META: Getting the facts straight

From: Stan Kretler (
Date: Mon Jun 26 2000 - 21:17:24 MDT


I'm Stan Kretler. I participated in the original discussion about
"ultrahumanism" and "otherhumanisms" from last year.

Just to set the record straight, "setting the record straight" about some
ancient use of "ultrahumanism" has absolutely nothing to do with Max and
Brian's dispute involving the term.

And, also for the record, *I* was the one who first took the time to look
the word up in a dictionary. So I want credit for that! ;-)

"ultra" and "human" are common enough that it's absurd to think the two
haven't been combined many times in the past. Any question about
originality here is about the use of "ultrahuman" in the context of a
discussion about possibly improved names for posthumanism.

But even that question of originality is still not relevant to how Max
treated Brian, which has nothing to do with any matter of originality.

What many of you don't know, by the way, is that Brian has actually
*defended* Max and the Extropy Institute many times among some acquaintances
and colleagues here. He bristled when someone referred to it as "rednecks
on the internet".

Even when people were telling him that Max was a sleaze bag for having the
gall to suggest (maybe suggest, or perhaps "slyly suggest" is the better
description) that Brian might have actually lifted the term from the
conference Web page, Brian kept searching for alternative explanations.

In fact, after I posted the OED definition (and or made some reference to
Brian's previous discussion of the question of the right name for
transhumanism), guess who came in to make sure that credit isn't unduly
taken away from Max?

Brian! (He said to me, publicly, "Extropians are capable of independent
thought, you'll discover"!)

Personally, I think the matter should be dropped. But if someone wants to
chime in, at least get the facts right.

The question that matters is why, after Max responded to the above with this

>For the record, I came us with "ultrahuman" several months ago, while
>thinking about my book and my talk for the conference. I was surprised
>and amused to see your use of the term immediately before I first
>used the term publically at the conference (though it had been
>on the conference program for a while before that). This isn't
>really surprising though. Several people have independently come
>up with "extropy" and "transhuman" (or "transhuman").

- and Brian privately reminded Max of the earlier emails, and Max told Brian
he would correct the impression that Brian might have in fact stolen the
idea from the Web page, Max *never* responded. Even after being reminded

Max looked, and esp now look*S*, rather bad.

The amazing thing is, Brian continued to defend Max and the Extropy
Institute, even though his friends thought it was obvious that Max was
jealously guarding his new idea about a better term for transhumanism, and
wanted Brian to look bad. (What else can account for such behavior? "ooops
I forgot" after repeated reminders isn't a very convincing excuse).

I doubt Brian will defend the Extropy Institute anymore, though.

Max did finally apologize, however, so perhaps Brian thinks the matter is
settled (he's out of town for a while I think.)

If people want to look things up in dictionaries, fine. But don't pretend
it has any thing to do with Brian or Max.

As for Natasha......

Stan Kretler.

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