Following the recent government revelations about Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAPs) in our military airspace, there’s been a fair amount of debate going on as to what the next steps are going to be. A while back I looked at an essay from Daniel Drezner where he identified two questions we need to address. The first and most obvious one deals with figuring out what the hell these phenomenal flying objects actually are. But the second question looming on the horizon deals with the eventual need to figure out who built them.

We’re still not close to answering that one and it’s too soon for anyone to definitively say they came from some distant star system. But that possibility is unavoidable for many who are debating the topic and some feel we need to be ready to tackle the question of what we’re going to do if actual extraterrestrials show up at the door. (Assuming they’re not already here.) A recent article at Futurism offers one suggestion recently put forward by science author Guy Harrison. We may need to steel ourselves to the unpleasant prospect of killing some of these aliens and dissecting them so we can understand who we’re dealing with.

Scientists often kill animals — that’s just a grisly fact of biological research.

But it’s a bit more complicated in the theoretical future where we’ve made first contact with extraterrestrial life. At that point, science author Guy Harrison argues in a Psychology Today op-ed that biologists may have to come to terms with killing alien life in the name of scientific progress — which raises a difficult question: at what point does scientific inquiry outweigh the value of life?

Harrison suggests guidelines that future biologists may find helpful. For instance, any extraterrestrial life that shows signs of intelligence ought to be spared. In that case, we may be able to learn about the alien lifeform by using our words instead of our scalpels.

Allow me to express the same sentiment here that I offered up on social media this weekend. Just in case any of our new, incoming alien overlords happen to be listening or reading this debate, may I just remind them of one thing?


I, for one, welcome our new alien zookeepers, and if you need any help dragging Mr. Harrison up against the wall, I’m your man.

All kidding aside, the idea of killing and dissecting an extraterrestrial depends heavily on your ability to actually get your hands on one and not die in the process. To his credit, Harrison does give a nod to “sparing” any ETs that seem intelligent, as well as the idea that we may be completely incapable of taking them down.

That brings us to the second recent topic of debate. There have been additional suggestions making the rounds, opining that we may need to have some of our fighter jets shoot down one of the tic-tacs or glowing orbs so we can analyze what we’re up against.

Not to put too fine of a point on this, but… are you freaking kidding me? If they were able to cross the interstellar void and arrive here in ships that are capable of simply embarrassing the best military technology we have in the skies, what on Earth makes you think they wouldn’t have us massively outgunned in terms of offensive weaponry as well? I’m picturing two aliens inside one of the tic-tacs shortly after one of our F-22A fighters unleashes a hellfire missile against them. “You mean we traveled 67 light-years to get here and you forgot to bring the guns?”

Shooting at one of these things absent some move of aggression on their part just sounds like an extraordinarily bad idea. Life isn’t like the movies and this isn’t Independence Day. Besides, we don’t even know if there are any biological entities inside these objects. They might just be vastly intelligent drones. And if they’re inclined to shoot back it just seems like it could go very badly for us.

You know, there’s long been a theory among conspiracy enthusiasts that the government knows all about aliens and UFOs, but they don’t tell the public because they fear we couldn’t handle the truth. I’ve always laughed at that idea. It might have been true in the pre-industrial era, but this is the generation of the internet. We can generally handle pretty much anything, right? Maybe I was wrong all along. If our first collective impulse is going to be to attack them and try to dissect them, maybe we’re not really ready after all.