Re: Subject: The Transhuman well

Nicholas Bostrom (
Sat, 1 Nov 1997 14:58:51 +0000

Berrie Staring wrote:

> Tony wrote:
> > The 'Big Bang' stuff is unscientific, untestable, and arguably
> > physically impossible. A 'poisoned well.'
> Thanks !!
> I think this shows, why we need a guide or if you like a central
> point of information. I didn't know this stuff.

In my perception, the Big Bang theory is not at all unscientific. On
the contrary, it is mainstream physical cosmology. It is true that
some people (not only religious people) have disputed the evidence
for the big bang theory, but the same can be said about practically
every sceintific theory, and the received wisdom is that Big Bang
cosmology it is not only scientific, testable and physically
possible, but also very likely true, at least as an approximate
description of what happened to the observable part of the universe.

Tony also wrote:
>Logical positivism said: "You cannot disuss a universe you cannot
>observe. Thus, the univere is _defined_ as that which you can see
>-- i.e. a titchy one, around 5 000 light-years across."

I have never heard or read any logical positivist claiming this. And
I can't guess where the figure 5000 lyrs comes from: if we can be
said to see stars that are 5000 lyrs away, we can surely be said so
see galaxies that are many millions of lyrs away also.

Berrie wrote:
> But since "we" are dogma-free, it won't be a fixed bible. Instead it will
> be a dynamic text, that changes every "year ?"

The problem is not only that our views change, but also that we
disagree with each other about a lot of things. I'm not sure that
transhumanism needs a "bible", though it would surely be useful to
have anthologies of texts we regard as important, and to have good
introductions, overviews, history-primers, bibliographies,
dictionaries, and web resource pages, both for people new
to the field and for those who have been around for a while.

Nick Bostrom
London School of Economics
Department of Philosphy, Logic and Scientifc Method