Re: BBC Polemics: Help needed!

From: Harvey Newstrom (
Date: Sat Jan 15 2000 - 23:44:50 MST

> Here's a discussion of a trick question you're likely to encounter.
> ==
> If anyone raises the question of immortal souls, "Why call them back
> from heaven?" and all that, don't attack religion as a response. People
> aren't going to suddenly stop believing because you tell them to. At
> most, you might dare to sound unsure about the existence of souls; most
> people will accept that you might have doubts because they have doubts
> themselves, but they won't accept an atheist.

Agreed. Answering a religious question by attacking religion is just a
short-hand way of telling them "I'm your enemy", "I'm probably Satanic",
"I'm not even seriously going to consider your question", and "Now I'm going
to ridicule you, your question, and your belief system."

I like to answer religion questions on their own terms. I also like to give
hypothetical answers starting with "If..." so I don't define what I do or
don't believe.

If a soul were cryonically frozen, it would not get trapped any more than
souls could get trapped in a frozen lake or in a mud slide. If a soul is
immaterial and not constrained by natural laws, low temperatures applied to
the physical body shouldn't affect the soul. So I'm not really worried that
cold temperatures and ice can somehow block a soul's ascent to heaven.

If cryonics were against God's will, He simply would not send the soul back
to reanimate the body in the future. All the future attempts to reanimate
bodies would fail. But there is no way that mortal scientists could win a
tug-of-war with an omnipotent God and force a soul to return against His
will. So, I'm not worried that future doctors be able to remotely screw up
the afterlife.

If God controls the time of my death, and He choose a specific time that is
best for me, they why would he allow the cryonics to succeed? If all
attempts to save my life failed, because it was written in God's cosmic
plan, how could the last-ditch attempt succeed? If God didn't want me
cryonically frozen, I'm sure that something would go wrong and my cryonics
plans would not materialize. Something would go wrong and I would probably
get cremated instead. If God has such plan for me, I'm sure they would
override my plans. So I'm not worried that my feeble attempts will somehow
thwart God's cosmic plan.

Harvey Newstrom <>
Certified Consultant,  Legal Hacker, Engineer, Research Scientist, Author.

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