Re: Psychadelic and other Garbage on Extropians
Tue, 22 Jul 1997 12:51:43 -0400 (EDT)

In a message dated 7/22/97 8:39:53 AM, wrote:

>What I find really disturbing about this discussion is that we are
>having it at all. Half the people posting here are, quite frankly,
>about as critical in their thinking as trepanned chihuahuas. This is
>not the Extropians list of yore, where polymaths gathered to swap
>INFORMED discussion.
>Danny (<>) and the rest are astounding to me. The
>amount of junk they can post ("earth's polarity is going to reverse!
>drugs are the way to observe other physical dimensions! 50 pounds of
>raw meat are lodged in your stomach RIGHT NOW!") doesn't seem to have
>much of a bound. Stuff that wouldn't make it past the bullshit
>detector of a kid with high school chemistry, biology and physics is
>posted as though it were something worth discussing.

OOH! OOH! I get to grind one of my favorite axes!

I agree the drek content has gone way up. I think some of this comes from
the Extropian commitment to dynamic "optimism". Really, I maintain the the
purpose of our brains is to figure out what is going on in the world, whether
that's good, bad, or indifferent. A positive attitude towards problems is
handy; but it's very possible to be too enthusiastic about ideas or
possibilities and ignore reality.

I've spent seven years of my life working for companies that made medical
devices. Both have ended up making relative failures. In both cases, the
prime problem was that the management was too optimistic and not realistic
enough. Both devices would have ended up much better if there had been some
hard-nosed attention to the devices' defects, because they were soluble. But
the people were so convinced they'd invented the greatest thing since sliced
bread nobody bothered to check.

Anyway, I see the same with the trepanned chihuahuas here. They get so
excited about some wierd idea like UFOs being extraterrestial aliens that
they forget that being cool doesn't equal being true. (Really, being true is
the best kind of cool anyway, but that's another story.)

It's not just UFOs, though. There's no more evidence for diamondoid nanotech
than for UFOs. Drexler and some others have raised the possibility and
addressed some simple issues like building gears; UFOlogists have raised the
possibility and addressed some simple issues like sheilding. While there
isn't much negative evidence against nanotech, there is some evidence against
ETs in the form of the Fermi paradox; but it's not overwhelming. And, after
all, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

I'd call myself a "dynamic realist". I really think that would be a better
term for Extropians, at least as it was when I got into it. Perhaps that
sort of name would discourage the trepanned chihuahuas a bit and encourage
the rest of us to at least wear hard helmets when we start acting that way.