X-Message-Number: 1073
Date: 28 Jul 92 22:42:28 EDT
From: Charles Platt <>

                        Re: Life Force 
I basically agree with everyone who has said, one way or 
another, "There's nothing you can do to argue logically 
against an article of faith." At the same time I think it is 
important for us to be a little more humble and remember that 
*our* outlook is *also* an article of faith.
There is no proof that the mechanistic view of the world is 
sufficient. There could indeed be a life force which comes 
and goes capriciously or according to some logic which we 
cannot yet discern. Yes, the mechanistic view does *seem* to 
be sufficient *so far,* but for a long time, Newtonian 
mechanics seemed sufficient too, for similar reasons (no one 
could find anything that it didn't explain). 
To continue playing devil's advocate: suppose that the 
strength of the "life force" is a function of complexity and 
order; an index of the degree to which entropy does NOT 
exist. In that case, we could assume that in a perfectly 
preserved frozen brain, the life force is as strong as ever 
(albeit dormant) and could last for years. In a damaged 
brain, the life force is damaged. In a decaying brain, the 
life force gradually disappears. In a brain under repair by 
nanotechnology, the life force is being recreated. 
I run through this argument to emphasize again that there's 
no way to prove who's right and who's wrong. What concerns me 
is not proving the issue, but finding the best strategy for 
tempting someone away from the life-force position. No one 
was able to give me a case history describing successful 
conversion of life-force-believer into cryonicist; and I 
suspect (alas) the reason for this is that no one who replied 
to me has succeeded in achieving a conversion of this kind. 
--Charles Platt 

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