Stephen Hawking, on all accounts a genius astrophysicist, recently made some comments better fit for the Blue Collar Comedy Tour than the Discovery Channel—Basically stating, “If the Martians come, grab a rifle and git er done!” The logical blunder taking him off the wheel-chair of wisdom and on a bar stool next to Larry the Cable Guy came when he speculated that if we contacted ET, their arrival would be like Columbus landing in the Americas, "which didn't turn out very well for the Native Americans." He further went on to say they are quite likely "nomads, looking to conquer and colonize."
This makes for a great sequel to Independence Day, but the verity of this thesis has the same chance of holding up as Stephen does with a flat tire at an intersection in Pamplona during the running of the bulls. While there is a very strong argument that Aliens have been visiting our planet for millennia already and have refrained entirely from any hostility, it is not on these grounds that I challenge his theory. Nor will I object on the absurd supposition that it would be our feeble radio signals that would inform them of our presence and bring the hammer down on Earth. His major miscalculation comes from the failure to identify the correlation between technological advancement and moral advancement.
First and foremost the very act of the Aliens arriving here on Earth would demonstrate significant technological superiority. No one contests this. We can barely land ourselves on our own orbiting satellite, let alone a planet from another galaxy. And given that evolution is the universal process by which life forms advance, it is reasonable to assume that these species are more advanced because they are more evolved, (ie had more years to develop). With evolutionary progress comes the advancement of mind over body, as we have seen the trend in the sentient beings of the planet move toward compassion from savagery. And if we don’t move a little faster on the path toward consciousness, we are gonna destroy ourselves far before we plan an interstellar invasion.
As a general rule, the people of our time find the behavior of the imperialistic period of Colombus and Cortez completely despicable. And though of course some will argue that we haven’t changed, I invite those people to take a step back a few hundred years and make that same comment. Perhaps they can go back to the Inquisition, where torture of the genitals was an acceptable form of punishment for ‘heresy’. This is no human pyramid Abu Gharib style torture, this is red hot pokers shoved in a person’s ass, and ripping the lips off vaginas with saw-toothed pliers kind of shit. And this was done by the worlds ‘moral’ authority. The CHURCH!
Everybody likes to talk about America as being imperialistic– ‘Invading’ countries for oil. I’m not saying that our motivations in the Middle East have nothing to do with oil, I’m not republitarded, but to call it an ‘invasion’ is not quite fair either. To take a government run by a man who regularly used genocide as a campaign platform and possessed vats of acid which he used to melt people for fun, and overthrow his government to establish better supply lines of oil for PURCHASE is not quite an invasion. Tell me any other invasion in history where the goal was to buy at fair market value the goods from the ‘conquered’. Fuck off. However 70 years from now, we will certainly look at our current morality as questionable even still.
If we assume that the alien technology is at minimum 200 years more advanced than we are, lets take a look at where we have come in the last 200 years. First of all, put aside all the fucked up third world practices like clitorectomy, since the Maasai tribesmen are about 1 billion years from getting a spaceship, and examine just the nations which reflect a society in full grasp of technology. Take mental hospitals as an example. We only have to go back 50 years to find that shock therapy and lobotomy was the norm. Now those practices are viewed as immoral and absurd, thanks in part to Uncle Jack’s stellar performance in Cuckoo’s Nest. It was only another 150 years earlier that slavery existed as an accepted norm–Now we have a black president. In 1972 aboriginals were still classified as animals in Australia and a mere 28 years later an aboriginal woman lit the Olympic torch in Sydney to a standing ovation!
Perhaps an even more apt example is not how we treat our people but animals as well. The humanity of pet care, zoos, the protection of indigenous species all are dramatically improved. And maybe the Earth is just a giant zoo for the aliens, but even still we can count on a ‘do not tap on the glass’ policy, just like we have down in good old San Antonio in the reptile world. In any case, all of this points to one thing– As our minds advance technically, they advance morally as well. The speed of this is as exponential as the technology itself. There are of course exceptions… Some ancient tribes, the Anasazi perhaps or the people of Easter Island already possessed a firmer grasp on morality than we do today. But we are talking generalities here.
I could go on and give a litany of examples of moral and technological progress over the last 200 years but you get the gist. As the speed of technology increases and more information becomes available the minds of humanity evolve quickly, falling rapidly in line with the universal principles of what is good & just which resonates positively with our Godself (Look for exploration of this topic in a future blog). If the aliens are even 200 years ahead of us, just imagine how much better they must be, given our own moral evolution in the last 200. And it is quite likely that the aliens are not just a few hundred, but thousands (dare we say millions?) of years more advanced.
If the aliens come the best possible assumption is that they are as least as “good” as the best of our world. If a coalition of the United Nations discovered an intelligent species of life on another planet, would they murder it, colonize and destroy it? No, they wouldn’t. Even if pressed, at most they would try to peacefully integrate.
The only scenario where Hawking’s theory makes any sense is if the Aliens were absolutely in a do or die situation where they needed to take over the planet sans human life to survive. Even still, I believe their morality would search for a better solution than polio blankets. Besides, what does a gray reptilian being that has no genitals and hardly even a mouth want to conquer humans for anyway? No quicker way to turn a viking to a farmer than take away the fun of eating and fucking…!