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etLux
2004-Feb-04, 02:52 PM
With more and more probes going out, it seems (at least to me) inevitable that we will soon discover alien life, in one form or another.

Yet I am unaware of any policy, national or international, that sets ethical standards for dealing with alien life when we do find it.

In this article, Conclusive Evidence of Life on Saturn (http://fffast.com/humor-ethics/saturn_life.shtml), we see the National Rifle Association lobbying for unregulated hunting of life found on the ringed planet.

Now, that may be a satirical view, but it probably doesn't hit too far wide of the mark of truth.

Do we actually have any ethical guidelines in place (other than some fine examples in the realm of science fiction) for dealing with alien life forms when we find them?

Diamond
2004-Feb-04, 04:23 PM
With more and more probes going out, it seems (at least to me) inevitable that we will soon discover alien life, in one form or another.

Yet I am unaware of any policy, national or international, that sets ethical standards for dealing with alien life when we do find it.

In this article, Conclusive Evidence of Life on Saturn (http://fffast.com/humor-ethics/saturn_life.shtml), we see the National Rifle Association lobbying for unregulated hunting of life found on the ringed planet.

Now, that may be a satirical view, but it probably doesn't hit too far wide of the mark of truth.

Do we actually have any ethical guidelines in place (other than some fine examples in the realm of science fiction) for dealing with alien life forms when we find them?

I, for one, applaud the NRA for leading the field in upholding the rights of all Americans to blow the balls off of Saturnian Swans of Mass Destruction. This is clearly an area in which private enterprise can help win the fight against terrorism. 8)

etLux
2004-Feb-04, 06:46 PM
With more and more probes going out, it seems (at least to me) inevitable that we will soon discover alien life, in one form or another.

Yet I am unaware of any policy, national or international, that sets ethical standards for dealing with alien life when we do find it.

In this article, Conclusive Evidence of Life on Saturn (http://fffast.com/humor-ethics/saturn_life.shtml), we see the National Rifle Association lobbying for unregulated hunting of life found on the ringed planet.

Now, that may be a satirical view, but it probably doesn't hit too far wide of the mark of truth.

Do we actually have any ethical guidelines in place (other than some fine examples in the realm of science fiction) for dealing with alien life forms when we find them?

I, for one, applaud the NRA for leading the field in upholding the rights of all Americans to blow the balls off of Saturnian Swans of Mass Destruction. This is clearly an area in which private enterprise can help win the fight against terrorism. 8)

WHILST I certainly applaud your patriotic fervor and agree unconditionally with you on our inalienable right to shoot the nuts off anything that flies, my primary concern is that we do this in an ethical way.

For instance, with their checkered record including a Messiah complex (remember Charlton Heston?), my concern is whether or not the National Rifle Association would be the most appropriate authority for the regulation of how we go about decimating alien life when we find it.

logicboy
2004-Feb-04, 07:32 PM
Does this mean I am gonna have to get another hunting lincense?

Outer Solar System Hunting License.

Humphrey
2004-Feb-04, 08:27 PM
Hmm...How about animal trapping? I bet some zoos would love to have a Venusian cloud rider. :-)

But in all seriousness, i would think thnat untill we see evidence of intelegence or industrial capacity they would be treated like any animal currently under protection by environmental rules. Dont harm them untill we say you can.

If they show any form of substancial intelegence they ebcome our kin and cannot be harmed at all.

Lurker
2004-Feb-04, 09:09 PM
Now... See...
This is what happens when the man goes and locks the BABBling forum!! :o

Edited to add:


If they show any form of substancial intelegence they ebcome our kin and cannot be harmed at all.

Ya gotta prove they have souls first!! [-(

mike alexander
2004-Feb-04, 09:12 PM
If you go back to the article you'll notice a spelling typo (a missing 'f') which makes it much funnier.

In my twisted opinion, anyway. Healthful and wholesome, indeed.

Oops
2004-Feb-05, 02:27 AM
If we find intelligent life, we have to determine if they are friendly or hostile. If they are hostile, do we have the right to declare war on them?

SAMU
2004-Feb-05, 08:15 AM
Ya gotta prove they have souls first!!

No no no. If we did that we'd have ta kill 'em accordin ta whateva savage, heath'n beliefs they got.

Ain't you learnt nothin' from President Bush? Shoot 'em first and let God sort 'em out.

But it ain't right unless ya eats what ya shoots.

Diamond
2004-Feb-05, 08:47 AM
I've just heard on CNN that President Bush has told the American people that Saturnian Swans are capable of launching eggs at the homeland in only 45 minutes.

Time for the nucular option?

TriangleMan
2004-Feb-05, 11:58 AM
I think alien life deserves to be treated with the same level of respect and admiration that we treat life here on Earth. Which means that alien life could be in real trouble!

If I were alien life I'd definately hope humans find me cute, that would help a lot towards survival.

Paul Beardsley
2004-Feb-05, 01:33 PM
I think the answer is fairly obvious:

If they are cute like cats or amusing like penguins or beautiful like movie stars, they must be protected at all costs.

If they are ugly like spiders, or if they have lots of tentacles or big teeth, they are evil and they must be exterminated.

Seriously, though, it's a very interesting question. (It's also interesting that so many people have succumbed to the temptation to give flippant answers.)

I've read loads of science fiction (and written some too) and yet I cannot think of a single sensible, workable set of guidelines for first contact. Sure, there are a fair few stories where human and alien point at stars and draw solar systems and point at a banana and say "This. Banana. Good to eat,. But these are usually ad hoc approaches.

Come to that, what do you do if you find a crashed flying saucer while crossing the fields on your way home? Presumably you call the police and ambulance. "I've come across a crashed off-road vehicle. I can't tell if the occupants are injured or not. I suspect the vehicle is carrying hazardous material. No, I can't tell you why I think that. No, I don't know what kind of vehicle it is."

Swift
2004-Feb-05, 01:39 PM
This discussion is about 50% silly, but I think its an interesting question. It probably will be a very long time before we actually have to worry about such questions, but the may come up someday and it would be nice to think through the ethics before hand.

TriangleMan's points are very good and we don't have a good track record on Earth. How are we going to react when the big ugly spider creatures turn out to be gentle philosophers and the cute teddy bears are thoughtless killers?

Even non-intelligent life poses interesting questions. Lets say we find very primitive microbes on Titan (for arguments sake) but we also find some valueable resource. Do we risk wiping out this lifeform to extract the resource? If all we wanted to do was put a colony there, would our colony threaten it. What happens when the microbes in our sewage take over and wipeout the native microbes?

I know there are entire University departments devoted to Medical Ethics. Anyone studying Interplanetary Ethics?

Lurker
2004-Feb-05, 05:20 PM
How are we going to react when the big ugly spider creatures turn out to be gentle philosophers and the cute teddy bears are thoughtless killers?

Hey!! I think our track of record of shear stupidity puts this question to rest!! And just which part of this discussion do you have the nerve to serious anyway?? [-(

Seriously, I agree with you. We do not have a very good track record concerning those who very closely related to us. I would be very concerned about a "first contact" scenario based on our track record.

TriangleMan
2004-Feb-05, 05:30 PM
Even non-intelligent life poses interesting questions. Lets say we find very primitive microbes on Titan (for arguments sake) but we also find some valueable resource. Do we risk wiping out this lifeform to extract the resource?
Probably. If enough people complain I'm sure we'd keep a sample of them in a lab/preserve/zoo though.

If all we wanted to do was put a colony there, would our colony threaten it.
Probably, unless the lifeforms are too numerous or small for us to bother with (bacterias, lichen, molds), or if they adapt to living with people (rats, roaches, pigeons).

What happens when the microbes in our sewage take over and wipeout the native microbes?
We cease to have native microbes. C'est la guerre.

etLux
2004-Feb-06, 06:43 AM
Ain't you learnt nothin' from President Bush? Shoot 'em first and let God sort 'em out.

They say that comes of too much time spent playing video games.

Madcat
2004-Feb-07, 01:39 AM
If they are beautiful like movie stars these will be interesting aliens indeed... :)

A.DIM
2004-Feb-07, 01:58 PM
Planetary Protection for Solar System Exploration (http://planpro.jpl.nasa.gov/fctshtss.htm).

Most people are unaware that a Planetary Protection Officer has been in place for some time now. John Rummel presently holds the position.

Ulster
2004-Feb-07, 02:29 PM
I just received this email from Mars:

MARTIAN AIR FORCE DENIES STORIES OF UFO CRASH

Gusev Crater (MPI) - A spokesthing for Mars Air Force denounced as
false rumors that an alien space craft crashed in the desert, outside of
Ares Vallis on Saturday. Appearing at a press conference today,
General Rgrmrmy The Lesser stated that "the object was, in fact, a
harmless high-altitude weather balloon, not an alien spacecraft".

The story broke late Saturday night when a Major stationed at nearby
Ares Vallis Air Force Base contacted the Gusev Crater Daily Record
with a story about a strange, balloon-shaped object which allegedly
came down in the nearby desert, "bouncing" several times before
coming to a stop, and "deflating in a sudden explosion of alien gases."

Minutes later, General Rgrmrmy The Lesser contacted the Daily
Record telepathically to contradict the earlier report. General
Rgrmrmy The Lesser stated that hysterical stories of a detachable
vehicle roaming across the Martian desert were blatant fiction,
provoked by incidences involving swamp gas. But the general public has
been slow to accept the Air Force's explanation of recent events, pre-
ferring to speculate on the "other-worldly" nature of the crash debris.

Conspiracy theorists have condemned Rgrmrmy's statements as evidence
of "an obvious government cover-up," pointing out that Mars has no
swamps. They point to the release of secret government memos detail-
ing attempts to discredit reports of the landings by alien space craft.
The memos discuss strategies to avoid troubles similar to those caused by
the War of the Worlds radio program of years ago. The program, which
featured a sensational! story of gigantic oxygen breathing two-eyed
invaders from Earth, sparked planet wide panic.

Local residents like Driv Rhodo, who lives in the area of the alleged land-
ings, are even more skeptical. "I seen it with my own 3 eyes" claimed
Rhodo last week. "I've lived here over 300 years, most of my adult life-
form. Them things used to be few and far between but lately they come
in every few years or so. The government wants to bury the truth but I
can tell you what's real. The Earthlings are going to invade and the gov-
ernment is spending our hard earned tax dollars on press releases and
denials instead of preparing for the battle to come."

A spokesthing denied any government involvement in the disappearance
of Rhodo, who has not been seen since shortly after the interview,
claiming "Any sentient being knows that a planet with the concentrations
of water and oxygen found on Earth is a deadly and inhospitable environ-
ment for the formation of life, much less intelligent life. The fear and
consternation caused by the unfounded and wild speculations of citizens
like Rhodo are a traitorous disservice to the citizens of Mars."

Kaptain K
2004-Feb-07, 06:59 PM
=D> :lol: =D> :lol: =D> :lol: =D>

etLux
2004-Feb-08, 08:31 AM
I just received this email from Mars:

MARTIAN AIR FORCE DENIES STORIES OF UFO CRASH

Gusev Crater (MPI) - A spokesthing for Mars Air Force denounced as
false rumors that an alien space craft crashed in the desert, outside of
Ares Vallis on Saturday...

Wow! And hey, maybe the Martian Air Force is telling the truth -- and we never landed there at all? You should really send this over to FFFast.com Story Submissions (http://www.fffast.com/submit/index.shtml). The world needs to know the truth!

Actually, I've suspected for quite a long time that Mars itself does not even exist -- just a place we made up to have an excuse to send out expensive space probes.

But, obviously, if they have an air force, I must be wrong about that.