Are We Alone in the Universe? (Invited Radio Discussion)

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Last week I was invited on Beyond Beijing (a CRI English news magazine radio show) to discuss all things extraterrestrial.

Hosted by Chris Gelken and Xu Qinduo, Beyond Beijing is a fun hour-long international radio talk show where expert guests are invited to discuss and debate current events. Fortunately for me, Chris really enjoys space-based topics, so I’ve been fortunate to be invited on several shows (everything from space tourism to 2012 doomsday scaremongering), so it’s always a pleasure to be invited back.

However, the most recent discussion was all about whether or not we are alone in the Universe. As you might have noticed, Stephen Hawking caused quite a stir in his Discovery Channel documentary “Into the Universe,” where, in his first episode, he introduced his thoughts on alien life.

One particular subject involves making contact with a not-so-friendly alien race intent on eating/assimilating/squashing mankind. Should this aggressive species pop up near Earth (via a wormhole, naturally) and plunder our planet for all its natural resources, we’d probably wish we hadn’t advertised our presence to the cosmos in the first place.

But this is just one side of the argument. What if these intelligent aliens are friendly? What if they are already among us? What if aliens don’t exist at all? What if they are on the edge of our solar system, messing with Voyager 2? (The latter conspiracy theory I hope to write about soon — it’s a giggle.)

And so began our Beyond Beijing show with two other superb guests: Seth Shostak, Senior Astronomer of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) and Douglas C. Lin, director of the Kavli Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Peking University.

It was a great opportunity to discuss my views on the topic as, quite frankly, it turns out I have a lot to say on the subject!

So sit back and listen in: “Alien Life – Are we alone in the universe?” (.mp3)

Synopsis:

It is a question that has fascinated man for thousands of years; Are we alone in the universe? And if there is other intelligent life out there, what do they look like, how advanced are they, and will they like us – as comparable intelligent beings, or as a potential food source! Today asks the experts, is there anyone out there?

For more on this topic, find out Discovery News writer Ray Villard’s argument against Hawking’s view, and my argument for Hawking’s killer aliens.

The best thing about this subject is there is no “right” or “wrong” answer as the only life we know of is the Earth Brand™ variety. So don’t go getting too concerned about The Borg turning up on our doorstep any time soon, I think we’re in the clear… for now.