Re: Who Should Live?

Michael S. Lorrey (
Wed, 17 Mar 1999 13:44:05 -0500

Brian D Williams wrote:

> From: "J. R. Molloy" <>
> >Anyway, IMHO, the world can "ill afford" to lose people who help
> >to prevent the world making cryonic mistakes, people who can point
> >out the flaws in cryonic ideology or idolatry, so that extropians
> >don't waste even more resources on it. 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 that
> >could better go into finding cures for fatal disease and terminal
> >conditions. 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.
> Cryonics is between individuals and the companies involved, no
> public resources are "drained". In fact the spinoffs from cryonics
> research including such things as organ freezing will save
> hundred's of thousand's of people per year.

He seems to be of the opinion that the market could have found better uses for the money and materials used in suspension and maintenance for growing the economy, by allowing the 'dead' persons heirs to collect that insurance money, and spend or invest it as they please (also allowing the government to take its cut as well).

He fails to realize that the market is acting here. The individual places higher value on resuscitating his or her own life than in either letting the government get half of his or her assets and to one's heirs. Considering that something like 90% of all wealth does not remain in families beyond the third generation, it should actually help the economy by allowing those who are most capable of growing it to maintain ownership while they are in suspension. The basis of free enterprise is the idea that the individual knows best what to do with that individual's assets.

Governments have a far worse track record (as seen in lower ROI on government backed investment instruments versus the stock market) than individuals in this regard. We would be contradicting the extropian emphasis on the free market if we did not respect the individual's right to use his or her own money for cryonic suspension as they see fit.

> >I think a more extropian program would clone terminally ill
> >ultra-talented and gifted people (that the world can "ill afford"
> >to lose), because a younger version of a deceased genius could
> >pick up where the old one left off, and do so much more quickly,
> >given the advantages provided by more recent technology and
> >intelligence augmentation.

Not necessarily. Look at the heritability of wealth through generations. It (wealth building capability) seems more to be a matter of nurture rather than nature. The biggest wealth generators had some sort of hardship which motivated them to become what they became. Bill Gates, even though the son of one of the most successful lawyers in Seattle, and who grew up in Laurelhurst, one of the nicest neighborhoods in town, was a geeks geek. Tape on the glasses, prodigy programmer, etc., I know for a fact how much he was picked on by his peers (I know a number of people he grew up with).

I doubt that a clone of Bill Gates would be as motivated as he, partly because of raised expectations.

> You have the same fears, based on the same lack of knowledge, as
> the general populace when it comes to cloning. Cloning only
> produces a biologically very similar organism, (not an exact
> duplicate) no memories are involved. The clone of a genius will not
> necessarily be a genius, in fact not even likely.
> >Furthermore, cryonics seems entropic in that it denies that life
> >may create even more talented and gifted people.
> We don't seek to deny the creation of others, just the preservation
> of ourselves.

It is far easier to build on what you know works than to start from scratch. Evolution has gotten as far as it has because of this. A human being posesses legacy DNA from every organism in its line of descent since year 1.

> > 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 create 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 has gone before, no
> >matter how talented and gifted.
> We are not doing this for the world, but for ourselves. I don't
> think any of us hoping to be revived would mind having our
> intelligence increased by future tech. In fact I expect it.

Yes, I really don't care much about the future as much as I would if I knew I would be a part of it. Existing as a historical footnote is not my idea of immortality.

> >The extropian world can ill afford to believe that it cannot
> >produce greater talents and gifts than it already has. Cryonics
> >contains the seed of its own demise, namely, entropic conceit.
> Cryonics is not life denying, in fact I think it's the most life
> affirming, positive outlook of the future there is.

It also puts the proper emphasis on the individual's development and evolution. Development of the species occurs as a result, not as a predicate of this. Thus cryonics properly respects the extropic focus on individuality.