In response to Anders:
I think that the bubble of pseudo-science can be popped. Carl Sagan managed to investigate and cut through, and left quite a reference of material from which to draw. If someone who levitates wants to debate his belief in levitation with me, I'd probably first decide if it is a conversation I'd like to take on. Not all battles are worth waging.
It is not my strategy to attempt to influence anyone who is vested in his beliefs, but to influence by way of example. Newagers are interested in life extension (heaven, reincarnation, etc.), and happiness (the god within) and diet (vegetarians, or at least conscious of diet). If a newager with whom I come in contact recognizes in me a sense of well being - health and happiness - then he would probably want to know what my secret is. At this point, I would introduce a few ideas. Timing is important.
I've had a lot of experience dealing with newagers either in Telluride, or here in LA - the "center for newagers." Many of my friends are newagers or have mystical beliefs. Over the years, they have come around more and more; and over the years I have noticed an appreciation from them for my work. At my most recent party, two friends who have never shown interest in transhuman ideas before, were talking about cryonics and a transhuman Utopia. Why? Because they felt safe in my home in an inviting and hospitable environment they could relax in.
>The moral outrages are especially revealing since they show how
>far we have come and can make people think about their own views: are
>they any less silly and conservative.
Yes. The idea is to get people to think critically, and this can be a dilemma when one's moral issues are at stake. For us, values are flexible. Form most people, values are cemented in their history. Which brings the ingredient of understanding, humor and common ground which can take off an edginess.
Natasha Vita More [fka Nancie Clark]: www.natasha.cc Transhumanist Art Centre - Home of Extropic Art: www.extropic-art.com **NEW** Transhuman Culture InfoMark: www.transhuman.org PRESS RELEASE: "We are transhumans ..." Meme Orbits Saturn in 2004!
"The best defense is an aesthetic offense."