Fwd: Re: Fwd: >H Credibility

Forrest Bishop (forrestb@ix.netcom.com)
Tue, 3 Jun 1997 16:54:24 -0500 (CDT)

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Date: Tue, 3 Jun 1997 07:37:29 -0700 (PDT)
From: Robert Freitas <rfreitas@calweb.com>
To: Forrest Bishop <forrestb@ix.netcom.com>
Subject: Re: Fwd: >H Credibility
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On Mon, 2 Jun 1997, Forrest Bishop wrote:

> Dear Rob,
> Thought you might have some insight on this.
> Forrest
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> Date: Mon, 2 Jun 1997 18:37:38 -0600 (MDT)
> From: H Baldwin <H.Baldwin@m.cc.utah.edu>
> To: transhuman@logrus.org
> Subject: >H Credibility

> Transhuman Mailing List
> As a budding bioengineer at a respected university institution, I am
> wondering how scientists interested in developing the devices (ie.
> various neuroprosthetics) you speak of, gain credibility amoung
> colleages.
> I have written several personal grant proposals for my research
> interests, and despite the very specific technical information I
> include,
> my claims are still considered somewhat dreamy. Are/have any fellow
> transhumanists developing/ed good PR methods for dealing with an
> acclaimed
> research university environment? What did Berger do to get such a
> fancy lab? Where are all the old eccentric millionaires?;-/ How do
> get around the fear that most people have(due to years of bad sci-fi)

> about brain implants and on to accepted development? Just more
> shows on TLC?
> HB


Yes, as a matter of fact I do have a small bit of insight on this, from
one of my earlier careers -- to wit, in the SETI (Search for
Extraterrestrial Intelligence) field, which has traditionally had
sorts of problems getting academic credibility and funding.
SETI found its "eccentric millionnaire" in the person of the late
Oliver (whose views I disagreed with professionally, but that is

I don't know where to find a neuroprosthetic Sugar Daddy. However, one
trick I found useful in pursuing my observational research was to
structure the proposal in such a way that an apparently normal,
conservative, academically "respectable" end was stated as the
objective of the research. You could then mention, almost as an
afterthought, your true objective (phrased in the dullest, most
phraseology possible) -- or not, depending on your audience.

One specific example I recall
was when a colleague and I wanted to use a large (e.g. ~48" optical)
telescope at a major national observatory to search for possible
artifacts of possible alien manufacture near the Earth-Moon Lagrangian
points. In our proposal, we made NO mention of alien objects -- we
stated that we would be searching for Earth-orbiting asteroids, a
perfectly "legitimate" (even academically kind of "sexy") objective.
there been any orbiting asteroids (or orbiting alien space probes) we
would have found them, so the research had two absolutely legitimate
objectives, one stated for the record, the other not. Our proposal
succeeded -- we got the observing time we asked for, and got a nice
little technical paper out of it.

Whether or not this same technique can or should be applied to
neurotechnology is your call, not mine. If you're trying to finagle an

entire laboratory you'll have to be a LOT more clever! I'm just
you what once worked for me, in a much more modest arena.

Robert A. Freitas Jr.

[[Robert Freitas posts on sci.nanotech