Physicist Stephen Hawking Warns of Hostile Space Invaders

April 26, 2010

public domain

According to the Times of London , physicist Stephen Hawking believes that extraterrestrials almost certainly exist - but that instead of looking for them, we should avoid all contact with them at any cost (or, as Gawker so nicely phrased it, "we should avoid them because they will probably come to earth and kick our asses like in the movies").

Hawking's remarks came as he was completing a new documentary series for the Discovery Channel about "the universe's greatest mysteries."  Hawking points out - not unreasonably - that in a universe of 100 billion known galaxies, each containing hundreds of millions of stars, Earth is unlikely to be the only planet where life has evolved.  He believes that some intelligent life forms could pose a devastating threat to humanity:

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 colonise whatever planets they can reach.

Hawking concludes that seeking out intelligent life in space is "a little too risky."  He added: "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."

The Times notes that "Hawking's belief in aliens places him in good scientific company. . . . Lord Rees, the astronomer royal, warned in a lecture earlier this year that aliens might prove to be beyond human understanding.  'I suspect there could be life and intelligence out there in forms we can't conceive,' he said. '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.'"

Like many other scientists who have speculated about the probable existence of extraterrestrial life, Hawking appears to be making a serious point, grounded in solid reasoning and evidence.  (Consider, for example, the discovery of hundreds of exoplanets, or planets orbiting distant stars, showing that planets are a common phenomenon.)  Let's hope the media don't misinterpret his remarks as an endorsement of fanciful conspiracy theories, à la Roswell, about terrestrial visitations, alien abductions and government cover-ups. 


#1 Reverend Miller (Guest) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 at 6:59pm

Apparently this “Stephen” guy doesn’t remember the passage in our sacred, holy Bible where he could take up the Shield of Faith (part of the armor of God), which would protect him from the fiery darts of the evil one (Ephesians 6:16).
That problem solved, I also take exception to his opinion of our little friends, the American Indians, or “Native Americans”, as he calls them. Granted, these poor darker-skinned unfortunates do have a few flaws that have kept them out of favor with our sweet Jesus for the last four or five hundred years (drunkenness, debauchery, ignerence) but, with God’s help, they just might straighten out in the next millennia or so and become sober members of society, just under our Mexican gardeners and negro car-wash attendants.
Read the Good Book, Stephen, and pray like you’ve never prayed before! God will protect you. By the way, you mis-spelled “colonize” in your letter. That’s not the way we spell it here in Texas.

#2 Guest (Guest) on Thursday April 29, 2010 at 6:13am

Wow! The post from Rev. Miller struck me as fake for sure until I got to the Texas part. Actually, I shouldn’t generalize like that. Regardless, I do hope it is fake, otherwise it is just another dissapointment in humanity.

#3 Takis Konstantopoulos (Guest) on Saturday May 15, 2010 at 2:56pm

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