X-Message-Number: 5221
From:  (David Stodolsky)
Subject: Re: SCI.CRYONICS: Binary Survival Questions
Date: Sun, 19 Nov 95 16:55:50 +0100

In Message #5211
"Steven B. Harris" <> writes:
> Subject: SCI.CRYONICS: Binary Survival Questions

>   Specifically, we humans seem to be
> basically deluxe model chimps, selected for upright savannah-
> living in East Africa by a change in climate there (possibly due

Sheets-Johnstone argues, in a Precis of THE ROOTS OF THINKING, 
that the evolution of upright posture was a socially driven process,
directly linked to reproductive success, not an environmentally driven
one (psycoloquy.94.5.8.evolution-thinking.1.sheets-johnstone 
Wed 26 Jan 1994 ISSN 1055-0143):
"In particular, the examination shows how hominid
bipedality eventuated in a radically different primate bodily
appearance: male sexual characters relatively hidden in quadrupedal
primates are visibly exposed in bipedal ones. Conversely, female sexual
characters normally visible in quadrupedal primates are relatively
hidden in bipedal ones. Loss of estrus, typically explained only by
recourse to highly speculative scenarios, can in fact be explained on
the basis of continuous and direct male genital exposure. The opening
chapter of the unit demonstrates that the behavioral function of
typical primate estrus cycling was replaced not by "year-round female
receptivity," as is so routinely and commonly claimed, but by
year-round penile display. The phenomenon of sexual signalling in
primates, early hominids in particular, thus requires new analysis. The
question of sexual signalling behavior in early hominids in fact
demands to be addressed to begin with--in the same way that the
question of the sexual signalling behaviors of other creatures is
regularly addressed in studies of their life habits and modes of
procreation. Indeed, the question of just how early hominids signalled
sexual desire or readiness to one another can no longer be ignored.
Consistent bipedality clearly changed typical primate signalling

A simpler (and not quite correct) interpretation: Upright posture
allowed males to move toward females while keeping their penises
clearly displayed. And, upright posture allowed females to see these 
penises coming, while positioned for intry "year-round female
receptivity," as is so routinely and commonly claimed, but by
yert by a less than
reliable source, the BBC) indicate that upright posture was common
during a period when the opposing digit (thumb) on the foot was still
adapted to grasping. That is, consistent upright posture was not forced
by an environmental change which removed early hominids from the trees.

Sheets-Johnstone argues that the rejection (segregation from the mind/soul) 
of the body/sexuality has severely distorted development of paleo-anthropology
and much of the rest of human science.

>    "Humanity," like "life," "individuality," and the
> hybrid concept "individual survival," is a fuzzy concept without
> natural borders in physical law (though it may have them in

Can excessive "individuality" be directly hazardous to survival?
In a study of attitudes of American and Soviet teenagers, Chivan, et
al. (1988) found that only 9% of Russians expected nuclear war to happen 
in their lifetimes, but 94%  were "very worried" about it. By contrast,
54% of Americans expected nuclear war in their lifetime, but only 42% of 
Americans were "very worried". "The Russians appeared to be more aware
of global problems and attuned to political issues; the Americans
appeared to be more focused on their own individual hopes and
goals (Kastenbaum (1991, p. 15) Death, society, and human experience
(4th ed))."

These different perceptions of the likelihood of nuclear war were not merely
a perceptual phenomenon, they were reflected in (reflections of) both 
political/military doctrine and strategic force posture. The Soviet
doctrine was that nuclear weapons should never be used by accident
and their strategic forces were structured accordingly. The American
doctrine was that the strategic forces should be a realistic retaliatory
threat under any conditions. That is, the Soviet doctrine was to make
the force fail-safe (should not go off unless triggered), the American 
doctrine was to make the force fail-proof (should go off if triggered).
Security analysts (David Singer, et al.) argue that the American strategic 
posture, combined with the wide array of error prone sensing devices 
made nuclear war inevitable. There were several close calls, for example, 
when over the horizon radar signals were reflected by the moon and the system
interpreted this as an incoming nuclear strike.

The American political doctrine was most clearly exposed in the Cuban Missile
Crisis. After the Soviet's were given the ultimatum to remove the tactical
nuclear missiles they had placed in Cuba, the Kennedy brothers were
convinced that this would result in a nuclear war. It was reported
that they were having bad feelings about the situation, because of
all the "innocent" children, etc. who were going to die. Soviet withdrawal
(Krushkev's decision) averted the catastrophe. Some years later, I
worked at the same research institute as some military people, who
had direct knowledge of the decisionmaking process during in this crisis.
They proudly proclaimed that the USA would have "won" the war, with
a loss of "only" 35 million Americans. Considering that radioactive
fallout from both US strikes on Soviet missile silos in Siberia and
Soviet strikes on American silos in the mid-west would have landed on the
US, the estimate seemed a bit optimistic.

Up until this time, the Soviet strategic missile force had consisted of

a small number of liquid fueled missiles, that could be prepared for launch 
a crisis. After the humiliating Cuban climb down, there was a modernization
and massive expansion of the Soviet force, with the result that American 
security was much inferior to what it had been previously. Subsequent
development of multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles
(MIRVs) by both sides further reduced stability, by creating a "use 'em" 
or "loss 'em" force posture. The final irresponsible act of the
nuclear stalemate was taken by the Reagan Administration, which violated
the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty by placing additional bombers
with nuclear capability into service. This had no practical impact,
since it gave the US the ability to "kill each Russian 101 times as opposed
to only 100." This was described by military analysts as improving the
US ability in "making the ruble bounce."

The Reagan Administration's massive military spending reduced 
American security. Particularly, the space-based missile defense 
('Star Wars') initiative, had it been credible, would have severely 
destabilized the "balance of terror" characterizing the Cold War.
However, the Reagan Administration's objectives were not 
expressed in security terms, but as financial objectives (7% yearly
increase in defense spending). During this period, researchers
could get into trouble because they were not achieving their
"spending targets", that is, spending enough money! The targeted increases
were simply impossible to maintain for economic reasons, but that 
Administration managed to double the US national debt during its 
period in office. This was an Administration that ran against "big

An extremely narrow definition of "individuality" and of individual 
can be seen as the ideological basis for enormous expenditures on 
the technologies of death, when such expenditures actually reduced 
security. During this period, individuals consistently expressed a greater 
preferences for expenditures on medical technologies than expenditures 
on weapons. The ideological climate prevented these preferences 
from being translated into governmental action. A proper understanding 
of the dynamics of this type of situation could be useful in freeing resources
for research into life extending technologies, such as cryonics.


David S. Stodolsky      Euromath Center     University of Copenhagen
   Tel.: +45 38 33 03 30   Fax: +45 38 33 88 80 (C)

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