[N]anotechnology… draws together so many disparate fields, but [superlative futurologists] are quite wrong if you think that transhumanists have a monopoly on trying to see the big picture -- on the contrary, many nanoscientists spend a great deal of time reading the primary literature from these other fields and engaging with scientists from those fields in person. But the need to engage across many fields doesn't mean that engagement can be superficial or at second-hand. It's significant that you tell us that we should be looking at science websites and blogs. Indeed, these are the main sources for transhumanist oriented blogs like Nanodot and CRN. Valuable though sites like physorg.com are, the source of most of their stories are press releases, not the primary literature at all [emphasis added -- d]. You shouldn't need a rhetorician to tell you that if you want to find reliable sources in any area, press releases are the last place you should look; they've inevitably got something to sell, and they're written by people who certainly aren't experts in science. Add to this the tendency of people with strongly held beliefs about the future trajectory of science to select those stories which seem to them to support those beliefs and you have a recipe for a grossly distorted picture of what's actually happening in science.
Kurzweil (or, more probably, his research assistants) is himself a prime culprit in this sort of distortion. It's an interesting exercise to compare what "The Singularity is Near" says about some piece of research with what is actually contained in the research papers being cited -- for an example, see my analysis of his claims about brain scanning.
And, elsewhere in the Moot, he continues:
[T]o be a convincing generalist it isn't enough to have some superficial impression of large areas of science that you've picked up from popular science books and science reports; you do have to demonstrate to the specialists you interact with that you understand, perhaps not the technical details of their current work, but the basics of their field at the level, say, of a graduate in that area. So, as a physicist, I'm not going to be impressed by people who, say, don't understand the Carnot limit on heat engine efficiency, or how you do a normal mode analysis of vibrations in a solid, or who don't seem able actually to read and understand the papers they cite.
Of course, the place your line of argument is leading is to say that technical knowledge isn't important in deciding the plausibility of the claims of the transhumanists. In which case, it's not a scientist that we need to examine the claims, but someone trained in critically dissecting the hidden assumptions underlying these arguments. Over to you again, Dale.