Re: Berkeleyans Against "Techno-Eugenics"

Michael S. Lorrey (
Tue, 05 Oct 1999 01:04:29 -0400

"Eliezer S. Yudkowsky" wrote:
> Chris Fedeli wrote:
> >
> > I want to alert you to a nascent movement originating here in
> > Berkeley opposed to "Techno-eugenics'" i.e. human germ-line engineering
> > with the intent of producing super-people, which presents some very
> > serious threats to the future of humanity, social equality and the
> > like.. The technology is movign forward quite quiickly, with little
> > public awareness.
> I would also agree that human genetic engineering poses a serious threat
> - to public relations; it's too slow to become a serious problem in its
> own right. Eugenics, especially, poses a problem - I don't even
> consider it Extropian; it doesn't respect the defining quality of
> ultratechnology, which is that ultratechnology requires pushing buttons.
> But it's become something of a curse-word, in this century, and for
> good reason - we should oppose an attempt to extend it to transhumanism
> in general.

You aren't getting the point. The propagandistic seeds are being sown for the conflict of the next century. By painting transhumanists as the inheritors of the Nazi mantle, we are already being demonized, being prepared to be persecuted by the majority when these technologies come to fruition, just in order to convice the people that such technologies can only be trusted in the hands of governments, that irresponsible and 'bigoted' individuals like us are a threat to the public.

> But I would strongly advise that we all watch these people for a while
> before attempting to convert them, or even asking them about positions
> on, say, neurohacking. Some of their list charter implies that these
> people are technophobes, or at least less sane than the attempted image
> of justifiably concerned technophiles would imply. Of course, there
> *is* in fact a small group trying to promote a transhuman, if not
> techno-eugenic, future... but just because they're out to get you
> doesn't mean you're not paranoid.

I'm not sure these people can be converted. To fear something enough to become an activist against it indicates a significant pre-existing phobia, perhaps an association to the Holocaust combined with an environmental extremism and Kazinski-like technophobia. To properly combat these people you need to counter them with your own propaganda, like making posters of Ted Kazinski and the Ayatollah Khomeni with the techno-phobes organization and slogans on people will label them as the nutjobs they are.

Mike Lorrey