archive: Re: SETI Why would anyone look forward to sharing this galaxy?

Re: SETI Why would anyone look forward to sharing this galaxy?

jerry and judy ( jerbidoc@zianet.com )
Fri, 9 Oct 1998 14:49:54 -0600

>Well, I'm going to put the other side of the argument (I'm not saying
>that
>your points are unreasonable : I just like arguing).

hehehehee, me too.

>1. Interstellar space travel is _hard_. Very hard. If it were Star Trek
>-easy, we would have been colonised already.

Maybe their numbers tell them that we're too improbable to look for, or
they just haven't noticed us yet, or possibly they're steaming this way in
multi-generational outfits at this moment!
Or maybe they're momentarily preoccupied and they'll get to us after more
pressing matters are 'seen to'. Gulp!!!

>If we contact ET's at about
>our level of technology, the worst they could do would be to swear at
>us. It may well be impossible, in which case we don't need to worry at
>all.

I don't buy it, and even if the above covered all bases, I'm not willing to
risk my genetic line on it. For what? We should lay low.

>2. It takes 10's of thousands of years to develop interstellar
>capability.

Even 50 thousand years is nothing compared to the millions of years. Once
a civilization expands to a few star systems it should be able to avoid
most types of global death (even apathy) and then the Cluster's the limit!
(grin)

>(See point 1). Any species with tendancies towards non-rational
>conflicts
>will elliminate themselves long before developing it. Hence : no
>religious
>imperialists.

Religious and other imperialists come and go, as on Earth, but we can't
rely on the ritualistically territorial species to totally self-destruct.
Badgers and other weasels usually stop in time. We should be thinking
about ways to remain hidden from them. It might not be feasible, but does
anyone even talk about it? We're so used to being at the top of our food
chain on this puny little planet. Why are we so silly?, we know how big
the Galaxy is!

>3. There might be a conflict over resources. However, in most cases I
>can
>see no logical reason why they would want the resources taken from the
>Earth

They wouldn't, but they would be smart enough to know that we would be a
bigger and bigger threat (or nuisance) with every passing century. They
would do the computations and decide on an effective and efficient *early*
solution to the problem. Not unlike we do with dangerous animals, we would
be contained, 'modified' or eliminated.

>metals and other elements are much more available in orbit, and
>I find it implausible that they would want slaves :

What about us being fairly interesting pets? We are unique in the universe
to some degree and maybe valuably unique in this part of the Galaxy or
maybe commonplace, either way - not good!

>they must have much
>more efficient ways of providing manpower (OK OK ETpower if you insist).
>We would be in much greater danger if we were exploiting the solar
>system more effectively.

>4. The only resource that they might plausibly want would be the planet
>itself,
>if it is habitable and they like living on our type of world. _That_
>could be a problem.

The Earth/Moon is probably unique within 10 LYs, at least, but I would
think that they could build an identical living area more cheaply if that
was their only motivation.

>However if that is the case, why didn't they turn up
>and colonise the place millions of years ago?

Apparently, there were plenty of intervening Earth-like planets so they
would need more of an incentive to come this far, but we weren't making any
interstellar noise back then.

We're just ignorant ducks on a tranquil pond,
gazing upward, instinctually quacking for other ducks
that might be flying overhead, never imagining
that savage hunters will arrive any minute and
precisely locate us by our hopeful vocalizations!

We probably have a few thousand years according to the numbers, but we'll still
be ignorant ducks in comparison to those who will have been
technological for millions of years. And they'll have specialized
components set aside to deal with the likes of us, their version of vermin
exterminators!

Thanks, it's fun,
Jerry

>Gavin
>
>--
>Dr.Gavin Tabor
>email : gavin@ic.ac.uk
>home page : monet.me.ic.ac.uk/people/gavin/gavin.html
>Department of Mechanical Engineering,
>Imperial College,
>London SW7 2BY