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Intelligent life is more likely to be like the Borg than Vulcans, according to Stephen Hawking. Hawking says humans should try to avoid contact with intelligent aliens.  (Source: National Geographic)
Don't count on friendly aliens, like ET, says Hawking; they're likely looking to conquer, colonize, and exploit

Stephen Hawking, 68, has long suffered from a motor neurone disease that has extremely limited his powers of communication and movement, but that has never stopped him from  making important contributions to scientific theory.  Hawking just finished up a three-year project, a TV series called Stephen Hawking's Universe, which will air on Sunday May 9 at 9 p.m. on the Discovery Channel.

In the show he will offer up some controversial assessments on extraterrestrial life and what it might be like.  

Hawking is a firm believer that alien life does exist.  The universe contains hundreds of billions of galaxies, each with hundreds of millions of stars, many which have been shown to have planets in orbit.  Numbers virtually guarantee that life has evolved elsewhere, Hawking believes.  He states, "To my mathematical brain, the numbers alone make thinking about aliens perfectly rational.  The real challenge is to work out what aliens might actually be like."

So what might these extraterrestrial species be like?  Hawking believes that most are likely "simple" species, similar to those that have evolved on Earth; ranging from microbes to land animals.

However, Hawking believes there is likely intelligent life out there.  And he's frightened by that possibility.

The aliens in Hawking's vision would be much like the malefic beasties in the blockbuster science-fiction flick 
Independence Day.  He describes, "We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn’t want to meet. I imagine they might exist in massive ships, having used up all the resources from their home planet. Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonize whatever planets they can reach."

He says that humans should try to avoid alien contact as we colonize space.  He states that such contact would be "a little too risky".  What would result?  He states, "If aliens ever visit us, I think the outcome would be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which didn’t turn out very well for the Native Americans."

In addition to his theories about vicious aliens, Hawking suggests that based on examples of life surviving on Earth in extreme environments, life could be found in unbelievable places, such as in the center of stars or even floating in interplanetary space.

Hawking's colleagues concur on this point.  Lord Martin Rees, a British royal astrophysicist, told his students in lecture earlier this year that humans might not be able to recognize or understand forms of life they stumble across in space.  He states, "I suspect there could be life and intelligence out there in forms we can’t conceive.  Just as a chimpanzee can’t understand quantum theory, it could be there are aspects of reality that are beyond the capacity of our brains."

How close could primitive life be?  Professor Brian Cox, University of Manchester's "rockstar physicist" suggests we look in our own solar backyard.  He says that Mars, Europa (a moon of Jupiter), and Titan (a moon of Saturn) are likely places to find it.

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The Ignorance is overwhelming.
By VelociRapture on 4/26/2010 5:01:15 PM , Rating: 2
What is truly amazing, is reading these posts by some people (for the sake of having some class I won't point them out) that think their little brains can fathom whether there is or is not such a thing as life elsewhere, and best of all, anything about them. The paradox in what one person in particular wrote is truly amusing, first he points out how essentially foolish Mr. Hawkins is for his Colombus statement and how he is extrapolating from what we know of ourselves, (not to mention the need to attach political views, lol) and proceeds to detail how they would not need this, or act like so, as if he was not extrapolating from what he thinks he knows of people. Obviously, without knowing and aliens, I'm not sure he is qualified to state how a completely alien race would behave or not. Apparently, the mere thought that they could travel long distances somehow means A, B, and C.
It's nice to come up with cute theories, but it's much more honest and open minded to simple acknowledge that you haven't the foggiest idea what an alien race would do if they came here. If there are lots of different alien races out there, there is a decent chance that they would not all be benevolent, you think? We may luck out and encounter one that would want to help us, one that may turn away in disgust, and one that wouldnt think twice of squishing us like the little tiny ape descended life forms we are. (Apparently just because they have high tech, its not possible thay they may want to acquire us and add us to their dominion or anything, noooooo, just unthinkable!)
We think we know a lot, but there is a lot more we don't know. If anything about the predicted scope of space is true, we're akin to the size of a dust mite compared to the size of the planet.
It all boils down to a simple point: we don't know. The day we know may be a really good day or a really bad day.

RE: The Ignorance is overwhelming.
By AssBall on 4/27/2010 5:32:48 AM , Rating: 3
Although I think I can agree with what your point might have been, your post was so hard to read that by the time I was done with it the 3rd time, I was angry because of the ineptitude in which you presented it.

By VelociRapture on 4/27/2010 10:30:35 AM , Rating: 2
I'm not sure I want to agree 100% with you, but you're right, it is not an easy to read post at all, lol.
You did make me laugh out loud here though, thank you!
I'll have to work on eschewing obfuscation!

"There's no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer
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