X-Message-Number: 10481
From: "Scott Badger" <>
Subject: Cryonicism? Not!
Date: Sun, 27 Sep 1998 18:03:19 -0500

If I understand correctly, George Smith appears to be suggesting that we
market cryonics by turning it into a religious movement.  With all due
respect George, I must vehemently protest.  And I find it peculiar that Mr.
Donaldson alone responded by saying that it might be a good idea as a backup
plan in case we ran into legal problems down the road.  Scientology became a
religion in ythe eyes of the government only a few years ago and it appears
that this was primarily for tax purposes.  George Smith is not talking about
tax advantages though.

We all know that there are similarities between religious systems and
cryonics.  Religion addresses our fear of death...so does cryonics.
Religion soothes the pain we experience when a loved one passes away...so
does cryonics.  Religion offers us the hope of becoming more than we are, or
transcending our selves...so does cryonics.

But we CANNOT disguise cryonics as a religion.  Religions make
promises...cryonics does not.  Religions have a central
figure/savior/messiah...cryonics does not.  Religion says, "You must accept
our philosophy if you are to be saved."...cryonics does not.  Religion
involves worship...cryonics does not.  Cryonics does not seek to replace
anyone's religion.  And if we were to attempt to do so we would face serious
problems.  It has been my understanding that cryonics is compatible with any
religious belief system.  If cryonics makes it possible for you to live for
5,000 years, you will *still* have to deal with your particular deity when
your time *does* come.

As for NDEs, I read a considerable amount regarding the research on NDEs.  I
was enthralled by the idea and the strong anecdotal evidence offered.  Even
so, veridical studies have been disappointing and it all smacks a bit too
much of "New Ageism".  George mentions the altered personalities of NDEers,
and I can see where those who have experienced severe anoxia and then been
revived might make some significant changes in their belief systems, but
that doesn't make the afterlife a reality.  Even so, only about 1/3 of those
experiencing clinical death also experience an NDE.  Why?  These people
typically have a profound, and renewed appreciation for life, and they no
longer fear death because they are convinced there is an afterlife.  That
still doesn't make the afterlife a reality.  Many are convinced that they
have increased psychic abilities, but then again, they also start reading a
lot more about such things and they *would* be expected to pay more
attention to and be attuned to so-called "psychic phenomena".  They would
also be expected to make more out of coincidences than the average person.
You see the problem.  They're no longer objective and their bias
disqualifies their revelations.  And it still doesn't make the afterlife a
reality.  But I am not here to argue the existence or non-existence of an
afterlife.  I am suggesting that NDEs don't succeed in making the case one
way or another.  I also doubt that one who is brought back after 50 years
will be substantially different from one who is brought back after 20
minutes of clinical death.  But I guess we'll find out once the folks at
21CM work out reversible suspension.

But back to my main point.  Cryonics shoud be presented for what it is...a
rational approach to life-extension.  It should certainly not be couched in
religious dogma.  No religious symbols, no devotion, no promises, no savior.
It's my bet that, ultimately, cryonics will be taken advantage of mostly by
humanists with a lust for life and frankly, those are the people I want to
hang around with in the future, anyway.  Not someone who was conned into
cryonics under religious pretenses.

Best regards and long life,

Scott Badger

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