X-Message-Number: 19910
Date: Mon, 26 Aug 2002 09:06:19 EDT
Subject: more probability

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Thomas Donaldson wrote in part:

> I am actually asking for the details of
> your theory of how probability works, and ideas about how to 
> choose or not choose the class of events we work with are vital
> to your ideas (if I understand them).

This is on our web site. As one reasonable possibility in the case of 
cryonics, we could consider the sequence of experiments "Try to achieve a 
fairly well defined but difficult technological objective, in light of 
evidence, persuasive to at least a few well informed peple, that it should 
eventually be achievable." Then look at the all the past goals that have been 
set, at the number so far successful, the number so far unsuccessful but 
ongoing, and the number abandoned. If the number abandoned divided by the 
number attempted is near unity, the project is nearly hopeless. If the 
fraction successful is appreciable, the chance is good. 

Goddard and Tsiolkovsky conceived a project of great difficulty, but with no 
known truly fundamental obstacles, and eventually the project succeeded. 
Feynman (followed by others including Drexler and Merkle) conceived a whole 
enormous class of projects (nanotechnology), of great difficulty but 
beginning to bear fruit, and which includes repair after cryostasis.

A  question for readers: Do you know of ANY projects meeting my criteria that 
have been seriously tried at length and finally totally abandoned?

Robert Ettinger
Cryonics Institute
Immortalist Society


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