When Stephen Hawking says that it is time to stop being so sanguine about aliens, you just have to take notice. He argues that there is little reason based on experience with our own species to think that aliens who arrive at Earth will have anything other than conquest and the removal of our wealth of natural resources on their mind. I have been watching ‘V’ and the second time around, it is just as worrying as the first; well, except they seem to be handling the whole conquest thing rather passively compared to your Dalek type deal. Dan Drezner who, let’s face it, is in his element when science fiction and social science collide, sums up many of the issues nicely. I think he suggests we should thrown in the towel a la Hitchhikers Guide.
I think I would be remiss in pointing out that it is pretty darn clear that while these ivory tower scientists are postulating some future alien invasion, they have ignored the clear evidence that this has already happened, probably several times. Let’s just talk about the dinosaur eating aliens who had a wonderful feast 65 million or so years ago and go back from there. If you map these mass extinctions out, it seems we have another 100 million years before the aliens likely come back to feast again. The question is whether that is enough time to get our act together and move from prey to predator in the galactic realm.