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Theoretical Physics Prof Suggests We Should Not Be Seeking Out Extra Terrestrials

Theoretical Physics Prof Suggests We Should Not Be Seeking Out Extra Terrestrials

“I think that’s a terrible idea”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f963c9RrNfM

I seem to remember Stephen Hawking saying something similar to this. There is a distinct possibility that being visited by aliens would not end well for us.

The New York Post reports:

Aliens might be friendly — but don’t bet on it: expert’s dire warning

Sure, they’re out there, but should we be looking?

Michio Kaku, a professor of theoretical physics at City College of New York and all-around pop-science icon, has issued a warning about extraterrestrials — and efforts to seek them out.

“I think that’s a terrible idea,” the 74-year-old astrophysicist said.

Kaku, perhaps best known for his contributions to string theory, spoke to the Guardian about his new book, “The God Equation,” which covers contemporary movements in science and technology.

But his interview took a spacey turn.

In the past, Kaku has theorized that humans may meet their extraterrestrial counterparts within this century. While the prospect might sound thrilling for many, Kaku is more cautious than eager to make contact.

“We all know what happened to Montezuma when he met Cortés in Mexico so many hundreds of years ago,” he said, alluding to the disastrous demise of the 16th century Aztec emperor, which was instigated by what seemed to be a friendship of convenience with Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés.

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Comments

Kaku has theorized that humans may meet their extraterrestrial counterparts within this century

So he’s assuming we’re going to somehow figure out FTL travel or safe Einstein-Rosen bridge traversal within a hundred years? Or that extraterrestrials who have, also decided to station an ansible beacon on the outskirts of the solar system and now that we’re transmitting decide to pop on over and have a look?

This is what happens when scientists grow up watching Star Trek.

Kaku has theorized that humans may meet their extraterrestrial counterparts within this century.

Since we have absolutely no data, there is no basis for this statement.

There is a distinct possibility that being visited by aliens would not end well for us.

Ah now, that’s different. We do have data about that. And no need to cite Cortés. We already know that friendly visitors are just as bad.

For fifty years I’ve been puzzled how supposedly intelligent and imaginative people have managed to overlook the bloody obvious.

The good news is that if anyone who has some magical way of getting here is interested, we have no way to keep them out. So worrying is irrelevant. And there’s another problem—when they say “Take me to your leader!”, who would you take them to? Calling any of today’s prominent persons a “leader” is just comical.

    healthguyfsu in reply to tom_swift. | April 13, 2021 at 10:03 pm

    I think the ensuing fight to be the leader and the inertia created by the shameless and non-stop infighting and jockeying for position would reflect very poorly on our global culture.

    henrybowman in reply to tom_swift. | April 15, 2021 at 5:31 am

    “The good news is that if anyone who has some magical way of getting here is interested, we have no way to keep them out.”

    Right. Which is why the lesson here could be restated as, “It is wiser to be a Gray Man than to go seeking a Gray Alien.”

Cixin Liu, in “The Dark Forest”, speculated that any extraterrestrials would see all other civilizations as eventual competitors for resources, and would take steps to destroy them before they could become a threat.

While reading his trilogy, I wondered what would happen if, instead of the usual greetings, we had transmitted David Ricardo’s writings on comparative advantage. Maybe throw in The Ultimate Resource by Julian Simon as well.

nordic_prince | April 13, 2021 at 1:56 pm

“It’s a cookbook!”

The inevitable constraints of light speed and radiation damage eliminate any chance of visiting space aliens. Still, we might be able to pick up their electromagnetic signals (that would have been broadcast years ago).

The proper way to greet a space alien was actually published as a 45-rpm record:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cgMidz9alPU

    The_Mew_Cat in reply to OldProf2. | April 14, 2021 at 6:38 pm

    Do we really know that light speed is the true limit? Tachyons could theoretically exist, but haven’t been detected yet.

    And aliens may not necessarily be light years away. There could be alternate timelines of our own, with countless alternate Earths that had a different history and are populated by different creatures.

    henrybowman in reply to OldProf2. | April 15, 2021 at 5:37 am

    I prefer the “greeting” recorded on the Voyager by the Rajasthani representative: “Hello to everyone. We are happy here where we are, you be happy there where you are.”

Master_Of_Fumes | April 13, 2021 at 6:58 pm

I don’t think we are “seeking them out.” They’ve been here for thousands of years. The government should disclose the truth and set up a ‘meet-and-greet’ for all the world to see.

brightlights | April 13, 2021 at 9:41 pm

In the novel ‘Killing Star’ Charles Pellegrino created three rules:

Rule 1. Aliens will believe their survival is more important than our survival.

Rule 2. Wimps don’t become top dogs on their planet.

Rule 3. Aliens will assume that the first two rules apply to us as well

Reverse War of the Worlds. Aliens come here and instead of our disease killing them, their diseases kill us.

Like many people, including many academics, I would like to think that beings technologically advanced enough to travel between stars would also be benign and non-aggressive. But I also want the ability to blow them out of space if that becomes necessary.

There’s a rather significant difference between searching for evidence they exist and sending them invitations to Thanksgiving dinner. I don’t think scientists, or lone national governments, should be pretending to be representatives of all of Earth.

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