'If they're out there, we better hope they never find us'
- Rick Yancey
Last week we were told that aliens from the star HD 164595 may have sent out a powerful signal towards Earth.
There were exciting headlines like "SETI is investigating a possible extraterrestrial signal from deep space" and "Alien world far more advanced than ours".
Of course near the bottom of these articles you discover that the Russian's probably misread their telescope. Seth Shostak from the SETI Institute wrote "The chance that this is truly a signal from extraterrestrials is not terribly promising".
Like you and everyone else, I generally only read the headlines so it took me a full day to find out that nothing was happening. In that time it got me thinking. Why the bleeding hell are we trying to contact aliens anyway?
Surely that's a stupid thing to do. They would hate us and we would hate them and then they would kill us. Look at us. We are horrible sacks of water. We would gross them out.
But are we alone? Probably not. There are bound to be extra terrestrials of some sort out there.
It seems unlikely that life started only once, on Earth and to us. Then again a sample of one would think that. If it didn't happened here we wouldn't be around to wonder if it happened anywhere else. Still it seems safe to assume we aren't special.
"Life is not a miracle. It is a natural phenomenon, and can be expected to appear whenever there is a planet whose conditions duplicate those of the Earth." - Harold C. Urey
Surely there's some alien mould out there. Some slim on a rock. Some smeggy biological matter in an extra terrestrial bog.
But the chances of super advanced aliens close enough in time and space to contact us seems remote.
In space terms, an intelligent civilisation would be our neighbour if they lived 400 million years ago, 100 light years away.
If we ever do get a proper alien message we should turn out the lights and pretend we never evolved.
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Equally If there are amoebas on a planet four light years away now, they're going to have to evolve for 200 million years before they'll be advanced enough to contact us.
By then we will be gone without a trace.
But let's say there are advanced aliens out there. Let's say they have the ability to bend space and travel here in our life time. Let's say they reached out to us with a powerful signal. Surely that's a terrifying phone call we don't want to answer.
If they're running a civilisation far more advanced than our own, then we are all dead. Look how human's treated the moa when we came across it. Look how we treat tequila worms.
As Stephen Hawking once wrote: "A civilisation reading one of our messages could be billions of years ahead of us. If so, they will be vastly more powerful, and may not see us as any more valuable than we see bacteria."
I believe advanced aliens would hate our guts, they would find us gross and kill us. They would find our food particularly disgusting.
Imagine what they'd think of a cheese sizzler: "So you kill a being similar to yourself, mince him, stick him in a tube, then milk his Mrs, let the milk rot before shoving it up the middle of his dead bits, then BBQ it and shove it in that wet hole in your face?"
To us nothing could be better. I love a cheese sizzler. A super being on the other hand would probably vomit out his disgusting eye tentacle.
We wouldn't even make it into their District Nine after that. They would turn us inside out with a mind bullet before excreting their alien juices on us.
We would find them just as gross as they'd find us. Aliens aren't going to look like Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher.
To us they'd be a disgusting arrogant scabies or a hovering conscious bad smell. Whatever they are, we are unlikely to get along.
It's unlikely HD 164595 is sending us a signal. Which is a good thing.
If we ever do get a proper alien message we should turn out the lights and pretend we never evolved. Because if we ever meet our space neighbours they'll hate our primitive meat-sack guts.