Re: This is not The National Inquirer

Kennita Watson (
Mon, 28 Apr 1997 08:58:48 -0700

John K. Clark was the last to evidence extreme intolerance by writing:
>> You have to understand, with all the amazing discoveries in this incredible
>> age it's difficult for even the best of us to keep up with it all,
>> and we just don't have time for such ..., how can I put it politely...,
>> male bovine excrement.
Mike Rose displayed a fair degree of self-control in responding:
>I understand. Good luck to 'the best of you' in deciding what isn't.
Since I first joined the Extropians list I have had to be disabused of a
number of fallacious notions. General appeals to laws-of-whatever didn't
help. Only being taken step by step through the process of determining
that 0 did not equal 1, and being shown where the error crept into the
proof that it did, allowed me to see that the impossible actually wasn't
true. The Monty Hall door-choosing probability problem (on which I think
some people disagree to this day) also comes to mind, and there are others
that don't.

The point is that saying that something "violates the laws of physics"
doesn't convince people -- being open to input that seems to violate the
known laws is what allows people to discover new ones. And calling the
people names *certainly* doesn't convince them. Look at the proof
yourself, find the erroneous step, point it out, and explain where
necessary. Just saying "there's an error there somewhere" is either
presumptuous, naive, or lazy, depending on the attitude with which it's
said. Most things are obvious once you understand them.

If you can't calmly convince a single intelligent and sympathetic person
of where the law of conservation of energy is violated in this instance,
how do you expect to convince (mostly less intelligent and less
sympathetic) people of things more important to you?

Every time I see misunderstanding handled in such a dismissive and
contemptuous way, I think I gain further insight into why Extropianism
(with its cousin Libertarianism) hasn't taken the world by storm.

For people who wonder what the foofaraw is all about, and how people get
such ideas, check out:
and for something somewhat more likely to work (?), try:
I just told AltaVista to find "car NEAR water NEAR fuel NEAR hydrogen" for
the first one, and "car NEAR water NEAR power" for the second. Not very
good queries, but I came up with them in under a minute.

The world would probably be improved by a Web page debunking some of the
claims in the first one, without reference to name-calling. I'd write
one myself, except that I don't know my physics well enough to explain
the matter clearly.


Kennita Watson | The bond that links your true family is not one of blood,| but of respect and joy in each other's life. Rarely do
| members of the same family grow up under the same roof.
| -- Richard Bach, _Illusions_