Bracing against the wind  

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Should we try to contact ET?

Would it be safe to meet an intelligent alien lifeform from another planets?

Let's assume an ET (extra terrestrial, alien) is more advanced than we are. Let's assume, again, because it's the only experience we have, that we are a good example of an intelligent life form.

Have other species benefited from their contact with humans? Species that are useful to us, like cows and dogs have proliferated in population, but are controlled/used by us. Species that feed on our leavings, like roaches and pigeons do well.

But, given that we're intelligent, and we'd like to think that aliens would regard us as so, we may want to look only at "higher" mammals, with comparable intelligence. Primates certainly don't do well when humans show up. In fact, iut seems we are particularly brutal when dealing with them. Large mammals were nearly driven extinct from North America after human contact. Some very intelligent species, like right whales, with rich communication systems and highly social habits, were driven to near extinction.

OK, but maybe we're talking about "modern man". Maybe we've escaped that brutal past.

We still round up dolphins to kill them. And, to this day, very little effort has been spent in attempting to understand the language and society of the "alien species" we share our home with. Any time even a modicum of effort has been spent it's been met with "shocking" revelations about how other species have complex grammars, notions of fairness, etc. And still most people in the world refuse to believe that other species can feel pain the way humans do - largely (IMO) as a way of justifying abuse and mistreatment.

So.... I would expect to be treated at least as well as we have treated others. Accordingly, someone should *shut down* the SETI program. ASAP.

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