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Stephen Hawking Opposes Contacting ET's.

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Stephen Hawking Opposes Contacting ET's.

Postby archenland_knight » 29 Apr 2010, 15:00

This seemed more appropriate in the "Space Triolgy" section than in the Current Events section because it's about the possibility of life outside our planet.

While the OOTSP and Perelandra are two of my favorite books of all time, I must admit that in reality, I find Hawking's view of potential ET life to be much more realistic.

Click here to read the article.

Do you think Hawking is being overly pessimistic, or do you think his concerns are valid?
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Re: Stephen Hawking Opposes Contacting ET's.

Postby jo » 05 Jun 2010, 18:55

I am not massively convinced by what Hawkings is saying - quite apart from anything else (man I can't believe I am arguing with Stephen Hawkings here; just ignore me :)) I think that the possibilty of INTELLIGENT life having evolved near enough in the univese to reach us at the same time as we have is .. remote. Also, why should they be hostile, even if they had?
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Re: Stephen Hawking Opposes Contacting ET's.

Postby archenland_knight » 07 Jun 2010, 20:40

jo wrote:I am not massively convinced by what Hawkings is saying - quite apart from anything else (man I can't believe I am arguing with Stephen Hawkings here; just ignore me :)) I think that the possibilty of INTELLIGENT life having evolved near enough in the univese to reach us at the same time as we have is .. remote. Also, why should they be hostile, even if they had?


I think his concern is more along the lines of, "If they're advanced enough to get here, why would they bother with us unless they wanted something from us." I keep thinking of "V" and "Independence Day".

Another thing to keep in mind is an important fact about human technological development. Our greatest leaps forward in technology happened during and in response to war. The jet engine, the computer, the space-capable rocket, and nuclear fission were all developed during WWII in an attempt to give one side an edge over the other.

Oh yes! Space travel was a product of WWII. Many people do not realize this, but feel free to look it up. The German V2 Rocket Bomb exceeded 55 miles in altitude. By NASA's definition, any human who reached such a height is technically an "astronaut". Whether the V2 actually reached "space" on it's flights depends on your definition of "space". By the definitions of the day, it was definitely a space-going object.

That is only a small example. Many modern medical techniques were developed by battlefield doctors. Many advances in communications technology were developed originally for wartime use. GPS was meant for the Navy. Even the "space-race" itself was a product of Cold-War maneuvering, with both sides trying to prove technological superiority in an attempt to gain allies.

Now, what worries me about all that is this. If our technology advances more during wartime than during peace time ... then what about a race who has advanced technologically to the point of interstellar travel? If a race can reach our planet, how much warfare have they experienced, in order to be so advanced?

Now, admittedly, the fact that we develop more tech during wartime than peacetime does not mean that an alien race would do the same. Or, maybe they did experience horrendous war and are sick of it and would love to never do it again.

Or ... maybe ... they're a race of interstellar empire builders, the space-going version of ancient Rome ... and we're just next on the list.
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Re: Stephen Hawking Opposes Contacting ET's.

Postby paminala » 07 Jun 2010, 21:35

I doubt that we need to assume that they would be hostile to envision a situation where a more advanced civilazation coming into contact with ours might not be a good thing. Historically, when two groups have encountered one another the less advanced society usually suffers for it.
While most of our technological growth has been inspired by warfare, a huge amount of expansionism and exploration has taken place because of the search for treasure or aquisition of lands. If the same model holds true, one would expect ET travellers to be looking for places to colonize (as by the English settlers in North America) or valuables that can be collected (as by Cortez in South America.) Neither holds a very healthy outlook for the native population.
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Re: Stephen Hawking Opposes Contacting ET's.

Postby john » 07 Jun 2010, 21:59

paminala wrote:I doubt that we need to assume that they would be hostile to envision a situation where a more advanced civilazation coming into contact with ours might not be a good thing. Historically, when two groups have encountered one another the less advanced society usually suffers for it.


Of course, that's the history of our people on this world. Who is to say that an alien race would behave similarly? For all we know, they could be so morally advanced that we'd have nothing to fear at all.

Or they could just blow us up instantly to make room for a hyperspace bypass.
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Re: Stephen Hawking Opposes Contacting ET's.

Postby archenland_knight » 07 Jun 2010, 22:32

john wrote:
paminala wrote:I doubt that we need to assume that they would be hostile to envision a situation where a more advanced civilazation coming into contact with ours might not be a good thing. Historically, when two groups have encountered one another the less advanced society usually suffers for it.


Of course, that's the history of our people on this world. Who is to say that an alien race would behave similarly? For all we know, they could be so morally advanced that we'd have nothing to fear at all.

Or they could just blow us up instantly to make room for a hyperspace bypass.



And that's the problem, John! :lol: One is just about as likely as the other! :smile:


Actually, I find Paminala's concern to be even more frightening. They could wind up doing just as much damage by coming here to "help" and spread the "benefits" of their "civilization" as they would with an out-right attack.

( It's hard to trust aliens when you've seen as much Stargate SG-1 as I have. The funny thing about that show was that the aliens corrupting the less sophisticated culture were often people from Earth. )
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Re: Stephen Hawking Opposes Contacting ET's.

Postby john » 07 Jun 2010, 23:34

Curious question: How does extraterrestrial life jive with most Christian theology? I mean, I assume Christians who believe in life on other planets also believe that God created them as well? Were they descended from their world's version of "Adam and Eve"? Do they have their own Satan, and a need for a savior?

No? Then maybe life on other planets started and evolved in a similar fashion to how most scientists believe it did here.

Still no? Well, perhaps there are other Gods, then, that created other worlds and...oh, never mind. Nobody would buy that. ;)
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Re: Stephen Hawking Opposes Contacting ET's.

Postby jo » 07 Jun 2010, 23:43

Or they could just blow us up instantly to make room for a hyperspace bypass


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Re: Stephen Hawking Opposes Contacting ET's.

Postby archenland_knight » 08 Jun 2010, 00:24

john wrote:Curious question: How does extraterrestrial life jive with most Christian theology? I mean, I assume Christians who believe in life on other planets also believe that God created them as well? Were they descended from their world's version of "Adam and Eve"? Do they have their own Satan, and a need for a savior?

No? Then maybe life on other planets started and evolved in a similar fashion to how most scientists believe it did here.

Still no? Well, perhaps there are other Gods, then, that created other worlds and...oh, never mind. Nobody would buy that. ;)



Well there's this writer named C.S. Lewis :wink: who wrote these books called "Out of The Silent Planet" and "Perelandra" which, I think, express one possible basic idea about how this could work.

I mean, it's all speculation until we actually make contact. And then, whose to say the aliens even know their own origins? We still have lots of questions about ours.

Honestly, I don't see any reason why God couldn't have created other intelligent (or non-intelligent) races on other planets. God is God everywhere, for we are told that He created the Heavens and the Earth and set the stars in place.

So any species out there won't have a different God, though they may very well have a different revelation of Him than we do. Not contradictory, mind you. But perhaps they know things we could never understand and vice-versa.

Did they have an "Adam and Eve", or were their originators created "en masse"? It's hard to say.

Satan? Again, that's a tricky one. By some interpretations, satan was an angel assigned specifically to Earth and would have no interest in any place else, and perhaps no ability to get there.

Need for a Savior? Again, good question. Angels who do not sin have no need of one, and those who do sin, by many Christian theologies, have no hope of redemption even with a savior. There are lots of possibilities there. Lewis seemed confident, in Perelandra, that if a race came to need saving, that "Maleldil" would make a provision for them.

I don't know about that. Humans might be special in that respect, being created "In His Image". But are we the only race created In His Image? Again, hard to say until we meet someone else.

I guess, until we meet another race, the answer to such questions is that it's anyone's guess.

But, I do not see any reason, from scripture, why aliens can't exist.


John wrote:Still no? Well, perhaps there are other Gods, then, that created other worlds and...oh, never mind. Nobody would buy that.


Do the aliens have to wear special underwear?
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Re: Stephen Hawking Opposes Contacting ET's.

Postby john » 08 Jun 2010, 01:36

Thanks for the reply, AK. I really do find this question rather fascinating. I know a lot of Christians who would disagree with you, saying that a belief in ET's is contrary to God and scripture (although I wouldn't know if they could back up this claim).

I grew up being taught that there was definitely life on other planets, and that the same God we worship was their God as well. As you are aware, I was also taught that there are other parts of the universe (or possibly another universe altogether) where other gods exist and have their own dominion.

I can't say this was something that was mentioned a lot (and certainly not focused on), but it was understood to be true.
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Re: Stephen Hawking Opposes Contacting ET's.

Postby archenland_knight » 08 Jun 2010, 14:29

john wrote:Thanks for the reply, AK. I really do find this question rather fascinating. I know a lot of Christians who would disagree with you, saying that a belief in ET's is contrary to God and scripture (although I wouldn't know if they could back up this claim).


Oh, I know. My favorite theory is that UFO sightings are really "demons", and their appearance is somehow an attempt on satan's part to discredit Christianity. (Yeah ... I don't quite follow either.) And my favorite proof text for that theory is the text about satan being "the prince of the power of the air". A stretch, you say? I wish my pants' waistband could stretch like that!

Another argument I frequently hear is that since the Bible doesn't say God created aliens, it must mean He didn't. That seems pretty weak to me. Does the Bible mention all species on Earth? Does it mention quasars, or black holes? The Bible tells humans of Earth what humans of Earth need to know about Him. If it told us everything God knows about everything ... well, I just don't have room in my house for a book that big. I don't have room on my hard drive for a book that big ... zipped.

Then there's the whole idea that if there are aliens, then they can't be saved because they can't know about Jesus. And as Acts 4:12 says: "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved." So, since God wouldn't allow a race that can't be saved to exist, there must not be aliens.

This would be convincing, until you remember that "heaven" can mean different things. So, you grab your trusty Greek Lexicon (or do what I do and go to http://www.blueletterbible.com) and look at the original Greek. In that passage, "heaven" is translated from the Greek word "ouranos", which is as likely to mean "sky" as to mean "eternal Heaven". Also, it says their is no other name given to men ... i.e. "humanity" ... by which we must be saved. This limitation of this passage specifically to our species further leads to the idea that the "heaven" intended refers to the "sky" rather than to "eternal heaven".

That being the case, this pretty clearly restricts this verse to Terran humans. If there are aliens then, it is quite possible that God has made some other provision for them. What it might be, who can say? Maybe it's something we couldn't even comprehend. Perhaps they could not comprehend the work of Christ on the Cross.


John wrote:I grew up being taught that there was definitely life on other planets, and that the same God we worship was their God as well. As you are aware, I was also taught that there are other parts of the universe (or possibly another universe altogether) where other gods exist and have their own dominion.

I can't say this was something that was mentioned a lot (and certainly not focused on), but it was understood to be true.


Ah. I was thinking that in that particular theology, each planet had a different "god". Okay, that clears it up a bit. You know, I find many people of that tradition just plain don't want to talk about that teaching. It's hard to get much information "from the horses mouth" on the subject.

So, is it true then, in that particular set of beliefs, that if you're really, really good, and follow all the rules, and get married in a certain place, that you can become a "god" yourself and get your own planet or set of planets to rule? Frankly, I don't think I'd want that gig, but it could mean that there are an awful lot of aliens out there.
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Re: Stephen Hawking Opposes Contacting ET's.

Postby john » 08 Jun 2010, 15:04

archenland_knight wrote:So, is it true then, in that particular set of beliefs, that if you're really, really good, and follow all the rules, and get married in a certain place, that you can become a "god" yourself and get your own planet or set of planets to rule?


Indeed, that is absolutely what is taught (but again, not emphasized very often). They call it "exaltation" -- and only the "best of the best" can get that.

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Re: Stephen Hawking Opposes Contacting ET's.

Postby Matthew Whaley » 08 Jun 2010, 18:39

In the New Testament verses such as 2 Timothy 2:12 and others, the idea is that all believers in Christ will rule and reign with Him. I can't help but think that there are indeed worlds in other dimensions that have not experienced a fall like we have that God could put us in charge of. Being creatures made in the image of God, redeemed from our fallen state, could we not be better qualified to serve Him in this way? And that our time here on the earth is perhaps meant to prepare us for that responsibility?
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