Re: The Problem with Futurism
Sat, 10 Oct 1998 10:09:54 EDT

In a message dated 98-09-29 12:13:47 EDT, Robin Hanson wrote:

> >I would amend that to say that most proponents of progress are not fondly
> >revised by present day historians. Since most present day historians are
> >the luddite/crunchy/left persuasion, ...
> I'd bet that if a widely respected Extropian like Hal Finney or Carl
> were to look at a random sampling of people labeled "kooks" by their
> contemporaries in the last 500 years, they'd conclude most of these "kooks"
> really were, in Hal's or Carl's favored sense of the word. Sure among
> millions were people advocating stuff we like, but what fraction of "kooks"
> was that? And how many of the "kooks" advocating stuff we like had good
> arguments for their positions?

This point is made very well in the book I'm currently reading, "Why People Believe Weird Things" by Michael Shermer (one of the founders of Skeptic magazine). Pseudoscience advocates often make the argument that "they laughed at Galileo" as some kind of support for whatever brand of BS they happen to be peddling. Shermer does a good job of showing how this rhetorical device has zero logical value.

 	Greg Burch     <>----<>
	   Attorney  :::  Director, Extropy Institute  :::  Wilderness Guide   -or-
	           "Good ideas are not adopted automatically.  They must
	              be driven into practice with courageous impatience." 
                                    -- Admiral Hyman Rickover