Re: Erik's Fallacy

Geoff Smith (
Sat, 25 Apr 1998 16:42:35 -0700

> From: Erik Moeller <>
> To:
> Subject: Re: Erik's Fallacy
> Date: Saturday, April 25, 1998 3:23 PM
> >Ever time I have seen you try to attack free markets with any sort of
> >or empirical evidence, that logic and evidence is flawlessy refuted by
> >members of this list,(eg. John Clark, Lee Daniel Crocker, Anton
> >who cite a larger body of contradictory evidence and well-thought-out
> >which supports the benefits of a free market.
> Every time I have attacked free markets with any sort of logic or
> evidence, I have only gotten opinion and personal experience as a
> _Not a single time_, I have received statistics or quoted sources.

Hmmm... maybe my memory is going. Unfortunately, I have having
difficulties finding out how bad my memory must really be. I tried
searching the archives, but I was unsuccessful. Could someone else do this
for me? Your posts from the first time you were on this list give the best
examples of what I'm talking about (because I think people took you more
seriously back then, and tended to put work into their posts)
Unfortunately, when I tried to search the archives, I kept getting this
"Erik's Fallacy" thread and nothing else. Also, I searched for "Rick
Knight" and got nothing... does the search function not go back that far?

> >You come along, telling everyone that playing or even
> >thinking about playing without red goo is not only in error, but
> >on fascism.
> Retranslated: I come along, tell everyone that being an Extropian or even
> thinking about being an Extropian is not only in error, but bordering on
> fascism.
> Where have I done that?

You've said this many times, and since I am having problems searching the
archives, this isn't a very good example, but it'll do for now (sorry, I'll
get more later)

"I see fascist tendencies in some of the consequences of Extropian
ideas, especially the free market meme" Erik Moeller, 1998

Maybe you are the one with the poor memory?

> >You drop a couple book names (maybe Noam Chomsky is a linguist
> >and a baseball player?),
> Noam Chomsky has written a very important analysis of the effects of
> on people. I consider him as one of the most important thinkers of today.
> >and throw out a bunch of red-goo propaganda that has
> >been heard by everyone on the list a million times over.
> Namely?

Couldn't find anything without getting the archive search to work...

> >Your points are destroyed by evidence
> Namely?

Ditto. I'm sure Crocker, Clark, EvMick, et al. can recall simply by the
memory the many times they have successfully rebutted your socialist ideas.
Unfortunately, my memory is very poor, as you have seen, so I need a
search engine.

> >You also accuse the creator
> >of the Extropian No-Goo Baseball List of being a cult leader because he
> >created a list that does not involve talking about red goo, and because
> >*some* people on the list have opinions on red goo that contradict
> Retranslated:
> I accuse the creator of the Extropian maling list of being a cult leader
> because he created a list that does not involve criticizing Extropy, and
> because some people on the list have opinions on Extropy that contradict
> mine.
> I have retracted from calling the creator of the Extropian mailing list a
> cult leader.

And now you call him the "guide" of a cult. How is that better? Sounds
like a silly euphenism to me... one created so you don't have to admit you
were wrong.

> I have not retracted from calling Extropy a cult, one of the reasons for
> this was that criticism was not allowed on the Extropy mailing list.

Let's reverse the situation. You start up a list to discuss socialism.
You explicitly say "this list is meant to discuss socialism, not
anarcho-capitalism. Capitalist/Socialist debates take up too much of the
lists content, and are not what the list was created for, therefore, I
would ask that if you join this list, take these discussions somewhere
else. Those who break the rules will be removed from the list." Now, I
take my anarchist beliefs to your list and start telling everyone on your
list that socialism is flawed and immoral. You tell me to stop breaking
the list rules since I voluntarily joined the list after I had read the
disclaimer. I tell you that you are a cult "guide", that your mailing
list is a cult, and that the members of your cult "believe" in socialism
which I know is bad for humankind. How do you reply?

> I am
> still waiting for a reply by Max on this to find out the current status,
> right now, it looks good.

So you think it is good that Max is allowing you to break list rules, and
annoy pretty much everyone on this list? Good for whom? Aren't you the
one always talking about a "common good" or "what's best for everyone"?

> I have presented other reasons for calling Extropy a cult, and you say
> I am
> >contorting the meaning of cult
> >until it basically describes every philosophy ever postulated, including
> >yours.
> Don't you think that Webster's is a valid reference for defining a cult?
> I don't care about what you think a cult is or should be, I care about
> it is defined to be, and by this general definition, Extropy is a cult.
> Period.

Cults involve belief. The extropian principles have a version number,
implying that they are not set in stone. Max also states that someone does
not need to adhere to all the principles to be an extropian. Where are you
seeing these beliefs that make Extropy a cult? The only belief I see is
yours: you believe that free markets are inherently bad. I, on the other
hand, am not sure whether they are bad or good. What I do know is that
every time I see a debate between a socialist and a capitalist, the
capitalist always comes out on top, and the only way a socialist can
convince himself that he has not lost is by playing with the definitions of
the words he uses until it sounds like he wasn't wrong. What I also know
is that everything I learn in economics (which comes from empirical
evidence) supports the free-market as a superior system. This seems to
indicate that free-markets are *probably* better, given the evidence I
have. Who is the cult member here?

> Maybe transhumanism is a cult, too, and the red-goo baseball players
> are also cultish. Cults are part of culture.

That's a fun little play on words, but you are really destroying the
usefullness of the word "cult." When "cult" becomes synonymous with
"philosophy", then the usefullness of the word is gone, it is just
redundant. It seems to me this is what you are doing, since I see Extropy
as nothing more(and nothing less) than a very general and brilliantly
adaptable philosophy, based on the evidence at hand. Max has said himself
that he cannot guarantee that Extropy will always keep up with the evidence
at hand, but that is what he is attempting to do. If it cannot, it will be
replaced by something else. I see you giving no better replacement.