Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Neil deGrasse Tyson: Is Earth a zoo for aliens?

Ever feel a little caged up, or like you're being watched? Do pellets of food mysteriously appear in front of you, compelling you to sit, stay, or speak? Don't worry, that may all just be because we're all exhibits in an elaborate zoo for aliens, according to Neil deGrasse Tyson.

As reported by Wired, at the Starmus conference in Tenerife, Spain, the celebrity astrophysicist Tyson said Earth could be a giant zoo for beings of higher intelligence. He added that maybe they were inflicting "weird politics" as a form of entertainment.

And maybe that's not so bad, he added. Responding to Stephen Hawking's statement last year that he believes aliens exists, but that we'd be in bad shape to contact them (not unlike the Native Americans were when they encountered Europeans), Tyson said, "I fear the day we come upon a species such as that."

He added: "Maybe I don’t fear it, I just hope that all they would do for us is create a zoo where we are happy. And maybe that is what they call Earth.”

Tyson went on to say that he sees the odds of humans discovering alien life to be extremely low, but if we did, we may not need worry about getting destroyed by a higher lifeform.

“A sufficiently intelligent civilisation would have positively no interest in us at all," he said. "In the same way as when you’re walking down a street and there’s a worm there.”. And even if you wanted to kill all the worms, he continued, you’d soon get bored and do something else. 
“Maybe our biggest protection against being killed by alien civilisations is their conclusion there’s no intelligent civilisation on Earth,” Tyson continued. “Suppose in fact intelligence has come to the galaxy. Who are we to then decide that we are intelligent? We define our intelligence. Of course we’re intelligent because we define it.” he said.
As Wired notes, SpaceX founder Elon Musk -- who, unlike Tyson and Hawking, is betting on putting humans on Mars in the near future -- said there was only a "one in a billion" chance we weren't living in a simulation.

So which do you prefer? Zoo or simulation?

-Aaron Sagers

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