X-Message-Number: 9443 From: Ettinger <> Date: Fri, 10 Apr 1998 19:13:35 EDT Subject: Platt's Math cns0410.98b PLATT'S MATH Although the allocation of time is highly questionable, I am still troubled by the possible effect on newcomers of Charles Platt's pessimistic estimates of patients' chances (#9425). Let me therefore spend a little time debunking his calculations (or lack of calculations). He says that, even under ideal circumstances, the chance of rescue is only one in ten thousand, mainly because of practical risks unrelated to the scientific probability of reversibility of damage. To support this he mentions six of those practical risks. These are: (1) Federal law prohibiting cryonics; (2) Backlash by extremist groups; (3) Crippling FDA interference; (4) Financial disaster; (5) Future people won't spend money to revive us; (6) Future people will treat patients as lab rats. (He also mentions scientific questions, omitted here, and another point that is redundant with (4).) Suppose all six risks are independent (which they are not). Suppose each risk separately has a 0.22 probability of being avoided. Then the probability of avoiding all of those risks--that is, the probability that none of them will produce disaster--is 0.00011, or roughly his one in 10,000 chance of avoiding disaster. To put it slightly differently, if each risk separately has a 0.78 probability of occurring, and if they are independent, and if there are no other risks, then his estimate would be roughly right. (The joint probability of several independent events is just the product of their individual probabilities.) Note carefully: His guess implies a HIGH (average 78%) probability for each of the named risks. It also ignores the feedbacks, especially the efforts by ourselves and others to defend against the risks as they come over the horizon. In any case, Charles, where are your numbers? By what history or precedent do you estimate a 78% chance of a federal law prohibiting cryonics, for example? What % of abortion clinic patients and personnel have been killed by extremists? Bad as the FDA has sometimes been, its recent history is in the other direction. How many organizations as conservative as Cryonics Institute have gone broke in the last century--78%, or is it more like 1%? What uncaring future people are you talking about--it isn't somebody else's money being spent on revival etc.; it is ours, by our own organizations. As for your "lab rat" scenario, I doubt that even Kafka would put a 78% probability on it. In short, Charles, your "argument" is little more than an articulation of night sweats. Everybody has night sweats sometimes, but evidence is something different. You have not shown us any calculation--let alone a credible calculation of probability. Newcomers: For more on probability, please see the CI web site. Robert Ettinger Cryonics Institute Immortalist Society http://www.cryonics.org Rate This Message: http://www.cryonet.org/cgi-bin/rate.cgi?msg=9443