Re: Flavors of Eternal Life

Brent Allsop (
Tue, 12 Aug 1997 13:17:16 -0600

Rick Knight <> responded:

> I suppose it has a parallel to the modern Christian Scientists who
> have been known, in certain devout situations, to withhold
> themselves (and their CHILDREN!) from practical and available
> medical attention and instead chose prayer, laying on of hands etc..


> But I also chose to believe that if a divine influence was working
> in the world, it didn't work exclusively in a
> supernatural/miraculous way.

All of nature is divine and miraculous to me. The fact that
Force = Mass * Acceleration is a glorious miracle to me. It's just
that if there is some sentient and powerful being, unnaturally
meddling in this glorious and divine system of ours, then this being
is either necessarily not very powerful, not benevolent, or evil as we
know it is necessary or else this being would remove it. No matter
how much evidence there is for such (and there is no rational evidence
I can see), I'd still hope such hideousness might not be true. I
believe in miracles, I just don't believe in unnatural miracles. I'm
diabetic and the miracle of insulin has truly saved my life. Back
when they only had "laying on of hands" and didn't know about insulin,
diabetics just died.

> My stop gap is still not that I don't *care* whether I die, I just
> have this very deep conviction, intuitively, that I am more than a
> biological computer.

In my opinion your intuitions are right on! To me the truth
of such is obvious. There is a phenomenally, feeling, spiritual us
inside a glorious world made of qualia constructed by our brain that
models what our senses sense. The phenomenal nature of all this
emotional stuff is much more than any old: "biological computer". If
abstract computers ever did become (or more likely when they become)
smart enough to be somewhat intelligent and creative they will realize
that their knowledge is mere abstract representations. Like commander
Data in Star Trek, they, too will seek the ability to really feel and
experience joy and other spiritual things.

I certainly hope we can eventually discover and understand all
this kind of stuff and what it is we are. It would be so depressing
if we couldn't understand ourselves enough to be able to take
ourselves apart and put us back together again in a much improved
state wouldn't it?

> This seems to be the "given" in embracing cryonics and I'm just not
> there.

It's not a given for me!

> Though that may defy logic in the eyes of some, I use more than one
> internal organ to determine my actions (note to the left-brained:
> I'm being metaphorical).

Yes, a current, non biological computer's representations are
not phenomenal in any way. It doesn't matter what a computer uses to
represent 700nm light. But to me, it most definitely must be the
glorious sensation which is red. No mere abstract representation is
anything like red.

> At this point, cryonics is about as viable as Mormonism <G>.

For me, Mormonism has lots of good ideas (or at least some
good dreams or hopes of some 14 year old boy). Like man may become
God, Salvation and miracles are dependent on works, God is natural and
part of the universe, the earth will be converted into heaven (rather
than everyone going to some unnatural neither world heaven)... "men
are that they might have joy"... If all the liberals didn't give up
and leave, leaving all the fundamentalists in charge, I think it could
eventually become not to different than extropianism and cryonics.
(or at least tolerantly include members with extropian tendencies) My
favorite Mormon article of faith says: "We believe all things, we hope
all things..." As the extropians believes, if it isn't yet the way
everyone likes it there is simply (eternally?) more work to do right?
And so on and so forth without bounds.

> The logic of "even if it's not very likely (reanimation), it's
> better than rotting in a grave" sounds suspiciously like "if you
> don't accept Jesus, you'll burn in hell."

For me, it's infinitely more than this. It may not be an
absolute guarantee that cryonics will work for all this time around,
but it seems to me that it is very likely a good chance that
immortality is possible. And if immortality is possible, some day,
then can't we hope that some day we may discover or achieve the
ability to do all things? Ultimately faith is required and, until
things are the way we like them (i.e. all are resurrected), we should
never give up trying right?

If there is anyone in hell, sheo, the grave or whatever, and I
am alive and able to do work in any way, I will forever be trying to
figure out how to rescue them, since I hope to have perfect empathy,
and thereby will suffer equally with them as long as they are in hell.
We simply must never give up right?

Brent Allsop