Michael E. Salla, Ph.D.
There has been a flurry of recent stories by The Guardian and other major world media about the possible benefits or harm that may occur after contact with advanced extraterrestrial civilizations. The stories were sparked by a scientific study published in the June/July edition of Acta Astronautica. Titled, â€œWould Contact with Extraterrestrials Benefit or Harm Humanity? A Scenario Analysisâ€ the study examines a number of scenarios concerning extraterrestrial contact. It adopts the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) paradigm that intelligent extraterrestrial life has not yet been discovered, and that scientific modalities such as radio signals are among the most feasible ways of establishing communications. The study examines the FERMI paradox, first established by Enrico Fermi, that alien life should be abundant in our galaxy, but he asked â€œwhere are they?â€
Responses to the Fermi Paradox by the authors leads to three possible scenarios. The last scenario examined is the Zoo hypothesis that Aliens may be studying us remotely or invisibly, reminiscent of the non-interference principle popularized by the Star Trek series as the Prime Directive. They explain: â€œETI are treating Earth like a wildlife preserve to be observed but not fully incorporated into the Galactic Club.â€
The main purpose of the study (which I’ll abbreviate as “A Scenario Analysis” – full paper is here) is to answer the question: â€œIf contact between humans and ETI is possible, then it is important to consider the capability of ETI to cause us benefit or harmâ€ (p.6) In stressing the importance of the question, they go on to point out: â€œwe do have a compelling reason to believe that ETI would be significantly stronger than us and therefore highly capable of causing our total destruction.â€
The authors go on to consider extraterrestrial ethics. They write:
If ETI are significantly more advanced than humanity, then the outcome of contact may depend primarily on ETI desires. However, this leaves open speculation as to the specific desires of ETI and raises the question of what ethical framework they follow. Much can be said about ETI ethics. Here we focus on one key aspect: selfishness vs. universalism (p. 7).
In response, the authors examine three broad motivations or ethics of extraterrestrials. Basically, extraterrestrials would fall into categories of the good, the bad, or the indifferent leading to three broad scenarios. Considerable discussion is given to each scenario, and the benefits or harm to humanity. Of special interest is the possibility that â€œgood extraterrestrialsâ€, may decide to wipe out humanity for a higher good such as preserving the eco-system. This frightening scenario was vividly demonstrated in the 2008 remake of the Sci-Fi Classic, The Day the Earth Stood Still.
â€œWould Contact with Extraterrestrials Benefit or Harm Humanity? A Scenario Analysisâ€ is a very useful summary of a priori speculations about extraterrestrial life. It is the latest in a series of scientific speculations about contact with extraterrestrial life. Recent scientific discoveries such as exoplanets in habitable regions of solar systems, abundance of water found in our solar system, and the ability of life to flourish in extreme biological conditions has stimulated scientific curiosity about the possibility of extraterrestrial life. This inevitably leads to questions about the motivations of advanced extraterrestrial life after contact with them is made by SETI or other means.
What “A Scenario Analysis” fails to do is to actively engage with the more than abundant evidence that humanity is currently being visited by extraterrestrial life. In the abstract, the authors categorically state: â€œhumanity has not yet observed any extraterrestrial intelligence.â€ Yet there is an incredible amount of physical evidence concerning sightings of UFOs under intelligent control displaying flight characteristics far above what is known to be possible in conventional or even classified aerospace research. In addition, there are also numerous whistleblower reports concerning crashes of UFOs, and retrievals of extraterrestrial biological entities. Finally, there are also first hand witness reports of contacts, both voluntary and involuntary, with extraterrestrial entities. Rather than acknowledge the existence of such evidence, the scientific study chooses to dismiss it all together adopting the well known SETI perspective that no extraterrestrial contact has yet been made.
In failing to even acknowledge the extensive literature that contact has already been made, and that a successful cover-up has occurred by select government, military, corporate actors, “A Scenario Analysis”is taking an unrealistic stance. Basically, it is ignoring the possibility that UFOlogy and exopolitical literature may contribute substantially to answering the main goal of the authors in answering whether extraterrestrial contact would be more harmful or beneficial to humanity.
For example, an innovative course in the new field of exopolitics titled â€œThe â€œScience, Spirituality and Politics of Extraterrestrial Civilizationsâ€ offers a different conceptual framework for examining how extraterrestrials may benefit or harm humanity during contact. The course, taught in the Exopolitics Institute a examines how a typology of extraterrestrial civilizations based on energy consumption might help us understand how different alien societies behave, and how the available literature helps illustrate this. Another exopolitics course, both of which begin in mid-September, â€œThe Role of Hollywood and the Media in the Disclosure Process,â€ examines how Hollywood is helping prepare humanity for both the beneficial and harmful aspects of various contact scenarios.
It is encouraging to see an increasing number of scientists openly engage with scientific, social, political and even economic consequences of the discovery of extraterrestrial life. Ongoing scientific discoveries make it clear that the conditions for the life flourish throughout the galaxy. This makes scientific curiosity over the motivations of intelligent extraterrestrial life inevitable. Encouraging scientific speculation on the basis of what can be deduced from NASA and other Space Agency press releases or peer reviewed scientific journals should not require an outright dismissal of the abundant literature from the fields of UFOlogy and exopolitics that extraterrestrial contact has already occurred. It would be basically advocating the very unscientific approach that a priori reasoning on the benefits and harm of extraterrestrial contact should be encouraged, while simultaneously dismissing all a posteriori evidence and arguments concerning the benefits and harm of such contact. If the Zoo Hypothesis is the more accurate answer to the Fermi Paradox, the authors of â€œA Scenario Analysisâ€ might have to acknowledge that they might be among the majority of Zoo dwellers that have been kept in the dark by their Zoo keepers about who might be watching them
Â© Copyright 2011. Michael E. Salla. Exopolitics.org
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