Now there's an interesting question. What would you do if you knew there are really extraterrestrial beings out there? I think it all depends on how exactly we will find out, but any scenario of this kind will be the breaking news of all history.
I'm sure many of you are convinced aliens are really out there, and it's not only the sci-fi movies that strongly promote this idea. Hey, even I believe in the probability of extraterrestrial beings existing somewhere in space, although I'm not a conspiracy theory adept myself.
Speaking of probabilities, I think it's impossible for us to be the only beings in the universe. Think about it! Very little is known about the size of the universe. It may be trillions of light years across, or even infinite in size. A 2003 paper claims to establish a lower bound of 24 gigaparsecs (78 billion light years) on the size of the universe, but there is no reason to believe that this bound is anywhere near tight.
Personally, I'd be disappointed if they didn't exist. This would mean that we're the only ones in such a vast expanse of space, so it's too bad to waste some perfectly good living space. I wouldn't want to be alone on a continent, would you?
OK, back to human reactions. I liked the first reactions to the Roswell incident. We were all like small kids discovering something new for the first time. We were not too afraid, we were not so worried about the consequences, we were all like "Wow! Someone's out there!" Heck, even the army admitted in the beginning, that there was something they didn't know about.
Now I'm not saying aliens crash-landed on that day, but if they did, I don't think blaming the government is the proper response. I mean, hello, wake up, people, could you really handle the news? If yes, could you say the same thing about your neighbors, your family, your friends and everybody else you know?
First of all, such a discovery would have a deep psychological impact on all of us. Sure, there will always be extremists, the ones who will begin worshiping the newcomers and the ones that will initiate resistance movements, regardless of the intentions of the aliens.
Second of all, we will all be a bit frightened. Yes, admit it, your first impulse when seeing an alien creature, regardless of the looks, will not be to run and give it a big hug. Prudence is in our instincts, so is fear. So, it's normal to feel that way, as long as we don't exaggerate.
Now you'll say "Maybe they will be peaceful..." So, not everyone will accept the idea of not being the supreme life form any more, or that they'll have to be more intelligent or at least more technologically advanced.
Probably the biggest impact will be on religion. It will be bad, but it could also be good. Bad, because no major religion on Earth ever said anything about aliens, most of them claiming that man was created...bla bla...Earth...bla...bla...good...evil...God (regardless of his name) is the Supreme Being...
Well, just imagine that one day, your entire system of beliefs is, if not contradicted, at least seriously shaken. How would you take it?
According to recent polls, about a third of Americans believe that space aliens have visited Earth. For most people, belief in UFOs and aliens is harmless. In some cases, however, such beliefs can have serious consequences.
We haven't met the aliens yet, and some wackos are already killing people over it. Take, for example, the trial of Allison Lamont Norman, which began last week in Georgetown, Delaware. Norman is accused of killing two people and wounding four others during a shooting rampage in April 2005. What triggered the massacre? According to his lawyer, Norman believed his victims were space aliens who were trying to abduct his daughter.
You'll probably say that crazy people don't need a reason to kill, but imagine all the psychos out there, disappointed, full of hatred, who are just waiting for some divine cause to put their fanaticism in motion.
Personally, I think we'll probably see a series of mass suicides and random killing, just after we hear the big news. People have a history of witch-hunting, just look at the Inquisition, the hunt for communists in the 1950s America, the hunt for fascists after World War II, the hunt for the "enemies of the state" in all communist regimes, and much more.
Suddenly, everyone will be a potential alien, even if the real ones won't be able to disguise themselves in humans, no more that an European can pass for an African, and even if they'll be peaceful and benevolent.
If, unfortunately, they've come to colonize us, make us slaves, eat us, etc. we'll be all screwed anyway, so maybe this will be the best possible reaction: uniting against the common threat. I'm sorry to ruin your heroic dreams about saving the world from evil aliens, but if they're advanced enough to come to us from many light years away, they'll most definitely conquer us, along with our pride and contrary to most Hollywood movies depicting our endless bravery.
Get real, people! African tribes were proud too, but their spears were no match for European weapons and even the mountains and the desert couldn't save the native Americans from eventually being slaughtered.
Probably the best scenario is to find out about aliens in a much smoother way, through the discovery of some bacteria on a distant planet. This will probably cause less disturbance and will hopefully give us enough time to get used to the idea before we meet real, intelligent, extraterrestrial lifeforms.