X-Message-Number: 27790
Subject: Re: Cryonics/Life Extension Survey "Beta test"
Date: Sun, 2 Apr 2006 23:19:51 US/Eastern



David Stodolsky wrote: 

> The concept of 'sin' is meaningless in many cultures, 
> thus inclusion makes the survey culture bound.

   The concept of "sin" is meaningless for atheists, but
I was creating a test targeted more to the general public 
than to cryonicists (on whom I was "beta testing"). The 
results of this question would not distinguish between
atheists who obviously see nothing sinful about cryonics
(and probably do not apply the word "sin" to moral evils)
and believers who believe in sin, but do not believe that
an unlimited lifespan is sinful.

   But my survey is not like most surveys. Gathering
data is only intended to be a secondary purpose. The primary
purpose of the survey is to affect the mind of the 
survey-taker. I want those who are religious to question
themselves about what amount of life extension would be
sinful and how they can justify such a belief. My hope
and expectation is that many people when faced with this 
question will realize that they cannot justify saying that
a greatly extended lifespan is sinful or prohibited by
scripture. This would be the best result of my survey. The
fact that the results of this question are muddy and 
difficult to interpret does not bother me much. 



David Stodolsky wrote: 

> In a psychological sense, the terms "non-finite" and "infinite" are  
> not necessarily equivalent. Most likely you will get different  
> responses when using the two terms independently. If someone says a  
> trillion years, they are acknowledging a *certain* endpoint to their  
> life. This is different than non-finite in the sense that you don't  
> know at which point the end will come. Due to the way the brain uses  
> information, certainty plays a disproportionate role in decision  
> making. Thus, the terms "indefinite" vs any "definite time" may be  
> more appropriate in a survey.
> The term "infinite" is a term of art among mathematicians. Thus, it's  
> meaning will vary according to the education of the user. It is  
> unlikely to prove useful in any survey of the general population,  
> even though it is used by (some) people routinely.

   In this case I went through three iterations of attempting to 
find language that was unambiguous enough that I could get an 
understanding of what cryonicists are meaning by their terms. The
word "immortality" is uses so widely in connection with cryonics
IMMORTAL, PHYSICAL IMMORTALITY, etc, etc.) that I was determined
to get a fix on what cryonicists mean. You seem to be saying 
"give up trying, it is a hopeless task". I don't believe that,
but I will admit that I found it to be much more frustrating than
I expected. I think it is a significant result that 60% of the 
respondent cryonicists answered "YES" to: 

(12) Do you use the word 'immortality' to mean infinite (non-finite) 
      lifespan (eternal life)?

It is especially significant to the possibility that only 10% could
have answered "YES".  

  You also need to consider that the majority of cryonicists are technophiles
and  as such are more likely to use the word  infinite  in the mathematical
sense than the general public. 

  Concerning desired length of lifespan, I had already explored that with
question (8) of the first survey:

  What would be your preferred age range for death
if you could remain in youthful good health? 
with  No limit  as a option. Question (12) and (13) of the second
survey were specifically designed to explore what cryonicists mean
by  immortality . I think that I have beaten this to death and 
have gotten as good a result as I want or expect. 

              -- Ben Best

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