With an ongoing conflict in Ukraine that threatens to escalate into a new world war, humanity seems to continue on the same path of self-destruction that keeps it from being recognized as a species to visit by other civilizations in the cosmos. At least that is what a psychobiologist from the University of Albany has stated.
We’re talking about Dr. Gordon Gallup, who argues that humans are “dangerous, violent, and incessantly engaged in endless conflict and bloody warfare.” For this reason, aliens with the technological ability to pay a visit to Earth are likely to be inclined to stay away for fear of death and genocide.
Dr. Gallup has presented his position in an open-access article recently published in the Journal of Astrobiology.
“If extraterrestrial life exists, it may have already found us and discovered that humans are dangerous, violent, and incessantly engage in endless conflicts and bloody wars, continually developing more and more powerful weapons of mass destruction,” says the psychobiologist.
“It would also be obvious that, as a byproduct of increasing pollution, habitat destruction, coupled with endless wars, plunder, death, destruction, and desire for conquest, humans pose an unparalleled risk not only to life on Earth but for life on other planets,” he adds.
As an example, Dr. Gallup cites “the total destruction of the very advanced Aztec and Inca civilizations” and the subsequent genocide of the native peoples, their temples and buildings destroyed, and their wealth and natural resources stolen.
“If humans on Earth became aware of advanced civilizations and desirable resources on other worlds, could these native alien populations eventually suffer the same fate that befell the natives of Mexico and Peru?” he writes.
“If there is intelligent life elsewhere, they may see humans as extremely dangerous. Perhaps that is why there is no convincing and official evidence of extraterrestrial intelligence: we represent too great a risk and they do not want to be discovered.
Truth opposed to Hollywood
During his lifetime, the famous British astrophysicist, Professor Stephen Hawking, expressed concern about the dangers posed by intelligent and hostile aliens. These could come to conquer, enslave, destroy and colonize humans to exploit our planet’s resources after their own have been depleted.
This has long been perpetuated by television and film; which almost always portray visitors as ugly and evil invaders. But the truth could be completely the opposite of what Hollywood wants to sell us: it is also possible that aliens live in fear of being found.
“Human beings seem to be about to reach the tipping point when it comes to our reliance on fossil fuels and the resulting effects on climate change,” says the expert. “The trajectory suggests that, for the first time in Earth’s history, we are heading towards a mass extinction that is occurring as a result of the actions of a single species; that is, the human”.
The Fermi Paradox
The paper also mentions the Fermi paradox, which is the apparent contradiction between the lack of evidence for extraterrestrial civilizations and various high estimates of their probability.
In other words, if there is extraterrestrial life, why haven’t we found any evidence of it?
According to estimates by Erik Zackrisson, an astrophysicist at Uppsala University in Sweden, there are 70 quintillion planets in the universe—that’s 7 followed by 20 zeros. In the Milky Way galaxy alone, there are as many as six billion Earth-like planets, according to a 2020 study by astronomers at the University of British Columbia.
And although with current technology the thousands of confirmed exoplanets are mostly gas giants, with more modern eyes like those of the James Webb Space Telescope, smaller worlds like our own could be found and confirmed more frequently.
As for whether intelligent life exists outside of our planet, Dr. Gallup thinks that “the history of biology on Earth makes it clear that intelligent and technologically sophisticated life is the exception rather than the rule.”
Although it would also be necessary to define intelligence —or at least link it to consciousness—. For a species that destroys itself and the planet on which it lives, that qualifying adjective can be questioned. Those species capable of visiting us and/or hiding from us would also be at a level of consciousness where wars and environmental destruction would be just anecdotes from a remote past.
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Professor Gallup”s Evolutionary Psychology class a SUNY Albany was by far the most interesting and fulfilling course I had in my 6 years at the university.