A Bunch of Arrogant Prats
To anyone who has ever experienced that unfathomable sense of awe when they realise just how stupendously big the universe actually is thoughts surely move on to whether we are alone. The Drake equation says probably not, but in any case, even if the universe is teeming with life forms at least intelligent enough to hold the same thoughts, the distances involved (as well as the rate of expansion) might forever preclude any physical contact. But let’s wish it were so and imagine.
Travellers from a distant star system arrive in Earth orbit and announce themselves. They come in peace. A delegation is invited down to Earth to meet a cross-section of dignitaries and experts from all fields of endeavour and investigation. On Monday, they might meet with physicists, theoretical physicists and cosmologists. They’ll surely have much to discuss, from the relative mundanity of alternative propulsion systems for space travel to the more cerebral subjects such as gravity and quantum mechanics, the beginnings of space-time and the possibility of a multiverse. Tuesday might see the visitors meet with our best mathematicians and philosophers with whom they will undoubtedly have fruitful discussions about the nature of mathematical axioms and their various proofs, and we might even get to settle the worn-out questions about the universality (or not) of logic and qualia and whether an actual infinity is at all possible. The next day, it might be the turn of chemists and biologists and we will all be able to compare notes on subjects such as abiogenesis and the various mechanisms underlying the evolution of the diversity of species on both our worlds. On Thursday, engineers might be able to take advantage of the alien’s superior knowledge of structural forms and composite building materials. On the final day, representatives from the various sects of the world’s three monotheistic religions may be invited to introduce our guests to some of our religious beliefs. Some of these representatives will no doubt inform them that we can be certain that human beings have been purposely made in the very image of the god that created the entirety of the universe, including our visitor's own planet and solar system.
That'll be when they first realise we’re a bunch of arrogant prats.