Monday, January 25, 2010

Beware aliens warns top scientist

Simon Conway Morris, professor of evolutionary paleobilogy at Cambridge University will tell a Royal Society lecture today that we should be wary of any encounters with aliens. Morris contends that any evolutionary process likely to create intelligent life will bring about beings with all the same negative attributes as humans. While they might come in peace, they are just as likely to be searching for living space, fuel or water. Personally, I think he might well be right in principle, but I feel there is one serious flaw in this kind of argument. While aliens could indeed be rather nasty, invading an inhabited planet would be a huge undertaking. Just look at the mess we made of Iraq. Subjugating an entire would be infinitely more difficult, and it's just not worth the bother. Water and fuel can be found in vast amounts on uninhabited worlds, free for the taking, and any species able to cross interstellar space with an invasion fleet of sufficient size to occupy the earth could just as easily spend their money on terraforming projects or space colonies. I think John Carpenter came up with a more plausible scenario in his film They Live, in which the aliens are revealed to be capitalist exploiters, stripping the world of it's wealth by stealth.