I'm starting my "research"

I'm starting my "research"

Joined: October 6th, 2004, 6:46 pm

September 1st, 2009, 8:03 pm #1

So, in trying to self-answer some of my cryonics questions, I turn to the Alcor site and I just find myself arguing with the arguments they have for the arguments against cryonics. For instance:


"Myth 1: Cryonics is consumer fraud.
Some people believe that cryonics is a scam intended to separate grieving families from their money. The reality is that Alcor is operated by people who sincerely believe in the worth of cryonics, and who want cryonics available for themselves, people they care about, and the world in general... The history of cryonics is full of individuals who made great sacrifices for the benefit of the field..."

Sincerity and dedication alone certainly do not protect anyone from fraud: I'm sure Bernie Madoff was quite sincere and believed strongly in his actions, as did Hitler.


"Myth 2: Cryonics freezes people.
The current technology favored by Alcor is vitrification, not freezing."

Isn't this really splitting hairs, using another word that means freezing? Freezing is defined as "The change in state of a substance from liquid to solid by cooling to a critically low temperature". I realize vitrification is a specialized and superior freezing process, but its still freezing.


"Myth 3: Cryonics preserves dead people.
The purpose of cryonics is to save the lives of living people, not inter the bodies of dead people."

Only cryonics believers could argue these people aren't dead. While I'll agree they may have a chance for a future life, they're pretty much actually and scientifically dead, beyond any doubt to anyone else.


And my favorite:

"Despite these uncertainties, the United States enjoys a strong cultural tradition to honor the wishes of terminal patients."

Right. Tell that to TW when you see him.

Gee, and I've only started reading this stuff after years... Its really hard to dig the facts out of, for instance, the Alcor site from the hype and sales pitches.

Sorry.


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Joined: January 25th, 2007, 2:45 pm

September 1st, 2009, 8:43 pm #2

"Sincerity and dedication alone certainly do not protect anyone from fraud: I'm sure Bernie Madoff was quite sincere and believed strongly in his actions, as did Hitler."

Actually, fraud by definition requires intentional deception. So any sincerity would, by necessity, rule out fraud as it is usually understood. Bernie Madoff was running a Ponzi scheme, so he knew exactly what he was doing. There was never any intention to make anyone but himself a profit. As for Hitler, well, that comparison doesn't really deserve comment.

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Joined: October 6th, 2004, 6:46 pm

September 1st, 2009, 9:43 pm #3

I guess that's how the TV evangelists sleep at night...
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Joined: October 6th, 2004, 6:46 pm

September 2nd, 2009, 4:25 am #4

"We may be wrong, but we are not insincere and certainly not dishonest."

Another anti-fraud guarantee?
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Joined: May 17th, 2009, 5:13 pm

September 2nd, 2009, 5:07 am #5

Cryonicists have always been humble about the possibility that their strategy might not work on technical grounds. Unfortunately people often mistake this kind of humility for weakness on moral issues, which is entirely unrelated.

There is absolutely no moral weakness for cryonics -- black and white, it is the right thing to do under the circumstances. Think about it. A reasonable chance for preserving a human life. How can that be a bad thing? How can not doing it be a good, or even remotely acceptable thing? And yet people constantly trot out all kinds of tired old arguments against this that they'd never dream of using against a cancer patient or a baby with a life-threatening illness.

It's a shame not everything can be as black-and-white morally good as cryonics is. Why is this point lost on so many people?
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Joined: May 17th, 2009, 5:13 pm

September 2nd, 2009, 5:32 am #6

So, in trying to self-answer some of my cryonics questions, I turn to the Alcor site and I just find myself arguing with the arguments they have for the arguments against cryonics. For instance:


"Myth 1: Cryonics is consumer fraud.
Some people believe that cryonics is a scam intended to separate grieving families from their money. The reality is that Alcor is operated by people who sincerely believe in the worth of cryonics, and who want cryonics available for themselves, people they care about, and the world in general... The history of cryonics is full of individuals who made great sacrifices for the benefit of the field..."

Sincerity and dedication alone certainly do not protect anyone from fraud: I'm sure Bernie Madoff was quite sincere and believed strongly in his actions, as did Hitler.


"Myth 2: Cryonics freezes people.
The current technology favored by Alcor is vitrification, not freezing."

Isn't this really splitting hairs, using another word that means freezing? Freezing is defined as "The change in state of a substance from liquid to solid by cooling to a critically low temperature". I realize vitrification is a specialized and superior freezing process, but its still freezing.


"Myth 3: Cryonics preserves dead people.
The purpose of cryonics is to save the lives of living people, not inter the bodies of dead people."

Only cryonics believers could argue these people aren't dead. While I'll agree they may have a chance for a future life, they're pretty much actually and scientifically dead, beyond any doubt to anyone else.


And my favorite:

"Despite these uncertainties, the United States enjoys a strong cultural tradition to honor the wishes of terminal patients."

Right. Tell that to TW when you see him.

Gee, and I've only started reading this stuff after years... Its really hard to dig the facts out of, for instance, the Alcor site from the hype and sales pitches.

Sorry.

"Isn't this really splitting hairs, using another word that means freezing? Freezing is defined as "The change in state of a substance from liquid to solid by cooling to a critically low temperature". I realize vitrification is a specialized and superior freezing process, but its still freezing."

Since a vitrified substance (i.e. a glass) is still technically a liquid, it isn't technically freezing. I do get the point that it is a distinction lost on most people, since a glass behaves like a solid in many ways. It's a case where technical definitions and common-sense definitions are not identical.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glass

"Only cryonics believers could argue these people aren't dead. While I'll agree they may have a chance for a future life, they're pretty much actually and scientifically dead, beyond any doubt to anyone else."

Is death a scientific term? I don't think it is. It is a cultural term. Culturally speaking, I'd rather not be considered dead when I am merely temporarily unconscious. I don't think anyone would. There's something dehumanizing (in the minds of other humans) about being considered dead, even on an allegedly temporary basis. The temporarily dead are written as mindless or soulless animals in a large number of books and movies of our culture. This is not a stigma I would want attached to me if I were to fall unconscious for hundreds of years.
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Joined: October 2nd, 2004, 8:27 pm

September 2nd, 2009, 6:12 am #7

Didn't turn out that way tho.

In the real world, we have legal requirements to satisfy on death; i.e., whatever it takes to get a person authorized by any given state's law to pronounce "death". Then and only then, in most legal jurisdictions, can a cryonics standby team take over and do their work.

It may well be a stretch beyond that arbitrary and unscientific (only a legal) distinction, that defines true "death" in terms of our identities plus memories being no longer recoverable again. If anyone thinks they know how that is defined (and I don't mean religious and philosophical nuts) I would applaud the input.

Thanks, Luke, for reminding us of this.

FD
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Joined: October 6th, 2004, 6:46 pm

September 2nd, 2009, 2:54 pm #8

Cryonicists have always been humble about the possibility that their strategy might not work on technical grounds. Unfortunately people often mistake this kind of humility for weakness on moral issues, which is entirely unrelated.

There is absolutely no moral weakness for cryonics -- black and white, it is the right thing to do under the circumstances. Think about it. A reasonable chance for preserving a human life. How can that be a bad thing? How can not doing it be a good, or even remotely acceptable thing? And yet people constantly trot out all kinds of tired old arguments against this that they'd never dream of using against a cancer patient or a baby with a life-threatening illness.

It's a shame not everything can be as black-and-white morally good as cryonics is. Why is this point lost on so many people?
I'm not so sure that's so true.

The more I read, the more some of the behavior of cryonics practitioners becomes questionable.

I'm not sure an unwavering belief is an excuse for incompetent treatment of patients. You can read about that here every day.

I guess the argument that we'll never know if it will work is a good rationale for accepting less than professional procedures. And leave it all for future science and medicine to sort out the mess? Who will pay for that?

Come on. Right now I believe we all have as much chance of being resurrected to the right hand of Jesus as anyone does to come back from the deep freeze.

I'm all for science, I'm all for the concept of cryonics. I'm all for people being frozen if that's what they want for their remains. I'm just not sure its going to happen at the hands of well-funded, self-taught amateurs playing "doctor" taking people's heads off.

I look at the pictures on the web sites. Just because you dress the participants up in surgical garb doesn't mean they suddenly know what they're doing.

What really baffles me is that the members signed up for cryonics aren't storming the dewars with pitchforks and torches demanding the high-quality, professional scientific/medical care they're paying lots of money for!
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Joined: April 30th, 2006, 1:38 am

September 2nd, 2009, 3:18 pm #9

That was very well-said!
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Joined: October 6th, 2004, 6:46 pm

September 2nd, 2009, 5:34 pm #10

Didn't turn out that way tho.

In the real world, we have legal requirements to satisfy on death; i.e., whatever it takes to get a person authorized by any given state's law to pronounce "death". Then and only then, in most legal jurisdictions, can a cryonics standby team take over and do their work.

It may well be a stretch beyond that arbitrary and unscientific (only a legal) distinction, that defines true "death" in terms of our identities plus memories being no longer recoverable again. If anyone thinks they know how that is defined (and I don't mean religious and philosophical nuts) I would applaud the input.

Thanks, Luke, for reminding us of this.

FD
"and I don't mean religious and philosophical nuts"

As opposed to other forms of true believer "nuts".

I guess the true recognition of a nut is determined by which side of the shell you're on...
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