(Found) Telling misleading "truths"


Well-Known Member
Oct 17, 2020
Protagonist is abducted from humanity's first extrasolar planet colony by aliens. They have an infallible lie detector. They interrogate him about humanity's capabilities. But he still misleads them. For example, he gives humanity's designation as "Homo sapiens", but renders it as "people of great powers". He says the planet he was born on had continents and oceans totally different from that of the planet they are on, but that humanity had done nothing to make that geographical arrangement, that it had gotten that way by natural processes...implying he was millions of centuries old. He says there are twenty billion humans, and when asked where the other ones are, he states that humans had found planets in other galaxies (actually ones in the Local Group)...that kind of thing/ The aliens decide to trat humanity with kidd gloves.
Long short story or short novelette, probably 1960s.