This topic seems to announce Cambridge’s ambition to make English more than an international language.
With this question type, you have to discuss both points of view. This kind of essay fits a four-paragraph model best – with one paragraph for each position. It is also essential to make sure your opinion appears in the introduction.
This model essay follows the following template:
Introduction: with the position
1st Body Paragraph: the dangers of making first contact
2nd Body Paragraph: the opposite point of view
Conclusion: repeating the position and main ideas
You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.
Write about the following topic:
Some scientists believe that intelligent life exists on other planets and that we should send messages into space to try and make contact. Other scientists think this is a dangerous idea and that we should avoid contact.
Discuss both these views and give your own opinion.
Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.
Write at least 250 words.
There is little doubt, on the basis of probability, that intelligent life on other planets exists. That, however, is where the common consensus ends; how and whether we should attempt to communicate with them is a question more fraught with complication. Some astronomers believe we need to know whether extraterrestrial beings are benign or hostile before we alert them to our presence. I believe that since any extraterrestrial being able to communicate with Earth can already hear us, there is little danger in reaching out.
On the one hand, we know nothing of how an alien civilisation may respond to a communication from Earth. They may well see humans as a threat – perhaps, even, an existential one – and seek to mitigate that threat by causing us harm. We should exercise some caution before we attempt to make contact. It does, after all, take many years for a communication to travel through space, so there is little urgency.
On the other hand, if alien life forms are capable of receiving messages over such vast distances, they must be at least as technologically advanced as we on Earth. It is unlikely that their society is at precisely the same maturity as our own, suggesting they are in fact more advanced – and, therefore, will have identified us before we have identified them. Large quantities of information have already been sent into outer space, ranging from ‘leaked’ radio and TV signals to the thousands of Craigslist posts beamed from Earth in 2005.
For my part, I think the latter argument holds more sensible logic. If we are to worry ourselves with existential threats to life on Earth, we should start by addressing issues closer to home.
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