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RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Should we have a prime directive when we have first contact with aliens?

Asked by RedDeerGuy1 (24446points) November 6th, 2022

Any science far advanced to them would appear to be magic, and can be considered a deity.

Is it an error on the alien visitors thereby permanently changing the natural order of humanity?

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21 Answers

seawulf575's avatar

Any first contact will be permanently changing the natural order. Think about it this way. If an alien race contacted us today, they would be far more advanced that we are due to the mere fact they could travel so far as to be able to visit us. We might try to learn their science (recognizing it as science) but that science would likely have pitfalls we don’t understand. It could end up destroying us or it could alter our society in ways that are not good. It could be used as a weapon.

Entropy's avatar

Your question seems to presume that WE would be the more advanced civilization. I think that’s unlikely to be how it goes down. Our radio signals will make advanced aliens aware of us before we’re aware of them. Then it’s just a question of whether/when they choose to contact us. That seems likely to happen before we hit the luck jackpot and find a less advanced but still sentient alien race.

But to answer your question – I think it’s highly contextual. Certainly history tells us that contact between civilizations that are not peers in terms of advancement tends to go…pretty badly sometimes. But trade is also the backbone of how advancements happen and progress happens.

So I would avoid a ‘one size fits all’ rule.

elbanditoroso's avatar

I like @Entropy ‘s answer. At least at this point – 2022 when when we can’t even get to the moon, much less outer space – the alien contact is far more likely to be much more advanced than Earth is.

That renders any ‘prime directive’ to be defensive, at best. Earthlings will be luck to have a say in anything.

About the best Earth can hope for is a benign, benevolent, non-combative alien civilization, instead of one that has seen too many 1950s sci-fi movies.

ragingloli's avatar

It is a good idea in theory, the problem is enforcement.
As Isaac Arthur brought up, you would need to not only be able to enforce the prime directive for every member of your civilisation for likely thousands to millions of years, you would also have to enforce it against other spacefaring civilisations for the same time-spans.
As we have seen on your planet, there will always be, for example, the insane religious missionary types, that will go there on their own, trying to force their beliefs on the natives.
Best case scenario is, those guys just get shanked by the natives, but long term, you likely can not successfully prevent contamination.
That makes a prime directive impractical at best.

LadyMarissa's avatar

With we mere humans like we are, we are most likely going to shit our pants than stay calm & maintain a prime directive!!! Sadly, I see an immediate war & most definite conflict amongst all sides…they MUST be here to harm us, so we MUST destroy!!!

kritiper's avatar

Who says we don’t already??

HP's avatar

The question of whether or not WE should have a common directive regarding this matter is pointless. It is equivalent to asking whether or not people should react sensibly to the news. The answer to that one is rather straightforward. Governments worldwide understand the futility in expecting their populations to react uniformly sensibly to ANYTHING; which is why ANY contact with any alien civilization will almost certainly (at least at first) be suppressed to the fullest extent possible by any government involved. THAT will ALWAYS be the prime directive and you can take it to the bank.

kritiper's avatar

Possibly on a related note:

...distant travelers from the stars came to Earth? Would they be explorers? Merely wayfarers? Genetic engineers?
Might they try to improve our genetic mix on a microscopic level on some Petrie dish?
Or just fuck the locals??

Lightlyseared's avatar

Other than shoot first ask questions later….

MrGrimm888's avatar

I agree with pretty much all of the above.
@seawulf575 . Theists have been the worst drag on human development, since before recorded history…. Only the weak sheep will be responsible for letting simple knowledge that their faiths are ALL WRONG, will be victims to such a “weapon.” Weak minds, who allow their beliefs to be structured by lies, or the willfully obtuse, will be vulnerable to in their face/undeniable evidence unraveling their ridiculous life directed beliefs. Such evidence will be cataclysmic, to (sadly) the majority of our population.
To those people, who already cannot coexist with their fellow humans (because of their beliefs,) it will likely lead to suicides, and attempts to destroy the aliens, as the aliens would be viewed as THE reason for their failure to simply use their minds instead of closing their eyes harder to the light.

As with Trump supporters, the religious will always defend a indefensible position, with violence when deemed necessary, to cling to their false profits and gods which they rely on to sleep and not fear their mortality.
I hate to be the bearer of such “news.” Typically I respect the beliefs of everyone. However. In this case, I feel it relevant to the discussion. Big time. To make such declarations….

More to the OP’s question, I would opine that many nations, already have a plan. If not, several plans, should be loosely sculpted. And. Realistic preparedness for said plans, should be already available. Along with plans for dealing with our own, to prevent our extinction.

Long sigh…..

I suppose, if it is majority rule, to go to war with something we don’t understand, for reasons not understood. People like myself will just have to close OUR eyes and hope for the best. Gulp…...


seawulf575's avatar

@MrGrimm888 I think you have a somewhat narrow view of Theists. I think that most people would recognize that if a spaceship suddenly showed up with aliens wanting to communicate with us, it wasn’t their God. They would recognize it for what it was. There are very few people in this world that would disbelieve what they were seeing. There are likewise a very minor percentage that would suddenly give up on their beliefs. There are probably quite a few that would incorporate it into their beliefs…not as messengers of the gods, but as something else that God created.

It is interesting that you wrote all of that for me since I didn’t approach it from the religious point of view at all.

smudges's avatar

@seawulf575 It is interesting that you wrote all of that for me since I didn’t approach it from the religious point of view at all.

I know right? I was wondering the exact same thing! The OP used tags that were religious though. Wonder what that was about, too. The aliens are much more likely to be more advanced than us.

flutherother's avatar

The unwritten prime directive when encountering alien civilizations is to exploit them, destroy their way of life and finally to convert them to our way of thinking.

MrGrimm888's avatar

@seawulf575 . Apologies sir. I indeed started my response as addressed to you, but I was not intending to target you for the majority of my post. You mentioned that such alien interaction could be used as a weapon. That’s what got my dormant, anti-religion side cooking. It didn’t take much thought to see religion, as doing anything different than it has according to my understanding throughout human history. I don’t intend to be offensive, and I never want nor expect any support, or even rebuttal that is remotely positive. As I think you know, by now, I am simply offering my interpretation of problems facing our past, present and future. I do not hate the human race, I just think that we are capable of allowing religion to negatively affect our lives, and ultimately cause the death of billions throughout our brief history of being “civilized.”

I form my opinions based upon either extensive research, accidental exposure to religious saturation and it’s horrible side effects , and my own observations. As I have said, I am jealous of theists. Seriously..
I have not had the easiest life, and don’t claim to have had the hardest. Although liver disease, was two years of indescribable pain and suffering. Not counting my recent 8 hour surgery(only three weeks ago,) and subsequent recovery (super painful, and yet miraculous at the same time.)

Now. Throughout my life, and certainly in the past three or so years, I have had lots of time to ponder all of the biggest questions/issues that have plagued my existence.
Instead of boring everyone with a flyover post, covering all the problems religion has caused, I will focus only on religious ecccts on a keyhole of medical science friction in regards to coexistence with religion.
Let us focus on western culture’s advancement of medical understanding, and application.
When westerners, were attempting to gain knowledge of the human anatomy, and physiology, they were met with an uphill climb through a hail of arrows. Right? Mostly. Anything from autopsies, to attempts of healing medicine or treatments, was looked down upon by organized religion. People who attempted to do anything other than leave it to God, faced torture and/or death. At the very least, some variation of ostracization. Shit. I know people who died within the last 20 years, because they believed that they could not receive blood transfusions, or organ transplants.
Not to mention the past AND present slowing of medical science, that contradicts religious teachings, or could easily invalidate religious understanding/interpretation.

Without the stubborn attempts at advancement of medical science, I wouldn’t be privy to such knowledge as the liver transplant I received. It’s hard not to speculate that human medical science, wouldn’t be further advanced than what we currently rely on, if not for religious constraints.

I could expand on that many times, much deeper, but I won’t.

In greatly simplified terms. I can use my knowledge of anything not pushing a religious agenda, such as meeting another race of creatures who are as advanced as we, or more, as being met with negative reactions by the religious… Simply predicting a players future moves, by their past moves….

Pandora's avatar

Yes, go home. Humans suck.

seawulf575's avatar

@MrGrimm888 I see where you are going with this. I mention alien technology being used as a weapon because that is what we do with everything…look to see how it can be weaponized. And I don’t disagree with you that religion can and has been somewhat weaponized or be allowed to be a negative to society and humankind. Not a bad idea for a thread, but this one is probably not the right one.

BTW, sorry about your trials and tribulations recently. Good to see you back.

MrGrimm888's avatar

^Wulf. I have nothing but love for you. Sorry. I wasn’t trying to derail the thread. Sorry to ALL.
Just got my feathers ruffled, from thinking about hypothetical situations, that might never even occur…

Any interactions between humans and intelligent alien species, is extremely Ineresting to me. As a Science Fiction fan,the subject is typically painted as going one of two ways. Either the aliens try to eradicate our species, or we join them in an effort to advance both of our species and achieve common goals…

I would really love to see evidence of alien life, before I die….

Oh. Wulf. Don’t worry about me brother. First off. My recent scrape with sure death, was caused by ME alone. I got myself into this situation, and I’m getting myself out.

To the Wulf, and ALL my fellow jellies, I have one last thing to say.
Peace and love….

Blackwater_Park's avatar

Best to just rip that band-aid off. But, I will say that we probably would not even recognize a different civilization if we saw it. People assume their intelligence will be like ours. We have intelligent life here on earth we have been evolving with for millions of years and we still can’t really communicate with them.

MrGrimm888's avatar

^Indeed. So many unimaginable possibilities for other life,out there. We see the difference between our land creatures and what we find in the furthest depths of our own ocean. If you weren’t aware that they all came from the same planet, it wouldn’t be a stretch to think that some of the species were not from Earth. Hard to even think of what could have evolved into an intelligent interstellar traveler, from other worlds that have variables that had to be overcome by design, or evolution, to land on our world…

JLoon's avatar

Directive Protocol 1A:



MrGrimm888's avatar

^Natural lube, only…..

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