Geekend contributor Nicole Bremer Nash ponders whether an alien apocalypse or a zombie apocalypse is more likely and whether humans are prepared for either.
Moviegoers love apocalypse movies and for good reason -- those movies are full of action, terror, and often have very funny and quotable lines. Two particular types of apocalypses seem to catch our attention most: alien apocalypse and zombie apocalypse. But which apocalypse is more likely, and are we prepared for either?
Which apocalypse is more likely?
The alien apocalypse is basically one scenario: Aliens come to Earth and proceed to try to take over. But the problem is that we don't know what we're really up against until they are here. Do these aliens look like us, or are their bodies built for warfare with biologic weapons like poison spit and huge, sharp talons and teeth for ripping out our bones? Do they sport more sophisticated technology than humans posses? Also, do they go door-to-door in attack mode, or do they use an Independence Day sort of method and just blow us all up from the relative safety of their flying crafts? So much is unknown about the specific form an alien apocalypse would take that it is hard to prepare oneself. Also, to our current knowledge, humans are the only "higher" life form in the galaxy, making an alien apocalypse unlikely.
I think a zombie apocalypse is the more likely end to humanity (as opposed to an alien apocalypse). I'm not alone -- the University of Florida includes zombie apocalypse planning in its disaster preparedness materials. (This PDF is the university's simulation exercise for a zombie attack.) While it may be unlikely that the dead will suddenly re-animate, Hollywood has shown us time and again that the human race is capable of creating a zombie apocalypse. Take 28 Days Later..., in which scientific research creates a disease that effectively turns people into rage-filled zombies. The disease spreads via bodily fluids, particularly blood. It's a reasonably believable scenario. I suppose in this case, we should hope that aliens suddenly show up and save us, especially since we'll only have eight days.
Which scenario we are more likely to survive?
On the one hand, I feel that I know enough about zombies that I could live through a zombie apocalypse for a good long while -- I've even participated in a zombie walk. I've studied the film genre, and I've read The Zombie Survival Guide enough times that I feel prepared. I understand that you need to use blunt force trauma to the head to kill most zombies and that no place is really, truly zombie-proof. (TechRepublic Senior Editor Mark Kaelin has already weighed in on this topic, and he, too, feels confident that he is ready for a zombie apocalypse.)
But then after some consideration, I thought about the fact that, in a zombie apocalypse, the government is likely to be rendered useless. Sure, I could maybe survive a month or more, but what then?
Whereas, in an alien apocalypse, we can presume that the government would be on top of the situation. It is less likely that an individual would actually have to face aliens invading your home and attacking your family. For this reason, I have to think that we're all more likely to survive an alien apocalypse -- don't you agree?