When discussion began flowing freely concerning a point the eminent Dr. Stephen Hawking raised in a Discovery Channel documentary presentation I was anything but surprised by the statement that drew such scrutiny.
Years ago in Southern California I worked on a writing project with an astronomer and college professor. When I posed the question to him about the existence of other civilizations in the universe his answer dovetailed with what Hawking with his astronomy background related the other day in his Discovery Channel interview.
The issue involved calculating the number of possibilities in the universe for sustaining life. A London Times article of April 25 revealed, "Hawking's logic on aliens is, for him, unusually simple. The universe, he points out, has 100 billion galaxies, each containing hundreds of millions of stars. In such a big place, Earth is unlikely to be the only planet where life has evolved."
That conclusion having been reached, Hawking moved onto the topic of whether Planet Earth spokespersons should seek to interact with entities from worlds beyond. The watchword from Hawking was trepidation.
To quote further from the London Times article, Hawking concluded that trying to make contact with alien races was a "little too risky." He added, "If aliens ever visit us, I think the outcome would be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which didn't turn out very well for Native Americans."
The Hawking conclusion is reminiscent of a masterwork from one of Britain's most eminent authors, H.G. Wells, and his penning of "War of the Worlds."
Such a graphic science fiction work was latent with such enormous special effects possibilities that it was no surprise when Hollywood produced a film version of Wells' epic that achieved box office success.
Beginning with Hawking's comments, it is insightful to segue to a figure who achieved great controversy with a series of interviews that led to questioning his professional status.
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