The famous Fermi Paradox ponders why billions of stars with billions of planets haven’t produced a single verified extraterrestrial visiting Earth. The second half of the paradox is regularly debated in ufology circles (they’re already here?), but a new option has begun to creep into the discussions. Just last month, Nick Pope, England’s most well-known UFO expert, proposed the idea that ETs viewing Earth today might be afraid to visit because a certain world leader was exhibiting destructive behavior towards his fellow humans that could present a danger to them as well. Now, a well-known biopsychologist has written a paper expounding on this subject … and expanding what ETs are afraid of.
Dr. Gordon Gallup is an American psychologist at the University at Albany best known for his work in animal behavior, particularly for developing the mirror self-recognition test which gauges self-awareness of animals. What does an animal behavior expert know about extraterrestrials? In his paper, published in the Journal of Astrobiology, he explains:
“To assess intelligence elsewhere in the universe we outline two of the principle scientiﬁc claims for intelligence on Earth. One involves the idea that intelligence involves working out the reasons for our own existence. The other involves self-awareness and the capacity to make inferences about what others know, want, or intend to do.”
According to Gallup, knowing what others know, want, or intend to do is the reason why humans kill each other. And any long-term study of human behavior will quickly show that humans kill each other regularly with bloody means and in mass numbers. Beyond wars and murders, the killing is accomplished with pollution, habitat destruction and other means. For a recent example, Gallup points to “the total destruction of the highly advanced Aztec and Inca civilizations, the subsequent enslavement and genocide of the native peoples, their temples and buildings destroyed, their wealth and natural resources stolen and shipped across the seas.” What would ETs looking at historical records or travel brochures think of Earth and Earthlings based on that?
“However, if intelligence exists elsewhere in the universe it may not have revealed itself because humans are dangerous and are perceived as posing too great a risk.”
That would be a fitting conclusion to Dr. Gallup’s paper, but he takes it one step further and turns the mirror around to face us. If we’re so destructive that other intelligent civilizations are afraid to visit, what is our future?
“If humans become extinct it is highly unlikely that human-like intelligence will re-emerge on this planet and the odds of human-like intelligence evolving on other worlds is inﬁnitely small.”
Gallup recommends that Rene Descartes’ famous maxim, “I think; therefore, I am,” needs to be revised to read, “I am; therefore, I think.” However, that’s only half the battle. The famous American poet, writer, critic, and satirist Dorothy Parker was once asked to use the word ‘horticulture’ in a sentence. She quickly responded with the pun: “You can lead a horticulture but you can’t make her think.” Are we Earth’s whores who have culture and brains but can’t think? Is this why we’ve never encountered ETs? Are they really afraid of us? Are they just waiting for us to extinct ourselves?
Would ETs get Parker’s joke?