The "Cult-like" Mentality of Some Involved in Cryonics

The "Cult-like" Mentality of Some Involved in Cryonics

Joined: April 30th, 2006, 1:38 am

June 30th, 2009, 3:27 pm #1

This nonsense about the people working in cryonics whining about the "hostility" on this forum, and accusing people of being "angry" and/or "hateful," is nothing more than an attempt to cover up their gross inadequacies, in my opinion. They want cryonicist John Doe, to pick up the phone and call them, or send them a private email, because John Doe probably doesn't know anything about related existing hypothermic medical procedures, or the science of cryonics. They can tell him about things like SA's pig "experiments," (which I don't believe are legitimate scientific experiments, at all), or their design and fabrication projects, and he will "Ooooh," and "Ahhhhhh," and really think SA is accomplishing something, when all they are doing is attempting to teach laymen how to perform medical procedures that should be performed by experienced paramedics, and building ridiculously expensive, poor imitations of existing medical equipment. They also probably won't tell John Doe that the average SA employee earns significantly more than experienced paramedics and research scientists. They probably won't tell John Doe a lot of things.

I'm sure people like Bernie Madoff and Kenneth Lay, would have preferred private emails, from individuals questioning their activities, to public inquisitions. Funny, googling those two names, results in a link to that Anticult guy. He isn't accurate with everything he writes about cryonics, but I do believe he has something right, in regard to cults:

"Cults share three basic traits, according to Arnott. (1) They demand complete devotion of their followers, (2) they have a charismatic leader, and (3) they foster separation from the community."http://www.rickross.com/reference/gener ... al418.html

Make special note of "basic trait" number 3. People at SA and Alcor don't want to answer questions, publicly, they want you to call them, or email them. In my opinion, they do this because they want to "foster separation from the community," so that they convince unsuspecting individuals, that their organizations are more capable than they really are. Most of these people are not scientists, or medical professionals. They don't want to respond, in public, because a lot of what they write is easily recognizable as nonsense, by people with the proper educations and experience.
Last edited by melmax on June 30th, 2009, 3:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: August 9th, 2006, 2:07 am

December 10th, 2009, 11:58 am #2

The silence of cryonicists online has astonished me in light of your revelations of the way SA is conducted.
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Joined: January 25th, 2007, 2:45 pm

December 10th, 2009, 1:47 pm #3

This nonsense about the people working in cryonics whining about the "hostility" on this forum, and accusing people of being "angry" and/or "hateful," is nothing more than an attempt to cover up their gross inadequacies, in my opinion. They want cryonicist John Doe, to pick up the phone and call them, or send them a private email, because John Doe probably doesn't know anything about related existing hypothermic medical procedures, or the science of cryonics. They can tell him about things like SA's pig "experiments," (which I don't believe are legitimate scientific experiments, at all), or their design and fabrication projects, and he will "Ooooh," and "Ahhhhhh," and really think SA is accomplishing something, when all they are doing is attempting to teach laymen how to perform medical procedures that should be performed by experienced paramedics, and building ridiculously expensive, poor imitations of existing medical equipment. They also probably won't tell John Doe that the average SA employee earns significantly more than experienced paramedics and research scientists. They probably won't tell John Doe a lot of things.

I'm sure people like Bernie Madoff and Kenneth Lay, would have preferred private emails, from individuals questioning their activities, to public inquisitions. Funny, googling those two names, results in a link to that Anticult guy. He isn't accurate with everything he writes about cryonics, but I do believe he has something right, in regard to cults:

"Cults share three basic traits, according to Arnott. (1) They demand complete devotion of their followers, (2) they have a charismatic leader, and (3) they foster separation from the community."http://www.rickross.com/reference/gener ... al418.html

Make special note of "basic trait" number 3. People at SA and Alcor don't want to answer questions, publicly, they want you to call them, or email them. In my opinion, they do this because they want to "foster separation from the community," so that they convince unsuspecting individuals, that their organizations are more capable than they really are. Most of these people are not scientists, or medical professionals. They don't want to respond, in public, because a lot of what they write is easily recognizable as nonsense, by people with the proper educations and experience.
While I don't necessarily believe that all of the people in cryonics who discourage transparency do so for the reasons that you suggest, I do agree that the end result, regardless of intentions, is to make their organizations appear cult-like. As for charismatic leaders, I'm not aware of any.
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Joined: June 5th, 2009, 12:29 am

December 10th, 2009, 4:29 pm #4

"Cults share three basic traits, according to Arnott. (1) They demand complete devotion of their followers, (2) they have a charismatic leader, and (3) they foster separation from the community."
That's every church I've ever been to.
I thought these guys were a bunch of loners?
I'm getting confused with the name calling.
XD
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Joined: January 25th, 2007, 2:45 pm

December 10th, 2009, 4:45 pm #5

If the stereotypes are to be believed, cryonicists are a bunch of asocial loners and misanthropes, not exactly good material for tribalism. Actually, I'm not sure we can really say much at all about people who share nothing more than a desire to be cryopreserved. Except maybe that they all tend to be unconventional.
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Joined: August 9th, 2006, 2:07 am

December 10th, 2009, 7:35 pm #6

Follow the money in cryonics-- and there is money in cryonics-- for a select few. Forget the loners and look at what maxim is saying about SA and salaries for rups. Start there. Follow on through to the tribalism involved in the wealth preservation cult group at Alcor-- and list all the names associated with that.
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Joined: December 6th, 2009, 5:20 am

December 10th, 2009, 8:29 pm #7

This nonsense about the people working in cryonics whining about the "hostility" on this forum, and accusing people of being "angry" and/or "hateful," is nothing more than an attempt to cover up their gross inadequacies, in my opinion. They want cryonicist John Doe, to pick up the phone and call them, or send them a private email, because John Doe probably doesn't know anything about related existing hypothermic medical procedures, or the science of cryonics. They can tell him about things like SA's pig "experiments," (which I don't believe are legitimate scientific experiments, at all), or their design and fabrication projects, and he will "Ooooh," and "Ahhhhhh," and really think SA is accomplishing something, when all they are doing is attempting to teach laymen how to perform medical procedures that should be performed by experienced paramedics, and building ridiculously expensive, poor imitations of existing medical equipment. They also probably won't tell John Doe that the average SA employee earns significantly more than experienced paramedics and research scientists. They probably won't tell John Doe a lot of things.

I'm sure people like Bernie Madoff and Kenneth Lay, would have preferred private emails, from individuals questioning their activities, to public inquisitions. Funny, googling those two names, results in a link to that Anticult guy. He isn't accurate with everything he writes about cryonics, but I do believe he has something right, in regard to cults:

"Cults share three basic traits, according to Arnott. (1) They demand complete devotion of their followers, (2) they have a charismatic leader, and (3) they foster separation from the community."http://www.rickross.com/reference/gener ... al418.html

Make special note of "basic trait" number 3. People at SA and Alcor don't want to answer questions, publicly, they want you to call them, or email them. In my opinion, they do this because they want to "foster separation from the community," so that they convince unsuspecting individuals, that their organizations are more capable than they really are. Most of these people are not scientists, or medical professionals. They don't want to respond, in public, because a lot of what they write is easily recognizable as nonsense, by people with the proper educations and experience.
This is the age old problem of incentivizing good governance. So you have bad behavior by the current leadership. You can
1) convince them to change
2) throw the rascals out

So far Maxim tried 1, but since they have vested interests in the status quo, that didn't work. Right now I interpret her as pursuing option 2, raising awareness among consumers, who can choose between different providers. I think she's doing a good job of it, but consumers now made aware don't have much options to choose from. If Alcor sucks, they can choose CI, but if both suck, then well we're out of luck. So individual consumer decisions might not be so effective in punishing bad behavior. Now we have a collective action problem, since we need some critical mass of stakeholders to start asking questions. Why haven't we seen this yet? My opinion is that the existing membership is far too small and disorganized.

Why? Because forums like these (network54, cryonet) tend to discourage discussion and do not facilitate information sharing well. We end up having the same conversations and the same arguments over and over again. These fora have functionality that resembles the mid 90s more than 2009 - the age of free, open-source collaborative content management systems like Wikis and Reddit and dirt cheap hosting. Maxim's blogspot is an improvement on this, but really, we want something more like Less Wrong. In fact, moving all the cryonics discussion there would be a big improvement - a ready-made community of critical thinkers who have some prior interest in cryonics-related issues.
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Joined: August 9th, 2006, 2:07 am

December 10th, 2009, 8:32 pm #8

...but shares a culture of public relations protectionism that disallows them from speaking up. Trying to take a shot at N54 now, huh? Good one. You'll never n54/blogger/alphaindex.
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Joined: January 25th, 2007, 2:45 pm

December 10th, 2009, 9:32 pm #9

This is the age old problem of incentivizing good governance. So you have bad behavior by the current leadership. You can
1) convince them to change
2) throw the rascals out

So far Maxim tried 1, but since they have vested interests in the status quo, that didn't work. Right now I interpret her as pursuing option 2, raising awareness among consumers, who can choose between different providers. I think she's doing a good job of it, but consumers now made aware don't have much options to choose from. If Alcor sucks, they can choose CI, but if both suck, then well we're out of luck. So individual consumer decisions might not be so effective in punishing bad behavior. Now we have a collective action problem, since we need some critical mass of stakeholders to start asking questions. Why haven't we seen this yet? My opinion is that the existing membership is far too small and disorganized.

Why? Because forums like these (network54, cryonet) tend to discourage discussion and do not facilitate information sharing well. We end up having the same conversations and the same arguments over and over again. These fora have functionality that resembles the mid 90s more than 2009 - the age of free, open-source collaborative content management systems like Wikis and Reddit and dirt cheap hosting. Maxim's blogspot is an improvement on this, but really, we want something more like Less Wrong. In fact, moving all the cryonics discussion there would be a big improvement - a ready-made community of critical thinkers who have some prior interest in cryonics-related issues.
I've never actually read that site before, but it looks like something that I will be checking out in the future. It seems to be an open community blog, where posts can be commented on and where both posts and comments can be voted up or down. It reminds me a bit of Slashdot, but with a less narrow focus.

I wonder how something like this would work for cryonics?

Here's a link:

http://lesswrong.com/

A blurb from the "about" page:

Less Wrong is devoted to refining the art of human rationality - the art of thinking. The new math and science deserves to be applied to our daily lives, and heard in our public voices.

Less Wrong is a partially moderated community blog that allows general authors to contribute posts as well as comments. Users vote posts and comments up and down (with code based on Reddit's open source). Users with sufficient karma (+20) can publish posts. "Promoted" posts (appearing on the front page) are chosen by the editors on the basis of substantive new content, clear argument, good writing, popularity, and importance.

We suggest submitting links with a short description. Recommended books should have longer descriptions. Links will not be promoted unless they are truly excellent - the "promoted" posts are intended as a filtered stream for the casual/busy reader.

Posts that are off-topic may be shut down directly. Comments are usually not filtered except by community voting (spam and extreme cases excluded). We reserve the right for moderators to change contributed posts or comments to fix HTML problems or other misfeatures. Moderators may add or remove tags.
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Joined: October 9th, 2009, 9:26 pm

December 11th, 2009, 2:24 am #10

This is the age old problem of incentivizing good governance. So you have bad behavior by the current leadership. You can
1) convince them to change
2) throw the rascals out

So far Maxim tried 1, but since they have vested interests in the status quo, that didn't work. Right now I interpret her as pursuing option 2, raising awareness among consumers, who can choose between different providers. I think she's doing a good job of it, but consumers now made aware don't have much options to choose from. If Alcor sucks, they can choose CI, but if both suck, then well we're out of luck. So individual consumer decisions might not be so effective in punishing bad behavior. Now we have a collective action problem, since we need some critical mass of stakeholders to start asking questions. Why haven't we seen this yet? My opinion is that the existing membership is far too small and disorganized.

Why? Because forums like these (network54, cryonet) tend to discourage discussion and do not facilitate information sharing well. We end up having the same conversations and the same arguments over and over again. These fora have functionality that resembles the mid 90s more than 2009 - the age of free, open-source collaborative content management systems like Wikis and Reddit and dirt cheap hosting. Maxim's blogspot is an improvement on this, but really, we want something more like Less Wrong. In fact, moving all the cryonics discussion there would be a big improvement - a ready-made community of critical thinkers who have some prior interest in cryonics-related issues.
...or from Lesswrong. I visit quite often, though I never post

p.s. it's funny you mention Reddit, because they will be feeling my wrath in my end product.

another p.s. just to let you know, if you are Yudkowsky, you will be giving the punch line in my six-minute video. It's awesome.
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