JP Barlow, Ph.D, Social Engineering

Ira Brodsky (
Wed, 18 Sep 1996 10:46:12 -0600

On Wed., 18 Sep 1996, Eugene Leitl wrote:

>Nobody wants to sell you novel technologies because they're novel. They
>want to sell them because they sell profitably. One cannot exclude social
>engineering on free markets, orelse the markets cease to be free. One has
>to hope for memetic immunity/smarter customers, but then, I don't believe
>in Santa anymore.
>Human stupidity is the root of every single problem. It eclipses every
>other source.

I agree that no idea should be excluded from the free market.

What attracted me to extropianism (being fairly new here) is its optimism
about, and enthusiasm for, scientific progress. But I am concerned about
the temptation to "cure" human stupidity on a large-scale through social
engineering. We need both "smart" ideas and "stupid" ideas on the free
market, because sometimes brilliant solutions evolve out of what at first
seemed ... well, dumb.

>> Likewise, most "social sciences" have little to do with science. Their
>Agree absolutely. I suggest introduce the "science(tm)". Everybody
>claiming to be a scientist (Christian science, domestic science, etc.)
>but failing to meet criteria for a scientific enterprise oughta be sued.

Hmmm... That's certainly not what *I* meant. It's always going to be up
to intelligent individuals to discern the truth. I may expose the "social
sciences" as a bad idea, I may denounce them personally as a bad idea, but
I would never support banning them.

Furthermore, I don't claim that what the social sciences study are
illegitimate topics. (This is my way of apologizing to anyone on this list
who works in the "social sciences" and may have been offended by my
remarks.) We just need to remember that political philosophy backed by
statistics is still, at bottom, political philosophy.

Ira Brodsky
Datacomm Research Company
Wilmette, Illinois