Re: Cryonics/Nanotech Skepticism

Robin Hanson (
Thu, 13 Aug 1998 15:55:56 -0700

doug bailey wrote:
>... The more dramatic the implications of a echnology are,
>he more heated (and irrational) skeptics an be.

Conversely, the more irrational the proponents, the more dramatic the implications they will see. So dramatic claims need not be a strong clue as to who is wrong.

>... I've found lack [of] information to be the biggest foe to
>enabling people to accept many of the things we discuss on this list.

But do they see your lack of information as the reason you fail to see why you're wrong? And if so, shouldn't you admit maybe they know something you don't? It's just plain irrational to agree to disagree because you each know something the other doesn't.

>... their "nano-skepticism" is very unscientific. ...
>"I just don't believe you can get instructions to molecular
>assemblers." It was readily apparent to me that he simply did
>not think it was possible but had no real scientific objections
>to support his view. For that matter, no one, to my knowledge,
>has offered a significant theoretical objection to MNT.

This sounds very "scientific," as practiced in academia. For something that seems weird, academics presume it's bunk until evidence is presented in its favor, rather than presuming it's right until skeptics give evidence that it's wrong.

Robin Hanson RWJF Health Policy Scholar, Sch. of Public Health 510-643-1884 140 Warren Hall, UC Berkeley, CA 94720-7360 FAX: 510-643-2627