Re: ethical problem? Some kind of problem, anyway...

Scott Badger (
Sun, 18 Apr 1999 23:29:23 -0500

Emlyn O'Regan wrote:


> How, after all, can it sound? I'm in my late twenties, and talking about
> how it's a travesty that people die, a pointless waste, and a violation
> of human rights which must be rectified, probably in the later half of
> next century, so I'll have to hang on tooth&nail to life until my
> mortality problem can be fixed up. Blah blah blah, I'm sure many of us
> go on with the same stuff.
> How insulting is this to a person of, say, 80 years? Really, I'm writing
> them of, as part of the doomed past, so near and yet so far. It makes me
> feel like a heel, and yet my opinions about immortality (I love the
> loaded words) has not changed.
> What does one do? Keep it to oneself? Go on regardless? Tell such a
> person "Sorry you are going to die, bummer eh"?
> What do other list members think about this? I'd be *especially*
> interested in the opinions of older members.

  1. The only chance they have is cryonics.
  2. Be aware that even if you commit to making an effort to save them, you will fail to convince the great majority of them.

But I am compelled to comment further:

Gene Leitl wrote:

"even if chances of it [cryonics] working are currently small."

I agree with Jeff Davis who states that reanimation for cryonic suspendees is an almost certainty...eventually. It should be added that important advances have been made recently in the efficacy of cryoprotectants that significantly reduce fracturing thanks to 21st Century Medicine, and further advances are on the near horizon.

and Emlyn wrote:

"It's not suprising that you don't sign up for cryonics - I wonder if anyone on this list actually has? It's like setting up your gravesite. While many people actually do buy plots of land, etc, just for that purpose, I'd be VERY suprised if people on this list are amongst their number.

No-one here is overly interested in dying, when it comes down to it, and cryonics is about dying+hope."

Yes, Emlyn. Be surprised. Be very surprised. There are a number of individuals signed up for cryonic suspension because they believe it is a highly rational option. I fail to appreciate your analogies. It is *not* like buying a plot of ground in which I will decay and be irreversibly lost, and cryonics is not about dying+hope. Cryonicists do not believe that a person is truly dead until the structure of the brain is irreversibly degraded. For us, the choice is unbelieveably simple: die and rot or be frozen and wait for technology to reanimate you. If something happens to prevent your reanimation (you're accidently defrosted), what exactly have you lost? I recommend you read a bit more on the subject by perusing the web sites of cryonics firms, and the archives of the Cryonet mailing list.

One last comment re:

"We will drag this planet, kicking and screaming, into the stark and unknowable future... We will do it before our parents die of old age." - The Extropian Banner

Is that T-shirt for sale yet, Eliezer?