chrisjwmartin wrote:This. It always amuses me how many hipsters have taken the ludicrously contrary view that alien contact could only ever be a good thing. My theory is that it is connected to the weird liberal tic whereby, in understandable moral rejection of cruel conservative racism, every single immigrant is asserted to be a pacifist, ideologically moderate heart surgeon with seven degrees and a puppy.
By "hipsters", do you mean people like Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, who, despite having written an extremely popular alien-invasion novel (Footfall), find the whole idea ludicrous. Note, these are guys who are famous for doing the research. They made the aliens in Footfall quite stupid, because the idea that intelligent aliens might attempt such a thing was simply too ridiculous for them. And even so, they admitted afterwards that they hadn't even managed to convince themselves that such a thing was plausible.
Dr. Pournelle once described himself as "somewhere to the right of Genghis Khan", and was good friends with Newt Gingrich--I don't think anyone could reasonably describe his reactions as "a weird liberal tic".
The supply-line problems are many orders of magnitude greater than those faced by the Europeans who invaded the Americas. Even factoring in the benefits of much greater technology. But beyond that, there's the question of motive. You don't have to be a pacifist peacenik to want to avoid wasting your time and money on incredibly stupid things. To justify the expense and trouble of an invasion of Earth, you need to have some sort of benefit. The Europeans were looking for resources and slaves, and found plenty of both. The aliens can find more easily accessible resources pretty much anywhere they look, and if they're sophisticated enough to build interstellar vessels, will almost certainly have robots which can outperform humans, so slavery would be stupid. So...why on Earth would they bother to invade?
They might want to wipe us out, for religious or philosophical reasons, but sending down troops to attack us toe-to-toe is about the stupidest imaginable way to achieve that goal. If they want our biome (unlikely but possible), a few dinosaur-killers will take care of that pesky human problem without inflicting too much damage to said biome. They don't have to exterminate us immediately; pounding us back to the stone age should make it easy enough to mop up the pitiful remainder.
So, yes, alien contact (if it were to happen while we're still here on Earth) is almost certainly going to be a good thing, because if the aliens aren't good, they'll probably wipe us out without bothering to contact us. Hence, my lack of fear at the idea of a xenobiologist on TV.
eta: of course, Grey Goo is a notable exception to the above, but I'm not sure a xenobiologist is who they'd call if grey goo were discovered in the wild.