X-Message-Number: 27742
Subject: Evaluating the survey results
Date: Tue, 21 Mar 2006 16:04:09 US/Eastern

  I waited until there were exactly 100 respondents to the 
Cryonicist Survey and have now removed both that survey
and my "beta test" Life Extension survey from my website.
There were 113 respondents to the latter. I am planning
to leave the displayed results on my website for a week
or so, after which I plan to remove them. Examine them
while you can:



   Here I give my evaluation of the survey results. Just
because I created these surveys does not mean that my
evaluations are any better than those of others. I 
welcome and invite evaluations from others. 

(  http://www.benbest.com/sandbox/Display_Survey_7.php)

  The answers to question (18) clearly indicate that the
respondents are cryonicists. The majority have made 
cryonics arrangements for cryopreservation and with one
exception the rest intend-to or want-to. Even though
the survey was posted to the Cryonics Institute Forum,
it was also posted to the Cryonics Society of Canada
list and to CryoNet, so I find it surprising that
more respondents had made cryonics arrangements with
CI than with Alcor. Also surprising is the fact that
not even one respondent indicated arrangements with ACS. 

   Male respondents outnumbered females by about 8 to 1,
with the great majority being atheist or agnostic. 
Respondent age centers on the 40s, in agreement with
the average age of CI Members. 

  Returning to the beginning of the survey, it is nice
to see that so many of the respondents feel so positive
about life. It would be interesting to compare quality
of life assessments of cryonicists with that of the
general public. 

   The answers to (2)-(4) indicate a definite optimism
about the capacity of science to handle the "aging 
problem", with not one of the 113 respondents failing
to answer the question. Question (8) shows a resounding
majority wanting a lifespan without limit, and a 
slightly larger number say there is no limit placed
on maximum lifespan for social good. 

   It is rare to see unanimity concerning any question, 
even including the 113 who said they understand the purpose
of cryonics in question (12). I would be interested to
know the opinions of the 7 respondents who denied
that cryonics is a life extension strategy in question (13). 

  I am somewhat surprised by the great conviction that 
suspended animation through cryopreservation will someday
be possible. Not a single person answered "No" or "Don't know"
and only one refrained from giving an answer. I don't know
what to make of the wide spread in question (17) 
concerning the chances of future reanimation. A fifth of 
the respondents are what I would call extreme optimists
with 98-100% chance of success estimated. 

  Question (16) is the most challenging question on the 
survey, I believe. As I have said, opinions -- even of
cryonicists -- are no substitute for scientific answers
(although scientific answers are only partly possible). 
The spread of opinions is impressive. the fact that no one
chose "always useless" is another indication of the 
pro-cryonics attitude of the respondents. I wonder how
many of those who think cryonics is useless after 6 minutes
are confident that they can benefit from standby. 

  Questions 6,7 and 14 were flawed, and I attempted to
rectify the flaws in my follow-up survey of cryonicists. 

(  http://www.benbest.com/sandbox/Display_Survey_8.php )

  In this case the males outnumbered females nearly 9 to 1.
I am disappointed and perplexed that 63 (63%) of respondents
chose not to respond (not even say "Don't Remember") in
answer to how they first learned about cryonics. 

  In questions (3) and (4) I evidently should have chosen
larger time-spans for delay because about a quarter of the
respondents took more than 6 years to decide they wanted
cryonics or would make arrangements. I actually thought
that more than 28% would have thought they wanted 
cryopreservation upon first learning of the idea. There is
an inconsistency between the answers to questions (4) and
(15). In the latter, 64% say they have made cryonics 
arrangements with Alcor or CI, whereas in the former
75% imply they have made arrangements. 

  Question (5) was my attempt to clarify question (14) 
from the earlier survey. With all that has been written
about vitrification, I am shocked that 37% deny that
freezing damage in the brain can be eliminated with 
current practice and only 14% believe that freezing damage
to the brain can definitely be eliminated. Cryonicists
could benefit from more education about vitrification, 
in my opinion. Most seem content with the idea that 
repair can fix all damage, I expect.

  Question (6) could be hard to interpret. I was intending
to monitor complacency. In light of the response to 
question (5) I am disappointed that 69% seem so satisfied
with their current knowledge. Despite the fact that I probably
know much more about these subjects than the vast majority
of respondents, I chose "Somewhat dissatisfied", and could
easily have chosen "Very dissatisfied". I hunger and thirst
for more knowledge about these subjects. 

  I find it impressive that 57% of the respondents estimate
they have been a primary source of information about cryonics
for more than 9 people. This could say much about 
cryonicists as meme vectors, although it does not match well
with the answers to question (2). Question (8) indicates a
majority have not induced another to make cryonics arrangements.
I am wondering how many of those who were influenced were 
influenced  because they signed-up a relative. 

  89% of the respondents showed at least some concern about
access to cryonics because of affordability, whereas 
64% had at least some concern about lack of desire for
cryopreservation. I am wondering if the 36% who said they
were indifferent have never met someone they respected or
cared-about who had no desire for cryopreservation. 

  Question (11) was an attempt to satisfy my curiosity,
although I don't think the question was formulated very
well. Survival has always been my primary, if not 
exclusive,  concern and I have been curious about the
attitudes of other cryonicists. 

  Questions (12)-(14) were my final effort to get clear
answers about the immortality question -- which seems
to be so slippery in so many minds. I imagine that I have
succeeded. I believe that the majority of cryonicists
use the word "immortality" in the way I do -- to refer
to infinite (non-finite) lifespan in what Jordan Sparks
calls the "mathematical" sense of the word. I am 
somewhat shocked to see that nearly half of the respondents
think it is at least probable that immortality can be
achieved through science. For some of my views on this
subject, see


  Question (14) was another of my probes as a "scientific
anthropologist or psychologist". A lifespan of hundreds
of years would be a colossal, unprecedented transformation
of the human condition. In this context, I can only shake
my head in wonder that such a significant number of 
cryonicists could be so disturbed by a purported million
year limit to lifespan. 

  Again, I make no claim that my evaluations of my surveys
are better than those of others. I am eager to hear what
others conclude from the results.

-- Ben Best 

Rate This Message: http://www.cryonet.org/cgi-bin/rate.cgi?msg=27742