X-Message-Number: 23325
Date: Mon, 26 Jan 2004 17:24:24 -0800
From: "John Grigg" <>
Subject: Upcoming Extropy Institute 2004 Summit 

Hello everyone,

Natasha Vita-More, the new Extropy Institute president, is launching a major 
effort to educate and empower immortalists who desire to successfully engage the
forces planning to limit biotechnological research and implementation.

As an official summit promoter I would ask anyone reading this to seriously 
consider not only taking part but giving a donation if possible.

Thank you,

John Grigg

The following is taken from http://www.extropy.org/ website:

Extropy Institute Announces the upcoming 2004 Summit
Summit 2004   
Vital Progress "VP" Summit mid-February on the Net.

Recent and accelerating scientific advances may have you excited about extropic 
goals of extended life, heightened intelligence, and so on. But hold on! The 
forces of reaction are surging and we need to respond now. Extropy Institute is 
well into the planning process for the upcoming Vital Progress Summit, set for 
February 2004. Below, we explain why this Summit is needed so urgently, how it 
will work, what we aim to accomplish, and who we expect to participate.  

The Summit is ExI's proactive response to three disturbing pivotal developments:
Beyond Therapy - the report of the US President's Council on Bioethics headed 
by arch-bioconservative and neophobe Leon Kass (and including avowed 
anti-posthuman Francis Fukuyama); The New Atlantis publication - a high-powered 
rallying point for the neo-Luddites; and the Precautionary Principle - a idea 
being adopted by a diverse array of interest groups devoted to blocking the 
fundamental technological advances crucial to our survival and to our extropic 
goals of overcoming human limits. 

The Surging Threat to Positive Advancement for Humans

Throughout history the forces of advancement have struggled against the 
reactionary forces of stasis. Europe suffered a thousand years of zero progress 
during the Dark Ages. The Renaissance and Enlightenment finally broke through 
that grim era. We transhumanists are the heirs to the Enlightenment values of 
perpetual progress for humanity based in science and creativity. Recent years 
have seen numerous developments that are showing the culture at large the 
realism of our extropic goals of extended healthy life, enhanced intelligence, 
refined emotions, and the ever-extending ability to take control of our form and
fate. But now we face an unprecedented convergence of groups intent on using 
direct action and global legislation to halt humanity's progress.

One of the most remarkable and worrying developments is the presidential-level 
bioethics council. This council, led by Leon Kass (once an opponent of in vitro 
fertilization) has published a report, Beyond Therapy that takes very seriously 
issues at the core of our extropic values and goals. From the preface to the 

"In keeping with our mission, we have undertaken an inquiry into the potential 
implications of using biotechnology "beyond therapy," in order to try to satisfy
deep and familiar human desires: for better children, superior performance, 
ageless bodies, and happy souls. Such uses of biotechnology, some of which are 
now possible and some of which may become possible in the future, are likely to 
present us with profound and highly consequential ethical challenges and 
choices. They may play a crucial role in shaping human experience in the 
fast-approaching age of biotechnology." 

Backing Kass's council of intellectual clones, marching to the same anti-biotech
beat, are other numerous and organized voices. Their favored watering hole - 
the forum that gathers and disseminates their fulminations of fear and faith is 
The New Atlantis. Appropriately named after the Platonic fantasy of a perfect 
unchanging society now lost to the world, this publication aims to shape "the 
nation's moral and political understanding of all areas of technology" in a way 
deadly to extropic ideals and aspirations. Many other groups are getting in on 
the act through the vehicle of the sensible-sounding Precautionary Principle. 
This principle cripples technological progress by requiring every technological 
innovation to clear the impossible hurdle of absolutely proving total safety. It
unites extreme environmentalists, anti-capitalists, scare-mongers, biological 
fundamentalists, enemies of modern civilization, and Luddites of all stripes.

About the "VP" Summit

To counter Kass and his Council, The New Atlantis, and the seductive 
Precautionary Principle, Extropy Institute has initiated a Summit in several 
phases. The first phase will take place in mid-late February. This 
collaborative, multi-disciplinary online event will bring together not only all 
kinds of transhumanists and future- friendly folks, but also advocacy groups 
such as the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation who need advanced biotech 
research to fix devastating biological problems. As Reeve has said, "I never 
thought politics would get in the way of hope."

The Vital Progress Summit aims to achieve real, practical results. These will 
come in stages as the project progresses, but early deliverables expected from 
the February summit include a pithy response to the Precautionary Principle, a 
policy and values statement to counter Beyond Therapy, and a comprehensive 
collection of links to pro-advancement groups, journalists, publications, and 
educational groups. 

The Vital Progress Summit fits perfectly with and realizes Extropy Institute's 
mission. The February Summit will see the start of a continuing effort to build 
a broad alliance sharing the goal of the continued progress of fundamental 
knowledge of the human condition and how to modify it for the better. We can 
counter the bioconservatives by catalyzing the development of a "party of life".

You'll find more details of the workings of the Summit in the next update just a
week from now. The core of the two-week online event will be a focused blog by 
invited keynote bloggers. Others will be able to participate in related forums 
and by commenting on the blog-project work as well as by helping develop 
associated resources.

Your participation in the Summit is essential.  Your voice, your comments, your 
ideas are needed!  Join the Summit here and help us achieve our goals by 
donating $15.00.

Toward increased knowledge!

Extropy Institute

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