X-Message-Number: 26441
Date: Wed, 29 Jun 2005 19:35:38 -0400
Subject: David Pizer's Faulty Argument

David keeps complaining that nobody has mentioned any flaws in his 
argument.  I will address the biggest one here.  First, a repost of the 
most recent version David has posted of his argument:

>1.  Some religions present their beliefs in such a way so as to seem to
>guarantee their followers will have eternal (Heavenly) life under certain
>2.  Some followers believe these religions' claims about eternal salvation 
>eternal life in Heaven,  and so they might conclude that they don't need any
>other method of trying to obtain long life - for instance they would not 
>they *needed to sign up for cryonics.
>3.  These  claims of eternal Heavenly life by religions may turn out to have
>been wrong.   There may not be any eternal Heavely life after biological 
>on Earth.  (I am NOT making any claim that they are lying on purpose, they 
>just be guilty of making an honest mistake - but either way, the critical
>results would be the same.)
>4.  Cryonics may work and may lead to very long life perhaps virtual physical
>5.  Some followers of religion may reject signing up for cryonics only 
>they believe their religon's promises that  they are going to have eternal
>Heavenly life after biological death on Earth and therefore they don't need
>6.   a. If it turns out that there is no Heaven, and religious followers
>rejected cryonics thinking they WERE going to Heaven,
>       b.  and, if it turns out that cryonics works and leads to very long 
> life
>       or even virtual physical immortality,
>       c.  if this happens, then the conclusion must be that the religions 
> have
>       hurt their followers in the worst way possible.

For the sake of discussion we will give that items 1-5 are not 
faulty.  Item 6, though, and 6.c in particular, does not logically follow 
from the prior statements.  It seems to be based on two unstated 
assumptions:  (1) that "religions" have some compelling power to force 
individual persons to think in a specific manner, and (2) that the 
"followers" mentioned, have no individual responsibility to think for 
themselves and to be responsible for their own decisions.

We could (and I do) just as easily assume, instead, that (1) "religions" 
only act in accordance with their legal right to speak their own views and 
opinions, including that many of them think there is most definitely a 
"heaven", and (2) that the individual person has the ultimate personal 
responsibility to think for him/herself, to consider all the information 
presented from all sources, and to live/die with the consequences of 
his/her decisions.

Consistent with the assumptions I would apply instead of David's, I would 
reword 6.c as follows:

"c. if this happens, then the conclusion must be that the religious 
followers have hurt themselves in the worst way possible by failing to 
properly consider the cryonics option and relying entirely instead on 
religious claims."

Neither David's assumptions nor mine; neither his version of 6.c nor mine, 
can be proven to be a thorougly valid argument.

I happen to think, though, that mine is more consistent with the principles 
of freedom of speech and of religious expression, and of the ultimate 
responsibility of the individual for him/herself, than David's is.  I think 
it is a great idea for persons anywhere who are so inclined, to point out 
any way they can the total lack of proof religions have for an afterlife 
wherein the individual consciousness survives.  To ask the courts and the 
governments to force religions to stop saying what they think, though, 
offers even more strength to the coercive aspects of our present 
civilization, which has already gone too far to erode our personal freedoms 
in recent years.

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