[extropy-chat] Making differences

Anders Sandberg asa at nada.kth.se
Wed Dec 20 12:54:16 UTC 2006

Robert Bradbury wrote:
> Does any of the discussion on this thread (or the
> related threads) make any actual difference?  As Giu1i0 pointed out only
> 30
> people, presumably many on this list or related lists, attended Anders'
> discussion in Second Life on "raging against aging".  Presumably many of
> the
> participants have heard it all before at Extro III, Extro IV, etc.
> Recycled
> memes are not propagated memes.

Sure. Reflux distillation is useful for many chemical reactions. The
internal rehashing does polish arguments and sustain a worldview. Yes, it
can lead to groupthink and recycling too. The trick is to combine it with
external interaction.

One thing I think we should work much harder on is to set out our
arguments in writing, all the way from blog posts over dedicatred web
pages to journal articles. Why? Both because it makes them easier to refer
to and helps us refine them, but also because it makes them public and
enables outside groups to respond to them, leading to broader meme
changes. Any movement of ideas need a home base where an internal
discussion is going on, but also a vigorous intellectual interaction with
the rest of the world. This is also how to slowly but safely spread the
memes into the mainstream.

I just got sent some interesting papers about technoculture and religion
that shows that some theologicians are not just discussing transhumanism
but actually finding it almost "normal" and not even something to be
opposed to.  Who listens to theologicians? Other intellectuals - and some
of the priests they educate.

The trick to making a difference is to do something that affects other

Anders Sandberg,
Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics
Philosophy Faculty of Oxford University

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