Re: The image of transhumanism

Anders Sandberg (
07 Jul 1998 11:31:40 +0200

"Natasha Vita More (fka Nancie Clark)" <> writes:

> At 08:04 PM 7/6/98 +0200, Anders Sandberg wrote:
> >"Nobody thought heavier-than-air flying was
> >possible, so why can't antigravity be possible?".
> Historical parallel in action! I'd like to use this quote in my Memetic
> Toolkit.
> It would be wonderful to gather historical incidents that show that what
> was once consider to be at ridiculous, outlandish and pie-in-the-sky
> thinking, that have actually come to fruition.

Do so, but remember that this can cut both ways: many new agers and pseudoscientists similarly use this technique ("Nobody thought heavier-than-air flying was possible, so why can't levitation be possible?").

> This can be done by locating quotes over the years in which individuals
> have discounted forward thinking possibilities and then to have these
> statements refuted by way of example: flying to space exploration;
> incurrable illnesses to overcoming death; dealing with barren women to
> fertility innovations; sex segregation to sex choices; sacrilege in
> tampering with the body to germline and somatic engineering; aging to
> cosmetic surgery; environmental alarmist claims to extropian environmental
> views; et cetera.

Perhaps the cases could be strengthened by showing the evidence that existed in the time the original claim already pointed in that direction. Birds showed that heavier-than-air flight was possible etc. The moral outrages are especially revealing since they show how far we have come and can make people think about their own views: are they any less silly and conservative.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y