X-Message-Number: 10482
Date: Sun, 27 Sep 1998 18:24:36 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Re: CryoNet #10473 Cryonics and religion

In Message #10473, Thomas Donaldson wrote:

>I would prefer that cryonics increase through rational argument with 

I see nothing irrational in what I wrote regarding religion.  Further, as the 
majority of 

individuals hold to religious beliefs it seems that the issue of religion will 
rise reagrdless.

Moreover, cryonics is NOT a form of religion. 

Yes, you are precisely correct.  What I was responding to was the evident 
ongoing discussion 

(summarized by Professor Ettinger in an earlier Cryonet message) regarding the 
possibility of 
this happening and upon what grounds.

Our central
>point is not that we can revive the "dead" (whatever that word may
>mean) but that we think that a high proportion of those now declared
>"dead" according to current criteria actually are not "dead", retaining
>some possibility of eventual revival. 

I subscribe to the idea that in our current culture the word "dead" is wiser to 
use for 

simplicity of communication.  If in the present time someone is legally approved
for burial or 

cremation, that is a pretty good practical definition for being dead.  Let's 
face it, the first 

cryonics revival will be viewed by the vast masses as bringing the dead back to 

The only way I think this might be avoided is if there are incremental successes
in some other 

form of suspension technology (suspended animation) such that as the public is 
exposed to longer 

and longer successful suspensions, the meaning of "death" would have changed in 
popular meaning 

to conform to your view.  If a person can "go under" for a week, then a month, 
then a year, the 

eventual revival of frozen bodies will seem less like "returning the dead to 
life", and more 

like an understandable medical protocal, much as general anesthesia for surgery 
is not viewed as 
death either.

By cryonic suspension we are 
>trying to keep that possibility of eventual revival alive, while 
>burial or cremation (the two most common treatments of those declared
>"dead") take someone WRONGLY CONSIDERED "dead" and turn them into
>someone who is genuinely dead, by our criteria as well as the comon

Again, the vast majority of humanity see death as real.  I agree with you 
absolutely in 

principle and am focussing on what is commonly agreed upon by the majority, 
right or wrong.  

>However the possibility always exists that cryonics will face 
>legal discrimination and attack. A "theology of cryonics" has merit
>as a backup in such a case. And it may very well help to develop
>that theology in advance, at least in skeleton form.

Yes. I agree.  And I cannot help but note that there will inevitable come 
precisely such a 

structure as individuals with strong religious backgrounds note the truly 
remarkable parallel 

between the technological projections and religious prophesies found 
cross-culturally throughout 

It would be somewhat humerous if the very pioneers involved in making it happen 
were the last to 

realize what they had brought into being, though the masses would seize on its 

My best wishes to you ...ALWAYS.

-George Smith

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