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And yet, from a consequentialist standpoint, there shouldn't be. Regardless of potential pitfalls, this is unlikely to change: I suspect it's "hardwired" into our psychology. But there is also a reverse tendency, especially on the part of the public attitude towards leaders, where it is better to be seen to be doing something rather than nothing. Even if it is not clear what action should be taken.

If you believe in an afterlife, the question that concerns you is still whether there is an afterlife, not whether you believe in an afterlife.

I think we are assigning different meanings to "believe". In my sense, a true believer has no doubt, so "whether" is no longer a question. I think we may be getting sidetracked on semantics, though.

I appreciate the feedback, and the more detailed the better. I am always looking to improve my own effectiveness, especially in communication. One of my most frustrating, and unfortunately all too common, experiences is thinking something through, coming up with what turns out to be the correct answer, and being unable to convince others. (I am not suggesting that I have the right answer in this case; in fact, the odds are that I don't.) To me, the more specific the feedback, the better. So, for example, dissecting the post, saying "this is good", "this could use more support", "this does not follow", etc., is extremely helpful (to me, anyway).

As a measure of the value of your feedback, I have upvoted your responses, because I do find them useful. So I hope that provides some good feedback for your own experimenting :)

Cryonics is based upon a working technology, cryogenic freezing of living tissues.

Depends on what you mean by "working". When we successful freeze and revive a mammal, I will concede the point. And its still our best backup option (to not dying). Cryonics has a head start on other possibly techniques, because it was the first conceived and there are people working on it. That doesn't mean it's the best or only possibility.

My proposal was for further research, not to start doing it. I admitted we don't know how to achieve a non-hydrated state capable of recovery, or even if it can be achieved. And this was certainly not intended to be an attack on the work being done on cryonics, just a suggestion that there may be other ways. Speaking of which: DARPA seems to be working on yet another approach. I think as a society we have sufficient resources to pursue various options. I have no horse in this race, I just want to see the finish! :)

For one thing, ghost hunters with cable reality series might bother you with inane requests like pushing buttons on flashlights. ; )

Ha! I love this. My wife is always watching those shows, and I find their assumptions rather inane: I can't immediately explain this, so it must be paranormal.

It seems a quite optimistic estimate.

I agree, but I did not want to overstate the case, so I used an estimate already provided in the forums. I certainly did not want the discussion to become about how likely recovery from cryonics is, and I am fairly happy with the results.

True. Believing doesn't grant more options, but if you truly believe in an afterlife, then this is not a question that would concern you: you believe you have a better option. :)

I certainly didn't intend to imply that this was the only viewpoint, or even that it was necessarily better, only that it addressed some of the issues with what seemed to be the only current possibility. I agree that it would require considerable research into how to achieve it: my point is that these would be upfront costs, whereas cryonics has backloaded costs (technological as well as financial). I also did not mean that a "hydronically" preserved organism (I like your term) could be stored anywhere, simply that it is easier to establish passive storage. Egyptian mummies lasted thousands of years in their dry, desert tombs, but can decay rapidly when exposed to moister climes. Bacteria need warmth and water to be active: removing one or the other is sufficient. We already preserve food at room temperature using the same principle (salt or sugar both preserve food by dehydrating bacteria).

Thus skipping or being ignorant of the details doesn't help that much.

The fact is, we do not currently have a reliable means of arresting a human's metabolic processes (including post-mortem decay) and restoring them. We don't have the details for restoring cryonically preserved persons. "Advanced nanotech" is just a mysterious answer until we know how to do it. The intention of the post was to stimulate thought (which I think it has done). I do not believe I have to have all the answers before I can ask the questions. New ideas arise from making new connections between existing concepts, and sometimes this means concepts existing in two different minds.

Personally, I'd rather just go on existing here and now. Preservation is just a backup option, much like backing up your computer files: you'd rather not have a system crash, but if you do, you can recover. On the other hand, cryonics is our only current "backup" option, so the choice is a "no-brainer". Even a slim chance is preferrably to no chance.

So eventually before long you have to dig deeper.

Agreed, but I don't know where to begin digging. Which is why I threw this open to the forum.

And doing today what you could do tomorrow ensures you don't get stuck in the past.

I'm not sure I understand what you mean by that: don't put off what you can do today?

My name is Chris Roberts. Professionally, my background is finance, but I have always been fascinated by science and have tried to apply a scientific approach to my thought and discussions. I find far too much thinking dominated by ideology and belief systems without any supporting evidence (let alone testable hypotheses). Most people seem to decide their positions first, then marshal arguments to justify their prejudigments. I have never considered myself a "rationalist", but rather an empiricist. I believe in democracy, the free market and science because they have been demonstrated to be more effective in the real world than the alternatives. But I am not ideologically committed and believe they all can be improved. One common thread in these methods is that they are all self-correcting, able to recover from mistakes, and inclusive, allowing input from all participants (at least in theory). I mention this because it is reflective of my personal philosophy.

I was reading "Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality" (which itself I found from TV Tropes). I found it amusing, and the discussion articulate (though Harry himself, as presented there, rather unlikeable), so I decided to find out more about the author and his ideas, which led me here. I have been browsing the site for a few weeks, have found it quite fascinating, and feel I am ready to make some modest contributions. I posted this to the discussions thread as a first attempt. Please feel free to dissect and provide constructive criticism :).

Thanks for the clear feedback. I can see that posting to this forum is going to be a humbling, if valuable, experience :). Any thoughts for improvement?

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