Expect the unexpected. Fear the unknown. Impending danger exists everywhere, and it is now necessary to be concerned about alien visitation on Earth. Research has raised concerns with alien communication with Earth and the detrimental effects of contact. The largest concern among researchers: disease. Other factors, like their technology and intentions, as well as our limited knowledge of extraterrestrial beings frightens scientists.
Are we prepared for contact with these foreign invaders? History points that we might not be. Disease and infection can spread very easily; we have seen foreign contact before in our very own United States history, with the colonization of the Americas. Contact between the Eastern Hemisphere and Western Hemisphere on our Earth did not go well previously, can extraterrestrial contact be as bad, or possibly worse?
Diseases are found every around the world. There are small, curable diseases, and then diseases with the power to wipe out nations. In 1330, the first signs of the Black Plague came into effect. This disease started in Asia and traveled to Europe. Aliens coming to Earth is becoming a bigger problem everyday, and some might ask why. Well, if plagues can travel from Asia to Europe to another hemisphere, it is reasonable to assume deadly can diseases travel from space to Earth. If Natives didn’t have immunities to diseases half a globe away, how are we supposed to have immunities to uncharted diseases galaxies away? In densely packed populations, diseases thrive. Europeans came to the Americas, though outnumbered, still took control of Natives because the disease took a heavy toll (Diamond 196). In the same way that Europe’s black plague decimated almost 90% of the Native population in the Americas (Newson), extraterrestrial microbes pose danger to humans. Along with the Europeans and them bringing diseases to the Americas, there were also Indian tribes the settled in a place called Hispaniola in 1492 (“Bartoleme De Las Casas”). Here the tribes did lots of hard work and diseases came and quickly spreaded. With the diseases spreading everywhere even in different centuries, what stops the illness and bacteria from coming to us now with aliens? We could have zero immunity for lack of no previous exposure. Evidence points to potential wipeout of the human population, similar to that of a “modern-day Black Plague” (Ratner). Even the alien bacteria presents dangers to us. Parallel to rats and fleas carrying the black plague, space probes digging up outer planet samples pose concerns of the microbes in the soil, because outer materials could likely be very deadly (Ratner).
We do not know what resources and technology are available to aliens, so human safety is a predominant concern. Human advance in technology only proves extraterrestrial advance is possible and most likely occurring. Competition, unknown intentions, and weaponry advance poses dangers for Earth. Whether or not aliens come in peace, Earth does not have enough resources as it is to share with outsiders. Since the Industrial Revolution in 1700s, our environment has been on rapid decline strictly due to human activity, in aspects of atmosphere, depleted resources, and pollution (“Environmental Changes”). The presence of an extraterrestrial civilization would definitely pose an issue to our resource abundance. Competition for resources and the struggle to keep Earth’s health is one factor of alien threat.
If aliens were motivated by colonization, it is possible to infer looming danger. Europeans were on a mission to conquer, and succeeded because of their advances in weaponry, spread of disease, and the use of new steel materials (Diamond). Alien existence is questionable, but the fear remains present, along with questions of possible intentions. Stephen Hawking, alien-enthused scientist and researcher, claims, “…it makes sense for them to exploit each new planet for material to build more spaceships so they could move on. Who knows what the limits could be?” (Moskowitz). Stephen Hawking is particularly interested a newly discovered planet, Gliese 832c, believing its potential habitability poses possible life there (“A Nearby Super-Earth
with the Right Temperature but Extreme Seasons”). Discovering planets that can sustain life makes alien visitation much more believable. The intentions of extraterrestrial beings are obviously unbeknownst to man, which makes it all the more frightening. Europeans conquest of the Americas was brutal, using war, murder, slave systems, spreading diseases, and forcing cultural ideas of language and religion. Primary sources describe certain Europeans, in this case Spaniards, as animals, “…acting like ravening beasts, killing, terrorizing, afflicting, torturing, and destroying the native peoples, doing all this with the strangest and most varied new methods of cruelty, never seen or heard of before, and to such a degree that this Island of Hispaniola once so populous [more than three million] has now a population of barely two hundred persons” (“Bartoleme De Las Casas”). Europeans were not peaceful with the previous inhabitants of America. Devastation wreaked havoc on the Natives, with slave systems, disease, colonization, and terrorization. If aliens had any interest in these concepts, or sought to force their own ideas/gain resources, like that of the “God, Glory, and Gold” motivations of Europeans, then the Earth could be in serious trouble.
In theory, human and alien contact could be detrimental in the grand scheme of things, considering issues of diseases, technologies, and intentions that present parallels to European colonization of the Americas. Safe or sick, preliminary or predominant, friendly or fascist, humans have a limited knowledge of aliens and are concerned with the risk they pose. We don’t know much, but through examination of history, we have a good idea of the danger. Conquest of the Americas by Europe is a foremost factor in the fear of alien contact, as natives were devastated by colonization. Overall, history has given us clues and parallels to the future, and colonization in general is a sore subject upon civilization.
Article by Taylor Pollard and Kelly Owens
Bartoleme De Las Casas, Brief Account of the Devastation of the Indies, www.swarthmore.edu/SocSci/bdorsey1/41docs/02-las.html.
Diamond, Jared M. Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies. New York: W.W. Norton, 1998. Print.
“Environmental Changes.” Earth Sciences for Students, Macmillan Reference USA, 2010. Science in Context, link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/CV2640550069/SCIC?u=eld16218&xid=37130877. Accessed 10 Sept. 2017.
Moskowitz,Clara. “If Aliens Exist,They May Come to Get Us, Stephen Hawking Says.” Space.com, www.space.com/8288-aliens-exist-stephen-hawking.html. Accessed 14 Sept. 2017.
“A Nearby Super-Earth with the Right Temperature but Extreme Seasons.” Planetary Habitability Laboratory @ UPR Arecibo, phl.upr.edu/press-releases/gliese832. Accessed 10 Sept. 2017.
Newson, Linda A. “Ecological Impacts of European Colonizations in the Americas.” Encyclopedia of Western Colonialism since 1450, edited by Thomas Benjamin, vol. 1, Macmillan Reference USA, 2007, pp. 330-336. U.S. History in Context, link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/CX2587300136/UHIC?u=eld16218&xid=63ec1e0d. Accessed 20 Sept. 2017.
Ratner, Paul. “Humanity Vs Aliens: They Could Wipe Us out with Diseases.” Big Think, 8 Apr. 2016, bigthink.com/paul-ratner/could-alien-diseases-wipe-out-humanity. Accessed 14 Sept. 2017.