A recent article from Universe Today suggests that, if an alien message is received by the Earth, it should be deleted before reading… without even opening… for fear that said message will likely be a Trojan Horse designed to infect our systems and plunge Humanity into ruin.

Sigh… another one of those posts that assumes (or expects) spacefaring aliens to have a malevolent agenda.  And why do they assume that?  Because all humans have a malevolent agenda, therefore we have to expect spacefaring aliens to be just like us.  This belief is sad and disgusting, on so many levels, that it makes me tired just thinking about it.  Why do we have to assume aliens will be evil… what is it about aliens that make us believe, as H.G. Wells suggested, they will behave like European soldiers taking over a bananna republic?

War of the Worlds

Why can’t we assume, for instance, that the aliens have a strong understanding of science?

After all, they figured out how to traverse the inhospitable regions of space… that demonstrates a strong knowledge of science, otherwise they wouldn’t get much past their own orbit.  And if they understand science, they ‘re going to understand some pretty basic principles.

For instance, they’ll understand that there is an incredibly small amount of resources that they might possibly need that can only be found at the end of a multi-light-year journey to another star.  In fact, if they have the technology to mount such a technologically-complex trip, they can probably build their own matter compilers and transmuters and apply them to other bodies in their own star system, which would be far easier and cheaper than long star trips to mine them from other systems and take them back to their own.

Also, they’d be aware that, although there are a number of elements that could be mined from Earth, at great effort and danger from the indigenous life forms and nigh-unpredictable surface conditions, those same elements are also available throughout the Solar System on other planets, moons and asteroids.  Why fight the locals when you can land on and plunder every other body in the Solar System that Earth’s life can’t even reach?

They would be aware that the entire population of Earth, whether it was just the fairly intelligent dominant life forms, or any other life form on the planet, would not be as effective in supplanting their workforce and doing back-breaking slave labor as would a good base of broke-back-resistant, repairable, replaceable robots.

They would be aware that our cities and infrastructure were inherently inefficient, poorly constructed and ultimately unable to withstand the natural conditions of Earth’s atmosphere, and so would not be worth occupying… or even wasting the ammunition required to blow them up.

And if they were interested in us at all—after all, if they understand science, they’ll be aware of how absolutely unique and fascinating the Earth is, with its incredible variety of life forms adapted to such a wide range of climates and conditions—it would make more sense to build their own infrastructures isolated from and independent of terran infrastructure; or even smarter, to create a base independent of Earth, in near or high orbit, to observe and maybe even interact with us, but from a safe distance.

Valerian aliens

There is absolutely no reason to expect aliens to desire to conquer us and take over, just because that’s what so many of us have done on our own planet.  Despite our obvious behavioral shortcomings, we must come to grips with the fact that that behavior simply doesn’t translate to cosmic distances and the superior intelligences required to reach the stars.  The only reason to come so far would be to study and learn about us, to further their knowledge of the wonders of the universe, and maybe teach us a new trick or two.

If aliens can make it to us, that means they understand science; that means they are smart; and if they’re smart, they’re not going to come all this way just to blow humans up and plunder our planet.  That would be incredibly, unbelievably and monumentally stupid.  When you know science, practicality always wins out.