Tuesday, June 2, 2015

If ETs (Aliens) Came to Earth, Would We See Them  Coming?

Cute idea but this is probably the last thing that would happen in real life.
"Stay out of sight" is probably a guiding principle of interplanetary exploration.

Hell No!  If they can journey across the galaxy, they must be smart. If they're smart, they aren't wanting or expecting a parade, a welcoming committee, or media attention.  It is abundantly obvious to me that they would want something closer to the exact opposite of public awareness: Namely, to avail themselves of a very rare opportunity to witness first hand the innocence of a natural situation and an indigenous population that is completely unaware of their place within a much bigger and more complicated interplanetary realm.
  Think about Charles Darwin showing up on Galapagos for the first time. What a rare opportunity!  The islands had no human inhabitants, and the indigenous wildlife was blissfully unaware of his party's arrival. Now that's the best way to view a new world. Next,  think about Captain Cook arriving at the Cook Islands (Hawaii) amidst great fanfare and an immediate recognition by the indigenous, self-aware population. He may have been well-meaning, but Captain Cook proceeded to totally upset the applecart.  He literally contaminated the local population by virtue of his unguarded presence.  He  introduce invasive species (rats, mosquitoes) and disease that the local population had no defense against. He destabilized life in this idyllic world so greatly that, upon the occasion of his return to Hawaii a few years later, the natives killed him on the spot!
     This situation in 18th century Hawaii is perfectly analogous to the situation that would be faced by  ETs arriving on Earth.  Think about the 'Prime Directive' made famous by Star Trek episodes: Do nothing to destabilize the natural course of events on any alien world you visit. 
     It may be the stuff of a fictional set of TV shows and movies, but it has an undeniable logical and ethical relevance.  It doesn't prevent you from availing yourself of certain resources that exist there, it just dictates that, when you arrive in a new world, you maintain a certain discretion, even stealth, for the sake of the indigenous population as well as for the sake of one's commitment to  scientific and ecological integrity.
    Click here to visit the story published on Yahoo News that got me going on this rant.

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