Re: You can't prove a negative!

Anders Sandberg (
24 Jun 1999 18:30:58 +0200

"Lee Daniel Crocker" < (none)> writes:

> > I am getting really concerned by what passes for "logic" in these recent
> > discussions. Most of the arguments here lately seem to boil down to random
> > theories with no supporting evidence. When someone objects, the defense is
> > "you can't prove I'm not right." This is not logical, not scientific, and
> > not Extropian.
> There is also a place for boundless speculation, and I don't think
> this list is inapropriate for that. Certainly it's true that the
> tendency of humans to apply less scientific rigor to things we want
> to be true infects Extropians too, and where that manifests itself
> it should be pointed out. But not to the exclusion of the idle
> dreamers that give us something to think about.

There are degrees here. Obviously loose speculations about the singularity or how to cater the Far Edge Party belong here. But what about stuff like "I believe evolution is guided by Higher Intelligences from the astral plane"? It relates to the subject of the list (waguely) but represents a way of thinking that is really anathema to extropianism. Even worse, such fuzziness can hurt the image of transhumanist thinking as people join the list and are deluged with less-than-rational posts. This is even more important when it comes to transhumanist speculations; as a friend remarked, if an economist (even an openminded one) overheard a typical transhumanist discussion he would laugh off transhumanism as something naive with no grounding in reality.

As I see it, we should try to apply our best standards of thinking when posting here. We should strive to produce high quality posts, containing reasoning as good as we can achieve - that way we will both grow as thinkers, produce a more stimulating environment and nip the critic that transhumanism is just pie in the sky thinking in the bud.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
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