X-Message-Number: 10493
From: "Scott Badger" <>
Subject: Re: Cryonicism. Not!
Date: Tue, 29 Sep 1998 13:23:14 -0500

I'll refrain from addressing each of George Smith's comments
since he admitted that many of his points were made
_for the sake of argument_.

>But why?  If it happens, what is there to protest?  I mean, if the
successful spread of cryonics
>came about in exchange for everyone wearing purple hats or waving feathers
on alternate
>Tuesdays, so what?  I feel many of us could learn to cope with the
embarrassment of just about
>anything after about five or six hundred years.

If wearing a purple hat was the *only* way I could
be preserved, then I suppose that's what I'd do to survive.
But I think it would be wise to resist any attempts to
ritualize cryonics beyond the currently required legal

>I am not an expert on the history of Scientology but this might not be such
a bad example to
>consider.  When L. Ron Hubbard's "mental health clinics" were being legally
banned in (I recall
>it was) New Jersey, Mr. Hubbard end-ran the legalalities by immediately
closing his "Dianetics"
>clinics and opening his "Church of Scientology".  Under this new name, he
continued business as
>usual ...very successfully I understand.  Mr. Hubbad planned ahead for just
such an event.
>Shouldn't we?

Chris Fideli stated that "..legally, a claim
of religious exemption might carry some added weight, but
would likely not give us drastically more constitutional
protection then we already have."  In addition, I shudder
at the thought of using L. Ron Hubbard as a positive model
for anything, except perhaps as a sci-fi author.  It would
be interesting, though, to hear what contingency plans, if
any, are in place to safeguard against regulatory actions
imposed by government agencies.

>>But we CANNOT disguise cryonics as a religion.  Religions make
>>promises...cryonics does not.
>That may be the precise reason it has grown so slowly.

If that's the case, oh well. It doesn't justify giving
prospective members promises or false hopes.

>Religions have a central
>>figure/savior/messiah...cryonics does not.
>We have a few "central figures" in the cryonics movement but even these are
not necessary for a
>religion.  Remember, all religions were invented somewhere by somebody.
People like relgions.
>Notice how many there are?  It's not a coincidence.

Religious organizations are ubiquitous for a number
of reasons. IMO, most of those reasons are ultimately
associated with death anxiety - those who suffer from it
and those who take advantage of those who suffer from it.
I personally see religious devotion as an irrational approach
to coping with this anxiety, while I see cryonics as a rational
approach. By this, I do not mean to imply that people should
turn away from their religions. It's just my opinion. There is
no inherent incompatibility between cryonics and most western
religions, and I don't think we should create such an incompatibility.
Cryonics should not attempt to assimilate members on the basis
of religious beliefs, but should strive instead to accomodate
those beliefs. It's just a bad idea to give people the impression
that they may have to choose between their religion and cryonics.

(more snipping)

>We must overcome any anti-religious bias regarding the future
>events which will come to cryonics from a world which is dominated
>by deeply religious beliefs.  That's just the way it is.
>Religion is something people do.  Until this moment, it has dominated the
whole of human society
>and history.  It even deeply influences the mental models modern scientists
create to try and
>develop new paradigms.  (The Big Bang certainly came from Genesis, Chapter
1, verse 1, for
>example).  Do you honestly think it won't happen in this area which plays
footsy with such
>concepts as death, transcendence, and the future of mankind?

I'm still a little unclear about your meaning. Are
you suggesting that religious organizations will
condemn cryonics once it becomes more popular unless
cryonics itself turns into a religion?

It's my guess that cryonics will eventually become an
accepted medical procedure much like CPR eventually became
accepted. Religious organizations didn't go bonkers when CPR
was developed.  It will be made very clear by the medical
community that cryonics is not about _raising the dead_.
It's not cryopreservation that religions will object to.  They
will eventually recognize it as a life-saving procedure. It's
the prospect and ramifications of anti-senescence technologies
that will be most upsetting for religious leaders. That's when
they'll start worrying about losing their turf.

>And as for ethics, I leave you with just one thought:  Would you "con"
someone to save their

After considerable relflection, my answer is "No." Your
life belongs to you and if you choose to believe that a
better world exists beyond death and you'd rather be
there sooner than later, then that's your choice. Maybe it's
the right choice. Who knows? But if you're _of sound mind_
then you have the ability and the right to weigh the
arguments for and against. Using mistruths to bias your
decision would be the unethical action.

Best regards,

Scott Badger

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