Eco-warriors from beyond the skies are on their way to destroy our world before we do—women and minorities are expected to be hardest hit—according to a shocking new report from scientists at Penn State and NASA.
Seems these little Greenpeace men from Mars might be incensed because we’ve released too much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere for their taste. Humanity, ET might surmise, must be eliminated “To improve galactic infrastructure.”
This is the conclusion of Seth Baum and colleagues, authors of “Would Contact with Extraterrestrials Benefit or Harm Humanity? A Scenario Analysis.” Those who have read Pournelle and Niven’s Footfall (where the president calls in science fiction writers to explain an alien invasion) will recognize that a scenario analysis “can help us train our minds to recognize patterns in actual outcomes.”
The training process is thus simply reading and reflecting on the scenarios and the encounter patterns found in them. The patterns of an actual encounter may resemble the analyzed scenarios even if the specifics differ from the scenario details. By training our minds in this way, we build our capacity to analyze and respond to actual contact with ETI.
What will happen once ET shows up? “If ETI are significantly more advanced than humanity, then the outcome of contact may depend primarily on ETI desires”, about which “Much can be said.”
In rough terms, a selfish ETI is one that desires to maximize its own self-interest, whereas a universalist ETI is one that desires to maximize the interests of everyone, regardless of which civilization they are part of.
This isn’t very precise and the authors know it. So they add that “it is helpful to think of ETI as trying to maximize some sort of value function.” Now we’re into the realm of proper scientific equations. This alien calculus hints that ETs might possess a superior kind of universalist ethics. Unlike people:
Human ethics is often anthropocentric in the sense that it places intrinsic value only on human phenomena, such as human life, human happiness, or other human factors. Such anthropocentrism is selfish on a civilizational scale because it involves humans only placing intrinsic value on the interests of their own civilization.
An “advanced ETI civilization could easily colonize the galaxy to form a Galactic Club among intelligent societies, a concept popular in science fiction (such as the ‘United Federation of Planets’ of Star Trek fame) ”
If there is a UFP, we have to explain why we haven’t been invited to join. The Fermi paradox states that if aliens were so cool that they could fly through space with the greatest of ease, they’d already be here since they had plenty of time to make their move. We don’t see them, thus they aren’t here. We conclude that they don’t exist.
But if you ask my Uncle Pat, they’ve been here for years. And we have seen them, but the Man won’t acknowledge it. The author of the Alien Abduction Survival Guide: How to Cope with Your ET Experience also scoffs at the idea that ET isn’t here. (She also advises that if you’re going to be deep probed, it’s best to lie back and enjoy it.)
One of our author’s solutions is to partially agree with my uncle: the aliens are here, but they’re remaining purposely non-partisan à la Star Trek and its “prime directive.” Humans are in a planetary zoo or ghetto, like those creatures “inDistrict 9.”
The aliens are currently standoffish, but once they grow weary of our eco-crimes, look out! Because scenario analysis “suggests a standard fight-to-win conflict: a war of the worlds.” The ETs will reason that “If one’s goal is to maximize ecosystem flourishing, then perhaps it would be better if humanity did not exist, or at least if it existed in significantly reduced form.” Out the door we go.
It’s not all bad. In another scenario, the ETs don’t know we’re here. But a “core concern is that ETI will learn of our presence and quickly travel to Earth to eat or enslave us.” (L. Ron Hubbard’s Battlefield Earth is not mentioned.)
Even more horrific is the scenario where “other selfish motives may cause ETI to harm us, such as their drive to spread their beliefs through evangelism (akin to the spread of Christianity or Islam) or their desire to use humans for entertainment purposes” just as humans “use sea lions and seals.” Clap, Nancy!
The authors forgot a prime scenario, one that has this scientist’s backing. Those who have seen the Charlie Sheen documentary The Arrival already know that a cabal of ETs has been secretly modifying our atmosphere since the mid 1980s.
In the movie—I’m going by memory—Sheen plays scientist James Hansen who tries to warn a complacent world that the end is nigh. He travels to remote lands and battles aliens mano a mano. He saves the girl, destroys pod people, but only stalls the inevitable. We await the conclusion.
Thanks to Roger Cohen and the many other readers who brought this study to our attention.
Update See my comment below. This was peer-reviewed research, folks.