7 Reasons Aliens Probably Won’t Want to Visit Earth Apollyon May 22, 2012 Miscellaneous Aliens: every woman wants them and almost all men want to be them. Okay, that might not have been the best sentence to start this article off with. Let’s just say that people like aliens, or more precisely, they like the idea of aliens. And why not? The last hundred years of our popular culture has been completely saturated with human-like “alien” races that share more in common with us than most of us do with our next-door neighbors. Before Play-Doh was invented. So when it came down to the public’s consciousness, we were all brought up to feel a casual, heart-warming brotherhood with a group of sentient creatures that we’ve never even met before. Don’t get me wrong, with the tremendous scale of this universe, I’m sure that there probably is a fairly close analogue to what our gloriously stupid species looks like. But when it comes down to what we’ll probably meet in our galaxy someday—namely, the intelligent creatures that are closest to our backwater part of the galaxy—then it becomes clear that they probably won’t have much in common with us at all; in fact, they’ll probably want to stay the hell away from us. Why? Well, let’s just start out with… 1. Our Radio Waves Make us Look Idiotic That same popular culture that made most of us want to meet aliens in the first place, will probably also keep them from wanting to meet us, if they can even understand our pathetic human communications (more on that later). With an array of pop culture nonsense bombarding outer space day in and day out, we can all be sure that some of the worst pictures of humanity have been displayed to anyone within 100 light years of us. It would be like if your in-laws placed hidden cameras throughout your house that were capturing only the most candid images of you scratching your balls; essentially, it would make for a pretty fucking awkward family dinner. Why The Aliens Will Want to Stay The Hell Away: Have you even seen that shitty MTV show, Teen Mom? Well, let me tell you a disturbing fact: right now, that show is traveling at the speed of light, barreling towards any species that has the capabilities to display it. How far has it gone on it’s quest to discredit our species as nothing more than a bunch of infantile dick-jugglers? The answer: 2.5 motherfucking light years. Or what about that terrible sitcom from the 50s, The Honeymooners? 61 light years. And what of Hitler’s Olympic Speech? Y’know, the first truly significant signal that we beamed into space? 76 light years. I think you get the idea. 2. We’re Still Extremely Primitive According to the Kardashev scale, our civilization isn’t even registered as primitively advanced. We, as a species, don’t even measure as a type 1 civilization yet. Compared to the extraterrestrials who would be most likely to drop by, whom you can bet your entire ass—balls and all—will probably be considered type 2 or 3, since they would obviously have the technology necessary to travel to us, we would seem quite stupid, indeed. But there is a bright side: being one of the mentally handicapped sentient species might mean that the other races in our galaxy will probably not want to harm us with their “Destructo-Galaxy-Guns”. “C’mon, you wouldn’t vaporize a guy with glasses, would you?” Why The Aliens Will Want to Stay The Hell Away: Why would you even consider visiting a stupid society? Unless the aliens are all on some intergalactic give-them-all-of-our-technology-for-free good will mission, I really can’t think of a good reason. Of course, there is always the alternative. 3. To an Outside Observer We Seem Chaotically Violent How many wars has humanity fought again? Any advanced civilization who has any passing interest in having some sort of intergalactic tea party would definitely not have us on the guest list. The whole “hot damn, we like us some killing” mentality that humanity has had since forever is compounded by the fact we aren’t exactly trying to hide our shenanigans from space. You remember that friendly nuclear spat that the USA had with Japan in the 40s? Guess what? Those two weapons were not only detectable from space, they left a highly recognizable electromagnetic signature for anyone who cared to look out their space-window. Worse still, since it is possible to detect the gamma radiation from unused nukes from a few meters away, it could be hypothetically possible for a really badass civilization to detect them from orbit; these aliens would need super sensitive sensors to distinguish weapon-based radiation from the ambient radiation that surrounds us, however—but c’mon, they’re goddamn aliens. These guys have a monopoly on cool shit. Like those earrings, for example. Why The Aliens Will Want to Stay The Hell Away: When’s the last time you seriously thought about going to Somalia? If you answered “never” then you probably have the same mindset as our alien friends. Why go somewhere shitty for a vacation, when you could go to Paris or Hawaii? Likewise, if you’re an alien, why go to Earth when you could go to “PhtharXtnax,” the scantily-clad-woman planet? Pretty much every aspect of our culture is powerfully influenced by violence, and you can bet your sweet ass that ET, if he has bothered to check us out, has noticed. It’s not that violence is an uncommon thing in the galaxy, it’s just that a highly enlightened society has probably gotten past all that bullshit. It’s likely that the ones that don’t get past their violent ways end up killing themselves off, in brilliant bombastic nuclear light-shows, when they’re at our level of development. The Drake Equation, which is one of the best known guesses at how many civilizations there could be in the galaxy at any given time, considers the chances of a society killing itself off as one of the most important factors. In fact, if we ever make it into space, we may find scores of ancient, lifeless, and irradiated planets: the graves of long-dead violent civilizations. So, ask yourself, if there was an island full of complete fuck-dicks who did nothing but beat each other over the head with clubs, would you be eager to visit? 4. They Might be Too Far Away The best known characteristic of space, besides the whole big burning balls of space-plasma that we call stars, probably would be that it is really, really, well, spacious. Our Milky Way alone is over 100,000 light years in diameter and, if some estimates of the aforementioned Drake Equation turn out to be correct, there could be only 10 active intelligent civilizations, at the most, currently inhabiting our galaxy right now; that means that the nearest civilization could be thousands of light years away, kids. If some form of Faster Than Light (FTL) transportation technology is truly against the laws of physics, then it might take the nearest aliens upwards of thousands of years to reach us—and keep in mind that that’s only if they can travel as fast as light, which is, as far as we know, impossible. Why The Aliens Will Want to Stay The Hell Away: Once again, there probably just isn’t anything special about us. At least, not special enough to warrant a visit from a species that could quite literally take thousands of years just to have us laugh at them for their double-hinged anuses. So unless it turns out that outer space is just cah-ray-zee about Prince, or maybe even that wily asshole, Adolf Hitler, then it’ll probably be quite some time before we ever get a chance to shake their slimy green claws. I think we’d all prefer the “Prince Aliens,” though not by much. 5. The Language Barrier May be Insurmountable Sure, sure, Spanish might be an easy language for a English speaker to learn, but what about a language that shares almost nothing in common with Germanic languages; for example, Chinese? The United States Department of Defense uses a language aptitude test, the Defense Language Aptitude Battery, to estimate a native English speaker’s ability to learn another language. The test categorizes the difficulty of different languages into four tiers—guess which language is rated the hardest? The answer is Chinese. Chinese is about as different from English as any human language could possibly be, and thus it makes it very difficult for an English speaker to learn it. You see, when it comes to adults attempting to learn a second language, whether or not the language shares any similarity with the native speaker’s language is kind of a big fucking deal. Languages are a lot like organisms: they tend to evolve over time. That’s why languages like the little known Frisian, also known as one of the closest living relatives to English, can be learned by English speakers relatively quickly. It’s the similarities between languages that determine whether you can learn a language in one year or ten. So what happens if you try to learn a language that doesn’t only have absolutely nothing in common with your native language, but doesn’t even share the underpinnings of human psychology? The answer is, of course, that you don’t. We still have a trick up our sleeve, however: mathematics. It turns out that you can communicate with anyone intelligent enough to understand math, with math. Unfortunately, you can’t really say much more than “I understand math,” so it’s almost completely useless. Take that, math teachers! Why The Aliens Will Want to Stay The Hell Away: If you don’t have anything to say to someone, it tends to cramp any motivation to visit them in the first place; that’s why Americans don’t want to visit Afghanistan. Or maybe it’s the explosive vests. I can never remember. 6. Our World is Probably Poisonous to Them Besides the shit that the creationists like to regurgitate every now and then, the Earth did not, in fact, adapt to us—we adapted to it. Our biology is based around our environment. Yes, it is true that our particular biology—as in the stuff that makes us human—wouldn’t be viable unless a certain set of criteria are met; but that doesn’t mean that other kinds of life aren’t possible, nor does it mean that intelligent life couldn’t arise on a planet that doesn’t have some of the key characteristics (y’know, stuff like water, carbon, oxygen, and vodka) that we enjoy. A life-form that doesn’t use the same elements that we do could actually be poisoned by some of the stuff that we desperately need: like oxygen, for example. If a silicon-based organism were to come here and inhale our air, it would exhale sand; this is probably not a pleasant thought to silicon life. Why The Aliens Will Want to Stay The Hell Away: The best way to illustrate this point is to test it out yourself. First, get a large vat of liquid nitrogen. Once you have the giant hazardous container, jump in headfirst and take a deeeeep breath*. Okay, now you have an idea what it would be like to breath liquid nitrogen and…wait, I think I forgot the point. Anyway, it’s not very comfortable. *Please do not attempt this unless you are very, very stupid. 7. We Don’t Know if We’re Using The Right Signals Being the only highly intelligent civilization that we know of, we seem to have this silly notion that everything else out there must be just like us. We tend to think that an extraterrestrial will think like us, act like us, be made of the same elements as us, and, most of all, communicate like us. SETI (the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) and other attempts to contact life from other worlds, have always tried to use the same key ingredient for communication: radio waves. What if other civilizations don’t use the same primitive means of long distance communication that we do? What if another race of advanced beings uses quantum entanglement as a means of communication? Or maybe the advanced civilization has found a way to effectively use tachyons for FTL communication. In any case, the full spectrum of communication technology has neither been fully explored nor discovered by our scientists yet; this leaves open enormous possibilities for different ways that another species may be communicating. For all we know, there could be messages beaming everywhere around us that we just can’t decipher. Why The Aliens Will Want to Stay The Hell Away: It’s sad to contemplate, but there is a chance that no civilizations have detected us or will detect us unless we somehow stumble upon each other in some sort of hilarious, Monty Python-esque skit. If we aren’t using the same techniques for communication, however, than the Earth may truly be floating along, alone, forever and all eternity. But hey, at least we’ll always have reruns of That’s So Raven. Because that smile makes up for all of the incredible societies that we’ll never know existed. Eric Butler If will can’t co-exist with our fellow man without killing each other. How are we going to co-exist with aliens?