An object appears without warning on the front lawn of the head offices of the National Science Foundation. Nobody saw where it came from or who brought it. It looks odd and is heavier than it looks. It seems to be doing something. Doing something that is thought to be impossible. It is breaking the laws of thermodynamics and relativity. It is determined that the materials of its construction are not from terrestrial elements. A truly alien device. Technology from another world.
The holy grail of Science and not the least of which to UFOlogy… actual verifiable evidence of extraterrestrials. We have a piece of their alien technology…Hmm
What happens next and how is it received?
With excitement, intense curiosity, and trepidation.
It would be sensational, to say the least, and the first year or so would be dedicated to making sure it doesn’t only appear to break the laws of physics. If it was proven that it actually does, well, it would be time to rework our understanding of the universe. For the scientific method to thoroughly examine and investigate it will more than likely take many years.
The device will be paraded around to all the world’s academia. Legions of TV shows will be produced to expose the lay audience to this technological enigma.
Science advances slowly as we work on the details of things we accept as reliable and advances in leaps and bounds when we find something which doesn’t.
As the joke goes, the thing you should be listening out for in a lab is the quizzical utterance “That’s odd…”
From new realms emerge new observations, from which new laws are abstracted. As long as what we know is the same, established laws tend to remain solid, but it is when we discover new territory that our understanding is challenged most. But it is also our greatest opportunity to discover something new, and for our understanding to evolve.
The scientific method is founded on laws to be falsifiable: They are only true until they are falsified. But that doesn’t necessarily deem these laws to be useless.
Laws are a form of abstraction. Given a certain set of observations, by generalizing, identifying new patterns, and tracing cause and effect, we reach observations of a higher order. We repeat until we reach a limit, then distil this information into a proper expression, and voila! We have a new law.
This law, if proven, will remain valid for that set of observations regardless of any new discoveries. This law will remain useful within the confines of its premise. Newtonian mechanics was ditched for quantum mechanics, but only because the new elements we discovered fell outside its scope. Newtonian laws are still utilized heavily.
What this shows is that it’s the premise that changes or is falsified, more often than the laws being disproved, that justifies the adoption of a new law.
It is when we delve into new realms that unabstracted elements emerge, and though we may struggle to fit them into the framework of the laws we already know, depending on how different the new realm is, inevitably the new laws will turn out to be just as different.
The fact that the device came from off-world aliens would scare many people. Is this an Alien test of our ingenuity? Are they watching? Is the device a Pandora’s box (of sorts)? The question would come up asking if this was an accidental event or a purposeful one? Did it fall or break off a craft or was it placed on the ground by an alien hand? Intention matters. Are we supposed to do something with it? Is there a wrong answer? An intergalactic technological Rorschach test.
Some people would want to destroy it out of fear and ignorance. Some people would want to worship it. But I fear most people would just not care. General apathy is rampant in today’s world. Changing people’s beliefs in the light of better more compelling evidence is not their strong suit.
If this highly unlikely hypothetical event took place in our modern times, we would not do well on the test. If it is a test. Our current low-level intelligence would try to exploit it for the almighty dollar and power to destroy others. We would use its secrets to destroy and annihilate our perceived enemies. Other human beings. No higher comprehension that we are ALL more alike than unlike. We are all brothers and sisters no matter what color your skin is, or which faith you follow in our pantheon of no-show deadbeat deities.
It would make an interesting side note in their “Encyclopedia Galactica” in reference to our crazy monkey planet. “They were handed the key to the universe and they destroyed their culture and planet. Nothing remains. Case closed”.
What do you think?
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