Alien: “Did you know that you humans have close to 60 biohazard labs around the world in over 20 different countries? What makes you think that playing around with deadly viruses is a good idea? Isn’t that a threat to your civilization?”
Human: “Our civilization is doing just fine, thank you.”
Alien: “Well, I’m using that term loosely. I don’t really consider humans to be civilized. So, what do you think about the labs?”
Human: “It’s important to research hazardous biological organisms, so we can better understand them. A quest for knowledge and the application of careful scientific methods are the best way to come up with cures for these deadly pathogens. Science is the key.”
Alien: “And science is the key to intentionally creating even deadlier versions.”
Human: “Well, that is certainly not the intent!”
Alien: “Really? Are you sure about that? Do you know what ‘gain of function’ research is? You’re messing around with things that you don’t understand, human. Remember how you used x-rays indiscriminately until you realized how dangerous radiation is? And realizing the danger, you then proceeded to invent nuclear weapons? Did you know that your planet now has over 400 nuclear power plants spread over 30 countries? With dozens more under construction?”
Human: “There’s nothing wrong with nuclear power. It’s a safe, clean source of energy. Or did you forget about fossil fuels and global warming?”
Alien: “It’s also the first step in developing nuclear weapons. Or did you forget about that? Do you humans have a death wish? At least nuclear power is useful. What’s the purpose of these biohazard labs?”
Human: “Didn’t you just ask me that?”
Alien: “I’m so sorry. It seems that I have a bad habit of asking you the same questions, eh human? I wonder why that is?”
Human: “Look. It’s simple. Deadly viruses are a danger to humanity. We believe in global cooperation. Having multiple voices empowers us all. The key to conquering these deadly diseases is to join together in harmony to tackle the world’s most pressing problems.”
Alien: “Please excuse me, human. But are you taking psychoactive drugs? There is little to no cooperation between your countries. The operation of these labs is kept very opaque. In addition, the military is involved in some of them. Why is that?”
Human: “Well, we must defend ourselves against this deadly threat.”
Alien: “But where is the threat coming from? Mother Nature? If that’s the case, then shouldn’t the medical establishment be leading the defense? Why is the military involved? Last time I checked, hazards handled by the military are due to threats from other humans, not threats from Mother Nature. Are these deadly pathogens ganging up together to increase their lethality, or would you stupid humans be doing that?”
Human: “It’s hard for an outsider like you to understand. The arc of human history is clearly in the direction of increasing global cooperation. There’s no stopping it.”
Alien: “Aw, it warms my Alien heart to see you humans working so closely together in global harmony. So, in addition to sharing your knowledge of nuclear power to an ever-increasing number of countries, you’re now proposing the same insane strategy for biohazard research?
“Aren’t you even a little bit afraid of the implications? All I hear about lately is global warming. While it is a serious problem that may eventually kill you, this bioweapon stuff could destroy all of you in an eyeblink.
“Didn’t you just have a recent disaster with a coronavirus? What if that virus had been even deadlier? Have you ever heard of mutations? How about a mutant version with a mortality rate of 90%? Impossible? Who knows, maybe you could even create one using your latest toy, CRISPR technology. Don’t you think that perhaps this stuff is worth worrying about?”
Human: “You love these alarmist speculations. Always looking for ways to put us down. There’s no firm evidence that countries are developing deadly viruses as bioweapons. Biohazard research is for peaceful purposes, just like nuclear power.”
Alien: “Hmm. Did I just hear a barking noise? Human, was that you? Surely you can’t be serious. Do you know what a speeding truck looks like when it’s two inches from your nose? Do you think it makes any difference at that point?
“Are you aware of the number of times that deadly pathogens have accidently leaked out of these labs from an infected lab worker, or due to poor containment procedures? It is well-documented. Surely, you know this. Have you considered that perhaps the deadly COVID-19 coronavirus was an accidental lab leak? Didn’t that end up killing millions of you?”
Human: “Don’t be ridiculous! That’s just a crazy conspiracy theory!”
Alien: “Yet you seem to have a spotty track record of preventing accidental leaks from these labs. To make matters worse, you seem to be strangely disinclined to consider the implications. To show some caution. Tighten up lab protocols. Increase protections. Hey, here is a wild idea: Maybe you should limit the proliferation of these labs, instead of allowing them to sprout like weeds all over your planet.
“Time and again, you humans create these massive doo-doo piles. Then you dive in head first before you realize the stupidity of your actions. At some point you’re going to finally bite off more than you can chew. These bioweapons are monsters that you cannot control. Once they are off their leash, it might just be lights out for you.”
Human: “So, Mr. Infinite Intelligence, what do you propose we do?”
Alien: “What difference does it make? You’ll ignore my advice for the same reason your dog ignores you when you tell him to stop running across the street to chase a squirrel when a ten ton truck is barreling down the road. You can’t reason with a dog that is busy chasing squirrels, so what chance do I have to reason with you?”
Human: “There are numerous safeguards in place for the alarmist catastrophes that you always claim are imminent.”
Alien: “Safeguards? Are you sure? How do you know, when the operation of some of these labs is kept so secret?
And the number of labs that I mentioned is only for the ones you know about. There are other labs.”
Human: “You don’t know that!”
Alien: “I am basing my comment on your well-documented history of creating secret chemical, nuclear, and biological weapons research labs. Labs that never see the light of day. Or have you wised up? Everybody is in full disclosure mode now? Really?”
Human: “This conversation is going nowhere. As usual, you’re playing your favorite game of baiting us with an onslaught of morbid doomsday scenarios. We humans are doing just fine, thank you. It is our planet, after all.”
Alien: “Who put you in charge of it? Whoever it was, they need to update your job performance evaluation, because you are ruining the place.
“Although I suppose that if you are going to destroy yourselves, maybe it’s better to do it with a bioweapon. A killer virus might spare the other life forms. Better than nuking everything and spewing radioactivity everywhere, or warming up the planet and toasting everything. Have you noticed that you’re killing off a lot of the other species on your planet, most of whom are busy minding their own business?”
Human: “Well, thanks for such an enlightening conversation, but I have to go now. I have better things to do than listen to your negativity all day. It’s been a pleasure, as always. Bye.”
Alien: “Hmm. Conversation? Is that what we were having? All I heard was some inarticulate bleating that appeared to be emanating from your direction. Enjoy your day, human. It might be your last.”