Why spending $100m to find aliens will make you the perfect burger.
There haven’t been too many hot sunny days this summer, but on one of them I decided to eat lunch outside. Beside me was a blueberry bush, and it was buzzing with activity both literally and figuratively. There were: hover flies, metallic flies, black flies and red eyed flies. Every branch was busy with ants, bugs and beasties going about their business. They all had their niche, and they all got on with it. There was no fighting, no resentment and no cries of ‘Fucking bugs, coming over here and eating our leaves’.
It was a scene created by four billion years of evolution and seemed to work. The universe clearly knows what it is doing.
Or does it?
There is a widely held belief that throughout the universe the formation of life is inevitable and that the creation of ‘intelligent’ life is a foregone conclusion. That is why a new project has allocated $100m to search for life beyond our solar system. But, what happens if we find it?
Mankind has the arrogance to believe it is the pinnacle of evolution and that if we do find anything we would be on an equal technological level. In reality, the chances of that are even more remote than of contacting anything in the first place. One of us will undoubtedly be superior, and there is a good chance it will be them. We have only had radio systems for about a hundred years and been capable of getting beyond our atmosphere for about fifty. Anything picking up our transmissions are currently watching the Queen’s coronation or the first episode of Danger Mouse. On an evolutionary time scale we are technologically primitive.
Not getting on with the neighbours.
Another question is, why are we looking elsewhere anyway? It’s not that I don’t want to look, it is just that unfortunately, humanity has very little humanity and will undoubtedly hate what it finds. Look at the feuds we encounter every day over people from other countries, counties, towns, districts and streets. Even the neighbour’s tree overhanging the fence. We can’t even live in peace with someone of the same species and same mindset. How on earth are we going to get on with a chap who is green, has eyes on tentacles and smells of sulphur?
Although contacting life on other planets would undoubtedly be the biggest single event of mankind, history teaches us that it will end in disaster for someone. If you believe the Hollywood version, then after a period of mass destruction and intergalactic warfare, a 12-year-old kid will defeat the aliens by using his iPhone to control the mother ship. Yes, believe it or not, visitors from other stars will have exactly the same WiFi connection as us.
Even if by some strange quirk of fate we are equal to our visitors and they genuinely ‘come in peace’ certain eventualities can be guaranteed. One group of mankind will instantly demand their return, while another group will want to skin them alive and turn them into cosmetics. There will also be some bastard with a shotgun who will shoot our new friend and stick his head on a plaque.
Whatever the case, the universal law states that upon discovery of a population less advanced it is customary to spread disease, eat its food and steal its resources. Be it us or the aliens who are the underdogs, the future does not bode well for one of us.
A recipe for disaster.
As much as I would dearly love to see what wondrous things live on other worlds, I can see one of us ultimately being farmed, mistreated and turned into a perfect burger.
So, my message to any intelligent life out there is, for the sake of us all, ET go home.