X-Message-Number: 3523
Date: Wed, 21 Dec 1994 19:15:09 -0500
Subject: SCI. CRYONICS computer people 

In previous speculations as to why computer people are disproportionately
represented in cryonics, I have omitted some fairly obvious points.
Attempting to summarize and add a bit:

1. Computer people are LOGICAL and take SERIOUSLY the implications of logic
in the REAL WORLD--even if those implications seem far-fetched. If A implies
B and B implies C and...and Y implies Z, and if we know A to be true, then by
cracky we can count on Z, no matter how remote.

So one may ask: Aren't other scientists equally logical?

No.  Natural scientists spend much of their effort trying to establish
premises (discover rules) and trying to hand-craft gadgets; these activities
are slow and uncertain of success. Natural scientists, in their everyday work
and individual careers, are generally NOT accustomed to a steady succession
of (even minor) triumphs, thus may lack the courage of their convictions and
any far vision.

How about non-computer mathematicians? Aren't they just as logical as
computer people? So why are they less represented in cryonics?

Mathematicians (when functioning as such) are logical--but their work is not
necessarily related to the real world. There are many geometries, for
example, only one of which corresponds to physical reality. A mathematician
may seldom see an obvious embodiment of his work in the real world. Hence he
is probably less likely to carry over the scientific attitude to everyday
life, more likely to compartmentalize his thought. 

2. Computer people  are accustomed to rapid progress and breakthroughs; they
solve problems sometimes on a daily or even hourly basis. In most other areas
of life progress is much slower and less reliable, tradition more stable. I
have been driving for 60 years, and autos are not much different. A research
scientist may spend a whole career without a notable success, encountering
mostly frustration, whereas a software engineer gets frequent reinforcement
to build his confidence. 

Perhaps what it boils down to--one way to say it--is that most people,
including most scientists, think the universe is MYSTERIOUS and grand
ambitions are foolish if not wicked. Computer people, on the other hand,
think that (for most practical purposes) the world is not mysterious, only
COMPLICATED, and enough careful work and ingenuity can accomplish almost

Do these conjectures have any usefulness? Probably very little, since they do
not seem to suggest any new cryonics recruitment strategies. But one small
purpose may be served--to help dispell the self-doubts of those incipient
cryonicists/immortalists who wonder why so many scientists are not persuaded.

Robert Ettinger
Cryonics Institute

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