Re: Heresy

Date: Wed Aug 08 2001 - 12:46:48 MDT

From: Aina & Bones

Anders Sandberg wrote:

> Actually, I think there is a point in answering these
> questions, even if many of them clearly were biased to
> showing how bad and evil extropians could be or were based
> on misunderstandings. Because if these issues are raised
> on this list, then they are definitely raised by outsiders
> coming across extropianism too. And we better have answers
> to them - in addition to cleaning up in front of our own
> door.

The types of questions Bones posted are very similar to the many questions I am asked by folks interested in our ideas, and especially by journalists. They are not new questions, but the questions that have somehow permeated the meme-pool. I think I can probably put a finger on how the inaccurate and misconstrued information got started some years ago, but I'd rather focus on dealing with these issues today.

These questions are usually asked by individuals who have read something about extropians, such as Eric Davis's inaccurate writings, or a few articles by yellow-dog journalists who invest their writing skills on sensationalism rather than taking the time to write an in-depth article about the ideas.

The best way to break this misconception is to say, "No, it is not a religion, it is a philosophy." If someone thinks extropians dislike humanity, than we tell him or her why we care about humanity. If someone says that we are folks who want to live forever based on breathing fresh air, we say no and tell them that we are highly supportive of extreme life extension and provide reasons why and the sciences and technologies that support such ideas.

I just conducted an interview with a Brazilian journalist who is writing a feature story. One-quarter of the way into the interview he said, "Isn't extropy a religion?" Thanks to folks like Eric Davis and the LA Weekly journalist who implied religious leanings, (and a number of articles many years about a cult by some Silicon Valley folks); we now have to spend our time debunking the mistakes.

>First: I apologize to those whom I may have offended by submitting
those questions in the way that I did. The reason I did this was to
see how many and who would respond in a mature and intellectual manner
when their beliefs and aspirations were subjected to the indignity of
such questions.<

It might have been more direct just to ask. I didn't believe that you could have been on this list for so long and then ask the questions that you did. This is what was off-putting. What is essential is the more we answer these questions, the better we become at dealing with opposition or antagonism. Thanks for giving us practice.

>Second: The questions themselves do not represent my attitude toward
transhumanists or Extropians nor had they anything to do with Damien
Broderick's book. I had read a posting of his and followed a link
concerning his book at the time so that got referred to.<

You could have been more daring and asked the questions directly.

>The posting I sent in represents those fears, questions and criticisms
I have most often encountered on the internet whilst searching out
info on the subject. I think that it is important to answer these
questions because they are out there creating resistance and should be
dealt with.<

A few weeks ago I sent out a post asking what comments/questions people have been asked about extropians or transhumanists. You could have responded to that post.

>I apologize for the deception.<

Thank you Bones. This is a sure sign of intelligence! -:)


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