RE: [Fwd: Claremont Institute Precepts: Planet of the Abes]

From: Harvey Newstrom (
Date: Wed Aug 08 2001 - 11:15:39 MDT

Mike Lorrey wrote,
> Harvey Newstrom wrote:
> >
> > Why is this stuff on the Extropians List?
> >
> > The Claremont Institute is not only a conservative
> organization, but it is
> > specifically a religious conservative organization.
> Why do you seem to always start off your denounciation of any post you
> disagree with by claiming that the website that is hosting the
> information is owned by some allegedly extreme right wing organization?

I don't always do this, but lately we seem to be swamped with reposts from
white supremacist organizations and religious organizations. These posts
seek to garner support for racial or religious views that are contrary to
science or Extropianism. The point above was not mean to imply that
conservatism is bad. My point was they are more than just conservative,
they are specifically religious. They are specifically trying to
reinterpret existing law and history to reshape the US into a Christian
nation. Given that context, their interpretations of the Constitution,
Lincoln's policies, and racial policies are based on their religious beliefs
and not any objective statements. Their concept of "natural law" is not the
libertarian version. They seek to impose their version of "God's Will" into
their interpretations of law, history and rights.

> While I agree with many of your points, Harvey, this is not a proper
> debating tactic, as you and others continually claim in response to some
> of my posts....

When I point this out, I am not attacking them because they are religious.
I am pointing out that their terms are nonstandard. I am pointing out that
their "facts" are mystically derived and not scientifically determined. I
am pointing out that their interpretations of documents are "divinely
guided" and not literally based on what was actually written. These are
valid criticisms of any proposed viewpoint. I do not say that Christians
are invalid. I say that their terms are nonstandard, their "facts" are not
scientific, and their interpretations more from their Bible than the
documents they are interpreting. These are valid criticisms.

> It seems to me that outside of a couple people asking the list for their
> opinions on outside information of this sort, the only people who are
> 'remaking' anything are those of a more liberal stripe who whip out the
> tar brush so rapidly any time someone says something they don't agree
> with.

The question was asked and answered. Lots of people gave their opinion on
these outside sources of opinion. I do not see liberals as refusing to
discuss or comment. I see many liberal responses. In contrast, it seems to
be the original posters of the information who are crying foul and do not
want to defend these views. They call the criticisms unfair and do not
respond to the criticism. In fact, most such postings end up being claimed
as "testing the boundaries" or "just thrown out for comment". The original
people say that they don't really believe all this stuff, they just
propagated it for no reason. As such, the discussion cannot go anywhere.

> There is a significant degree of conversation here recently about
> racism, trust, liberty, etc. where many people are genuinely interested
> in getting down to brass tacks about things. Practicing ostracism
> instead contributes nothing, and simply adds to the shrillness of the
> debate.

But no debate is possible without the scientific method. People who claim
secret knowledge with no source, religious inspiration, or guidance from
nature, do not present scientific theories which can be debated. They do
not use the scientific method. They do not have facts to test. These are
unfalsifiable positions which cannot be debated logically. They can only be
emotionally presented in a persuasive manner to make arbitrary decisions.
Real science experiments, test results, statistics on race, god and nature
would be on topic for this list. Mysticism, natural law, default rights,
natural order of things, morality, god's will and the like are not on topic
for this list.

> I am not interested in any way in making Extropy into a religion, a
> racist group, or a radical right wing movement, contrary to what some
> here claim. I am staunchly a libertarian, and natural law is very much a
> libertarian concept. I agree that claims by the right that natural law
> comes from God is NOT libertarian, and not Extropian either, but I did
> not see anything of this sort in the post that Harvey responded to
> either.

That's why I pulled in additional material from the website. I found the
posting to be deliberately misleading. When you read the background on the
website, which shows what they really mean by these terms, the article reads
a little differently. When you read the methods from the website, where
they use prayer and God's guidance to reinterpret historical documents the
way they were meant by God, the interpretations seem to be more suspect.
When you read the goals on the website that they want to deliberately
reinterpret documents in a new way, to change our understanding of them so
that they mean something different than they were formerly believed to mean,
the history provided in the article does not seem to be as accurate.

With this additional information, that they view "natural law" to mean
"God's law as presented in the Christian Bible", do you still think this is
on-topic for the Extropians list? Should we try to figure out how to apply
law to God's plan? Should we debate whether immigrations, interracial
dating, gays in the military violate God's law or not? Should we debate the
merits of their call to retake the US government and reinstitute God in His
rightful place as ruler of our nation? Although the article seemed
reasonable at first, it actually is trying to spread Theocracy memes for the
US government. As such, it seems to be off topic.

Harvey Newstrom <> <>

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