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On Tue, 27 Jul 1999, O'Regan, Emlyn wrote:
> Isn't there a concern on this list regarding PR?
> Basically a concern for being seen as QUACKS?
> And a desire to have the general public at the very least tolerate
> ideas of life extension?
Yes yes yes yes yes.
> This thread may prove a very useful opportunity to understand something of
> the mindset of derbrains opposed to lengthening life. What we now have is
> very useful feedback on how people respond to charlatans. You can become
> your own subjects, in an informal study into how people respond to ideas
> they perceive as quacky.
Actually for several Saturdays now, I've been conducting my own random telephone survey on public attitudes toward life extension. Surprisingly, there aren't too many people with strong opinions on it. Most draw a complete blank, and none have ridiculed the idea. Of course, I use the phrase 'longevity research', not 'life extension' and definitely not 'immortality'. <OFF-TOPIC>If there is any interest, I can follow up with the FTP location of my survey-kit-- everything you need to reproduce my survey in your own area</OFF-TOPIC>
> Is it reasonable to assume that the PR concerns are about this - being seen
> as a bunch of crazy fringe looneys? If so why not be a focus group?
Most people at least recognize that I might have a valid point when I tell them about >H and ExI. The reaction is more like, "whatever, that's over my head". Then again, since I'm super paranoid about politics and PR to begin with, my experience might not be typical.
> If you don't mind using yourself in this way:
> The questions to address are
> What would it take to change your opinion of charlatans from bullshitter to
> someone who may have something, but you are not very motivated to really
> care either way?
> What would it take to make you change your mind from perceiving someone as a
> quack to someone legitimate?
> What would it take to motivate you to act on their advice?
> What would it take to make you a life time convert?
> How would you need to receive messages about their legitimacy? For eg
> personal testaments, articles in written media by people that you trust, and
> what sort of person would you trust to persuade you to change your opinion
> on a quack?
A refereed medical/science journal prints a paper about <FOO> +1 I do a medline search and there are several papers about <FOO> +1 These papers more or less agree +1 These papers agree in strong terms, and call for more research into the topic +2 The reasons given in these papers seem convincing to me +1 <FOO> itself seems logical to me (in my field) +3 <FOO> itself seems logical to me (outside my field) +1 Human clinical tests came back positive, if applicable +2 At least one scientist I respect is in support of <FOO> +1 There are no visible financial or political vested interests +1 <FOO> is so established that I keep running accross papers that begin with "Since <FOO> is all but proven, we have decided to examine..." +2 FDA approves <FOO> +0.5 FDA attempts to restrict <FOO> +0.6 The popular press writes about <FOO> +0.5 The right-wing fundies &| left-wing luddites protest against +0.5 Proponents of <FOO> strike me as rational, balanced individuals +1 I've used it, and <FOO> seems to work +1 I've used it and a physician confirms <FOO> works on me +5 A physician states that <FOO> works. +3 <FOO> is not associated with other ideas that I have already concluded to be fraudulent +1
> Did I mention I am a PR person and that I would be very interested in
> helping to devise a campaign.
Right on, sister! I personally know at least one group represented here
who may be interested in your contribution, but I'll let them speak for
themselves, as I don't know whether they formally consider me a member at
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