How humbling to read the latest view of some top scientists that aliens don't want to make contact with us because they think we're a bunch of clots.
It's not that the aliens are being snooty, looking down their proboscises at us. It's because they suspect — and I cannot think where they get the evidence for this — that we are dangerously violent clots.
Thus, if they've evolved a peaceful, loving civilisation — ie, one devoid of football, politics and religion — why would they want to be speaking to us? Who wants to risk patting a pit-bull on the head? These alien (not to themselves obviously) creatures already have an idyllic life — though, let's be honest, their movies might be boring — and don't wish to stretch forth the tentacle of friendship in case we barbecue it.
That's one view. The other is that they might be just like us, since the conditions necessary for life may set off exactly the same evolutionary process in different parts of the universe. Thus they could be at the same level as Earthlings — civilised but murderous — or they could be just a little bit further ahead; enough, say, to receive radio, television and other transmissions from our planet.
And that's when they start to get the heebie-jeebies. One look at I'm A Celebrity, and they're out of here. As Professor Simon Conway Morris, of that Cambridge University, said of our attempts to contact them: “I'm not sure I'd answer the phone.”
These and other views have been chewed over at a meeting of the Royal Society in London this week, and will be further masticated in Texas this April at a conference organised by the SETI [Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence] Institute in California. You'd think if these guys were that intelligent, they'd see the acronym for their organisation is actually SEI, but let's not split hairs or, for that matter, words. The mission of SETI is “to explore, understand and explain the origin, nature and prevalence of life in the universe”. Well, it's nice to have a hobby.
Also under mootification by the boffins is a view diametrically opposed to the one so scientifically outlined above. To wit, that we wouldn't want the aliens getting in touch with us, because the chances are that they're violent nutters themselves, and might have bigger and better pea-shooters than us.
Dr Marek Kukula, of the Royal Observatory in Greenwich (motto “What time do you call this?”), put it this way: “We might like to assume that, if there is intelligent life out there, it is wise and benevolent. But, of course, we have no evidence for this.” Same goes for the planet Earth, mate.
My feeling is that, for the time being at least, we're being left to fester, perhaps in the hope that we might raise our game a little. There have been so many sightings of UFOs, yet no saucer ever lands. They probably think that, even if they weren't torn to bits or whisked off to some American military laboratory for experiments, they'd be besieged by desperate mobs of Earthlings shouting: “Please help us!”
The solution might be for a committee of top, trustworthy Earthlings to be established for the purpose of speaking to the aliens in confidence, without involving politicians, generals or football supporters. Participants might include Sir Patrick Moore, Sir Terry Wogan, and Sir Bob Geldof (if he promises not to swear).
To represent common, unknighted people, I am willing to offer my services — so long as the mooted meetings don't clash with Celebrity Big Brother.