Re: Nature defines transhumanist

From: Peter C. McCluskey (
Date: Wed Jun 21 2000 - 09:29:39 MDT ( writes:
>No, the article didn't say anything more about Drexler. In fact my
>perception is that the whole field is doing its best to pretend that
>he doesn't exist. I predict that the Foresight conference will soon
>no longer be the premier nanotech conference. The real academics will
>want to disassociate themself from the nanofanatics and set up a more
>respectable venue. (Maybe this has happened already; I don't follow
>the research.)

 Academics have pretty clearly decided that the Foresight technical
conferences are respectable. At the recent Alcor conference, I heard
Ralph Merkle mention that people who are invited to Foresight conferences
these days are almost always eager to accept, and those that decline
invitations always seem to have legitimate scheduling conflicts.
 To the extent the academics have disassociated themselves from Drexlerian
ideas, it has been by simply ignoring Foresight's interest in them. This
has been made easier by Drexler's increasing aversion to large meetings.
At last year's Foresight conference, the far-out ideas were only discussed
in private conversations.

>I can't help thinking that a core problem is cryonics. Cryonicists have
>been hoping that nanotech will give them respectability for 15 years now.
>In fact, the opposite seems to have happened. Cryonics is so disreputable
>for most people, so firmly entrenched in the nonsense/fraud category,
>that the least association with the practice is enough to discredit
>any activity.

 While taking current cryonics practices seriously is still unpopular,
I don't see any signs that this stigma is rubbing off on associated
practices. For instance, Greg Fahy used to avoid any public association
with cryonics. He now speaks at Alcor conferences. He still criticizes
Drexler's optimism, but that's about all he does to distinguish himself
from other cryonicists.

Peter McCluskey          | The US Idea Futures Exchange: speculate on | political,financial issues at

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