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Saw that. Gotta love the universal conceit that the only people who have ever settled land that was already occupied (however sparsely) are the Americans.I love Hawking, but this shows that even great minds are affected by the subliminal condemnations of America that permeate the global conversation.
Just to help Mr Hawking, I remind him that as early as 55 and 54 B.C. Julius Caesar led two military expeditions across the English Channel with the intention of invading the island of Britannia. He faced fierce opposition from the Kentish native tribes. Caesar was assassinated in 46 B.C. The Emperor Claudius, sent another invasion force to Britain in the year A.D. 43. This time the Kentish tribes were defeated in the Battle of the Medway and the Roman invaders quickly gained control despite opposition from Queen Boudicca and the Iceni tribe.The Roman occupation of Britain was to last nearly four centuries, during which time the daily lives of the native population were transformed.Time passed and then the Anglo-Saxon settlement of Kent began during the first half of the fifth century A.D. Constant warfare between tribes in continental Europe and the flooding of the coast of Holland and North Germany encouraged a number of different ethnic Saxon tribes to flee from their native homelands to seek a better life and more settled conditions. Even before the Romans had left Britain in 410 A.D. groups of Saxons, Jutes and Angles were already moving into prime agricultural areas in southern England and the Midlands.So how'd that turn out for the native peoples of Britannia?
What did the Aztecz do with quadriplegics?
Saw that. Gotta love the universal conceit that the only people who have ever settled land that was already occupied (however sparsely) are the Americans.Sure, but it's turned out pretty much the same way everywhere else it's happened before. Look what happened to the Ainu when the Japanese expanded north. Or the peoples of Southern China, during the big colonisation drive under, I think, the later Han. Or, for that matter, what happened to the Khoisan, when the Bantu expanded south. But what, of these analogies, would have the same resonance for English-speaking people today?
As a practical matter, he's right. We should keep our heads down and hope they don't notice us, if they're out there. Hell, there's no guarantee they'll even let us run casinos and smoke shops in the distant future.
Balfegor is on point.We're only extra-special bad because we've extra-specially prospered.
This is one of the most blatantly racist statements that I have ever heard. If you encounter an alien you should understand that he/she has come here for a reason. They obviously are seeking a better life style and an opportunity at enjoying the wealth of our world. If you feel reluctance at sharing what we have then you obviously need help. Besides, I understand that they give a mean rectal exam (according to South Park).
If any of the extraordinary life forms that are conjectured in the article were to come to Earth, would we really have the option of ignoring them?
Nice warning. But as I recall the Native Americans did not head out to contact the Europeans.
I've always been amused by the idea that an advanced race would be a peaceful race. Nice to see that someone with alot more smarts than me agrees...
Lincolntf: Saw that. Gotta love the universal conceit that the only people who have ever settled land that was already occupied (however sparsely) are the Americans.Hey, at least he didn't move here and then start finger-wagging at the descendants of the original European settlers and nation-builders. I mean, if conquering territory is evil, then lazily reaping the fruits of somebody else's loss and tragedy, without having yourself put in any of the sweat and blood of conquest, must more despicable still, no? (I assume they fell asleep during the "receiving stolen property" part of the sermon.)I guess we can envy the conquered on one point, though: when they were bravely and desperately trying to defend their (often recently hard-won) homelands from the newcomers pouring in, at least they didn't have some douche of a fellow tribesman going all "Why are you so irrationally demonizing the paleface?...Why do have such an irrational fear of the Other? ...They're just looking for a better life for their familes...Our ancestors were immigrants, too, you know..." on them. Even if he would have been just telling the truth.
Mr Hawking has not been privileged to visit the US Congress?
Bizarre. We can already detect planets in nearby star systems. Soon we will be able to do much better. If other races have the ability to travel between stars, there is no conceivable way to hide from them, nor would it make any difference if we tried to contact them.
And we’re so provincial that we’re just worrying about the Mexican/AZ border!MesquitoWhat did the Aztecz do with quadriplegics?Death Panels!
Beware of aliens gifting a cookbook!
I watched "Signs" yesterday. Haven't scolded my son for leaving around glasses of water since. ; )
In Arthur Schopenhauer's "World as Will and Representation" (how's that for an impressive opening?), he describes a scene of this all encompassing and powerful thing - this "will" - as it moves through the world.Quite chilling. Truly. For him, it was the driving force behind everything. Everything.If there is no God (I don't think so) and if the universe is driven by this cold and uncaring will, yeah, I don't want to be the first contact with the aliens, thank you very much.You go first. I'll follow when it's clear.
If there is life elsewhere in the universe chances are good that it is made up of "dark matter", and they would never know of our existence.
Never mind how things worked out for the Native Americans--we were all of the same species. Think about how things worked out and are continuing to work out for the whale, the elephant, the gorilla, the chimpanzee, and the bonobo. To say nothing of chikens, sheep, pigs, and cattle.
Why do we always assume that aliens will be more advanced that we are. Somebodies got to be first. Maybe it is us.
You mean I'd get millions and millions of acres of free land on which I could build casinos to make myself completely fucking insanely rich?Calling ET! Calling ET! I'm over here! Over here ET!
Carl Sagan said much the same thing in his TV special, though he immediately qualified his remarks by suggesting that maybe the two would cooperate.Yeah, sure.
if Mr. Wells was right, all we need to do is stick one sneezy five-year old in front of them and they're history.mesquito said... What did the Aztecz do with quadriplegics?According to Bernal Diaz, that's what the tomatoes, peppers, and chocolate were for.
Well, how'd it work out for the various sub-Saharan Africans? How's it working for them now that the oppressor whitey's have left? Doh.
I play video games.I could've told him this shit years ago. Take away alien overlords and nuclear apocalypse and my hobby struggles mightily.
We're in the middle of an expanding bubble of radio transmissions that announce our presence loud and clear. There's no way to hide it. And as MikeR points out, our own technology is getting to the point that we can find exo-planets easily, and we may soon be able to image them. No way to hide from that either.But unless these wicked old aliens are cruising around with warp drive, it's exceedingly unlikely that they'll head over to see us. Nor will we visit them. We might chat, slowly, over radio, but I doubt even that will happen any time soon. Space is very big, and very empty, and the odds (as we currently understand them) are very heavily stacked against the evolution of intelligent life.
The fact is, whether we attempt to communicate with aliens that managed to get here or not, they will figure out we're here anyway. We're sending out all kinds of signals that we can't put back in the bottle.And if they are capable of getting here, there's absolutely nothing we can really do to repel some invasion. I don't think aliens with that kind of technology would need to destroy worlds to persist, either. I think communicating with them were compatible with our means of speech.What he's doing is selling his show. Smart.Oh, and it worked out really well for the natives, when you think about it. They went from not even having the wheel to the pinnacle of mankind. They went from killing eachother to a war they quickly lost, and peace. Not a moral statement... I don't think stronger peoples should run around conquering weak ones. But they are fortunate from a long term perspective.
By anyone's standards, Hawking is a brilliant man who doesn't have the highest hopes for our lives on this planet. We might be able to chalk that off as coming from someone whose glass is half empty, but when you realize how he himself has defied the odds, you know he is an optimist by nature.What we have here is a brilliant, optimistic man with a pessimistic view about earthlings. NOT good news.
What if the aliens are here only to get missing episodes of Baywatch?
What we have here is a brilliant, optimistic man with a pessimistic view about earthlings. .He's anthropomorphizing aliens, so to speak.Of course, it's these earthlings that, through their love, have helped him live despite his terrible and debilitating illness.Lesson? Human are capable of unspeakable horrors. And unbelievable sacrifice.My guess is that any aliens out there have the same qualities.
ken in sc:Why do we always assume that aliens will be more advanced that we are. Somebodies got to be first. Maybe it is us.Well gee, we made it as far as the Moon forty years ago. We haven't been back, and we haven't made it to Mars.Aliens who visit us will have made it here from somewhere outside our solar system.But you're right, we're probably more advanced.
Both Sagan and Hawking know a lot ... a lot that is about how to sell books with provocative statements.What neither man will say (since it would kill the fun of it) is that if alien civilizations are advanced enough to get here, they're advanced enough to get here undetected by any technology we would have available to even know they're here.We have nothing to fear. If anyone could get here, or wanted to destroy us, they'd already be here and we'd already be Soylent Green.
I plan on bagging an alien. Then I'll mount the head on the wall, right next to the jackalope.
"Avoid eye contact. If there are no eyes, avoid all contact."
I'd like to hear Hawking's explanation of the Fermi Paradox if he actually believes it is simultaneously reasonably likely aliens exist and that they are capable of interstellar travel.
"Avoid eye contact. If there are no eyes, avoid all contact."Ha! Good one!
What neither man will say (since it would kill the fun of it) is that if alien civilizations are advanced enough to get here, they're advanced enough to get here undetected by any technology we would have available to even know they're here.No technology, however advanced, can prevent the emission of infrared energy from a warm object, and per the laws of thermodynamics all uses of energy will generate heat. All possible methods of shifting heat away from detectors use energy, and thus themselves generate heat. So other than actually hiding inside a large object, any techniques used to fool detection by thermal imagers from one direction will actually make the object easier to detect in others. And we've been thermal imaging the Solar System for years.Which is a long way of saying, any moving spacecraft in the solar system is well within our ability to detect.
Americans colonized America? I thought the Europeans did that.
which didn't turn out well for the Native AmericansIn the long run it did.
The conquering of the North American Indian was but a page in the history of man. The placing of Indians on reservations which made them no longer Indian and not quite American was the true tragedy. An Early day PC with tragic consequences for generations.We won. They lost. Then we destroyed them unto today.
"The bottom line is that the ghetto folk of New York are not particularly nice people, they show an unacceptable indifference to the carnage around them. The issue is the scummy 3rd world culture in the ghetto. If you go to the countries of origin of these people you will see the same indifference. There are countries in which road traffic victims will be left in the middle of the road and everyone will just knowingly drive over them until someone stops and drags the corpse into a ditch. Life is cheap in these cultures, don't expect these people to care." http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/queens/passers_by_let_good_sam_die_5SGkf5XDP5ooudVuEd8fbI?offset=64#comments#ixzz0mA92xURr
Which is not to say I don't recognize that Americans colonized other parts of the later-to-become-parts-of the United States, following in the footsteps--for example, for instance--of their various forebears. Not to mention others' forebears.
Why do we always assume that aliens will be more advanced that we are. Somebodies got to be first. Maybe it is us.It isn't an assumption. It is just playing the odds. If there was only one other intelligent species in the entire universe, all things being equal our odds of being the most advanced would be 50/50. If there are five, the odds are one in five.There are roughly 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars in the universe. Life doesn't have to be very common for there to be an awful lot of competitors for the title of "most advanced".
"I've always been amused by the idea that an advanced race would be a peaceful race. Nice to see that someone with alot more smarts than me agrees..."It goes in cycles I think.First aliens were monsters and then someone came up with the logic that war is primitive and violence goes with savages and certainly we'd evolve beyond those things. If we're going to evolve and if peacenicks are more evolved than people who are warlike, the only logical thing is that advanced aliens would have gone past the hostility and turned into Vulcans. A second line of logic due to the cold war and nuclear holocaust would be that any hostile alien would have destroyed themselves and could never have made it here.Thus... aliens are evolved and haven't caused their own extinction... therefore...Personally, I figure that peaceful aliens would be content to stay home.
"Which didn't turn out well for the Native Americans ..."That is a load of buffalo manure.He says that as if Native American's don't still exist. As if whitey hunted Indians to extinction.Indians have much greater lifespans, were taught how to make clothing out of something other than animal pelts, their children don't die of disentery and their mothers don't die in childbirth.Was it fun? Any conquered people aren't having a good time. That goes without saying. But was it "bad" for them? It was certainly bad for those who tried to stop the settling of America. But others have it much better than their ancestors ever had it in any number of ways.Hawking has a romanticized view of what it was like to be an aboriginal. He certainly wouldn't have survived to flourish as a human being had he been born an American Indian. He'd have been left on a field of grass to die shortly after his birth.It was a hard scrabble, for the most part, and exposure to nature caused massively shorter lifespans.The American Indian is not extinct. They are alive and well and have some really nice Casinos; they're much better educated, and live a longer, healthier life thanks to the technology we brought them and gave them. They adapted ... just like Darwin said they would. No people is exempt from the laws of natural selection.They returned the favor by lending us their appreciation for nature and the land and all-you-can-eat comped buffets.And that's why we've set aside the largest portion of the United States and protected it from any kind of development. And set aside specifically millions of acres of land just for the benefit of the native Americans.West of the Mississippi River, 90% of America is government owned and cannot be developed.So, when viewed outside the rose colored lens of the forced political correctness that being an inmate at an American college requires, American Indians by and large have done pretty well thanks to our "invasion" of "their" land.They've adapted, as all creatures are required to do.Man included.
When it comes to these all-knowing scientists, I can only think of this:"Astrophysicists are always wrong, but never in doubt."-- Robert P. Kirshner, Professor of Science, Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics at Harvard University
Aliens arriving from outer space are unlikely to have the same gene stock. Their diseases would not find as welcoming a home in our bodies as the diseases of Europe found in Native American bodies. In short, human population wouldn't be wiped out like small pox took down many Native Americans.I think it's a bad analogy.
Although I have not read his whole article/opinion on the subject, you have to agree with the fact that appears to be a pretty statistically remote possibility that we are alone in the universe.
People forget we didn't "Steal" the Western USA from the Indians. We stole Texas, Calf, Arizona, and N.M from the Mexicans - who stole it from the Spanish -who stole it from the Indians.We bought most of the rest from France - who had gotten it from Spain -who stole it from the Indians.No honor among thieves.
Given the distances and the costs involved, the most likely invaders would be machines, not organic life.Someone else made that observation, sounds right to me. Don't know where I read it.
David: Line swiped from the Firesign Theatre, Everything You Know is Wrong.
You know, this story is meant to do one thing:Maintain the fiction that aliens aren't already in control of our society! They are here right now!This strange looking 'human' who just happens to know all about wormholes and galaxies but talked through his robochair... this is the guy telling us not to attempt to contact the Federation? How conveeeeeeeniennnnnnnnnt! He's probably a fugitive. Xenu? Probably Stephen Hawking.You know, he's like 140 years old now, and he never eats.
To Sum Hawkins (in Italics) and in Response MTT1) The possibility of "life" outside of Earth is a non-zero number in an Infinite and expanding Universe. Yes, this is a guess, but a good guess based on the sample size of the Universe, which is Infinity. Which, I might add, is big. Really, really big.2)What that "life" may look like, act like, be like, may be something altogether different than on to what we have heretofore been focusing our attention. Pretty non-controversial. A good hedge and again based on Universe size (see No. 1)3) Contact with non-Earth-based life might be dangerous to Earth-based life. Um, hell yeah. That shit might fuck you up. Look. Do not touch. Better yet, stay the hell away from it. Or hide, better yet still.4) Where is Everybody? The Fermi Paradox. Good question. Supraluminal travel seems to the be the sticking point. No way for us to figure out how that might even be possible, let alone practical. More to the point, the span of time and distance involved in Anybody getting here raises questions as to not only the seeming impossibility of doing so, but includes and is not limited to unimaginably long life-spans of non-Earth life forms and questions as to why the hell would they want to come here of all places? Dunno'. No one else does, either. (See Cookbook.)5) Things worked out bad for the Aboriginal Americans (North and South) because of that damn Spanish Jooo. Well, seems to be some truth in that, or not. Depends on the window of observation one wants to employ. For the descendants of said Aboriginal Americans, there are antibiotics, endoscopic surgeries, fiber-optic communications, indoor plumbing, and lots of other things that wouldn't have been available otherwise. Sadly, the World gains and loses people and their cultures over time. That much is True, and seems sad and sucks, but nothing lasts forever. I'm sure the Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Belgians, English, and French (to name but a few) are really, really sorry for everything they did to everybody on every continent prior to the 18th Century. What that has to do with 21st Century citizens of the United States of America is precisely Zero.Just sayin'.Cross-posted kinda'
I sometimes wonder what might have been had Stephen Hawkings put his work, his prodigious and unique talents and gifts of various sorts, to defining the differences between motor neuron diseases.* He's got a terrible one of those diseases. But I, for one, have to question whether it's actually ALS, the one to which he was assigned, all those many decades ago, when the knowledge of such stuff was even more pre-infancy than it is now.Yeah, I know: It's a terrible thing, what I just said. And it is. It is.* Flat out.Still. I'm a jerk* enough to worry more about the various "alien invaders"--odd, rare diseases which afflict, often enough, those whom we actually know, or could if we wanted to--among us than alien invaders from outer space, whether other planets, the outer galaxy, other galaxies, or whatever.---*I believe Hawking's first responsibility is to live out his own gifts and talents, particularly given the unique nature of them, as he has discovered them. I believe that for everyone. What I struggle with is the idea of secondary and/or competing callings and responsibilities--again, for everyone, but in some cases, maybe even more so?
"No honor among thieves."This bears repeating, and a reminder that there's some pretty nasty stuff out there that can wipe out huge swaths of humanity.
I just don't know.
Lincolnf: "Gotta love the universal conceit that the only people who have ever settled land that was already occupied (however sparsely) are the Americans."I have often had the same thought. The land that comprises the United States was probably fought over dozens of times by the time the Europeans first arrived. We are far from the only conquerers of North America. We are merely the most recent ones.And that raises another point. When the Europeans first arrived there probably were many places on the continent with only a couple people per hundred square miles. Can land that empty be said to be inhabited at all? When the first human set foot in North America did he "own" the entire continent? South America too, since it is connected by land to North America?
When the first human set foot in North America did he "own" the entire continent? South America too, since it is connected by land to North America?That's a hard question to answer. It also raises questions like "does the first intelligent life to inhabit a planet 'own' the planet". And "can a species which occupies so little of the planet's surface really be said to own it".
Rev -- That's an easy question to answer since the governments in place in North America had no system in place to enforce perpetual ownership. Nobody owns anything. It's merely a bundle of rights enforced by laws and the diligence of the people living on the land.
He's got it about half right.The right part is people's dubious assumption that connecting with some random unknown will give you ET, a Care Bear, or some highly noble (in an earth centric way) creature who just wants to chill and share a coffee and discuss progress.If I were an alien, and obviously superior, I would pretty much do as I pleased and that might vary from sitting and having a chat, to biting your head off and pooping it out of my fingertips.You just never know, so you don't go near that door until it opens.
Seven,"You own what society says you own" is one view of property rights, and certainly one of the more pragmatic ones. But it isn't the only one, and it isn't the one most of us instinctively believe in (or else, e.g., there would be no complaints about eminent domain abuse).
"(or else, e.g., there would be no complaints about eminent domain abuse)."Don't confuse arguing over what society SHOULD say you own with the fact that everyone agrees that your legal entitlement to something is where your property right is.The eminent domain fighters are not saying that when property is taken it still belongs to the first guy. They are saying they disagree with society taking that route in that case.
Here's a thought:According to Hawkins, the universe has potentially billions of other advanced civilizations that have "life" (however you want to define that term).Those civilizations have had 13.5 billion years or so to advance themselves to the point where they could travel to Earth.And yet, nobody has made it.My "math" tells me that if the sum of the intelligence of all the civilizations in the known universe can't figure out a way to do intergalactic travel ... it ain't possible in this universe and we shouldn't worry about it too much.Hawking made this statement in order to make more book sales and finance more hookers.Nothing more.
"I have often had the same thought. The land that comprises the United States was probably fought over dozens of times by the time the Europeans first arrived. We are far from the only conquerers of North America. We are merely the most recent ones."The Indians stole America from the American Neanderthals - its sole and rightful owners.Bastards!
"...Can land that empty be said to be inhabited at all? When the first human set foot in North America did he "own" the entire continent?... "Hell, yeah!!! That's why the US owns the moon.
As to the Fermi Paradox, there are is a very nice series that addresses, the Paradox….try Ian Douglas’ nonology starting with Semper Mars. The whole nine book series is:1) A Marine Corps recruiting tool; and2) Quite interesting from a “hard science fiction” PoV.The reason there AREN’T more folks blundering about the Galaxy is simple, the Xul/Hunters of the Dawn and before them the Children of the Night KILLED everyone else. It makes sense, IF you, you being the race itself, are a paranoid bunch of xenophobes, you realize that sooner or later, you’re going to meet yourself in the almost infinite vastness of the Galaxy. So when you meet ANYONE, you must kill them because you only have to be wrong once and YOU’RE dead! So the Hunters of the Dawn and the Children of the Night spent a large portion of their time, looking for technologically advanced races, those with radio and rudimentary star flight and KILLED THEM UTTERLY! It was the only way to be sure that they never met anyone as ruthless and well-armed as them….of course there is a problem…the Children were succeeded by the Xul and no human is going to have the Xul win…But it IS an interesting series, nonetheless, kind of asking after the Xul are gone, will the Humans take their place? After all the Xul showed that as an evolutionary tool, genocide works….As to aliens not showing up here….well back in the days before I read Douglas I thought they’d never turn up. The interstellar distances are too vast. How COULD any aliens travel the long distance and time, to come to Earth, given the Einstein Velocity Limit? HOWEVER, Douglas points out that a real-live human physicist, Miguel Alcubierre has posited an way to fool the Universe into allowing supra-luminal speeds. We can’t do it, and it may be impossible, or it may not….and then there’s quantum coupling and entanglement. Suddenly:1) FTL travel has gone from IMPOSSIBLE, to just extremely unlikely; and2) Making the aliens using it, more than likely, terribly advanced over us.Bottom-Line: “where IS everyone?” is answerable by saying the Xul killed them all, and that when the Xul show up HERE, they’re going to be a whole lot more advanced than us, and they may not want us around…..I think Hawking has a very good point. Not everyone who turns up in our Solar System is going have the Prime Directive, or rather their Prime Directives may be a whole lot different than Kirk’s!
Unfortunately for "Ham", Neanderthals weren't part of North America. and as for Hussein Ham's rant: "The American Indian is not extinct. They are alive and well and have some really nice Casinos; they're much better educated, and live a longer, healthier life thanks to the technology we brought them and gave them. They adapted ... just like Darwin said they would. No people is exempt from the laws of natural selection."OMG.
The eminent domain fighters are not saying that when property is taken it still belongs to the first guy.Some of them do say that, actually. Not all people agree that just because the government has stolen something from you, it is no longer your property. It really depends on whether you view property as a natural right, or as a government-defined right.
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