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originally posted by: charlyv
The world is a different place, and our ideals, concerns and attitudes are certainly different than 1960.
The Fundamentalist (and antiscience) sects are growing apace around the world...
"The purpose of the international conspiracy is to maintain a workable stability among the nations of the world and for them, in turn, to retain institutional control over their respective populations. Thus, for these governments to admit there are beings from outer space attempting to contact us, beings with mentalities and technological capabilities obviously far superior to ours, could, once fully perceived by the average person, erode the foundations of the Earth's traditional power structure. Political and legal systems, religions, economic and social institutions could all soon become meaningless in the mind of the public. The national oligarchical establishments, even civilization as we know it, could collapse into anarchy. Such extreme conclusions are not necessarily valid, but they probably accurately reflect the fears of the "ruling class" of the major nations, whose leaders (particularly those in the intelligence business) have always advocated excessive governmental secrecy as being necessary to preserve "national security." The real reason for such secrecy is, of course, to keep the public uninformed, misinformed, and, therefore, malleable."
Because the existence of extraterrestrial life and intelligence has been considered a possibility since long before the beginning of space exploration, it is not surprising that the topic would be included in the report. But it is a very small inclusion.
“(4) establishment of long-range studies of the potential benefits to be gained from the opportunities for, and the problems involved in the utilization of aeronautical and space activities for peaceful and scientific purposes.”
4. Though intelligent or semi-intelligent life conceivably exists elsewhere in our solar system, if intelligent extraterrestrial life is discovered in the next twenty years, it will very probably be by radio telescope from other solar systems. Evidences of its existence might also be found in artifacts left on the moon or other planets. The consequences for attitudes and values are
unpredictable, but would vary profoundly in different cultures and between groups within complex societies; a crucial factor would be the nature of the communication between us and the other beings. Whether or not earth would be inspired to an all-out space effort by such a discovery is moot: societies sure of their own place in the universe have disintegrated when confronted by a superior society, and others have survived even though changed. Clearly, the better we can come to understand the factors involved in responding to such crises the better prepared we may be.
While the discovery of intelligent life in other parts of the universe is not likely in the immediate future, it could nevertheless happen at any time. Whenever it does occur its consequences for earth attitudes and values may be profound. Hence a long-term research effort, which would aid in preparing for this possibility, could usefully begin with:
A continuing determination of emotional and intellectual understanding and attitudes regarding the possibility and consequences of discovering intelligent extraterrestrial life.
There is no recommendation that information be withheld. There is a recommendation that a study be made to determine how the information would be released or if there would be any reason to withhold information.
Questions one might wish to answer by such studies would include: How might such information, under what circumstances, be presented to or withheld from the public for what ends? What might be the role of the discovering scientists and other decision makers regarding release of the fact of discovery?
but it sure caused havoc around the US.
The true extent of the panic seems to have been that a small band of Grover's Mill locals, believing the town's water tower on Grover's Mill Road had been turned into a “giant Martian war machine”, fired guns filled with buckshot in an attack on the water tower.
The night the program aired, the C.E. Hooper ratings service telephoned 5,000 households for its national ratings survey. “To what program are you listening?” the service asked respondents. Only 2 percent answered a radio “play” or “the Orson Welles program,” or something similar indicating CBS. None said a “news broadcast,” according to a summary published in Broadcasting. In other words, 98 percent of those surveyed were listening to something else, or nothing at all, on Oct. 30, 1938.
The real "meat" of the report dealing with extraterrestrials begins on page 183 of the original report. It's brief, four paragraphs, but too long to quote here. It's shown on page 215 of the FOIA version of the document which has different pagination from the original.
I am not sure if the Orson Welles, "War of the Worlds". radio broadcast in 1938 was a government psyop to find out how the public would react or just a scifi show but it sure caused havoc around the US.
"The Fundamentalist (and antiscience) sects are growing apace around the world...One of the important things is that, where they are active, they appeal to the illiterate and semiliterate...and can pile up a very influential following in terms of numbers. For them the discovery of other life--rather than any other space product--would be electrifying."
Anytime the word "electrifying" is used with how the masses are going to react to something there's a pretty good chance this information is going to be suppressed.
It has been speculated that, of all groups, scientists and engineers might be the most devastated by the discovery of relatively superior creatures, since these professions are most clearly associated with the mastery of nature, rather than with the understanding and expression of man.