Self Defeating Species
By Jacob Davidson
First of all. As a member of the human race I can think of no greater science discovery than uncovering the existence of Intelligent life in the solar system. Though, when you actually start thinking about the implications that discovery would provide, it starts to sound like not that fun of a discovery.
Just think about it. Intelligent life being discovered outside of earth would be huge. The biggest discovery of the century, possibly all of human history. World religions and belief systems that tell of humans being the only intelligent life out there would be shattered, there would be a lot of skeptics and conspiracy theorists that would be questioning it just like they do the moon landing. Every last detail that would be released disclosing to the public about our visitors from the stars, would be criticized and analyzed.
Now there is already a lot of information and theories about how it would go but I want to find the realistic data and the true facts about how it would go down. It was a little difficult but I believe I have found it and you probably won’t like it.
Let’s look at the primary form of communication we believe would be effective in communicating to these other worlds. Radio Waves. Also, for some reason a lot of people think that our super powerful telescopes are capable of looking at the surface of a planet, what people don’t realize is that the astrophysicist use these telescopes to look at the atmosphere of a planet. They do this to look for atmospheric signs of life. Like when you look at our planet we have an oxygen and nitrogen rich atmosphere because we have plant life and animal life that breathes it. There would never just be a nitrogen and oxygen rich atmosphere for no reason, this pokes a lot of hole in the original Star Trek, because nature only does something for a reason. So let’s say we think there is life on Mars, we get our giant ground satellites in position with Mars and we zap a signal there. We get no response, which is not very surprising but why? Well you have to look at it from the standpoint that we are expecting alien life to have intelligence, technology, innovation and advancement of that technology all at the exact same time and we expect them to be able to decode a message and send one back to earth. That’s a pretty big hope that aliens are just as advanced as us. Now let’s just go back 200 years in human history and say the aliens find a way to send a radio wave to earth in the earth year of 1800. Now according to our terms of intelligence we were still considered a intelligent species in 1800 but we didn’t have the technology and innovation at the time. So what makes us think aliens do too? The earth has been around for 12.4 Billion years (roughly), and intelligent life has only dominated this planet for the last like couple thousand years, and technology and innovation have been around for maybe a couple hundred years. So you see the extremely small sliver of time that intelligence, innovation, and technology are all prominite in our world or any world for that matter.
Another point is that if you ask any scientist or UFO theorists they will tell you the prominent characteristics that we are looking in alien life is intelligence. Let’s take a quick look at the definition of intelligence. Intelligence: the ability to apply knowledge and skills.
Now the word intelligence was created to communicate the concept of applying knowledge and skills and until we find a better way to communicate these concepts we will have to deal with primitive verbal language. The ONLY reason that human beings are considered intelligent is because we made up the word. By our own terms, yes we are intelligent. But we really don’t have a way to measure intelligence because it is this weird ambiguous concept. But what makes us think that we are intelligent to an otherworldly being? I would like to add this little quote by my personal hero and astrophysics rockstar Neil Degrasse Tyson that I believe sums this up pretty good ” our top scientists work with chimpanzees for years and years, and after all of this work the chimps can stack blocks and make very primitive tools, which is what our toddlers and infants can do very easily. Now what makes you think that alien scientists wouldn’t wheel Stephen Hawking forward and say “this human can do quantum mechanic equations in his head, just like our little alien toddlers and infants”. Now what I get from this quote is that perspective is everything and that as a species we need to think about that more.
Now another really interesting little factoid about civilizations is that when you look at a civilization that wants to expand itself to an interplanetary species you run into a lot of problems. Any civilization that wishes to expand itself in that manner is self-defeating and self-limiting. So it begs the question that would an advanced alien civilization even want to explore and become a interplanetary species? Let’s look at an example using the human race, we want to colonize Mars. Now if you look at the physical and financial effort needed to completely colonize an entire planet, and we have to look at the reason why we want to colonize another planet. We want to get away from earth cause let’s say if earth is destroyed we still have another planet with the species prospering so the species continues. So lets say to do this we send a billion people to mars, but before that we need to become the dominant form of life on Mars, we need to stabilize the atmosphere to support that huge amount of human life, and we need to perfect space travel enough that we are able to move large amounts of the human population to another planet. Which by the way the trip to mars is roughly 9 months. So we need to perfect air supplies, artificial gravity for these spacecrafts transporting the population. Also, you have to take into consideration the human condition. Now looking at all of those factors you have to take into consideration, the idea of traveling and living on another planet gets very cloudy. Now in the self defeating section of things. When you look at the approach we would take to be an interplanetary species you can just look at our countries on earth as an example. Every country wants to be powerful, have influence, and acquire territory. It’s a kind of flaw in our thinking, we are greedy and have a pretty bad tract record when it comes to staying in power because at anytime someone stronger can defeat you and then you’re wiped from existence. And when you get into the same species on different planets you will run into the problem of competition. Humans have this weird desire to seek out competition and we tend to be destructive in our desire to seek it out. A lot of people argue that competition fuels innovation and new discoveries and yes that can be true, but from a sociological standpoint it can also lead to territorial disputes and if you work together and a species toward a common goal I feel like that would progress faster than competition between the same species. Now any species that understands that competition leads to destruction, and destruction leads to war, this species will be ahead of the curve and might not even feel the need for exploration.
Now taking all of this is. It makes me think of the Elon Musk quote “We want to go to Mars because a future without Mars is boring”. I agree with him on that, a future as a interplanetary species is really exciting. Thinking about it fills my imagination with spacecrafts and the sense of adventure like we as the human race are becoming more. Though it seems like a childish dream. Now another big question is that what if aliens did visit our planet and determined there was no sign of intelligent life? Like the point I made earlier, we are an intelligent species by our definition of the word intelligence. What gives us the right to even speculate that we are an unrelenting force of intelligence seeking to discover other life forms like us? We can’t even get past our own man-made dilemmas here on earth, yet we think we are ready to expand our horizons and explore the galaxy? It seems ignorant and naive.
Also you look at Stephen Hawking, which is one of the smartest human alive today, he has even made speculations that if an alien life form discovered our planet. They would either enslave the human race, or simply kill us all like a kid with a magnifying glass to ants. Now what makes him think this? The reason he thinks this way is that he looks at human hostility throughout our thousands of years on this earth and it is riddled with war after war after war. He’s not wrong in the sense that he gets from looking at human history he see’s war and it is not wrong of him to expect that very same hostility from another form of life but there is literally zero evidence that aliens are hostile like us. Plus, if we do encounter another form of intelligent life then there is a strong predictions that they are not war like, the reason for this hypothesis is that if a species is truly intelligent and truly advanced then they would not see war as a primary form of gaining territory or influence. They would most likely be a very contained as they wouldn’t see the scientific gains from things us humans do like missions out of pure curiosity.
This brings me to my final point. What if we just aren’t worthy in terms of intelligence or innovation as a species, that these aliens would deem us worthy of contact? I mean think about it, what is the primary drive behind wanting to find alien life? It is curiosity and a feeling of being afraid to be alone in the universe. I am about to pose some big questions, but the only way to find the big answers is to ask the right big questions. Should we strive to be an interplanetary species? Would it benefit our world as a whole? Should we not focus on trying to protect our species only home, or should we continue window shopping for a new one? I believe it would cause our species to be self-defeating in the sense of how many things can go wrong. I mean let’s say we successfully colonize Mars, which by the way if we have the capabilities to terraform Mars, then we have the technology to make Earth back to healthy again. My big concern is that people would start bickering and before we all know it. Humans are fighting an interplanetary war with ourselves and in that sense we would be self-defeating. I feel we are entering the space age with the hopes of benefiting our species and I think that we might be successful in that dream in some ways but I just don’t see in the long run it being beneficial to the continuation of our species.
As humans we are the planets most successful and destructive species to ever exist. We have to realize as a species that the only way we will all be able to still have a home is to take proper care of the only home we have.
P.s. Actually astrophysicists believe in roughly 5 billion years our sun will implode and it will completely vaporize earth and the rest of our solar system will be left a black nothingness, a graveyard to the divine 8 planets. So actually it really makes no difference if humans die out tomorrow or 1,000 years from now. Just sayin.
Let me know your thoughts on a multi planetary species and your thoughts on my writing.
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