completed and Earth fit the bill?!

So the real question is what will they do when they approach Earth only to find that we're already occupying this prime piece of real estate?!

We also don't know that they're "Moving a hunk of metal thousands of trillions of miles". Given that we do not have the resources (scientific or otherwise) to conveniently and safely move between stars, how can we possibly know by what means aliens will travel or from what their transportation will be made?

The problem with Hawking's PoV (and all-too-many others) on this topic is that it assumes that aliens be "just like us". I think that's a serious mistake. Given the diversity of life on Earth and the diversity of what might loosely be termed "cultures" and "thinking patterns" found among just the life here, it seems a bit anthopomorphic to blandly assume that aliens will essentially be no different from us than our next-door neighbors are. All-too-many Sci-Fi shows make this mistake.

And you guys are way behind on your Doctor Who viewing. Matt Smith and Karen Gillan already visted space ship UK in the new series, and found something very disturbing there! It's coincidentally highly relevant to this discussion of how humans and aliens treat each other.

And now I've teased you cruelly, I'll leave it at that....

If you're able to like the Boosh, you should have realised Family Guy sucks.

I think that Prof. Hawking has been watching movies like, "War of the Worlds," too many times.


"The problem with Hawking's PoV (and all-too-many others) on this topic is that it assumes that aliens be "just like us". I think that's a serious mistake."


*golf clap*

H.G. Wells has us visited by advanced organic organisms that don't understand germ theory and behave like colonial Belgians.

In "The Day the Earth Stood Still" (the good one with real actors from 1951) we get a visit from an intergalactic representative of Plato's "Republic".

Robert Earl Wise (awesome) again directs an invasion scenario proposed by Michael Crichton in "Andromeda Strain" this time where our alien overlord is a virus. That works.....but only if we are Colonial Belgians?!?

Pod people?

I like "The Blob" myself. It was made out of gravy mix.

Oh and James Arness (6' 7", Bronze star and purple heart at Anzio) as "The Thing from Another World" (Like you can defeat Sheriff Matt Dillon with electricity...his little brother is Peter Graves for fucks sake)It is like giving Rod Steiger titanium tusks and then asking the audience to believe he dies from TMJ.

But I digress.

Hawking's statement and some of those made by the late great Carl Sagan reside in a level of statistical conjecture beyond educated guess.

It is a tad irresponsible not to provide the caveat "What I am saying now is literary fiction. NOT SCIENCE."

Their instincts are what makes good science fiction in that true talent, uses the future as set dressing while it writes about the world it lives in.

Hawking's fiction is European/American imperialism.

Sagan's fiction was the voyage of the Beagle.

Erv's fiction is Spike Milligan meets Deus Ex Machina/The Cavalry

Douglas Adams would have been proud.

Pakistani Daleks:

By Prometheus (not verified) on 28 Apr 2010 #permalink

Um, Abbie, that wasn't his fist. Alien tentacle in disguise...

On a more serious note, I'm trying to imagine what an interstellar-capable alien (of whatever number of tentacles) would necessarily be like in terms of how we need to develop in future, in order to avoid killing ourselves before we get there. Peacefull and educated are a big must. Greedy and warlike are not.

Also, it's yet another tiny battle in the war of fear versus hope. I'm trying to be hopeful rather than fearful on the nuclear energy thing too.

I agree with Professor Hawking to this extent: there is the possibility that E.T. is insane, paranoid, predatory, or just plain bad news all around. We may be like the baby crying in the woods, and the wolf has already pricked up his ears and is sniffing the wind to get a direction...

The problem is, we are *extremely unlikely to run into aliens who (as in the movies) are just a couple of decades ahead of us in technology. Say that a tool using intelligent species last ten million years on the average.

Many (perhaps most) would be technologically primitive, and we have to go find *them, or they are so far advanced that we can't even imagine what their technology is capable of.

Are we going to cower on Earth for the next ten million years, until we're confident that we can handle anything they throw at us? (That might even be more dangerous - perhaps we shouldn't keep all our eggs in one basket.)

I don't think we can, and I don't think we are willing to, and we might not even be able to hide away under our blankies until we're ready. And the difference between where we are now and where we will be in a couple of hundred years is trivial, from their viewpoint (whether primitive or advanced).

I say, let's go say "Hi", and hope they're not hungry, nor like our crazy cousin Wayne.

I figure that aliens will want to collect us for their petting zoos. I'm game. Can't be any worse than 19 years of marriage.

The inevitability of extinction makes risks more acceptable? You can't think that. I know you don't think that. You wouldn't use that logic for anything in real life.

"The inevitability of extinction makes risks more acceptable?"

If risk carries the possibility of mitigating the extinction, yes.

If the hand grenade lands in your foxhole do you try and toss it back out before it blows up or just close your eyes?

I'm missing how this is bad logic but I can be dumb.

splain pleeze.

By Prometheus (not verified) on 29 Apr 2010 #permalink

The one argument regarding interstellar travel that seems weak to me is the "going after resources" one. If you have the technology to build a starship, you should also have the technology to transmute elements (and filter out the radioactive byproducts), manufacture compounds to order, and so forth. This would be worlds cheaper (pun intended) than interstellar travel.

In fact, after some thought, I could come up with only three reasons for interstellar travel:

1. Escape. (From a catastrophic environmental situation, perhaps, or from a repressive regime, though how you could put together the materials for a starship under the latter situation is a question.)

2. Colonization. Maybe they don't want all their eggs in one spot either. And if, upon arriving at a habitable location, they discover it already occupied, the question then becomes, "How desperate are they?"

3. Conversion or Extermination. Of the fanatic religious or philosophical kind. (Already we have religions that consider non-members less than human, and which classify certain members of the human race as not-supposed-to-exist.) So religion/philosophy could be a powerful motivator, given that the starship technology was available.

Just some thoughts.

By Lurker111 (not verified) on 30 Apr 2010 #permalink

Robert Park weighed in on this issue:

WHATâS NEW Robert L. Park Friday, 30 Apr 10 Washington, DC

They are out there somewhere, and the computer of the world's most famous
physicist says in a vaguely Norwegian accent that we should keep low so
they won't notice weâre here. In a new documentary for the Discovery
Channel, Hawking says, "To my mathematical brain the numbers alone make
thinking about aliens perfectly rational." That depends on what you think
about them. He suggests that aliens might raid Earth to take our
resources. Actually, our resources are draining away into the Gulf of
Mexico. Or maybe the aliens analyzed the Hubbert peak and decided we
weren't worth the trouble. "We have only to look at ourselves to see how
intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn't want to meet."
I'm sure the series will be a great commercial success, but this is totally
irresponsible. All this paranoid society needs is the world's most famous
scientist telling us that the obesity epidemic was engineered by the space
aliens to fatten us up for the feast. Not only is Prof. Hawking profiling
with a totally imaginary profile, he screwed up the mathematical physics.
Letâs run the numbers for him:

Every September on the first day of class I ask my new freshman physics
majors if they think humans will ever travel to another star. Almost all
say "sure, eventually." "Okay," I tell them, "let's start planning the
trip." We set a few minutes aside in every class session to work on the
plan. How far is it to the nearest star? Itâs 4.2 ly to Proxima Centauri.
How long can we take to get there? We agree on a working lifetime, 50
years. Multi-generational space travel would raise ethical concerns. At
that velocity we can use Isaac Newtonâs 300-year-old laws of motion.
Indeed, until his retirement last year, Stephen Hawking occupied the
Lucasian Chair of Mathematics at Cambridge, once held by Newton. Anyway, my
class couldnât agree on how many frozen pizzas we would need on the trip so
we settled for calculating the energy per gram, 317 MJ/g. Can that be
right? If it is we just solved the Fermi paradox. These hideous aliens are
lusting for Earth women but don't have enough stuff to make the trip.
According to the 2003 movie, 21 Grams, starring Sean Penn and Naomi Watts,
it's an "established scientific fact" that the human soul weighs 21 g.
Maybe it's our souls the aliens are after?


"The thing is, we probably will kill ourselves. Nukes, running out of clean water, some plague or another, humanity is going to end at some point. Its just a matter of what else we take down with us."

Just so long as it's nothing like this!

"So Im pretty shocked that Stephen Hawking is telling us to shush and not attract the attention of alien life, cause they will probably be assholes and kill us (video)."

I think Hawking has a point: I'd much rather that humanity be quiet (and last long enough) to figure out how to colonize other stars so that even if we do run into someone bad, it would be out there and the survivors could always run.

Because either way, if we all get pasted, it's over, whether we die ignorant or not, once we're dead, we'll be ignorant again of what's out there.

Goodness! WW with coherent argument shocker. Abbie, break out the champagne!

Seriously, tho. It's not just 'liberal virologists' who have 'misanthropic pessimistic' outlook. It's anyone who actually looks at the evidence of human behaviour. Again WW it's about evidence. We keep coming back to this and you keep running away.

"Why do liberal virologists always seem to have this misanthropic pessimistic world view?"

Probably because they're reality-based.

By Tyler DiPietro (not verified) on 03 May 2010 #permalink

Aliens moving from system to system using up the resources before moving on? Sound like he was watching a certain Will Smith movie if anything. Thats almost the plot to the letter!

You ever drunk Bailey's from a shoe?

ARE you all INSANE????????
Have you forgotten teh BORG????????????????

I believe it was neil degrasse tyson who stated they we are ignorant and arrogant to believe that alien life will share the same physical and chemical properties as life on earth. For all we know they may not even be carbon based, or breathe oxygen for that matter. And it was Michio Kaku who relates the advanced civilization to humans as humans to ants. Our species is so arrogant that we actually think aliens would want anything to do with us, so much so, that they are willing to make the trip just to teach us their culture and technology. Should they be at least thousands of years more advanced as us (which they most likely are), if they wanted to contact us they would have already, but since were only trying to contact them through one frequency, we won't be able to find any civilization whos sending "messages" across all frequencies.

If you ask me I believe Stephen Hawking is the least credible world renown physicist. Hes made 2 many theories that have been noticibly debunked, whether it be black holes or a potential hostile ET civilization.

By CosmicCrunch (not verified) on 27 May 2010 #permalink

The Fraud's Prayer

Stephen Hawking who art mistaken,
Sullied be thy name.
Thy E.Tâs come.
Thy TV showâs on,
On Discovery channel at half past seven.
Feed us this day our daily dread,
And rely on our ignorance,
As we swallow all bullshit thatâs fed to us.
And speak us not unto aliens,
Because the whole bunch are evil.
For thine is the money,
And the girls, and the gag-order.
You sell out retard.
Fuck off.

By Halfordism (not verified) on 10 Jul 2010 #permalink