Re: [isml] Re: Scientists outflanked and outgunned in cloning debate(fwd)

From: Russell Blackford (
Date: Fri Aug 03 2001 - 18:45:19 MDT

>Beware extropians, they will come for the AIs, and then the transhumans
>next. Anything smacking of technology and the "artificial", especially of
>things once "natural", will surely catch their attention.

Absolutely true.

The question is what do we do about it? I await the attitude of the US
Senate to the proposed theocratic anti-cloning law. I am not optimistic.
Locally, I await a government report that is supposed to be coming out any
day now making recommendations to the Australian legislature on cloning and
stem cell research. There's a strong theocratic element on the committee
doing this report.

However, it's not just cloning. We've already entered the "singularity
shadow", folks, the time when the prospect of transhuman technologies - the
shadow of the looming Spike ahead - causes intellectual ferment and
political opposition. We've got to play our part in this ferment. At the
moment, we're being overwhelmed by various kinds of neo-Luddite memes.

I can't think of much to do at the moment except, from a personal viewpoint,
become as embroiled in the issues as I can in the public debate, using
resources such as this list to help me, and to encourage others to do
likewise (and offer my help!). Oh, and try to be/sound *very* reasonable.
Some of the anti-tech arguments will not simply be theocratic bullshit and
will make sense. We need to deal with this patiently.

If we want really long lives, possible immortality, etc, we've got to be
prepared to get through several decades of strife (we can't depend on
optimistic scenarios). For the over 40s on the list (like me) that alone
will be a challenge. We need a lot of reasonable-sounding transhumanist
public intellectuals to get on stream fast to contest the views of the
neo-Luddites. Oh, and I think we also need (perhaps moreso) transhumanist
artists (Natasha, Miriam...), rock bands (Emlyn...), fiction writers (well,
take a bow Damien, but you're also just about our best public intellectual)
and on and on to get the memes out in a popular way. We need people putting
forward our viewpoint in the academies. We need people who can reconcile
transhumanism with the views of those who have "spiritual" yearnings, while
sounding (again) very calm and reasonable (Samantha?). Go for it, guys - all
of you on the list who can afford time from the actual AI etc work.

I know you're all doing this stuff already (aren't you?). This is just a pep
talk (and a restatement of my standing offer to help, and an acknowledgment
of the excellent help that I've found is available here).

(It'd be nice if this list didn't seem so extreme in its political
philosophies - which would repel most intellectuals and get us offside
before we even start the social debate. But so be it, I'm not asking anyone
to be a hypocrite.)

Live long! Live free! Ascend!

Russell (trying to pump himself up a bit here <g>)

Get your FREE download of MSN Explorer at

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Fri Oct 12 2001 - 14:40:01 MDT