Re: Cryonics on ABC World News Tonight

From: Adrian Tymes (
Date: Tue Feb 20 2001 - 00:52:23 MST

Jeff Davis wrote:
> Ridicule is a powerful emotional tool, and has been used with great effect
> to denigrate and marginalize cryonics. But its application is also a
> strategy which, when confronted with an appropriate counter-strategy, can
> backfire. Would attorneys, faced with sizeable damage claims, be
> complacent? Perhaps. But they would certainly consider the overall
> context, a context which would, at least at first, be set by the attorneys
> for the plaintiffs. It'd be set at first by whichever side the media sides with
by default. And given as genuine (or, at least, no-large-following and
no-reproducible-results) crackpots tend to pester the media enough that
the media are chronically tired and suspicious of those who look like

> Consider the following, which I wrote for a recent post to the cryonet:
> When making your case for cryonics, don't fail to mention the vast
> potential for reducing human suffering. Not only will ALL the depredations
> of disease, injury, and aging be brought to a frozen standstill to
> patiently await a reliably more favorable outcome (Contingent of course on
> successful reanimation. I won't go into here why I believe SUCCESS IS A
> NEAR CERTAINTY.), but the benefits extend to every one of the everyday
> people who then get to live in a world of vastly diminished human
> suffering.

"Extraordiary claims require extraordinary proof." I believe that cryo
is more likely than not to suceed, but its proof is more theoretical
than historical at this point. Frankly, cold fusion has more
demonstrated laboratory evidence than cryo as of right now, at least to
my knowledge. Reasonable skepticism to the point of ignoring it will
remain valid for doctors until several people are awakened from cryo -
and that is the point this lawsuit would be contesting.

> And don't forget the children. I don't know about you, but I
> know of nothing in the world more heart-rending than the horror of children
> with cancer, surrounded by caregivers and family, who, themselves in the
> utmost torment, have to pretend, for the sake of the kids, that life is not
> a howling tragedy. Remember the kids!]

...which might just work, if politicians hadn't already been milking
"for the chiiiiildrun" for long enough that a number of people (at
least that I've heard from) are volunteering that they're sick of it,
and automatically cast any such tactic as suspicion of hiding the facts
behind an emotional facade. ("Let's wage war on drugs for the
chiiiiildrun. Let's censor the Internet for the chiiiiildrun. Let's
do all kinds of pork projects in my district for the chiiiiildrun.")
If this is actively showing, there may be a deeper not-mentioned
resentment of that angle amongst the public.

> If the case is built on the reduction of human suffering, and you show the
> faces of all those kids (not to mention all the other faces of suffering),
> and the defense team tries to belittle you, and ridicule you, they might
> very well come off as heartless monsters. This sort of appeal to
> prejudicial emotionalism might be controllable in the courtroom, but not in
> the court of public opinion. The media would eat it up. They would like
> nothing more than to play every angle for maximum air time (ie maximum
> profit). The crank cryonicists angle would certainly be appealing. But
> what about the rich heartless doctors and blood sucking lawyers as the
> villians vs the white knight cryonicists defending the tragically suffering
> children et al? Which high drama makes the media cash registers ring
> longer more fiercely?

Umm...and how, exactly, do doctors and lawyers benefit from not even
mentioning cryo? It's more or less orthogonal to their bottom line,
unless they're getting kickbacks from funeral directors (who could just
as easily hold funerals for people going into cryo - after all, the
bodies are just as dead, the only question is whether this is a
permanent state).

> Tricky stuff this. You make the call.

One thing that helps in these situations: put yourself in the position
of your enemy. (Not the position you would like your enemy to assume,
but the position they are actually in. I find this very tough for most
people to do, since it requires a degree of intellectual honesty that
is simply unnecessary in most peoples' day-to-day lives. I find it
useful for this, for myself, to use the term "enemy" since I know that
my enemies' objectives rarely have anything to do with my own except by
the coincidence that places them in opposition to me, but your mileage
may vary.) Once in that position, judge what the best counters to
each of your proposed tactics is. This can identify weak strategies,
but it can - sometimes - also reveal ways to alter the conflict such
that your enemy becomes your ally.

For instance: how about short-term cryo for people who are critically
injured and would die before they reach the hospital, but who might
possibly be saved once at the hospital if their tissues could be kept
from degenerating? If that could be developed and proven, it would
automatically validate the case for long-term cryo, quite possibly to
the point where doctors *would* become legally negligent for not
mentioning this possibility. Would Alcor or any of the other cryo
companies be interested in R&Ding this?

> Thanks Adrian.

No prob.

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