6.13.2012

How Would Humanity React to Microbial Life


By on 12:42 AM

One of the best parts – for me at least – about reading alien invasion novels is seeing how individuals, groups, and society as a whole responds. It's fascinating to read about normal people thrust into abnormal circumstances and have to cope with the consequences.

However, even while there are probably thousands of books that wonderfully examine how various cultures and societies would react to an alien invasion, there are surprisingly few books examining how the mere existence of alien life might affect earth. And I don't mean in some sort of strange, “Aliens need to wipe out the Earth/Solar System/Galaxy in order to build a Casino/Highway/Giant Light-bulb.”

Imagine if you woke up tomorrow, turned on the news, and learned that NASA discovered alien life on Europa. Real, actual extraterrestrial life. It's not intelligent, or even self-aware, but under Europa's ice NASA found huge colonies of algae. How do you think people would respond? Would there be rioting? Would anthropocentric religious groups decry it as a lie? Would there be a wave of unity as humanity realizes that we need to stand as one?

Well, according to Seth Shostak, “In a sense, we've run that experiment.



Here's an interesting little article from The Guardian that contains pieces of an interview with Seth Shostak, Chief of SETI or the Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence. While the article mostly just goes over what SETI is and some of the difficulties it faces, it's interesting to hear Shostak's theory on what would happen following the discovery of basic extraterrestrial life.

Quoted directly from The Guardian:

“In 1996 there was an announcement by NASA that they had found dead microbes in a meteorite that had come from Mars. No doubt it had come from Mars; the doubt was whether these were really microbes of course but, at least for the couple of days of that story, the assumption was: NASA is announcing this, these are reputable scientists...It was the biggest science story of the year – people didn't riot in the streets. Nor did peace and brotherhood break out."

Honestly, I'm not sure if I would rather have Shostak be right or wrong on this point. It would be terribly disappointing if nothing happened following the discovery of alien life. Naturally I feel that the revelation of extraterrestrial life would be one of the most important moments in humanity's development; the day when we might truly begin to think about what it means to be human, what it means to live on Earth, and what it means to be hurtling through space on an insignificant rock.

Unfortunately, knowing the general apathy that humans show time and time again to any discovery that doesn't directly impact them, I find myself leaning towards Shostak's prediction. Though I suppose we can always hope that the first extraterrestrials we discover are intelligent and come to visit us. That might be a tad more difficult for even the most apathetic to ignore.

And what do you think? Do you Shostak is correct in his assessment of humanity? Do you think people would more or less ignore the discovery of extraterrestrial life unless it directly affects them? And what would you rather have, a humanity that calmly accepts alien existence, or a humanity where mayhem, rioting, and social disorder arise from discovery of extraterrestrial life? If you can answer any of these please leave a comment.

Rusty is the co-founder of How To Survive Alien Invasion Novels, and gets up to all kinds of shenanigans planning for any and all kinds of apocalypse when he's not busy reading, writing, or yo-yoing. Keep up with him and Rachel on Facebook and Twitter to get cool, space related news or click here to read more of his thoughts on the terror of alien invasion novels.

About Syed Faizan Ali

Faizan is a 17 year old young guy who is blessed with the art of Blogging,He love to Blog day in and day out,He is a Website Designer and a Certified Graphics Designer.

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