In a recent article posted by my local news station, Stephen Hawking, the famous astrophysicist, says intelligent alien life almost certainly exists, but communicating with them could be “too risky.”  He compares a visit from extraterrestrial life to Earth to that of Christopher Columbus discovering the Americas “which didn’t turn out very well for the Native Americans.”  He speculates, like most in his field, that most any life on another world would be similar to microbes or animals but advanced life forms may be “nomads” looking to colonize and conquer.  “Steven Hawking’s Universe” which airs in Britain Sunday will go into more depth on his thoughts about extraterrestrial life.

As for me, I’m wondering if Dr. Hawking (he does have a doctorate, right?) might be a little too paranoid.  I know he is much smarter than me and I couldn’t begin to argue my case with him but here’s how I see the issue.

I believe, without a shadow of a doubt, that there is intelligent life somewhere in the universe.  I don’t believe any of them have visited Earth or that we will be able to communicate with them for many, many more generations.  Only when and if we create the technology to travel beyond the speed of light or fold space or other means to travel vast light years quickly will that occur.  I admit that we have no idea how an alien life form would act or think.  Maybe they really are some Klingon type race that would love nothing more than to conquer all planets they come across.  We ourselves are pretty ruthless if you think about it.

I like to think that there are friendly beings willing to share their technology and learn from us as we learn from them.  Maybe we could live amongst one another and in doing so improve both species.  I admit, humans would have a hard time doing this.  If the race is too accommodating we, as humans, would almost certainly take advantage of them.  I think any intelligent life that we encounter should be the ones on guard.  Our race has proven time and time again that if we don’t get what we believe we deserve, we will fight tooth and nail, even if it means bloodshed to get it.