Re: Sorry

From: Greg Burch (
Date: Wed Jul 11 2001 - 06:30:04 MDT

As I mentioned in another message a moment ago, I've been able to devote
very little time to correspondence of any kind in the weeks since Extro5, so
I've only been skimming the list very quickly. It was with some
considerable unhappiness that I read about the very unfriendly message "LB"
received regarding her posts to the list. For the record, I fully endorse
E.Shaun's message (quoted below in its entirety for the record and for the
cc to LB I send with this post -- my own brief comments follow):

----- Original Message -----
From: "E. Shaun Russell" <>
To: <>
Sent: Tuesday, July 10, 2001 3:54 PM
Subject: Re: Sorry

> You wrote:
> >I hadn't realized I would cause so much trouble and I
> >apologize, sincerely and profusely. I will do as asked
> >and leave. I am, again, very sorry and hope I haven't
> >hurt or offended anyone. I am sorry to go, and have
> >enjoyed the intelligent and witty people you all are.
> >I am sure there is a list out there for me.
> Congratulations to those of you who just chased another person off of the
> extropians list. Perhaps, if you're lucky, we'll wind up with only a few
> dozen with exact same ideas on everything. That would be wonderful,
> wouldn't it?
> Frankly, I'm tired of seeing this happen. True, it isn't often as
> as this case, but I have been privy to seeing plenty of unsubscriptions
> after unnecessary verbal attacks. And why is it...just because someone
> a few disagreements with one aspect of your worldview?
> Personally, I have an opinion on virtually every thread on this list, but
> try not to share those opinions unless I feel they add something to the
> discussion as a whole --usually they do not. Unfortunately, I don't have
> lot of workable ideas on changing the format of this list, or solutions to
> out and out rudeness. I will mention, like many before me however, that I
> find such behavior juvenile, unwarranted and disgusting, and most of all,
> unnecessary. This isn't the kind of behavior that will win us credibility
> on a public scale. Please keep that in mind before you start posting
> vehemence.

After my talk at Extro5, my own strong views on the role of "religion" in
history and culture cannot be a mystery. However, I think it is very
important to note two things. First, this is an open list and we welcome
courteous discussion of extropian ideas, values and goals from all
viewpoints. "Courteous" means that those who may have some disagreement
with the core ideas of transhumanism and extropianism or who wish to
question such things should express any such disagreement or inquiry in a
thoughtful, well-informed way and with respect for those who have populated
this list for longer than they have. I have seen nothing to indicate that
LB did anything but comply with such a standard of conduct. Accordingly, I
want to make it clear that any kind of off-list harassment of LB or any
other subscriber who observes these rules of etiquette is unwarranted and is
condemned by me personally and Extropy Institute, the list sponsor, as well.

Second, I offer some VERY brief thoughts on the subject of "religion" and
"spirituality". I am a philosophical "materialist" and personally reject
the notion of "supernatural" influences in the world. However, this does
not mean that I find nothing of value in the long cultural traditions of
"religion" or the rather vague set of ideas and values that often go under
the rubric of "spirituality". In fact, I have devoted a good deal of study
to both of these subjects and continue to do so. Someone (sorry, can't
recall who now -- perhaps it was LB herself in the thread that seems to have
prompted the rude message she received) noted that there are undertones of
"mysticism" or some such term in the transhumanist and extropian programs.
I understand this view and, in some important ways, feel it is true.
Looking forward to transcending the current human condition and valuing a
continuing pursuit of perfection and expansion of consciousness into the
universe is deeply resonant with many of the best "religious" and
"spiritual" goals and values one finds both in history and in the current
expression of those latter notions in the many varieties of human culture.
I have written about this myself, both in my musings on "the ethics of
godhood" and in other contexts. I think we would ignore this fact to our

LB, you are welcome on the list.

Greg Burch
Vice-President, Extropy Institute

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