Re: >H Sort of test

Anders Sandberg (
01 Mar 1999 18:05:39 +0100 (Harvey Newstrom) writes:

> What seem like innane questions and fears to most
> members of this List actually are the common questions and common
> attitudes of most of the general public.

We really need the newbies, especially the curious ones and the ones bursting in with a great but slightly wrong idea. Having to explain things again and again may be tiresome, but it is training for the time it is CNN or the entire public. Besides, it is educational and sometimes forces one to reconsider one's thinking.

> If I had to pick the biggest flaw in thinking that I see repeated
> constantly on this List, it would have to be the assumption that
> most rational people would agree with our views. It just isn't so.

Unfortunately, yes. But it is also a good thing, having rational people of different views makes it possible to look at questions from more angles.

> Most people would be terrified to hear about immortals, cryonics,
> cloning, nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, alternative
> governments, colonizing space, resequencing DNA, taking smart drugs, or
> augmenting human biology. I seriously predict that all these areas will
> be outlawed as soon as they become commonly available. Most of humanity
> is strongly against all these ideas. I think the biggest obstacle to
> achieving these things is our own inability to predict the public
> backlash.

Maybe because so many of us take a binary view us/them rather than try to find ways around the problem. What areas can we make inroads in? What subjects can we make part of the mainstream? Dr Frankenstein made the mistake of building his castle outside the village, he should have put his lab in it and invited the schoolchildren for scientific experiments. Life extension is only threatening if it is presented as something magical, if you discuss how better medical care or diet can improve health and longevity people accept you. "Smart drugs" sound like narcotics propaganda, but people have nothing against nutrient supplements, functional food or herbs. Piercing and tattooing are becoming acceptable in the middle classes.

Instead of trying to predict the public backlash, make sure it never has the time to build up by pre-empting it.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
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