X-Message-Number: 1111
Date: Thu, 6 Aug 92 20:24:48 EDT
From:  (Perry E. Metzger)
Subject: CRYONICS Re: nanodebate

>From: Charles Platt <>

>Re the nanodebate between Perry M. and Keith L: I am only 
>just beginning to study and understand the Extropian mindset, 
>but am I right in thinking that one of its dominant 
>characteristics is impatience? Impatience with limitations, 
>for a start; plus impatience with the slow pace of change, 
>with conservatism generally, with the imperfections of human 
>biology, and of course impatience caused by the sense that 
>time is running out. I feel these forms of impatience myself 
>to some extent, but I see them write large on the face of 
>Extropianism. And as a result, perhaps the impatience 
>sometimes spills over onto *other people*, especially people 
>who place inconvenient little stumbling blocks on the path to 
>human transcendence. Is that the offense committed by Keith 
>L, which caused such a surprisingly terse, dismissive 
>response from Perry M?

I really didn't intend any hostility towards Keith; I merely felt he
hadn't substantiated a fairly big claim, which was that we would need
to go to LHe temperatures to do reconstruction work. I was not being
dismissive, although unfortunately electronic mail as a media tends to
distort and render more dramatic one's slant. I merely was soliciting
evidence for his position.

>If so, I can't help feeling that the 
>optimism advocated by Extropianism is akin to wishful 
>thinking, because there is no way around the endless boring 
>practical inconvenient annoying detail of MAKING THINGS WORK.

No one would argue otherwise.

>When our brains are encoded in silicon, or our blood is full 
>of nanomachines (which can't be soon enough for me!), I hope 
>no one thinks there will be less need for engineers such as 
>Keith. Just the opposite; there will be ten times as many 
>things to go wrong. Fortunately, we may hope that they are 
>easier to fix, with the right tools for the job. But that 
>very pertinent matter seemed to be the focus of Keith's 

I *AM* an engineer, Charles. I've got a fairly good notion of what
real design work is like. I was hardly hostile to Keith for suggesting
the job might be harder than previously suggested; I'd be the first
one to suggest that the problem is VERY HARD. I was slightly upset
that he made a very significant statement with lots of apparent
confidence without giving any good evidence, and that this statement
was in contradiction to what is generally believed. I'm a rationalist;
as such, I'm ready to discard any belief at almost any time; I've no
particular emotional stake in doing reconstruction work at 130 degrees
k or 77 degrees k instead of 4 degrees k; my complaint was merely that
I hadn't been given any evidence that would lead me to discard with my

In any case, the whole thing is in the nature of a family dispute; we
are not, I think, fundamentally hostile to each others positions,
merely having a dispute on a small point.


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