Assuming that this is mostly about persuading him to save himself by participating in cryonics (is that "the cause" for which he might be "an asset"?):

Your father may be fortunate to have so many informed people trying to change his mind about this. Not one person in a million has that.

He's also already scientifically informed to a rare degree - relative to the average person - so it's not as if he needs to hear arguments about nanobots and so forth.

So this has nothing to do with science, it's about sensibility and philosophy of life... (read more)

What about Futurama? Or is that not suitable because, as a comedy, it's more cynical and brings up both the way the future would be somewhat disturbing for us and that it's likely our descendents would be more interested in only reviving famous historical figures and sticking their heads in museums.

The comic Transmetropolitan also brings up the issue of cryogenics "revivals" effectively being confined to nursing homes out of our total shock at the weirdness of the future and inability to cope. It's an interesting series for transhumanists, given ... (read more)

7TheOtherDave9yThis is kind of a brilliant idea. Given that television futures always resemble the culture and the period they were produced anyway, why not actually embrace that? And, as you say, it has an educational use. Anyone around here know how to pitch a TV series?

How best to show dying is bad

by Zvi 1 min read8th Mar 201173 comments


I've been trying to convince my father to support the cause, and ran into resistance on a front that I didn't expect. It's hard to tell how much he's looking for an argument and how much he actually believes what he's advocating, but he doesn't display any behavior that would contradict him believing it and several of us (LauraABJ, SarahC and Andrew) were on hand and unable to shake him.
Today he emailed me these "Thoughts on Immortality"
  1. Our not wanting to die is a bit of irrational behavior selected for by evolution.  The universe doesn’t care if you’re there or not.  The contrasting idea that you are the universe is mystical, not rational.
  2. The idea that you are alive “now” but will be dead “later” is irrational.  Time is just a persistent illusion according to relativistic physics.  You are alive and dead, period.
  3. A cyber-replica is not you.  If one were made and stood next to you, you would still not consent to be shot.
  4. Ditto a meat replica
  5. If you believe the many worlds model of quantum physics is true (Eliezer does), then there already are a vitually infinite number of replicas of you already, so why bother making another one?
Given we'd already been over this several times I decided to try a different approach this tme, so this was my completely off-the-cuff reply:
"Are you here to have an argument? I'm sorry, this is abuse.

Terminal values and preferences are not rational or irrational. They simply are your preferences. I want a pizza. If I get a pizza, that won't make me consent to get shot. I still want a pizza. There are a virtually infinite number of me that DO have a pizza. I still want a pizza. The pizza from a certain point of view won't exist, and neither will I, by the time I get to eat some of it. I still want a pizza, damn it.

Of course, if you think all of that is irrational, then by all means don't order the pizza. More for me."
He's effectively an atheist so no need to worry about that angle. He would be a potentially strong asset were he to come around, and I hate to see him sit around without hope effectively waiting to die; when he tries to do good he doesn't exactly give to the Society for Cute Kittens and Rare Diseases but he's accomplishing far less than he could. I also would feel better knowing he fully supported my signing up for Alcor. More generally, I'd like to figure out how to pierce this sort of argument in a way that makes the person in question actually change his mind.
What else would you try?