Re: UFO RaŽl and the definition privilege

From: Anders Sandberg (
Date: Sun Apr 01 2001 - 03:58:21 MDT

Natasha Vita-More <> writes:

> I was approached two times recently. First by a journalist writing about
> the Rael cult and seemed to think that they are transhumanists. The second
> approach was by a Swedish journalist asking for references of transhumans
> in Sweden.
> Rather than blindly giving out names of extropians or other transhumanists,
> as a practice I try to do some due diligence on the person/group contacting
> me. This second contact, again, had a Raelina undertone.

It seems the same journalist has been trying to contact me too. I'm
not certain I want to be in contact with him; transhumanism can do
well without being associated with an ufo cult.

I really wonder why we see so much of the Raelians here in
Sweden. Must be some chronic lack of critical thinking, a bit like how
the government gave Milosevic political asylum today after his escape
- a completely irrational action given their previous action.

> >Can we afford that they are visible and we are not?<
> We are visible, and becoming more visible yearly.
> Raelians have recently received press because of their interests in
> cloning, etc. Being a religious organization (a cult) makes them appear to
> be more of an organization than a group of individuals who share
> philosophical and ideological views.

As soon as some group label themselves or get labelled, it is so much
easier to chunk them into a collective. Dangerous, but sometimes good

The main difference between the Raelians and us seem to be their lack
of questioning of their beliefs; transhumanism without critical thinking.
> By the way, if extropians are not visible in Sweden, then let's find out
> why.

Actually, extropians were mentioned several years ago in the writings
of Christer Sturmark, a Swedish IT journalist/pundit. He simply
regarded extropianism as some kind of new age religion, and I had an
letter exchange with him in a journal. But extropianism per se is not
widely known. The closest thing are of course us in the Swedish
transhumanist association.

> >Can we afford that they are visible?<
> We certainly can afford to be cautious. We can also afford to continue
> responsibly discussing extropian/transhumanist ideas and providing reliable
> information to the public. This is our best defense - actively providing
> reasonable, reliable information.

Transhumanism definitely need this. In many ways the time is right -
this is the window of opportunity, our ideas are becoming accessible
and possible to think about even in the mainstream, and there is a
real interest. At the same time we might miss it if we are not active
and provide the reasonable discourse. It is no longer an issue of
convincing people that nanotech is possible - that has to a large
extent been done to the groups that matter - now we need to convince
them that it can be beneficial and useful, as well as discuss the
social, cultural and economic consequences on a high level.

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

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