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7 Reasons We Shouldn’t Try To Contact Aliens

Posted on January 29, 2010 in Top Posts | 66 comments

This year is the fiftieth anniversary of SETI (the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence).  For half a century mankind has been broadcasting into space, trying to contact extraterrestrial life forms.  Is it really a good idea to get in touch with aliens though?  Here are seven reasons that we shouldn’t.

1.  Size.  Jimi Hendrix once said that he believed that aliens could be enormous, and that we would be like ants to them.  As he put it, “You wouldn’t go miles out of your way to step on an ant-hill”.  What if our communications are annoying them though?  You wouldn’t go miles to tread on ants, but you might cross the living room to swat a buzzing fly.

2.  Evolution.  What if the aliens have evolved differently to us?  What if they’ve evolved from insects or snakes?  What if they have feelers on top of their bulbous heads?  What if they’re descended from ear-wax?  We’d find them repellent, that’s what.  What if they came to visit us and they turned out to be 15 feet high spiders?  Half of the world’s population would scream “Kill it!  Kill it!” and the other half would take one look at them and think “Not bloody likely”.  Do we even have a giant shoe?

3.  Disease.  Aliens are…well, alien.  Humans would have no immunity to any diseases or infections that they would bring, and they would have none to ours.  We won’t be able to cope with Venusian Flu of the eye and they won’t be able to cope with Herpes of the tentacle.  Meeting aliens would be a bad idea for all concerned.

4.  Dullness.  What if the aliens are uncharismatic?  Really boring?  Catatonically, mind-numbingly, vapidly, monotonously Daily Mail dull?  Do we really want to have an unimaginative dialogue with dreary spacemen?  What if they’re like Vogons?

5.  Defeat.  What if the aliens are more powerful and more advanced than us?   We can’t know that they’re not war-like and intent on universal domination.  By trying to contact the aliens we could be guaranteeing ourselves a new world order.  We could only hope that our new alien masters would be benevolent.  Perhaps they’d be a bit subtler than going for out-and-out enslavement, preferring to conquer and rule us – they might even settle for a puppet-government.  To head this, they would need to find someone innocuous and popular, with a good grasp of modern communication, whose covetousness and vanity would leave him open to their manipulation.  Our new alien-overlords would probably install Richard Bacon as Earth’s puppet-leader.  No one wants that – even him.

6.  Beggars.  Why would aliens want anything to do with us anyway?  If they’re in any way more advanced than us we’d drive them round the bend.  Whether It’s pestering them for technology to save our ailing planet, pestering them for accommodation when we realise that we can’t or pestering them to take David Gest back, we’ll be, at best, a nuisance, and at worst, a burden.  We’re like the annoying neighbour that you try to avoid by pretending to be out.  The aliens – if they have any sense – are hiding from us.

7.  Madness.  What if there are no aliens?  Then the whole SETI programme will have been in vain.  If there are no aliens out there then essentially we’re talking to ourselves.  I’ve seen people that do that out on the street.  They look a bit foolish and they say the silliest things – often about spacemen, ironically.

********************UPDATE********************

Since we wrote this article, Stephen Hawking has come out and stated his opinion on this subject.  He agrees with us.  We don’t know if he read this piece first or eventually – after considering these issues for a good while longer than we did – came to a similar conclusion by himself.  We like to think that it’s the former.

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