X-Message-Number: 10638
Date: Sat, 24 Oct 1998 19:26:14 -0700
From: Mike Perry <>
Subject: Jesus, Cryonics, Worldview Issues

I agree with much of Jim Yount's criticisms in "Jesus was a Cryonicist?"
(#10634). The passage I quoted (from Matthew 10:8, "Heal the sick, cleanse
the lepers, RAISE THE DEAD ...," with emphasis I added), does suggest Jesus
was rather more of a modern immortalist than the surrounding text supports,
though I didn't and wouldn't say "Jesus was a cryonicist." But I should have
been more attentive to the context and what it implies about the sense in
which the quoted material should be taken.

But Jim also says,

>... I am in favor of keeping our cryonics "pure".
>Cryonicists are people who wish to be frozen at or near death.  Nothing
>more.  We don't expect or require that anyone do, say, or believe, anything
>beyond that.  No political agenda; no world-view required.
And I say in response to this that sure, we don't require a worldview, or
anything of the sort, just that you meet the financial requirements, fill
out your paperwork, etc. That's the way it should be. BUT in fact this won't
make the "worldview" issues disappear. 

For instance, a close relative of mine, a religious person whom I wanted to
get signed up for years, was always resistant, insisting that to sign up for
freezing was a clear indication that "you don't believe in God." I tried to
tell her otherwise, i.e. that belief in God was not incompatible with
choosing cryonics, but she would never consider this possibility. By now she
is long buried. For the record, I don't share her worldview--I am an atheist
and materialist ("many-worlder" too however)--but I also don't subscribe to
the view that some seem to have that people like her are "not worth worrying
over." I wish people like her *would* sign up to be frozen, and think it is
worthwhile to consider ways they might be persuaded to do so, despite the
difficulties with worldviews, etc. Which again brings up the "religious"
issue. Can we harmonize cryonics with Christianity, for instance, and how
much effort should we put into trying? So far, indications seem to be that
religious people aren't much interested--for the most part. But there are a
few exceptions (Will Dye for one, apparently). These few exceptions are
enough to convince me that at least we ought to make a serious effort.

A more general comment seems in order too. Again, cryonics is and should be
offered freely, without any pressure to conform to any particular worldview,
political persuasion, etc. But in fact cryonics gets its main following from
people with a fairly consistent outlook: unbelievers in the supernatural who
think that pursuit of radical life extension through scientific means is
both meaningful and desirable. This forms an important part of the worldview
of most cryonicists, and it's hard to offer or promote cryonics without an
implied endorsement of it. Many people, I think, are quick to perceive this,
so that de facto we do take a stand on matters going well beyond the simple
filling out of paperwork, etc. So, what to do about this--if anything? My
feeling is that cryonics organizations, and those acting as their
representatives, should adhere to the "pure" position as far as possible--in
their main, initial dealings with potential members and others. By this I
mean to simply present the service that is offered, with minimal
philosophical, religious or other such accompaniment. Others, though, should
try to develop arguments for cryonics based on various worldviews. The
fruits of this labor could be made available through different channels
(e.g. the Internet); even cryonics organizations could offer it to the
interested inquirer. (This in fact is now done at Alcor, as with our
pamphlet on cryonics and Christianity that was put together some years ago.)
But overall, we should keep in mind that worldviews will be crucial in
furnishing the motives, if any, that people have for signing up, and in
appropriate settings, adapt our arguments accordingly.

Mike Perry

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