Sunday, January 18, 2009

More poop

My favorite opponent has commented on my In space nobody will have to poop post, both here and on his own blog. In his post Cyborg Angels Live Forever and Never Ever Have to Poop he has awarded me the title of High Pristine Yes!Tronic Pontifex of the Order of Cosmic Engineers, which I graciously accept (more on Yes!Tronism later). Another post with a long, boring and meaningless title includes a letter of insults personally addressed to me in the comments, with all the straw-man "arguments" and false accusations that I expected (the author has grudgingly corrected some of his most evidently false statements).

A more recent post on WingnutTrons Demand Their Place in the Futurological Sun is, as much as I hate having to admit it, a masterpiece of comic writing. I have been laughing ten minutes non stop, and sometimes I still laugh. Dale, why must you waste your talent on hate pieces? According to this piece, Transhumanism Robot Cultism is divided in three main camps: The HumanityPlusTron sect, represented by the late lamented WTA now renamed Humanity+; the Yes!Tron sect, represented by the Order of Cosmic Engineers "and comparable kooks who say "oh my YES!" to full-throated Rapture of the Nerds superlativity and who are having no truck at all with the moderation and political correctness of the HumanityPlusTronic sect"; and the WingnutTron sect, represented by "unapologetic retro-futurists and libertopians in full on movement-conservative Obama-epoch panic". I think I will try to persuade Dale to join our Robot Cult: his talent should really be used for something worthy.

In the comment thread of one of these articles a reader has suggested that, perhaps, he should make a little effort every now and then to formulate his "superlativity critique" in a less jerky and more constructive way. But he disagrees: "To adapt the critique to ameliorate the distress of these readers makes less sense than it might seem to do, since I think the necessary adaptations (pitching the critique at a different level of generality, approving their preferred frames, including within the sphere of the non-problematic a host of actually quite marginal and "speculative" claims which fail to pass muster in consensus discourses but which they declare to be straightforwardly "factual" and "technical" and so on) would blunt the force of the critique on its own terms into near irrelevance."

Translating this in early 21st century English: he will not start offering serious arguments instead of personal insults, and he thinks the necessary adaptations (discussing engineering issues in engineering terms, acknowledging scientific facts and the opinions of many respected scientists defined by The Times as "some of the world’s finest minds", and so on) would blunt the force of the critique on its own terms into near irrelevance. Well, I can certainly agree on this last point.

In another post he expresses astonishment and indignation at the outrageous fact that others may dare to disagree with him. Well, I can only reply by quoting his own last statement: "I guess, "okay," will have to suffice for now.".