RE: META: List discipline -- look out for ruling by Greg Burch

Billy Brown (
Thu, 10 Jun 1999 10:41:49 -0500

On Thursday, June 10, 1999 9:22 AM, Rob Harris Cen-IT [] wrote:
> > I am fully in favor of explaining things to novices, but
> > not *arguing* the basics with them.
> >
> Might this be a bad idea? Do you want people that just accept, no
> The fact that they are old ideas does not make them 100% correct and
> valid.....Plus, debate on the basics helps to clear up misconceptions at
> this level....misconceptions which would be greatly increased if debate
> the basics was made out of bounds.........

If someone actually advances a new argument, sure. But that doesn't happen very often.

Let's look at the identity question, for example. There are two well-defined positions on the issue, and a bunch of incoherent stages that people usually pass through on their way to one of these two end points. When someone new brings up the topic, we want to tell them what the major positions are and explain the arguments for them. We do *not* want to start a 1200-message flame war that simply rehashes all the arguments that we've already seen. A bit of back-and-forth discussion is a good thing, but a long, drawn-out argument will just end up being a waste of bandwidth.

Of course, it would be easier to deal with this problem if we had more on-line resources to work with. The Transhumanist FAQ is great for defining terms, but there are a lot of topics (identity and uploading, intelligence augmentation, freedom/individualism, etc.) that really need a longer treatment.

Billy Brown, MCSE+I