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Moral, social and ethical implications of calling ET

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posted on Jul, 31 2016 @ 03:47 PM
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a reply to: Kandinsky

Yeah, there have been folks who talk about these kinds of questions, but they're isolated discussions for the most part. They've never really been brought out into the daylight for the World to weigh in, just isolated to certain communities (science, etc.). And I guess that's my whole point in the OP; what if "tomorrow" something were to be discovered would we as a civilization be ready, and what would we do?

ETA...BTW, I tend to agree with Hawking and yourself. I think we should try to understand the nature of it, but not attempt to contact...at all!






edit on 7/31/2016 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)




posted on Jul, 31 2016 @ 03:54 PM
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a reply to: TrueBrit

Awesome post!

...as usual!



posted on Jul, 31 2016 @ 04:04 PM
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originally posted by: TrueBrit

Only the entire mass of the population of the world, in concert, drawn to a world wide ballot of some nature, perhaps on the net, perhaps otherwise, would have the clout to make that choice. (And similar answers)


I figure it would only take one person or a small group. The "people" don't have clout or control. Nobody actually needs "the people's permission" to do anything. If you say "the people" are going to come at the transgressor "with blades" (kind of silly, don't you think?) it would be after the fact and rather too late. Perhaps philosophically you believe this OUGHT to be the case, but in the real world it would not be. Nobody is going to ask Obama's younger brother if it's "Ok with him" if ET is contacted. They'll just do it.
edit on 7/31/2016 by schuyler because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 31 2016 @ 04:04 PM
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a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

Thank you very much FCD.



I am curious, as to how you would respond to the points I made in my post though, since you and I approach the issue of contact very differently.



posted on Jul, 31 2016 @ 04:06 PM
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a reply to: schuyler

Indeed, but I think this would be one of the rare situations where someone who had hidden such a thing from the world for an extended period, would in fact find themselves utterly gutted, removed from whatever office they held, and probably bought up on charges, if not beaten in the streets.

The big questions having hidden answers? That is an issue that has been aggravating the world for more years than this species has had the capacity to consider the issues at all!



posted on Jul, 31 2016 @ 04:09 PM
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originally posted by: DBCowboy
a reply to: Klassified

I'd think of it from a cost-benefit angle.

We can't be so unique that an alien race would expend so much energy/cost to just "study" us.

I just don't see the feasibility in it.

You're assuming they have better sense than we do.

As we can both attest to, technology has not made us any smarter or wiser in the ways that count. But I can certainly see your perspective on it.
edit on 7/31/2016 by Klassified because: eta-correction

edit on 7/31/2016 by Klassified because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 31 2016 @ 04:24 PM
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a reply to: Klassified

There is the other aspect to consider, and that is energy abundance. Consider what we would do if energy were no concern, if there was such abundance that there was no cost associated with its expenditure, save time and mind?

How easily would we devote simply our time to a project, if the energy required to make a success of it meant less than nothing to us?

I would venture that we would be outside our solar system in a decade, were that to come about. Therefore, it seems likely that if another species had somehow come upon a source of energy so abundant that they need consider its use not at all, they might come to send such a communication just on a whim, as we might consider sending a Facebook friend request or a letter.



posted on Jul, 31 2016 @ 04:45 PM
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originally posted by: TrueBrit
a reply to: schuyler

Indeed, but I think this would be one of the rare situations where someone who had hidden such a thing from the world for an extended period, would in fact find themselves utterly gutted, removed from whatever office they held, and probably bought up on charges, if not beaten in the streets.


It's difficult to discuss a point when the goal posts keep moving. I hadn't factored in someone hiding this discovery and being subject to sanctions. I was working on the assumption that such communications were well known and out there, in which case I believe someone would go ahead and do it. I think this was one of OP's scenarios. Of course, we're working with a string of "if's" here. I think you are absolutely right that if energy were not a problem, we'd be out there in a heartbeat.

And I'm optimistic that's going to happen via solar--out of necessity. I'm not convinced we're running out of oil. We aren't, but there's no doubt that solar is far less harsh on our environment and in abundant supply. That would be changing the goal posts again, but this time in our favor. The recent finding of leaf solar" (Using solar in combination with CO2 scrubbing to create fuel directly) sounds very promising, but then, they all do.

I realize I may be veering off-topic. The issue is ET, but even with amazing singularity-type advances in the next few years, by them or us, the constraints remain the same. Unless we are completely wrong about the nature of the universe, we don't have to worry too much about ET. We may be able to talk long distance, but we don't have to set the table for guests just yet. And if we CAN talk to ET, someone inevitably will--with or without "permission."



posted on Jul, 31 2016 @ 04:50 PM
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a reply to: schuyler

Agreed on all points.

For what it is worth, I am of the opinion that to discuss the possibility of communicating with other worlds, is to necessitate a discussion of our own technological capacity, and coming advancements thereof.

These issues are, I believe, indivisible from one another.



posted on Jul, 31 2016 @ 04:52 PM
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a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

Great thread.
What would they want? Well why do we look for them? Curiousity we would love to learn about and from them and I'm sure they would love to do so also.
I sometimes look up wondering how many other beings out there are looking up thinking the same thing.



posted on Jul, 31 2016 @ 06:02 PM
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Along the lines of "What would they want from us?" I'm guessing any Type 1 or above civilization (We're about a .7 on that scale) will have solved their energy crisis and should be able to make just about anything they need. Star Trek Replicators are completely possible. But there's one thing we do have that they might want:

The planet Earth.

It's a water planet, over 70%, and that might be very, very attractive to another species.



posted on Jul, 31 2016 @ 06:26 PM
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a reply to: TrueBrit

Well, we don't approach these questions as differently as you may think, my friend.

"Caution" is the name of the day. I think we both agree on this. I think you, above some others, understood the deep moral and social responsibilities of such questions.

In my heart I'd like to know ET, but in my conscious being I think it would be very unwise to do so. I would elect "restraint being the better part of valor".

What's interesting though is, how to control such a discovery, hence the OP. It may not be controllable, frankly. And this is troubling.

But finally, we agree on more than you may think.

There is the notion of pure "logic" versus "opinion", which would cause one to explore the moral/social value of "opinion" and where it originates. I am of the pure logic version.

And so....I will just let ET leave a message on my machine. I'll call him "maybe"! (all double intendre's intended)

Likely not.



posted on Jul, 31 2016 @ 06:33 PM
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a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

I would err on the side of making the call. Why? Simple. I only value the human race because of my membership of it and because of its most noble aspects. The one of these that I find most pleasing, is the fact that despite our tendency to vote for liars and cheats, many of us will risk everything for the truth. Given the choice between learning something and the risks associated with that acquisition of knowledge, and not having that knowledge at all, I will take a risk.

Simply put, human beings are at their best when they are learning more, even when doing so comes with certain risks. I would rather have us engaged in noble and risky pursuits, than stagnate with a truth out there ignored by all!



posted on Jul, 31 2016 @ 07:07 PM
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originally posted by: Flyingclaydisk
a reply to: TrueBrit

"Caution" is the name of the day. I think we both agree on this. I think you, above some others, understood the deep moral and social responsibilities of such questions.


You see, that statement kind of gets to me. It's not that I don't think there are any, though I question how "deep" they are, but I do question who gets to choose. "Moral" codes are abundant and contradict one another. Your entire opening post was the idea behind "Contact," the Carl Sagan movie. In that case the power was centralized and the plot required a big, expensive device. Various groups, including powerful government leaders and NGO grass-roots activists tried to stop the project. The government was frightened of the project from a military point-of-view, afraid of an invasion, and the NGO activists were opposed to it from a religious point-of-view. All the elements of your post were represented by characters in that movie.

And the project got done in spite of the objections. It happened anyway. But also in that movie "Contact" happened prior to building that big gyroscope thing they used for transport. "Contact" was a done deal. And if you suppose that you needn't build a giant gyroscope to achieve project goals, "contact" itself was easy and could have been accomplished by anyone. Like one poster here said early on, the SETI people aren't the only ones listening. We've got a lot of amateurs intensely interested in this stuff. It's not a monopoly. There is no centralized control. And there's no reason to suppose that potential aliens would pay attention to it anyway.

From a practical standpoint no one can stop you from philosophizing about the deep moral and social responsibilities involved in potential contact, but no one is going to wait around for you to wax eloquently on these subjects. Philosophers philosophize. Others do the work and are not particularly interested in these "deep" subjects.

If everyone were, nothing would ever get done. Also, philosophers and moral ethicists are not in charge.



posted on Jul, 31 2016 @ 07:37 PM
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a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

I'll bite.

If ET is theoretically discovered, we should not be making any attempt to contact until we have a means to defend ourselves. Why? Because we don't know their intentions. I play a game called Agar.io, where you are basically a blob trying to eat other blobs smaller than you: You can either grow in mass by eating blobs, or food pellets. Now, some players will send you a food packet (aka, ET sends us a signal), and when you go for it (contact them), that's when they move in for the kill. We have a way to defend ourselves, then by all means send a message back!

What would this mean for us? Well, first it means we aren't alone in the universe. Second, many religions would need to either adapt to the news (IE: God created the aliens too, which means alien Jesus died for them as well), or reject it (IE: Aliens are the devils plaguing mankind; Do not fall for them!). Third, we might see a boost in technology or increased interest in space. Finally, you would start to see countries racing to be the "first" to make peace, in hopes of gaining access to new tech, resources, and an army.

Why would aliens want to contact us? I'd guess that they are either: Curious, Looking for something, or conquering. If curious, it's because they found we were alive and well. If looking for something, maybe they need water to replenish their martian toilets. If conquering, we are a threat or they want our planet.

In short: Before humans should be contacting the stars, they need to work on contacting themselves first. If we cannot do that, then we might kill ourselves in the months that it would take to relay a signal back.

-fossilera



posted on Aug, 1 2016 @ 01:21 AM
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a reply to: fossilera




the months that it would take to relay a signal back.


Years, not months.

Just going with the likely suspects: ( Those that may have habitable planets, in which you might send something and receive something back within 25 to 100 years



Astronomers have discovered two new super-Earths orbiting an ancient 11.5 billion year-old star a "mere" 13 light-years from here. One planet is in the habitable zone, prompting a researcher to wonder what kind of life could have evolved over such a long period. That makes it the closest confirmed potentially habitable exoplanet to Earth, not including Tau Ceti e, an unconfirmed planet located 11.9 light-years away. The next best bet after that is Gliese 581-d, which is 20.2 light-years away. It's also worth noting that Alpha Centauri, the closest star to our own — just 4.3 light-years away — hosts a planet, but it's parked way to close to the sun to be habitable (its year is a mere three days long).


Even the one we suspect that our current visitors are from: The system of Zeta Reticuli, Distance to Earth: 39.17 light years.

The way our civilization is technologically advancing, a lot can happen in the transit and expected return from anything sent to them. They already have our old radio and tv stuff, so if they are mobile, they are here already.
edit on 1-8-2016 by charlyv because: content



posted on Aug, 1 2016 @ 05:25 AM
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Again to the time of transmission discussion; we don't even know with absolute certainty there isn't life in this very solar system we inhabit. ET could be laying low right around the corner and we don't know it. Sure, we have a pretty strong opinion this isn't the case, but certainly not absolute proof. There could be an entire advanced frozen culture in stasis on Jupiter or Saturn, heck even Mars for that matter. Perhaps they destroyed their habitat and figured out a way to preserve themselves for some later date, waiting for some other culture to advance and colonize another planet to their suiting.

Who says ET even has to live on a planet at all (anymore)? Perhaps he travels around endlessly, stopping off at various solar systems along the way to get what he needs. Maybe something along the lines of the old Close Encounters movie.

The point is, ET could come from anywhere and show up at any time...if he exists. He doesn't necessarily have to be 40 billion light years away.



posted on Aug, 1 2016 @ 12:24 PM
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originally posted by: Flyingclaydisk

The point is, ET could come from anywhere and show up at any time...if he exists. He doesn't necessarily have to be 40 billion light years away.


Sure, technically, it's possible ET is closer than we think. But it's improbable. And if they were in the solar system, surely they would be here by now. I don't think you can hang your argument on the possibility they are on Mars. If ET can live on someplace like Jupiter, then they are such a different form of life entirely that communication between them is a moot point. We don't need to concern ourselves with them, nor they with us. Near Earth ETs would be here by now. Either they don't exist or they don't care.

The nearest star is Alpha Proxima at about 4.2 light years away, IIRC, so you have to deal with how they are going to get here. In order to speculate any further you have to invoke a "reality" that our current science says is impossible. Maybe Einstein is wrong and maybe ET can conquer FTL travel, in which case he could get here easily. Maybe all that is true, but you have to nullify Einstein to get there bearing in mind that he was not discussing the lack of an invention, but the basic structure of the Universe making FTL travel impossible. To do that you must enter the realm of science fiction, and not even very good science fiction because good science fiction extrapolates from known facts, so, really you're taking the science out and you're left with fiction. So if you're going to dismiss Einstein, you have to show your work. I've not met anyone so far who is up to it.

Another way you can go is to suggest a multi-dimensional universe where ET has learned to travel between dimensions, no FTL required. We have a tremendous amount of anecdotal evidence for this in after-life studies. Tens of thousands of people say they have seen "the other side." Call this the mediumship option. But science has a BIG problem with that sort of stuff and considers it religious hocus pocus at best. Science won't even deal with it seriously. It's kind of "off the table" because science has an attitude problem.

The results if the time of transmission issue are that you you have to throw out science as we know it. You need to use fiction or mediumship to get there. That's not to say you can't do it anyway, but you have to ignore the issue because there really is no rational way around it.


edit on 8/1/2016 by schuyler because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 2 2016 @ 08:02 AM
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a reply to: schuyler

Never mind.

P.S. I'm pretty familiar with physics (understatement of the week considering I have a degree in Physics), so thanks for the education, but I've already BTDT. You are continuing to ignore the premise of my OP (which had exactly zero to do with the physics of space travel and/or communications transmissions therein...and I intentionally EXCLUDED this from the question(s)...as I have repeatedly stated.)

However, again...just never mind.



edit on 8/2/2016 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 2 2016 @ 08:22 AM
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a reply to: schuyler

And just for the record, I can (and often do) paint a pretty compelling illustration of why ET does NOT exist, and if he does it is not in a form we will ever have the mental fabric to comprehend. Further, it is for this reason you seldom see me post in this forum. However, as I have (repeatedly) stated, that is not the point of the OP. I just thought this might be a fun topic for ATS'ers to explore, again NOT the technical elements of space travel and / or communications therein, but rather the moral and ethical implications of whether or not mankind should attempt to contact ET. Equally, I was interested in hearing some of the responses from members here about the moral, ethical and social implications of the aforementioned.

Note...did I mention the OP was NOT about the technical elements of space travel and/or technical elements of communications with ET?

P.S.S....BTW, not sure if I mentioned it or not, but this thread really ISN'T about space travel, time dilation, physics or the technical aspects of communications with ET (which by any measure would be difficult), but rather intentionally EXCLUDES these considerations for the purposes of focusing the discussion on the moral, ethical and social aspects of contacting ET so as NOT to devolve into a technical conversation about space travel, time dilation, physics and/or technical elements of communications with ET!

P.S.S.S...This thread is NOT about physics or space travel.

Did I leave anything out? Oh yeah, I almost forgot...this thread isn't about space travel or physics.


edit on 8/2/2016 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)



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