X-Message-Number: 179
From ho5cad!att!PROOF.ERGO.CS.CMU.EDU!Timothy.Freeman Wed May 30 23:05:32 1990
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          30 May 90 22:54:33 EDT
Reply-To: Tim Freeman <>
Subject: CRYONICS Re: Science Court 
In-Reply-To: Your message of Wed, 30 May 90 18:31:00 -0400.
Date: Wed, 30 May 90 22:54:28 EDT
Message-Id: <>

The way of doing it that I had imagined was to use electronic mail for
the entire event, so we already have enough of an electronic forum set
up.  This would happen over a period of a few months, so the
participants would be able to use reference materials as necessary, so
they would not be at risk of seeming ignorant because of
unpreparedness.  The following idea about how to do it is off of the
top of my head, I'd really like some feedback on whether this would

We'd have five groups of people:

   pro: the pro-cryonics side (one pro-cryonics person is
      distinguished as the spokesperson).  
   con: the con-cryonics side (with a spokesperson)
   judges: unbiased judges (with a spokesperson).  These people would
      try to frame questions in such a way to maximize the area of
      agreement between the pro and con camps, and would point out
   spectators: anyone else (no spokesperson)
   the moderator: one person who runs several mailing lists and
      enforces the rules.

The moderator would set up several mailing lists:

   cryonics-pro (containing just the pro's, and
      only pro's will be able to post to it.)
   cryonics-con (containing just the con's, and
      only the con's will be able to post to it.)
   cryonics-judges (containing just the judges,
      and only the judges will be able to post to it.)
   cryonics-official (containing the pro's, the
      con's, the judges, and anyone else who wants to be on it.  Only
      the spokespersons of the various groups can post to it.)
   cryonics-discussion (containing anyone who
      wants to be on it, and anyone can post to it.  The moderator
      could route any messages sent to inappropriate mailing lists to
      this list.) 

The moderator's only role would be to maintain the mailing lists, to
moderate them to keep irrelevant people from posting to them, and to
select new spokespeople if someone drops out, and perhaps to make
occasional posts to the various lists explaining the rules of combat
when the participants seem to have forgotten.

We'd have ongoing conversations on the pro, con, judges, and
discussion lists, with the spokespersons posting updated position
papers to the official list once a week or so (or maybe once a month?).

The position paper posted by the spokesjudge would consist of a list
of questions, and a summary of the pro-cryonics and anti-cryonics
answers to these questions, and would especially note when the two
camps agree about the answers.  It would also comment on anything
found technically wrong or questionable in the position papers from
either camp.

The position papers posted by the spokespro and spokescon would
consist of answers to the spokesjudge's most recent batch of
questions, proposed new questions, and comments about flaws in the
other side's most recent answers and misrepresentations in the
position paper of the spokesjudge.  If the pro group agrees with the
answer recorded for it in the judge's position paper, then it leaves
that question out entirely from its position paper (and likewise the
con group).

One problem with this scheme is that it involves spokespersons with
authority, and I would prefer some scheme which can reflect
differences of opinion in the pro-cryonics or the con-cryonics camps
while still having some way for a member of the appropriate camp to
coalesce syntactically different but semantically identical opinions.

Another problem would be figuring out when to stop.

Another question is whether we should let people join the pro, con, or
judge camps in the middle of the event.

Another question is what qualifications people should be required to
have to become a pro, a con, or a judge.

Is this too complicated?  There would tend to be a lot of redundant
mail messages going around.  Would it generate more volume than people
are willing to deal with?

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