Re: >H Sort of test

Anders Sandberg (
03 Mar 1999 18:01:10 +0100

"Timothy Bates" <> writes:

> Anders Sandberg responded to Harvey's point about many extropian ideas being
> (currently) unacceptable to the wider public by saying
> > 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.
> I understand what you are saying, but the real problem is not "the people"
> but the government and special interest groups.

Which consist of people. They are not independent borganisms, and if a sufficient number of people (fewer if they are key people) of an organization think something is a great idea, it will become accepted. Things to look out for of course includes bureaucracy, internal politcs and so on. I think it is dangerous to set up an us vs. The Establishment thinking, there doesn't have to be any conflict.

> If Dr Frankenstein had done this, several kids would have been enchanted,
> maybe even their parents would have responded happily when he cured their
> rickets. But the local Dr's union would have called in the BATF and FBI gun
> slingers.

In that cade Dr F would have been stupid. If you want to do a project that might be controversial, then you do your best to secure the support as widely as possible. Why didn't Dr F use the fact that he was a member in good standing of the Transylvanian Medical Association? Why didn't he show them the scientific value of his research? Why didn't he start out with some trivial application of obvious social and medical utility, and work upwards from that?

One problem I notice among transhumanists is that we tend to take some extraordinary and radical possibilities for granted and undividedly good. Most people are suspicious of characters who tell them that the future is going to be based on microscopic machines that can build anything, make you immortal and make diamond cheaper than wood. But if you step by step show why this is possible and even likely, you can lead them to the conclusion that this is indeed true. Discuss optimism and the value of life with people, and they can be led to realize that life extension is a great thing. Start by telling them immortality is around the corner and they will think you are an immoral nut.

> > "Smart drugs" sound
> > like narcotics propaganda
> Again it is governments that are against legalizing narcotics. most people
> just want the gun fights to stop and the addicts to stop staging home
> invasions to get the money for their drugs.

So people around you don't think legal heroin would be a problem? I somehow doubt that, unless you live in a libertarian enclave. The thing is, the government has fairly little to do with what people in general think, and that is what truly matters if we want a widespread support for transhumanism. What we need to influence is the reactions people have to transghumanist technologies, both on the "public" level and among the movers and shakers. If we get just one, it will not work well.

> > but people have nothing against nutrient
> > supplements, functional food or herbs.
> In Australia, Selenium and Halibut Liver Oil are prescription-only
> restricted drugs.

Sure. But the thing is, people accept these supplements. That is a base we can work on.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y