Re: META: List Topics

Dan Clemmensen (
Tue, 22 Jul 1997 22:41:16 -0400

Hagbard Celine wrote:
> Dan Clemmensen wrote:
> > The Extropian is IMO dedicated to the advancement of humanity, that
> > is to the idea of improvement. Pseudo-science is a serious diversion,
> > in several ways. It's perfectly acceptable to invoke new physics,
> > but you must do so explicitly. Otherwise, you are simply exploring
> > an alternate universe that has no relationship to the improvement
> > of humanity.
> My first experience with transhuman technology came out of reading
> science fiction. Naturally, when I finally encountered people who were
> actively pursuing these technologies, I had no choice but to be excited.
> Sometimes, when reading the posts of Carl Feynman, Anders Sandberg, and
> the other highly credible scientific minds on this list, I still feel
> like I'm reading SF -- future-things desirable and unfathomable at the
> same time.
I've been reading science fiction for most of my life. I read more SF
all other categories combined, and I read a lot. the family budget for
exceeds $200/month. Good science fiction is characterized by careful
treatment of science: the author knows that you cannot go FTL unless
you invoke a new law of physics. An SF book in which the earth's poles
moved abruptly would be dismissed by the entire SF community, with
scathing reviews, unless it included a reasonable description of a
mechanism to account for the angular momentum and the absence of
catastropic vulcanism.

One great thing about science fiction is that it's a very enjoyable
way to learn a lot of science. I'm no more willing to read SF
with bogus science in it than I am to read posts on this list with
bogus science in them. I am, however, more than willing to discuss
the relevant real science, including questions from participants whose
scientific education is incomplete, when an Extropian topic
warrants it (which is often.) I'm weak in chemistry, and I've been
asking for help on this list about the use of a STM to hook
adamantine building bloks together.

This will be my last post on this META topic, which is now beginning
to clutter the list. I'll shift to private e-mail if needed.