General Question

Ltryptophan's avatar

If aliens want a teaspoon of our ocean water do they ethically need to ask for it?

Asked by Ltryptophan (11869points) 1 week ago from iPhone

We have vast oceans. Surely, a teaspoon of water is ok to take without asking us right? Afterall, humans don’t own the universe, and what makes that the Earth’s water and not the universe’s water?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

20 Answers

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

This question does not have a simple answer. Now my brain is scrambled thinking of our first encounter revolving around a request for a resource.

Zaku's avatar


At least in my ethics.

Ethics is largely subjective.

In my ethics, they’d also feel a desire to look into how dysfunctional some of our situations are, and how many species are liable to go extinct, and whether they might (with their presumably very advanced technology) be able to help us out in a few ways.

At least, I like to imagine space aliens, who would do that.

But for an example of subjective ethics, the Federation in Star Trek would bar themselves from doing that, because of their Prime Directive. (Well, maybe not if someone like JJ Abrams were writing the script . . .)

Caravanfan's avatar

No. Who would they ask?

longgone's avatar

Afterall, humans don’t own the universe, and what makes that the Earth’s water and not the universe’s water?

I don’t even think humans own the Earth.

ragingloli's avatar

To me it comes down to impact.
Property literally does not matter, since Humans do not own the planet.
The question is solely, what the removal has on the local and global ecosystem.
A spoonful of water will have little effect on much of anything, but removing the whole ocean would pretty much destroy all life on earth.

gondwanalon's avatar

If aliens had the technology to reach Earth through the vastness of space then they would have the power to take whatever they damn well please.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Why would they ask in the first place?

canidmajor's avatar

Who would they ask? We just reached (so I heard) around 8 billion.

Poseidon's avatar

Although protocol says that permission should be asked before removing anything from the Earth it is extremely unlikely that any alien race would ask, especially if they wanted to remain unidentified.

Another question we should ask is why they would want to take a single teaspoon of seawater is beyond me.

One more question is why they would want the water?

If they have the technology to find and visit ||Earth I would have thought they would have encountered many planets containing water and some with water made up in the same way as our seawater.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@Poseidon There is microscopic and small life in a teaspoon of our water. Perhaps that’s unique.

flutherother's avatar

The aliens would give us gifts to kill us all off then they would take what they wanted no questions asked. Just like we gave blankets contaminated with smallpox to native Americans.

kritiper's avatar

If the aliens killed us humans all off, perhaps they would be doing the Earth a huge favor. How could that be a bad thing??

gorillapaws's avatar

@gondwanalon I was thinking the same thing.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

Do humans ask birds if we can fly airplanes in their sky?

Dutchess_III's avatar

No. Just take it. But no more. It’s removing water from the aquatic ecosystem and that water can’t be replaced. So take your water and shoo!

zenvelo's avatar

We never asked the ethics of removing rocks from the moon, and we took much more than a teaspoonful.

raum's avatar

This question seems to assume that aliens have more ethics than humans.

zenvelo's avatar

^^^^ @raum It’s not like we set a very high bar…..

raum's avatar

Fair point.

ragingloli's avatar

Remember this exchange between Quark and Sisko:

I think I figured out why Humans don’t like Ferengi.

Not now, Quark.

The way I see it, Humans used to be a lot like Ferengi: greedy, acquisitive, interested only in profit. We’re a constant reminder of a part of your past you’d like to forget.

Quark, we don’t have time for this.

You’re overlooking something. Humans used to be a lot worse than the Ferengi: slavery, concentration camps, interstellar wars. We have nothing in our past that approaches that kind of barbarism. You see? We’re nothing like you… we’re better.

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther