Re: "Drexlerian" as an epithet, was Re: Saul Kent's powerful newcryonics organization

From: Michael M. Butler (
Date: Fri Feb 15 2002 - 13:24:15 MST

"Robert J. Bradbury" wrote:
> Michael Butler wrote:
> > It seems that one must deal with the notion that self-replicating general
> > purpose assemblers is Drexler's sole contribution/albatross;
> I don't consider that to be the case.

Yes, Robert, and neither do I. I was speaking of that notion as a Big Lie,
and the consequent "how to deal with useful idiots" issue. I didn't mean to
say that I thought the notion was a good one. "Drexlerian" is a cartoonish word,
and it might have already caught on in some circles--I can't tell, I'm not privy.

[important contradictions to the cited bogus notion elided]

> > probably by tacitly ignoring it when dealing with those with
> > short-term parallel goals.
> You don't have to ignore it at all.

Sorry, I meant "appear to ignore it". Avoid mentioning the elephant at the breakfast table.
In this case, the elephant isn't Drexler or anything in his books, it's the bogus notion that
["Drexlerian"==extreme==self-replicating assemblers-har-har-how-silly-end-of-story]...
Along the lines of a tacit pleasant nod followed by ruthless intellectual honesty about
the science that applies to a problem at hand, not mentioning how much of it is Eric's work--
let the other guy come to new conclusions re: Drexler (if ever) on his own schedule.

Don't defend Eric, end run the bigots and use them; that was the thrust of my thinking.
A sheaf of strategies is probably called for. I have a tendency to strident defense
of the unjustly-maligned; perhaps I was only coaching myself out loud for more diplomacy.

There are sobering comparisons to be made. You probably got the last two references
in my prior post, Robert, but to belabor it:

Goddard eventually got a cheesy little contract to work on bazookas even though "Goddardian"
was (virtually) a kiss of death. [Rockets can't work in a vacuum/Everyone knows 'space travel'
is just _crazy_...(--pick any roughly analogous smear/lie)].

Contrariwise, von Braun and the VfR were in the same time frame responsible for the creation
and launch of _thousands_ of near-space vehicles--but they were weapons, aimed at London and Antwerp.

Hmmm. *MMB looks around for better alternatives than those two...*

> > Calculating the consequent risks & goal drifts requires craft.
> > Argue, or win the war?
> Educate, avoid annoying people as best you can and prepare to
> defend oneself.

Perhaps I was hyperfocusing on #2 of these three; and as I say, maybe mostly trying to
remind myself to not gracelessly and aggressively react to those who use the word "Drexlerian"
as a dismissive epithet.

Thanks for the (as always, thoughtful) reply.

butler a t comp - lib . o r g    Wm. Burroughs said it best: "After a shooting spree,
I am not here to have an argument.        they always want to take the guns away
I am here as part of a civilization.        from the people who didn't do it."

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