UFO RaŽl and the definition privilege

From: Mikael Johansson (mikael.johansson@wineasy.se)
Date: Sat Mar 31 2001 - 14:40:44 MST

Some friends and I bumped into the UFO RaŽl cult today, and discussed a bit
with one of their representatives -- mainly because of their list of
political opinions. The point is that most of you _WILL_ find this list
rather familiar -- I recognized myself all to well in it:

- nanotech is coming and it is good!
- biotech is here and it is good!
- human cloning is good! (CloneAid is a RaŽl business)
- contraceptives are good!
- the right to abortion is good!
- informed euthanasia should be legal!
- internet should be completely free
- schooling should be performed electronically
- homosexual marriage and adoption rights

They also move out rather strongly pro individual freedom with emphasise on
morphological ditto.

Now, the main problem with UFO RaŽl, and one of the main things that places
it in the 'cult' slot instead of being a member of the WTA is that they
build their belief on the opinion that all life on earth is descended from a
test conducted by posthuman aliens (their description matches most of our
posthuman ideas pretty well...), and that these posthumans are currently
awaiting an embassy, complete with diplomatic immunity etc. to be
constructed on earth in order for them to return to the now mature Human
race. We even found out that they have (according to their representant)
advanced plans with the Brasilian government to build that embassy in
This rather irrational UFO belief is practically what (for me) draws the
line that places them as New Age Cultist and us as Rational Transhumanists.

The problem though is that these are the people doing something! These are
the people that are visible with their actions!
They've started ClonAid. They have human cloning underway. They are very
visible in Stockholm (on account of them standing around all day with large
posters and telling everyone about them).

It seems to me as if we're about to lose the definition privilege. The ideas
that we've been talking about the last decade or so, and where much of the
debate has been about us seeing these things so early that we set the
playfield, are propagating and fast. This would be a good thing, BUT the
ideas are propagated in the hands of crackpots, and being that they run a
VERY serious risk of receiving the crackpot mark themselves.
If all the public have heard of nanotech, biotech, cloning etc etc is that
some strange UFO-cult are strongly in favour of them, what would that make
us when we are strongly in favour of the same things?

Can we afford that they are visible and we are not?

Can we afford that they are visible?

// Mikael Johansson

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