Monday, November 29, 2010


No matter what the type of First Contact there is a major issue to consider if a relationship is developed: If extraterrestrial visitors are willing to share, how do we get information from them? Do they just dump it on us in one fell swoop? Do we control how the information comes to us? Will they even want to give us very much scientific information, for fear of what we might do with it?

Questions might work best. They would allow us to control the process in several ways. First, we can decide what we want to ask in an organized and prioritized fashion. Second, it allows us to appoint people to sort through the answers and find the best way to disseminate the information. Leaders from academic, governmental, and religious fields could be formed into panels with specific areas of expertise. They could determine which questions to ask extraterrestrials and what to do with the answers. The primary concern would be the impact those answers could have on scientific fields, the global economy, world politics and religion. It needs to be a measured process, conducted over many years and well orchestrated throughout.

We cannot be spoon fed. We cannot accept the answers at face value. We must ask for proof and use the scientific process to prove it to ourselves. We must think critically at every step and take nothing for granted. Only then can information become part of the human body of knowledge and only then can we truly understand what we are being told.

Some will balk at such a process, claiming that humans have a right to complete disclosure immediately. I think some basic questions would fall into that category: Where did you come from? What is your world like? Why are you here? Have you been here before? Have you had any interaction with humans previous to this? Are there other extraterrestrial civilizations out there?

Questions about science and technology are another matter entirely. Those answers have the ability to undermine the foundations of our society. A careful, thoughtful and controlled process is the only way we can learn from an extraterrestrial civilization, in a way that will make us stronger in the long run, and not weaker.

As for the final question: will they want to give us very much scientific information at all? You would imagine that they would probably have concerns about giving us technological information that could be used for weaponry or for advanced space travel. And who could blame them? We’re a rather fractured and volatile bunch.

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