You see it time and time again when television channels decide to show sci-fi films, usually at Christmas, where either a spaceship leaves Earth, only to be zapped by some hi-tech space ray that we are centuries off being able to produce, or, even more familiar, is the old, “spaceship visits Earth, aliens conquer Earth with superior weapons, end of human race” scenario that many film directors wet themselves at creating.
But, hasn’t anybody ever thought that maybe, just maybe, us two-legged, upright, single-headed people might actually be the cleverest and most technically advanced species in the universe? Why is that so hard for everyone to believe?! Look at all we’ve achieved…motor cars, tennis, computers, even ready-made microwave meals for heaven’s sake! Has anybody ever seen any tennis-playing aliens? No. And don’t forget the fact that we’ve been sending out radio signals deep into space to try and make contact with anyone or anything that’s out there. Have we heard a response? Nope. Which is probably just as well seeing as though some “genius” came up with the fantastic idea of sending out messages which include the human DNA structure. Talk about giving away too much information! Did it never occur to you that that could be used by some trigger-happy alien to create some kind of nerve weapon that melts us all into pink goo?
Maybe there are no aliens. Maybe we are the only species in the entire universe. The only real theory put forward for the existence of extra-terrestrial life is that “The universe is such a big place with billions and billions of stars, something has to exist out there.” That could be true, but Antarctica is a big place too but apart from the odd penguin and polar bear there isn’t a lot of things that could rival human intelligence. At the time of writing some clever spacey people have worked out that there used to be water on Mars, and that in all probably the red planet used to or indeed still does support life. “Intelligent life as clever or more so than us?” everyone cries. Alas, no. The current theory is that there may be microscopic organisms made up of just a few cells. Well, like to see them beat a human at “The Weakest Link”.
Nobody really knows why mankind is so obsessed with finding other life, when the reality is that if it’s anything like us it’d probably destroy us in a matter of years for no real reason whatsoever. Doesn’t anybody remember “War of the Worlds”?!
Let’s go back a few hundred years to Elizabethan England for a possible historical parallel with what could happen. Before Christopher Columbus set sail in his ship to discover America, the inhabitants of both England and America were living in blissful ignorance of each other, happily going about their own business. Then fast-forward a couple of hundred years and the two are at war with each other! Although things may be all hunky-dory now, at the time there can be no denying that many people died on both sides as a result of the ensuing war. Now consider that all that was caused by two sides who had pretty much the same equipment in terms of weapons. Imagine the death and destruction that could be caused by an alien race that have had half a billion years head-start on humans in terms of developing technology.
But of course there’s the other side of the coin to consider. Perhaps contact with another species could result in huge benefits to planet earth: new farming techniques to feed third-world countries, world peace, new construction and safety materials…
As with most things in life, the fact of the matter is that nobody can predict whether contact with alien intelligence will be a good or a bad thing. Basically, it all depends whether they’re nice aliens or creatures hell-bent on domination, as well as human attitudes towards them. In other words…it all depends.
Hope you weren’t looking for a definitive answer!
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