This is kind of an interesting story that I ran across. Stephen Hawking has always been a hero of mine and when he talks about something I listen. He is possibly the smartest human living right now. It turns out that he is doing a new series for the Discovery Channel about extra-terrestrial life and what that kind of life might look like. Hawking finds it “perfectly rational” to assume that aliens or sentient life exists in the Universe somewhere given the vast number of galaxies that exist.

However, he warns against seeking any new sentient life because he thinks it’s very likely that they will be hostile to Earth.

If aliens visit us, the outcome would be much as when Columbus landed in America, which didn’t turn out well for the Native Americans . . . We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn’t want to meet.

I am of the belief that sentient life almost has to exist out there. Dr. Hawking is right that the odds just weigh to heavy in favor of it. I guess the real question is whether faster then light travel is possible, and if so how? I find it very unlikely that we will achieve faster then light travel, at least anytime soon, so much of this is a moot point.

I’m not sure about the hostile part, I don’t know how we could say that for sure. Hawking compares alien life to our post-columbian interaction with natives in the Americas. While it’s true Europeans were pretty brutal (although the natives were pretty brutal to each other too) I’d like to think we’ve evolved beyond that to some extent. For instance, if we were to venture out to the stars and we encountered other alien life I doubt very seriously we’d just go in and wipe them out and take their resources. I think it’s just as likely that any sentient species who had the ability to travel through space would be friendly as hostile.