Why I Can Say With Absolute Certainty That There Is NO POSSIBLE SCENARIO In Which Our Planet (At This Stage) Will Be Invaded By An Alien Civilisation Bent On Wiping Out Humanity.
Okay, so apart from their being no evidence yet for space faring ETs roaming around the place, it is apparently a scenario that gets explored not only in the imaginations of story-tellers, but also by many in the scientific community – and even some within government and military circles have reportedly looked into it.
As a massive fan boy of both the SETI project and science-fiction classics such as H G Wells’ War Of The Worlds, it is with great dismay that I burst this little paranoid bubble humanity likes to live in regarding such matters, by disabusing them of some fundamental flaws in their logic.
There are only a certain number of reasons why a sentient life form would want to invade Earth right now (and I intend to show, briefly, that they actually aren’t reasons – which makes us safe, as it were).
3) Our biosphere (as in, they need a knew one because theirs is under threat/lost)
4) Religious/dogmatic fanaticism
So, let’s explore these one at a time and evaluate them.
To begin with, the resources you can find on earth – all the minerals, water, etc – can be found in abundance anywhere in the Galaxy, on many worlds, which don’t involve staging a costly war. Why waste money making weapons then mining equipment, when you can just make mining equipment and work on the several moons and planets even within our solar system – let alone the several star systems you passed to get here?
Enslavement would be stupid. Any advanced civilisation that can make it here would be able to make machines that can do anything humans can do for them (and most likely much more besides), with the added advantage of not dealing with slaves who need feeding and who are prone to uprisings – not to forget that their uprisings could even spark sympathy revolutions within your own populous, or other slave populations.
When you become a space faring civilisation with the ability to build amazing machines, the concept of biological slaves is, frankly, meaningless.
3) Our Biosphere:
The biosphere question comes from the idea that an alien race loses – or is about to lose – it’s home planet, so comes to ours. There are a number of problems with this idea.
Our Biosphere is great (understatement #1). However, there’s more than likely many other worlds without a technologically developed civilisation on them, which you’d encounter on your way here. Which would be easier to take control of? The biosphere with microbes and simple plant and animal life, or the planet with a species that makes aircraft carriers and atomic weapons and has mastered the art of warfare (even if your weaponry is far in advance of theirs)?
War costs a lot. More importantly, going to war in a land you don’t know against people who do know it very well is a very dangerous thing to do – look at Vietnam for one (or even Afghanistan). Small Guerrilla armies with less advanced weaponry can all too often succeed in fighting off larger armies (or at least make the effort too costly for them, such that the larger army retreats), simply because they know the land and how to live/fight there.
When you want to colonise a planet, you have to look at what it would cost you – and when you have cheap planets around that would cost you nothing (but which are still just as useful), why waste time and energy making enemies that you don’t even need?
The argument doesn’t just stop there, though. Any civilisation that can get here has probably (and this isn’t a big ‘IF’) mastered terraformation. Unless you master faster than light travel (FTL), you will be traveling for some time before you get here. Keeping people in stasis takes a lot of energy (and may not even be that viable – there may be a biological impediment on keeping complex life forms almost indefinitely in a state of stasis). Not only do you need to master creating a floating habitat, but you may also need to stop off at places to refuel (at least), and these places will have to be made in some way habitable before you can move off again. If you can keep a floating habitat going, you can create a biosphere. Why start a war to take over another one, when you’ve been doing it anyway without having to start a messy war?
If you manage to create faster than light travel, then you surely must have terraforming capabilities, which would make your excursion here pointless. FTL is a lot more unlikely – and even if it is likely, a lot more difficult – than the idea of terraforming a planet/moon. Also, what possible advantages would you get from a planet that is unable to leave its own orbit, over a floating habitat that you can go anywhere you want in?
Also, maybe our biosphere isn’t that great. Maybe it’s very hostile to you. Who would happily sling themselves into an Ebola epidemic, just because they’ve run out of food where they are? Our microbial life has taken us several years (massive understatement #2) to get used to. We’ve even integrated with it. If it wasn’t for this integration, we mammals couldn’t digest food or even have children (we got that trick from a virus). You can’t just land on an alien world and expect to just be fine, even if you wiped out its number one sentient species. Integrating with a biosphere takes a long time. Just go on holiday to the tropics and see how badly your immune system copes compared to the people who live there – and remember, they at least have the same DNA as you!
The biggest argument I find against this, though, is that any life forms that can create a ship that can travel across the stars will not have just one planet. That level of technology doesn’t just come from one species suddenly having to leave their one home. That technology most likely comes from a species that has gone out (as we’re doing) and slowly colonised their surroundings. Losing their home planet would not be a problem for them (other than an emotional one). They could easily move the population left there to other worlds nearby.
Just think, we’re not even going to reach our closest neighbour, Alpha Centauri (yes, I’m forgetting Proxima Centauri, oops), for a long time – even though it’s a measly 4.5 light years away. Before we reach that, we will have colonised the moon, set up on Mars, made it to the outer solar system, etc. We won’t just suddenly jump into an untested ship and fling ourselves at the nearest habitable planet, which could be several hundreds of light years away – not just because that’s a stupid idea, but actually even more because in order to reach that level of technology we’d have gone through all the steps of colonising our neighbouring regions.
There’s also the final point, here, that they would have known about their home planet’s impending doom for quite some time (as have we) and they would have had a long time to come up with an easier colonisation/rehabituation plan than one that involves hurling off their entire population in an untested ship and invading a planet infested with a thriving intelligent species.
4) Religious/Dogmatic Fanaticism:
The last point regarding religious/dogmatic fanaticism I find very problematic (whereby our very existence offends them – a theme explored in the video game Halo). We can easily see from our own experiences – with the Abrahamic religions for instance and the resulting conflicts even within them (between the Catholics and Protestants, and Shiite and Sunni Muslims, etc) – that religious/dogmatic fanaticism can and does lead to dangerous schisms within your own populous. I’d argue that it stands to reason that any such fanatics would most likely be fighting amongst themselves either too much to care about us, or even so much that they’d wipe themselves out before getting very far.
Even though I don’t think a sufficiently technologically advanced civilisation would succumb to this fanaticism, due to how much reason and logic plays a part in technological and scientific advances – even if they did, I don’t feel they’d survive it in time to disrupt our way of life.
I did say ‘at this time’ for a very good reason.
I believe the only time we would find ourselves in a war with another species is when we fight over resources/territorial influence. That would typically be somewhere far away where our zones of influence meet. Certainly that war could spread and lead to Earth being invaded, but that’s way in the future – when we’ve also become a galactic player with many colonies and the invasion of a single planet becomes less significant in the grand scheme.
In all likelihood, as an aside, by the time that happens the human race will have evolved and will no longer exist – it may even have evolved into several different species, all of which could also end up at war with each other. That, however, is another story.
Our world holds no use (cost effective wise) to any aliens. To come and invade would be pointless, which makes me not just doubt but say with all certainty that ‘there is NO SCENARIO POSSIBLE where our planet at this stage will be invaded by an alien civilisation bent on wiping out humanity.’