By Roger Nygard, filmmaker and author
Should we be optimistic and happy, or paranoid and worried, about extraterrestrials visiting the earth? I have collected answers from famous UFO and alien experts, many whom have also been featured in my alien-quest documentary SIX DAYS IN ROSWELL.
In part 1 of this blog post here, I presented the case for the near-certainty of the existence of aliens. In part 2 here, I explained why the extra-terrestrials have likely not yet arrived on Earth. In this third post, I will explain the problems facing any civilization contacting another alien civilization.
THE SENTIENT-SPECIES-WINDOW PROBLEM
Humans, as we know them today, have been on the Earth for about 200,000 years. If you condense the history of the Earth—about 4 ½ billion years—to just one year, humans have been here for only about 23 minutes. For comparison, cockroaches have been in existence for about 350 million years. That’s only 2.5 days of this 365-day metaphorical year.
Before any two alien species can meet, they both have to survive their extinction hurdles, also known as the Great Filter. 99.9% of all species that have ever existed on our planet are now extinct. Eventually, all species go extinct. Humans WILL go extinct. Any alien species will go extinct. It’s just a question of when.
Intelligence does not correlate with species longevity (at least not yet). In fact, it’s likely the opposite. We are so smart we can now destroy ourselves—quickly through a global war, or a little less quickly through environmental destruction, or creating a superbug through antibiotic overuse, or via a high-altitude electromagnetic pulse, or many other ways.
The Great Filter is a barrier to the continuation of intelligent life because it comes with a built-in feature: a high probability of self-destruction. Once you have the technology to create a doomsday button, some idiot will inevitably push it.
But let’s be optimistic. We will give both humans and aliens the benefit of the doubt and go with the average lifespan of all species on our planet, which is about 2 million years. If we condense the 4.5 billion year history of the Earth to one year that would be just under 4 hours out of that year.
That 4-hour time-period is our sentient-species window, or the window of time we exist and are thus able to meet up for coffee with an alien species. Our 4-hour window of existence during the metaphorical year would have to line up with the aliens’ 4-hour window. How likely is it that our quick blip of existence would line up with an alien species’ similarly tiny blip of time? In other words, it’s not likely we would exist during the same window of time as our alien neighbor’s window of time.
ALIENS ARRIVE ON PLANET EARTH—THE REAL DOOMSDAY SCENARIO
An alien species with space-faring goals would have to leap over the combination of all the hurdles we have examined above and in the prior two posts. The ability to do that is probably so near to zero it makes it astronomically unlikely.
But if they did, what then!?
If all these astronomically difficult odds are beaten, well, in short, we’re screwed. Because any aliens who found us would by definition be superior to us. Would they go to all the trouble to come here and help us with our politics, or solve world hunger, or give just a few nice anal probing and then leave? As Dr. Michio Kaku has said, “We are arrogant to think that we are so interesting, extraterrestrial beings would travel thousands of light-years just to visit us.”1
A long, space journey is most likely a one-way trip, with the goal of resettling a colony on our planet. In this case, they would see us like we see ants at a picnic, getting in the way and very annoying. We would be below the aliens’ level of empathy or concern. Just an amusement in an ant farm at best. And at worst, a pest to be eradicated from their new habitat.
As Jared Diamond points out in his 1997 book Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies, in every case in human history when two cultures came together for the first time, the more technologically-advanced culture decimated the less-advanced culture; often exterminating them. The more-advanced culture saw the less-advanced culture as savages, or lesser beings, not worthy of empathy or concern.
With that being the reality of our known experience, we should hope that aliens never actually come here. Because if they do, we will be toast. But no need to worry, the odds of aliens on planet Earth are low, at least during our sentient-species window. As Neil deGrasse Tyson said in an interview on CNN in 2017, “Call me when you have a dinner invite from an alien. The evidence is so paltry for aliens to visit Earth….”2
If you think you are ready, you can view my hilarious, yet insightful documentary SIX DAYS IN ROSWELL here to find out more about what the alien experts and famous UFOlogists have say about extra-terrestrials.
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