Re: META: Getting the facts straight

From: Fred C. Moulton (
Date: Mon Jun 26 2000 - 23:54:27 MDT

There is a term that I learned when I was younger and although it
is considered by some to a little vulgar, it does have the quality of
sometimes being the perfect word to describe a situation. The
word is "chickenshit". It is a useful term to indicate when an
item of small (or no) importance or relevance is given more
attention than is warranted. And an individual could lose a lot of
reputation capital when they tried to use a chickenshit
issue to attack someone else.

In this case a minor issue is brought up months later. The
previous months of inactivity about the matter indicate to me
that perhaps we are dealing with a chickenshit situation.

Individuals may want to avoid decreasing what limited reputation
capital they still have.



At 08:17 PM 6/26/00 -0700, Stan Kretler wrote:
>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.
>Get Your Private, Free E-mail from MSN Hotmail at

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Jul 27 2000 - 14:14:36 MDT