If We Discover Alien Life, Will Humanity Keep Its Cool?

By Carl Engelking | February 16, 2018 2:35 pm
mars-surface

Mars has long been the best candidate to find extraterrestrial life? (Credit: NASA)

For well over 1,500 years, humanity accepted that Earth was the center of the solar system. After all, the Bible—which was the scientific authority at the time—said this was so.

Then along came Nicolaus Copernicus, who in the 16th century dared to challenge the church and mathematically described a solar system with the sun at its center. After his death, Galileo Galilei’s observations of heavenly bodies further supported the Copernican model. The Catholic Church, fearing such a finding undermined the supreme authority of the Bible, charged him with heresy. Galileo would be sentenced to life imprisonment, but was allowed to serve his sentence at home due to his declining health.

So often, institutions that wield incredible power loathe major paradigm shifts that could undermine their authority and ability to monopolize the truth. Informing the masses that everything they’ve been told is wrong, after all, could result in a social upheaval that tears society apart, at least the thinking goes.

Today, the world is still grappling with a haunting question: Are we alone in this infinite universe, or is life infinitely diverse throughout the universe? To date, we are still alone, but discovering extraterrestrial life would tie a definitive bow on that existential question. In other words, it would be a major paradigm shift. So if we finally determine that we are indeed not alone, will the very fabric of society tear apart?

Probably not.

In fact, humanity might embrace the news with open arms. That’s the conclusion from Michael Varnum, a psychology professor at Arizona State University who is also part of the university’s Interplanetary Initiative, a research group aimed at building a social framework for a future extraterrestrial society. Varnum took on one of the group’s pilot projects, which was to empirically answer one question: How will humankind react to the discovery of life off Earth?

It’s a question that few researchers have sought to study, but Varnum was up for the task.

“I’m a person who has been into science and sci-fi for some time,” he said.

A Few Case Studies

The Robertson Panel in 1953 warned of mass hysteria if alien life were confirmed. Twenty-five percent of Americans in a recent survey expected people to panic when we discover alien life. Orson Welles certainly didn’t supply any evidence that humanity would keep its cool (news of the subsequent panic may have been grossly exaggerated, however). But Varnum’s study indicates this all hyperbole. Reality would probably be far more mundane.

First off, it’s far more likely that we’ll discover microbes or “non-intelligent” alien life before we meet sentient otherworldly beings. So Varnum limited the scope of the study to human reactions to news that scientists confirmed microbial alien life exists.

They started with a preliminary contextual analysis, measuring the reactions to news that extraterrestrial life might exist. They included five primary “discovery” events: the 1967 discovery of pulsars, the 1977 “Wow!” signal, the 1996 discovery of fossilized microbes on Mars, the 2015 discovery of Tabby’s star, and the 2017 discovery of exoplanets in the habitable zone of a star.

They analyzed news coverage, government memos and press releases of the event to determine the percentage of words in each article that were positive, negative, reward or risk. Words describing positive affect were more prevalent that those describing negative affect. Their preliminary findings suggested that society’s overall reaction to news about alien life was positive, and more reward oriented.

They then turned to Amazon’s Mechanical Turk and asked 504 people to respond to a hypothetical situation: Imagine scientists just discovered microbial life outside of Earth. They were told to describe their reactions, as well as the reactions of other people. Again, people tended to be more positive. They repeated the experiment with a more concrete example: New York Times coverage of Bill Clinton’s 1996 announcement about Martian life, or Craig Venter’s 2010 announcement about synthetic life. Once again, alien life was viewed in a positive light.

“Positivity bias was stronger about extraterrestrial microbial life than synthetic life. There seems to be something especially positive about alien life,” says Varnum. He published results from the study this week in the journal Frontiers in Psychology.

We’re Cool With Alien Life

Of course, contextual analysis of hypothetical situations and past events can’t necessarily predict what will actually happen if we confirm life off the planet. But Varnum said Clinton’s announcement 22 years ago is about as good of a test case as any, and its ultimate effect on the world was a real shoulder-shrug.

“It didn’t cause a radical shift in the way people lived their lives. It didn’t cause people to abandon anything,” Varnum says. “Human beings have been through pretty powerful paradigm shifts, from not being in the center of the universe to Darwin’s evolution. In the past, people would be afraid of them. But the notion that a discovery like this will destabilize anything, as it turns out, is kind of silly.”

Varnum thinks that confirming life exists throughout the universe might be viewed positively because it provides some comfort for lonely Earthlings.

“At least for me, it makes me feel that if we were to confirm alien life, I would feel like the universe is a warmer place; that we aren’t out here all alone,” says Varnum.

ADVERTISEMENT
  • Magic Mushrooms

    It’s a God-awful small affair
    To the girl with the mousy hair
    But her mummy is yelling no
    And her daddy has told her to go
    But her friend is nowhere to be seen
    Now she walks through her sunken dream
    To the seat with the clearest view
    And she’s hooked to the silver screen
    But the film is a saddening bore
    For she’s lived it ten times or more
    She could spit in the eyes of fools
    As they ask her to focus on
    Sailors fighting in the dance hall
    Oh man, look at those cavemen go
    It’s the freakiest show
    Take a look at the lawman
    Beating up the wrong guy
    Oh man, wonder if he’ll ever know
    He’s in the best selling show
    Is there life on Mars?
    It’s on America’s tortured brow
    That Mickey Mouse has grown up a cow
    Now the workers have struck for fame
    ‘Cause Lennon’s on sale again
    See the mice in their million hordes
    From Ibiza to the Norfolk Broads
    Rule Britannia is out of bounds
    To my mother, my dog, and clowns
    But the film is a saddening bore
    ‘Cause I wrote it ten times or more
    It’s about to be writ again
    As I ask you to focus on
    Sailors fighting in the dance hall
    Oh man, look at those cavemen go
    It’s the freakiest show
    Take a look at the lawman
    Beating up the wrong guy
    Oh man, wonder if he’ll ever know
    He’s in the best selling show
    Is there life on Mars?

    -David Bowie

  • RickFromTexas

    I doubt anyone would freak out if alien microbes were discovered but I believe those who will have the hardest time handling the discovery of intelligent alien life will be people with fundamentalist religious beliefs.

    They won’t be able to handle it when their quaint religious texts are all shown to be mostly myths and legends with little basis in fact.

    And it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if we learned that we’ve been monitored by older alien species all along, in fact it might go a long way to explain some of the stories in the Bible about angels and other encounters with divinities, not to mention tribal stories about space brothers and sky gods.

    • Mintas Lanxor

      Hey, they simply won’t believe it and will call it fake news. You can never underestimate wingnuts’ stubborn ignorance.

      • OWilson

        Until we have proof, the substituting of “alien monitors” for “angels” can be relegated to just another humorus tribal belief!

        • Mintas Lanxor

          Verifiable scientific proof of intelligent life is implied here. However, that never prevented wingnuts from doubting facts and evidence if they contradict their religious or political beliefs or conspiracy theories. As for “alien monitors”, that’s just RickFromTexas’s mumbo jumbo, which I don’t take seriously.

          • RickFromTexas

            Mumbo, jumbo? No, more like a lifetime of studying the historical records we have available, from cave paintings, ancient texts and carvings, and a number of other historical sources has convinced me that we’ve been depicting encounters with beings from elsewhere for a very long time. Back then we called them gods, angels, and many other names, today we call them UFOs and aliens. Same difference.

            Is that proof? No, far from it, but it is an extremely interesting clue, especially when one realizes that these phenomenon have been described by cultures around the planet throughout history.

            It makes sense to me, if I were a member of an elder ET species, you’d better be sure I’d keep my eyes on all the younger species, if only to make sure they don’t go messing around with something that creates black holes or destroys the solar system, or worse.

            If there are much older intelligent lifeforms out there it’s likely their attitude would be “We were here first, you’re on OUR turf now, little people, learn to walk before you run. Or else.”

          • OWilson

            It may “make sense to you”, but you are just one of a variety of sponges populating this insignificant speck of dust!

            If they are alive, like us, it will make sense to them to eat anything below them on the food chain!

          • Mintas Lanxor

            It turns out your abject pessimism and horror science fiction movies are clouding your reason too, OWilson. While intelligent life does seem to require predatory instincts for building civilizations, a highly developed civilization may not. Even humans only use a tiny cross-section of animal species for food and other purposes.

            You’re entitled to think of yourself as a sponge but not of other humans. While the probability of microbial and animal life in the universe is very high, the existence of concurrent civilizations, even at our stage of development, is not. The size of the universe has nothing to do with it. It is just an unimaginably huge conglomerate of various stages of matter behaving according to the laws of physics. The universe does not understand itself while humans have come a long way in doing so and are making new discoveries about it on a daily basis.

          • John O’Grady

            Looking at the USA today I’d say at least half of us are ‘sponge-worthy’.

          • Mintas Lanxor

            You must’ve missed the true meaning of “sponge-worthy” in Seinfeld.

          • John O’Grady

            I know; I just went for the joke anyway.

          • OWilson

            Do you know how many chickens, sheep, pigs and steers are raised for you consumption every year?

            Do you know how farms were made possible by enslaving animals?

            Do you know of any “law of physics” that allows ourselves, and everything else in the universe to magically appear from nothing?

            Look up the definition of “miracle”, and that sets the record!

            Apples and snakes in Eden, and a Grand Designer, have got nothing on “nothing from nothing”! :)

          • Mintas Lanxor

            Sheesh, guy, Mark Twain had your number when he said that it’s better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak up and remove all doubt. And, a wise man was thinking of the likes of you when he stated that the difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits. To continue a discussion with you would make me a fool too.

          • OWilson

            But you could’t resist, right? :)

          • Cayce58

            Or they are creatures of God that suddenly became active when we developed atomics. I have this fantasy of us and Russia launching all our nukes and none of them landing.

          • John O’Grady

            Maybe we are inedible, even if they use that Venusian Sriracha!

          • RebelSoldier

            Yep that sounds like a new religion to me, not to mean that I’m casting aspersions on the others.

    • John Richardson

      Sounds like the MOST intolerant folks will be the superstitious atheists, who will go into shock when aliens share our religious beliefs. After all, if you can embrace the farcical notion that hydrogen is a colorless odorless gas that when left to itself spontaneously turns into human beings in gross defiance of the third law of thermodynamics, well, you are obviously willing to go to any lengths to rationalize a philosophy that won’t hold you accountable for your debauched lifestyle.

      • disqus_1uEOD4JUhM

        you can’t seriously believe ETs will travel light years to get here and meet us and then talk about Jesus or Allah or whoever do you? That’s beyond stupid. beyond that I’d bet the farm you’d tell me the ETs are christians rather than say buddhists. Religion, in all it’s various forms are for people who don’t want to think. Funny part is ETs are all through the bible and koran. where do you think “angels” come from? Still they are only “angels” from our perspective. To the “ETs” themselves they are just beings from somewhere else. nothing magical or spooky about it. and to answer your question – life comes from consciousness first. then it manifests into the physical. We are so bound to 3D thinking – person, place and thing that we can’t even imagine higher dimensions. to fully explain it is beyond the scope of a post in the comment section of Discover magazine article, but do some research beyond bible foolishness. This is the information age. Learn about the Sumerians and the Annunaqi. Look at what we are finding out about consciousness. Look at quantum physics. or continue with the foolishness and tell me god/jesus did it all.

        • rod butler

          Amen. We are deliberately kept in the dark because the truth may be more mind boggling than most can accept.

          • disqus_1uEOD4JUhM

            totally unrelated but every time we say “Amen” we are referencing an Egyptian deity. Just one more thing the average christian has no idea about.

          • RebelSoldier

            Somehow the whole discussion turned into one about fundamentalism. Another example of human navel gazing, whatever is significant to “us” at this moment in time, is what we will concentrate on, and talk about. Not the issue that comes out of the blue. That’s almost irrelevant.

          • MB Becky Weaver

            How do u know there’s not a celestial group of light beings who monitor us and are just waiting for us to awaken so we can join them in LIVING REAL LIFE, in our playground, the cosmos, (which is a higher consciousness state) not the faux replica we call “life” in our sleep-state on 21st century 🌏?

          • RebelSoldier

            HOW DO U KNOW there is a celestial group of light beings who monitor us and are just waiting for us to awaken so we can join them in LIVING REAL LIFE, in our playground, the cosmos, (which is a higher consciousness state) not the faux replica we call “life” in our sleep-state on 21st century 🌏?

          • Cayce58

            And the average atheist doesn’t realize that quantum physics is so strange that they get religious. There is no explanation for life. It shouldn’t have happened. For one thing, the odds of the big bang creating the conditions for life were one in so many trillions.

          • disqus_1uEOD4JUhM

            how do you know the odds of life? what hubris. for all we know there is other life in our solar system (on say the moons of jupiter) or life could be all around. We do know planets are as common as sand. perhaps once we get off this rock we’ll see life is everywhere.

          • Cayce58

            I’m not smart enough to explain what I just said. It comes from the scientists themselves. If I have time tomorrow I’ll research it and give you the technicalities. It has more to do with the creation of the organized matter that life consists of than your thoughts.

          • MB Becky Weaver

            Haha

          • MB Becky Weaver

            Good point!

          • Guy

            The quantum realm is truly mystifying, another mystifying thing is the combination of the size of space and the length of time….. given enough time, anything is possible……

        • Cayce58

          What is God if not the universal consciousness. If there is truth in the Bible its biggest one is the constant references to being “with, in and of” God. I eventually decided on the Native American God, everything….all the matter and energy and the empty space in between with us as his creations. Why? He was bored out of his wits being alone in the cosmos with no company.

          • disqus_1uEOD4JUhM

            FWIW – that’s the religious game – there are enough gods put out there such that there is a god for everyone. You chose the native american god. ok. just to be clear “boredom” is a human feeling/emotion. no real “god” could ever get bored, jealous, spiteful or have any of the other attributes ascribed to him/her/it/they.

          • Cayce58

            Nice addition. To me, that’s a given, that at various stages of realization, you’ll have a different God. But God doesn’t get bored? You’d have to be God to know that. Praise Allah…or praise 1uEOD4JUhM.

          • disqus_1uEOD4JUhM

            or you can reason it out to know “god” can’t get bored. in order to get bored one would have to experience the passage on time in a linear manner. I’ve not met a religious person yet who tells me god experiences time as I do. In fact most tell me god lives outside of space and time. boredom is a human emotion. now if it;s your position that god experiences human emotion – that’s fine. seems a little odd that the creator of the universe and all in it could get sidetracked by emotion – but ok. If I were god and had the fullest extent of the universe, dualverse, multiverse and omniverse at my disposal the one thing I would never be is bored.

            On a different note if you are a Star Trek fan this concept of god getting bored was explored in a Star Trek Next Generation episode. It was one of the Q episodes.

          • Cayce58

            Well stated, especially the time concept. Just for one moment though, imagine what I imagined, a chaotic void. The chaos becomes waves, the waves become vibration, the vibration organizes and becomes thought, the thought becomes self aware and you have Gaia as God but He hasn’t created anything, there is only energy. There are no verses yet. Have some fun with that thought as you did my last.

          • MB Becky Weaver

            Agreed!

          • John O’Grady

            He wanted to know what he looked like.

          • Cayce58

            I pretty much said, “He looks like everything”.

          • MB Becky Weaver

            Agree with u!

        • Guy

          You dont know what you dont know….. its entirely feasible that an alien being beleives in a supreme God….. God is irrelevent to science as we have no way of Falsifying it, not because we know he does or does not exist…….

          The discovery of alien life has no inference on a Gods existence, it baffles me how most responses here seem to infer this…..

          • disqus_1uEOD4JUhM

            I agree with you. Alien life does not negate the existence of a god. in fact there are thousands of gods. the bible alone has dozens and dozens of gods in it. They are called Elohim – which literally translates as “the gods” or “the judges”. More to the point – a god is responding to you right now in this comment. Now if you think “a god” is some almighty, all powerful, all knowing master of the universe that’s not my fault. I know being “a god” has nothing to do with any of that. still, I understand I have been studying this for over 20 years. the average Christian gives their holy book a cursory reading and them merely claims to “have faith” that things are so.

      • RickFromTexas

        You have just proven my point perfectly.

      • John O’Grady

        Martians Who Love Jesus!

        • Guy

          oh brother, so they will knock on our dorrs there too?

    • russellmeans

      100% right. they would freak out. Oh no not the great fundamentalist , no they would find a way to keep making money. They do not beleave what they are preaching anyway!!

    • Cayce58

      You don’t need the Bible. UFOs were seen up close and personal by policemen, astronauts, military pilots and airline pilots. How many were sent for psychiatric evaluation before returning to duty? I site anomalies in the 9/11 story and half the bloggers put a tin foil hat on me. A pilot with an airplane that can carry atomics says a UFO was right next to him and the commanders say, “Oh, OK”.

  • http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/EquivPrinFail.pdf Uncle Al

    We continuously stream them the Merk Index and the CRC Handbook. They stream us The Brothers @&$%)![*+^ and Story of 1/∞. The Vatican freaks, most everybody else stays with Netflix unless Thor slides down a lightning bolt.

    Don’t tell the we are delicious and abundant re mpegs.

    • TLongmire

      You point out incompetence and stupidity constantly but what if the pets are just pleasing their masters?

      • http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/EquivPrinFail.pdf Uncle Al

        www(.(youtube(.)com/watch?v=ZjToVZTqCbw

        It’s always bigger on the inside.

        • TLongmire

          We are but fields of energy dancing before ourselves

          • RickFromTexas

            Fields of energy don’t fart. I must be in the wrong field.

          • Cayce58

            Pray more.

          • John O’Grady

            Just particles of s#!T floating around. Now, inhale slowly through the nostrils….

          • http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/EquivPrinFail.pdf Uncle Al

            Brains are what we use to think we think.

          • TLongmire

            The bog is thick and easy to get lost in.

  • TLongmire

    Extradimentional beings convincing the chosen few to sacrifice the masses. Could it play out on any plane of the multiverse?

  • disqus_FozejBKExz

    HEY, ALIENS… COOL. I WONDER WHAT KIM KARDASHIAN IS UP TO.

  • John Richardson

    Humans reaction to alien life will likely be directly proportional to its potential affect on us. If it is a slow- growing lichen barely clinging to rocks on Mars, big yawn. If it is some aggressive microbe hardened by life in space that consumes humans like a flesh- eating bacteria, expect some panic. If it is a race of space-meercats who believe in harmonious co-existence, we will probably “accidentally” wipe them out trying to “help” them learn our way of life. If it is a race of hive-mind space ants sho don’t communicate and try to assimilate our planet, there may be interstellar war. All of these scenarios have been pretty well explored in books and movies. There ain’t a lot of flavor left in this well chewed bubble- gum.

    • RickFromTexas

      “There ain’t a lot of flavor left in this well chewed bubble- gum.”

      Right, but only as far as sci fi is concerned. Expect lots of new flavors if something happens for REAL, like an actual alien spacecraft just passing Jupiter and heading our way.

      • Cayce58

        The flavor always portrayed in ‘first contact’ novels was excitement on Earth so, yeah, I can see lots of other reactions if it actually happened. There actually was a first contact story about a craft just passing Jupiter that I read. It was a short novel. The intelligent creatures were gone and we were trying to make sensible conversation with the predators they had placed on the ship with them.

    • John O’Grady

      Spray some Roundup on it.

  • Greg Gallacci

    Humanity will indeed survive first contact, and this will be due to how this contact is initiated.
    We will be the ones to go see them, not the other way around!
    Our technology and culture is just not fast, powerful nor flexible enough to get ‘their’ attention.
    You must be this tall to Grok Martian.
    If interstellar travel is likened to Highway traffic, humans are still pushing ox-carts on cobble-stone tracks.
    Once we can go fast enough [and find the right On-Ramp!], we will find a huge community ‘out there’.
    But they are never coming to see us; too dangerous to our frail psychology and fragmented culture.

  • disqus_1uEOD4JUhM

    articles like this one are just priming the American people for the “big reveal”. do you really think “they” have no idea about life beyond earth? do you really think the billions on the space program have yielded no info on the question? do you think the dozens and dozens of sci-fi movies are not made, in part, to get the idea of life beyond earth into your subconscious? for the thinking person, it’s clear the universe is full of life. for religious ppl – not so much. f

  • Richard Lee

    For well over 1,500 years, humanity accepted that Earth was the center of the solar system. After all, the Bible—which was the scientific authority at the time—said this was so. WHERE IN THE BIBLE DOES IT STATE THIS? WHERE????? WHICH VERSE?

    • RickFromTexas

      I believe it was church doctrine that held the belief that the Earth was the center of the solar system.

      I’ve seen the following passages that supposedly support the church’s Earth centric position: Joshua 10:12-13, 2 Kings 20:11, Psalms 93:1, 104:5, Ecclesiastes 1:5, Isaiah 30:26, Isaiah 38:8, 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 and Habakkuk 3:10-11 but if you read these passages, it seems like quite a stretch that they could be used to argue that Earth’s the center of the solar system.

      • Cayce58

        Nice research. I never saw that list. I had the same, “that’s not it” reaction when a Christian blogger told me where to look to prove to myself the rapture was in the Bible. Now I’m sorry I didn’t commit it to memory.

  • Booker

    microbes, meh
    intelligent beings, hello department of homeworld security

  • Jay Hall

    Please goggle ‘Ariel School’, ‘JAL UFO’,’ Rendalsham Forest Incident’ and ‘Lake Erie UFO Sighting Coast Guard’, or ‘Southern Ontario UFO Mufon’, to name just a few incident that will tell you that this Earth has and is being visited by Alien entities. The Federal Gov. knows all about it and it is kept secret at all costs. All this talk of microbes and radio signals is a smoke screen and laughable, if not flat out insulting. Check it out!

    • TLongmire

      In the moment we only need to create a story line out but we hesitate and curvefit to justify ourselves.

    • rod butler

      Also google “Charles Hall, tall whites” for an inside story of ongoing alien contact within our military.
      He has some utube presentations but I recommend downloading his book “Millenial Hospitality III”from amazon $3 bucks. Your eyes will be opened to the biggest secret going from our own citizens for technology transfer.

      • Cayce58

        I kinda wonder about the tech transfer…….There was this psychic back in the 80s who wrote some prophesy about a coming magnetic reversal. There is some truth to a statement she made, If I announced that they (the aliens) had a machine that could produce free power and had given me the plans, I’d be dead tomorrow.

        • rod butler

          The tech transfer has been ongoing to special military suppliers who have been building anti gravity devices for secret space work. If this knowledge was shared with the common people, we would all have power generators in our homes and automobiles.

    • Boogie Ondown

      I’ll second the Ariel School…the new movie coming out about the now adult children all holding steady about what they experienced looks pretty interesting. Discover would do well to actually have a story on it seeing how Harvard’s John Mack went there…but as always I doubt there is an editor that has the fortitude to really go down the rabbit hole or challenge the scientific blockade, science is scared of these reports much like religion since they are all beggars for public money and anything that tarnishes that “brand name” (as Harvard feared Mack was doing) means excommunication from the scientific priesthood.

      Any threat to money means real science into this subject has to be discredited or quickly reduced to “microbial” to stay in the safe zone.

      • rod butler

        Professor and psychiatric specialist John Mack taught at Harvard and was investigating alien abductions as being real. Strangely, he was killed by a hit and run vehicle while attending a seminar in London? CIA/MI5 disposable unit?

        • Boogie Ondown

          They caught the guy that did it, he was drunk. And spent very little time in jail.

          I don’t think Mack had made big enough waves or declarations to have a hit put out on him. If anything I would think the intel agencies were very interested in his research from a distance, and wanting him to continue on. This is how they operate by infiltrating academia on the cheap and letting colleges do the work for them or just standing back and letting a “revolutionary” academic go at it on his own as long as his results are promising and not threatening. Of course there’s always the chance there’s fundamentalist groups that didn’t want Mack to continue…but again I personally don’t feel this was a ‘hit”.

          • rod butler

            I think Mac would have brought a reasonable academic credibility to the abduction phenomena which would also imply aliens are real which would also lead to the question “why is the government not doing anything about it”? Which opens the door to the question that they know more than they will admit to and the government has been lying to American citizens who think we live in a democracy?

          • Boogie Ondown

            Oh no doubt they have been lying. FOIAs have caught them so many times since the end of Blue Book that it’s a joke now. The recent revelation of the AAITP–which is still active–obviously proves they’ve been doing it and I’m sure much more expensive programs have gone on for years and still go on. Most of them are probably seeing Russian aircraft, Chinese space craft, and any other foreign country that might be an aerial threat. Yet as the AAITP stated, and the main reason for its formation: there are things flying in our space and atmosphere that are not anything anyone has in their arsenal.

            I think the fear, and main reason it has been hushed, is that these possible aliens are something “more”. I think the the motives and past actions and (possible) abductions point to these entities not being your hopeful Star Trek first contact scenario. If they have been hiding in the shadows of our human history for a long time, then are they helping us, harvesting us, or indifferent but mess with us when they want something? Or all of the above? Maybe they aren’t organized but different factions doing as they please. I think the government fear is we aren’t being treated as “space brothers and sisters” in our infancy, but more of a commodity that needs to not blow up the planet so they can continue to do whatever they are doing with the planet and us.

          • rod butler

            My favorite sources of information on how our militaryis working hand and glove with a group of intelligent space visitors is by googling the names (David Adair-rocket genius) and Charles Hall-tall whites). These people have unknowingly come in contact with objects and actual space visitors while performing duties for the military but somehow escaped the restrictive top secret label which they explain.
            This goes back to the 60s, so you can imagine the technology that the military now has in their black programs. It is speculated that we have a seperate space command using anti gravity vehicles already on the moon and mars while we use the charade of out dated rockets for public consumption.

  • rod butler

    All governments and religious groups fear a mental revolt by their citizens that would change the matrix which we live within and controls our daily lives.Most people even fear investigating this subject because if true it would question their view of life itself.
    Astronaut Edgar Mitchell who landed on the moon believed intelligent life was real and probably here working with our secret government. He must have had inside information to go out on this limb?
    If true, it would change science as we are taught in all fields of knowledge. Can we handle the truth??

  • Jeff Shoup

    “For well over 1,500 years, humanity accepted that Earth was the center of the solar system. After all, the Bible—which was the scientific authority at the time—said this was so.”

    Was this an intentionally Eurocentric statement, or just thoughtless?

    • John O’Grady

      Maybe not Eurocentric, more Romanesque.

      • Jeff Shoup

        The Slavs and Northern Germanics had been Christianized by the 12th century, and Christianity was prevalent among other Germanic groups by the final upheaval of the Roman Empire. Regardless, the author reduced all of human experience to the European one. Not a malicious error, but a careless one — and I’m surprised the author didn’t catch it as it was composed, and more surprised the editor didn’t catch it before publication.

  • https://m.facebook.com/SirQuala-OSmith-4d-3d-Graphic-Paintings SirQuala O’Smith

    The Truth Is All Religion and Religious is all Made-up Bullshitstory Lies from other resources from all Countries mixed Up from America Aboriginal People and Ancient Chinese and Japanese Hindi and Egyptian Norman Africans Aboriginal People of Australia and New Zealand Babylonians Sumerians Greeks Roman’s The Church Steel bits and pieces of information Took make it There Way All of Them Say Ancient Humans Have Been Contact with somekind of Extraterrestrial UnHuman Forms Like They call Angeles or Jinns or Ginn’s Not From This Earth or Maybe from the Inside of the Earth Dogon Warriors Taking About Ant People Lizard People Hopi People Zumiez Aztec Inca Mayan Pablo and others Maybe Humans Spices Been on Earth Mush Longer What They Saying Braind Washing Churches Tell Everyone not Believe in only the Church say When all kinds of Truthful Things Bering Find all over the Globe the Anunnaki are Just Made up Stories that What The Brain washing religious religion Bibles in Them only not The Truth Lies

  • William Bayer

    If we can put up with cable-TV reruns of The Golden Girls every Sunday we can put up with anything.

    • John O’Grady

      Aliens are also more believable.

      • William Bayer

        And they gotta be less boring, even if they’re just microbes.

  • The Thinker

    If alien life is discovered the religious people will just make up some crap that God made them…and they will say keep giving us $$$ it’s all God’s plan..

  • RebelSoldier

    Remember the hoopla of fear about Y2K? Humans are adaptable. The biggest surprise would be how most of us would have to go back to work or care for the kids or panhandle and wouldn’t give it that much thought away from the water cooler and break room.

    Now if ET showed up here and started offering a model of existence totally different than our own, say enslavement, or the slow or fast collapse of our own cultures as the effect of their cultural “soft power” eroded our belief in our own uniqueness, then there would be a tremendous and negative impact. We might all be speaking a patois of Alien-and whatever we spoke before.

    Then again they might be so different from us and so lacking in anything that might seduce us away from Hollywood and Bollywood, English and Mandarin and our normal navel gazing view of the world, that nothing would change except for the research of some scientists who would go on to win Nobel Prizes.

    But the older I get the more I look at the “Colombian Exchange” that swept the world after 1492 and the less optimistic I become. I think it’s better if we do the discovering. And caution, hardly a human strong point, would be a good, if boring policy to follow.

    • John O’Grady

      That ‘patois of Alien-and whatever’ sounds suspiciously like Russian to me!

      • RebelSoldier

        The planet has many languages. Mandarin is spoken by over a billion people. All Muslims (a billion?) pray in Arabic, I believe, like all western Christians prayed in Latin until Martin Luther. Then there are Spanish, French and German, Russian, Japanese. It’s still a polyglot world.

  • John O’Grady

    Alien with hand over microphone as he gazes out into interstellar space, “Hazog, this is Zwar. It’s the Earthlings again.”

  • John O’Grady

    My dream is that we land on Europa, drill down through the ice and find schools of fish…

    • OWilson

      Don’t need to go that far!

      In Canada it’s a popular winter pastime.

      We call it Ice Fishing! :)

      • http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/EquivPrinFail.pdf Uncle Al

        Drilling though a few km of ice is a lot of six packs.

      • John O’Grady

        If we send the Canadians to Europa they’ll probably bring beer, and have a good time too!

        • Mike Richardson

          I can think of at least one to send, maybe even with a space suit.

  • Michael Cleveland

    The whole question is silly as it’s posed. Reactions will depend on the context of the discovery. Where microbes on Mars and fish in the oceans of Europa would generate excitement, a ship hovering over Times Square would almost certainly generate a knee-jerk panic.

  • MB Becky Weaver

    You say “to date we are still alone,” and theorize that we will likely discover unintelligent life before we find intelligent life. In fact, the opposite is true. Clearly you didn’t do your research. Think about a hypercube. The other dimension being illustrated is WITHIN. It is consciousness. (Of course there are many more dimensions as well.)

    Does an ant have consciousness? Can it communicate with a human? (It doesn’t even comprehend humans.) We are those ants. Other galaxies have had much more time to evolve and contemplate the universe, themselves, God, and things like purpose, identity, love, energy, frequencies, etc.

    You cannot seriously conclude that man, Earth, 21st century, can be considered anything other than a lower consciousness lifeform who has a tendency toward violence and behaves like bacteria, which eventually consumes it’s own host. (We are ruining our home planet,) and wants to weaponize space. This is the reason we were warned to stay off the moon and out of space on our first and only moon mission.

    Seriously, open your mind!

    • Guy

      nice answer, however “Other galaxies have had much more time to evolve”
      Dating with elements demonstrates that the milky way galaxy is one of the oldest galaxies known……

  • Odin Matanguihan

    I’m pretty sure everyone would want to have a selfie.

  • Darren Nicholls

    If there is intelligent life monitoring us we wouldn’t be aware because of their likely massively advanced technology. What if the big test for us is to prove to them that we’ve reasoned out that they must be there, especially as an answer to the Fermi paradox? Perhaps if we could prove that, it would show a level of intellect that would prompt them to contact us and help us with our problems on Earth, propelling us to a higher level of civilization, scientifically driven, ready to take our place as another civilization heading out of our home solar system.
    This could also apply if we are in a simulated universe as well. The most definite thing we could do is prove that we’re aware that we’re in a simulation. It’s uncertain what might happen in that case however; they might choose to end the program, or acknowledge their existence and then help us out.

NEW ON DISCOVER
OPEN
CITIZEN SCIENCE
ADVERTISEMENT

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

ADVERTISEMENT

See More

ADVERTISEMENT
Collapse bottom bar
+