SECTION FOUR: REVELATIONS FROM EXTRATERRESTRIAL LIFE PHILOSOPHICAL INFERENCE OF SELF-DESTRUCTION
Previous analysis has proven from many angles that continued scientific development will lead to human extinction in the near future. The only possible solution is to limit further advancements of science and technology.
The above discussion has been based on clear and objective inference. We can also look at the issue from a philosophical standpoint. Here we will infer the future of mankind by speculating on extraterrestrial life (aliens).
The planet Earth we live on is one ordinary planet in the solar system. The solar system is within the Milky Way, and the Milky Way is just another ordinary galaxy in the universe. Though the birth of intelligent life on Earth was extremely random, the vastness of the universe makes it reasonable to believe that other intelligent life-forms exist in the infinity of space.
The sun is neither a first-generation star nor a second-generation star. We have reason to speculate that intelligent life-forms may have formed in second-generation stellar systems; that is to say, stellar systems capable of producing intelligent life should have appeared ten billion years ago. Humans existed five billion years after the sun was formed, so we will set the incubation period for intelligent life at five billion years. Therefore, the earliest intelligent life-forms should have existed five billion years ago. If this were true, such highly intelligent beings should have mastered interstellar travel after five billion years of development. However, we have found no definitive evidence of alien visitation.
Earth is a beautiful blue planet uniquely suited for life. Intelligent life five billion years ahead of us could not have missed this. Microbes appeared on Earth 4.28 billion years ago, signaling that Earth had sufficient conditions to facilitate life back then. With such an attractive setting, there can only be three reasons for Earth to have never enticed aliens. First, the distance between stars is too vast for even the most advanced technology to surmount; second, alien life became extinct for some reason before they advanced enough to achieve interstellar travel; third, aliens stopped their scientific development and chose to stay on their own planet. We have speculated about the first possibility in chapter three. We will analyze it from another perspective here.
Humans achieved space flight one hundred thousand years after completing evolution, and traveling outside of the solar system is entirely possible in our near future. If intelligent life five billion years more advanced than us survived, even if it were not possible to achieve large-scale interstellar travel, at least a small portion of them should have reached Earth; thus, we should focus more on the latter two possibilities.
Let us first analyze the second possibility. Could aliens have become extinct before advancing to interstellar travel capabilities? Why would aliens go extinct? Was it due to natural forces in the universe (like asteroid impact or black-hole swallowing)?
Closer consideration would prove the above possibilities to be unlikely. Any planet able to form intelligent life would be fairly stable, so it would take billions of years for natural forces to threaten the existence of intelligent life on this type of planet. Aliens should have developed enough to travel space freely and prevent their extinction in such a long period of time. Furthermore, even if one such planet met some unfortunate end, it would be statistically impossible for every planet with intelligent life to encounter similar natural disasters.
We can only suppose that these aliens became extinct due to internal threats. Judging from the nature of humans, we can deduce that evolutionary imbalance is a universal flaw present in all highly intelligent life-forms. The impulse to discover and transform nature may generate the power to self-destruct in a very short period of time. This inclination to self-destruct may be an inherent balancing force in the universe.
The history and inherent characteristics of humanity makes the abovementioned presumption highly credible. Mankind formed four million years ago, and humans completed evolution one hundred thousand years ago. However, it has only been two hundred years since the urge to conquer and transform nature was fully awoken in mankind. In such a short period of time, humans have already changed the world profoundly. We can only imagine how much more change could take place in another hundred years. The devastating power of future scientific and technological developments is just as unimaginable.
In comparison, the irrational components of human nature have barely changes in two hundred years and show no signs of changing in the future. Humanity’s inherent shortsightedness, greed, homicidal instinct, and hatred have not improved with the development of our destructive abilities. Unless some major spontaneous evolution takes place, humanity’s rational evolution will continue to lag behind our creative evolution. It is this gap that will eventually result in humanity’s self-destruction. If aliens follow this same pattern of behavior, that may explain why we have not encountered them to this day.
The third possibility theorizes that aliens decided to cease scientific and technological development, thereby avoiding extinction and forfeiting interstellar capabilities. What could motivate aliens to take such action? Presumably, alien society, like human society, experienced both the benefits and harm brought on by scientific and technological developments. As these developments advanced, their power and destruction probably increased as well. We can assume that aliens realized the possibility of future extinction and decided to establish strict restrictions to curb the development of science and technology. Hence, aliens never acquired interstellar travel capabilities but live in peace on their own planets instead. Since the universe is extremely vast, and alien life should exist in more than one instance, the above two explanations may apply to different planets respectively.
Admittedly, we have never observed aliens and we do not know of any planets with intelligent life, so the above speculations are pure conjecture. However, though we cannot be 100 percent certain of these hypotheses, a fair amount of logical credibility does exist. This subjective deduction is completely consistent with previous objective inference; therefore, the future fate of mankind cannot be more explicit.
The analysis of extraterrestrial life may also prompt this line of thought: humans have landed on the moon and will soon land on Mars. Travel outside the solar system is also achievable in the near future. From this point of view, it seems plausible to estimate that humans will master interstellar travel in the not-too-distant future; however, analysis of extraterrestrial life also concludes that highly intelligent life-forms will be exterminated by science and technology before interstellar travel abilities are obtained—if not, Earth would have been boarded by aliens already. This sounds a strong warning; the day we achieve the conditions for interstellar travel will also be the day we achieve self-destruction capabilities. This is tantamount to saying that if current scientific development trends persist, human extinction will occur in the not-too-distant future. This conclusion is consistent with our previously deduced human extinction timeframe as well.