RE: Who Should Live?

Billy Brown (
Tue, 16 Mar 1999 16:10:50 -0600

J. R. Molloy wrote:
> Anyway, IMHO, the world can "ill afford" to lose people who help to
> the world making cryonic mistakes, people who can point out the flaws in
> cryonic ideology or idolotry, so that extropians don't waste even more
> resources on it.

You seem to have some serious misconceptions about cryonics, and the expectations of cryonicists. For the record, I expect that the development of appropriate revival technology will be funded by the same trust fund that keeps me suspended - i.e. its my money, and that of other cryonicists. We aren't asking you or anyone else to spend a single penny, or a second of your time. All you have to do is leave us alone.

As for whether people should sign up in the first place - well, this is a perfect example of the sort of things people should be free to decide for themselves.

> Instead of trying to revive the dead, I think it better to
> find ways to raise the living to the level of Stephen Hawking, Spider
> Robinson, Doug Engelbart, Robert M. Pirsig, Neal Stephenson, Douglass
> Hofstadter, Martin Gardner, Arthur C. Clarke, Steven Jay Gould, and James
> Randi, for example. In addition, I think that cryonics drains resources
> could better go into finding cures for fatal disease and terminal
> conditions.

Then you need to take another look at what people are actually doing. Right now cryonics consumes an utterly trivial amount of money ( < $1 million annually ), none of which comes from public sources. What research money it does consume is mostly devoted to improved methods of organ cryopreservation, which is quite useful for conventional medical purposes. The only other near-term research prospect is reversible biostasis, which again would have many important applications in general society.

Reviving current suspendees would require both advanced nanotechnology and very advanced AI. Meaningful research on the topic is unlikely to be possible until after we have already eliminated diseases, ageing, and just about any other imaginable medical problem. Even intelligence enhancement is a simpler problem. So, your entire list will be old hat by the time 'non-productive' cryonics research could even be attempted.

> Frankly, I think the world can "ill afford" to lose extropic
> cognitive dissidents, and I don't think living extropians
> should squander the resources of their world on the dead, even if the dead
> have convinced some people that they believe in extropy.

In other words, you don't think it will work, so no one should bother doing it. We'll, that's your choice - and again, no one is asking you to lift a finger.

> Furthermore, cryonics seems entropic in that it denies
> that life may create even more talented and gifted people. Scientists
> capable of reviving dead genius could create even greater genius, and
> consequently would have no reason to perform resurrections.
> After all, it makes no sense to rebuild a 1950 machine, when you can
> a better and more powerful new one to replace and surpass the old one in
> 2050. Cryonics can only hope to revive talented and gifted people, but
> transhuman extropy seeks to surpass, exceed, augment, and transcend what
> gone before, no matter how talented and gifted.

My, what a wonderfully deathist set of memes. By that logic, we should all just shoot ourselves at age 75 to make room for the next generation.

Cryonics is an insurance policy aimed at improving one's odds of surviving long enough to take advantage of advanced medical technology (especially life extension). Morally, it is no different than a heart transplant. Cryonicists have no desire to 'hold back' the rest of the world - we just want to live.

> Cryonics contains the seed of its own demise, namely, entropic conceit.

Try as I may, I can see nothing "entropic" about a desire to save lives.

Billy Brown, MCSE+I