Re: [GZG] A number of scientists respond to Hawking's concernsabout Aliens
From: Zoe Brain <aebrain@w...>
Date: Thu, 13 May 2010 03:15:40 +1000
Subject: Re: [GZG] A number of scientists respond to Hawking's concernsabout Aliens
Gzg-l mailing list
2:25 AM, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
> In all seriousness I like the fact that Hawking was willing to accept
> the fact that aliens, if encountered have just as much of a chance to
> be a foe as a friend.
An alien civilisation would likely have as much interest in humanity as
the we have for the Sentinelli. Except the difference in technology
would be wider.
> The Sentineli are the quintessential Andamanese: to this day they live
> their primitive but comfortable and unhurried lives in complete
> isolation on a small island, they are hostile to all outsiders and
> they do not wish to change this state of affairs. Violence is the
> traditional way to ensure the undisturbed enjoyment of their way of
> life. In the 21st century, they will kill strangers outright and they
> hide from landing parties that look too strong to fight. If the
> landing parties offer coconuts and other goods, they will condescend
> to accept these, but as soon as the feel they have received enough, an
> obscene gesture makes clear that the outsiders are no longer tolerated
> and had better leave in a hurry:
> Immediaterly following the earthquake and tsunami of 26 December 2004
> there were fears that the Andamanese negrito tribes had been wiped
> out. The authorities were busy looking after their own and could not
> be bothered to check on the "natives" until 3 days after the disaster
> had struck. Then a helicopter was sent to fly over North Sentinel
> island to check for survivors and if necessary to offer assistance.
> The crew of the helicopter was confronted by a Sentineli warrior
> shooting arrows at the machine while others were throwing rocks. The
> message could not be misunderstood: the Sentineli had lost none of
> their pre-disaster self-confidence and they still did not want any
> help or contact whatsoever. It wass the most cheerful news to come out
> of what was otherwise a devastating disaster. Whether the Sentineli
> are safe in the longer run is not sure. The earthquake has tiled the
> islands, some coral reefs have sunk wile others have been raised with
> hardto estimate damage to thei Sentineli fishing grounds (see the
> section on North Sentinel island of Tsunami Maps).
> Repeated gifts left for them have mellowed the Sentineli a little in
> the 1990s and a few visits during which landing parties on the beach
> were not immediately chased away have taken place. But the Sentineli
> are still on a short fuse. On one occasion a high-ranking official
> pulled rank on the anthropologists and insisted on staying longer and
> going closer to the Sentineli than the scientists recommended.
> Binoculars on the visitors' boats had spotted a number of warriors
> hiding in the bushes; they made no hostile moves and seemed to be
> there just to observe the meeting on the beach but their presence was
> unsuspected by the visiting party on the beach. When that party had
> overstayed its welcome and even tried to move closer to the Sentineli,
> an invisible red line must have been crossed. Warning arrow shots were
> fired while the hidden warriors stepped from their hiding places. In
> the rush to the boats, the official responsible for the mess was in
> such a hurry that his boat overturned and he had to be pulled in,
> dripping wet. This seemed to amuse the Sentineli as much as it did the
> accompanying anthropologists - though the latter would have been
> well-advised to hide their mirth. Unfortunately, at that moment the
> official's armed guards panicked and a shot was fired into the air.
> This went down very badly with the Sentineli (who clearly knew what
> guns were for) and seriously hostile arrows began to fly. Luckily for
> the visitors, their boats by that time were already out of range.
Their lives are no doubt nasty, brutish, and short. But their own.