Your Prescribed Dose of Neil DeGrasse Tyson

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Stephen Hawking was quoted last week on the possibility of alien life in the universe:

If aliens visit us, the outcome would be much as when Columbus landed in America, which didn’t turn out well for the Native Americans.

This Tuesday, CNN had Neil Degrasse Tyson on, to weigh in on Hawking’s bold pronouncement.  Professor Tyson’s responses are befitting of an arguable spiritual successor to Carl Sagan.

When asked whether Hawking’s statement was just speculation, he replied:

Yeah, but it’s not blind speculation.  I think it says more about what we fear about ourselves than any real expectation of what an alien would be like.  In other words, our biggest fear, I think, is that the aliens who visit us would treat us the way we treat each other here on Earth.  So, in a way, Hawking’s sort of apocalyptic, um, fear stories are just a mirror held up back to us.  That’s how we need to think about it…

No one knows how an alien will be have.  They’ll have different chemistry, different motives, different intentions.  Who are we to extrapolate what we are to them?  I’m just saying that any suspicion that they will be evil is more a reflection of our fear about how we would treat an alien species if we found them, than any actual knowledge about how an alien would treat us.

See Tyson’s interview below:

(via Reddit.)


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