Drexler Debunked? And Auschwitz, too.

from the bad-signal-to-noise-ratio dept.
MarkGubrud writes of his encouter with Lyle Burkhead's "geniebusters" site: "From a post to the Mind-X bulletin board at Ray Kurzweil's splashy new website, we learn of the existence of an actual "critique" of the idea of nanotechnology, specifically as described by Drexler and followers of his ideas. Since the absence in the literature of any scholarly papers examining Nanosystems or other published scholarly work on the theory of assembler-based nanotech stands in glaring contrast to the offhand dismissal of this body of work by some famous scientists and science journalists, I was eager to have a look at this putative coup de grace, at www.geniebusters.org.

"I find that this website makes a number of interesting points, but fails to support its overall position, which is an aggressive denunciation of Eric Drexler's Engines of Creation and the idea of assembler-based nanotechnology."

Editor's Note: Burkhead's site has been up on the web for some time (well over a year), but his "critique" hasn't generated much interest. Read more from Mark Gubrud's comments to see why . . .

Mark Gubrud writes:

"Mr. Burkhead demonstrates his familiarity with the ideas and claims of strong nanotechnology, asserting forcibly that the main thesis is "an illusion."

However, although he identifies a number of technical issues, which suggest limitations and costs to be expected, he offers nothing more than his vociferously stated judgement that these issues are going to prove fatal to the Drexlerian project.

Burkhead never calculates a number, or addresses any weakness in the calculations presented by Drexler in Nanosystems and by other assembler theorists in journals such as Nanotechnology, but only invokes "common sense" in asking whether strong nanotechnology sounds plausible, given that it would not be like the world we have known until now.

If one follows the website far enough down its meandering byways of numbered and unnumbered pages, one discovers that Mr. Burkhead is apparently a Holocaust denier (well a gas-chamber denier, anyway, as he would evidently correct me with a considerable grievance) and a self-described admirer of Nazi Germany as a model for "transhumanism", as well as a white-power racist."

You can also find quite of bit of commentary on Burkhead's site by viewing it via crit.org

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