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originally posted by: Flyingclaydisk
a reply to: charlyv
I was avoiding the physics of the transmission by consciously omitting ET's location so as not to get into a time dilation which is more scientific than the moral / ethical focus.
But yes, absolutely there is the very real potential of getting into a "Careful what you wish for" scenario!
Stephen Hawking warns over making contact with aliens
"If aliens visit us, the outcome would be much as when Columbus landed in America, which didn't turn out well for the Native Americans," he said.
Prof Hawking thinks that, rather than actively trying to communicate with extra-terrestrials, humans should do everything possible to avoid contact.
He explained: "We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn't want to meet."
originally posted by: DBCowboy
a reply to: Flyingclaydisk
So often, I don't take things seriously, but in this one instance, I will try.
If I could imagine an intelligent, space-faring race, I'd have to ask myself, "What would it benefit them to contact us"?
If they have access to a myriad of planets, and a myriad of resources, then why bother with an obvious primitive war-like species?
originally posted by: Flyingclaydisk
1. First off, what obligations does the discoverer of said signal have to tell anyone else about it at all? By not telling them he could be imposing some injustice on the human race of galactic proportion. By telling them he could very well be solely responsible for the end of civilization as we know it. Pretty big cross to bear.
2. So, after a couple of years (if we last that long), the scientific community all unanimously agree it's ET calling. Should we call ET back?
3. Who has the authority to make this decision to call ET back? And how would you ever come to consensus on this question in a World with so many cultures and ideologies?
4. Is there a human being, or group of human beings, who even have the right to make this decision to contact ET?
....and here's where it starts getting skeery....
5. Inevitably, after a while, someone is going to be bent on contacting ET regardless of what everyone else thinks. Even if the World agrees, "BAD BAD IDEA", there will be some person or group who will say "Screw 'em...we're gonna do it anyway!!" Whether it be from greed or lust of power, someone will do it. So once the discovery is out in the public, is there any way to STOP mankind from reaching out to ET? (see question #1) And is there a moral justification for doing this?
6. On the one hand, one could argue that it is the very nature of mankind to seek knowledge and understanding. On the other hand, one could rejoinder that it is the process of Natural Selection and the notion of 'survival of the fittest' which motivates mankind to seek knowledge and understanding because with it comes wealth, power and survival. Both noble causes, but completely different reasoning. Which path is morally correct?
7. What motivations would a real ET have for contacting us in the first place? Is he just seeking enlightenment, or does he want something.
8. Where is he, WHAT is he, what is his world like? Does he have something we want? All questions which would be in the forefront of different people's minds, but would "curiousity get the better of the cat" (as it were)?
One 'phone' call which would most likely permanently change the course of human history for all of civilization, possibly for the better or possibly for the worse.
So what if ET really did "phone home"...then what?