Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

My Exchange With Max More Continues

Again, upgraded and adapted from the Moot, Max More (now verified) responds:
We have provided evidence for the reasonableness of cryonics (and always acknowledge the considerable uncertainties). You will find much of it here:

Neuroscientist Sebastian Seung thinks cryonics worth testing for its ability to preserve the connectome. He discussed this in the last chapter of his recent book, and will engage in dialogue at the Alcor-40 conference in October. There are published papers, and we have several lines of evidence that cryonics through vitrification, under reasonably good conditions, is probably preserving identity-critical information.

It’s irrelevant that my dissertation was not written for a biology department. I was responding to your ignorant view of death being absolute and simple. It’s convenient for you to position all cryonicists as scared of our mortality, but that doesn’t make it true. I’m not scared of dying. I am scared of the dying process if it involves intense, prolonged pain or cognitive decline. But being dead is like nothing at all. I want to avoid death not because it terrifies me, but because I like living and want to do more of it.

It’s a cheap shot to say “the mistake you are making -- and making for a living, I'm afraid, which is pretty bad I must say”. I have supported cryonics for well over 25 years. I’ve been paid for working in cryonics for 1.5 years.

I said to you that extraordinary claims require extraordinary support and then you refer me to Alcor promotional materials, apparently forgetting that I have pre-emptively repudiated the usual Robot Cultic diversion of attention from the marginality of their assumptions and aspirations onto what I called "the noisy circle-jerk of True Believers whomping up glossy brochures for the rubes."

I cheerfully agree that, say, organ cryopreservation to facilitate transplantation, exploring methods of organismic suspension (including medically induced therapeutic comas), and so on are worthy of medical research dollars. One doesn't need to start handwaving about magical drextechian nanobots or cyberspatial soul-migration or any of that nonsense to grasp that sort of thing.

My utter rejection of such foolishness certainly provides no justification for you to declare my "view of death" to be an ignorant or simplistic one. Even on terms that would interest you, I have long maintained that medical techniques and monitoring devices have befuddled long orthodox conceptions of the beginning and end of life, properly so-called. To be honest, I think transhumanists share with anti-abortionists an opportunistic recourse to such befuddlement to flog their (different) marginal and counter-intuitive aspirations (as when anti-abortionists exploit sonogram imagery to render more apparently plausible pseudo-scientific "partial birth abortion" or when techno-immortalists exploit revival from once-fatal heart attacks to render more apparently plausible pseudo-scientific "uploading"). Nobody who declares my recognition of human mortality an error or a matter of choice has any business deriding my view of death as "ignorant."

You say you are not scared of dying and I truly hope that is true, since I have known too many people who are obsessed with techno-immortalism who not only never manage to overcome their mortality (since everybody, including every Robot Cultist, is indeed going to die) but do manage to become a little less alive in life for their fear of dying.

Like many others, I do share your distaste for disease and decline. Of course, one doesn't have to join a Robot Cult to see the good sense of defending, you know, actual medical science or access to healthcare... which is why so many more people defend actual medical science or access to healthcare than belong to your Robot Cult no doubt. But I definitely disapprove of the ways in which techno-transcendentalizing frames derange our sense of what legitimate medical research actually consists and displaces at least some dollars onto snake-oil scams that might have gone instead into actual medical research and the support of more sensible healthcare policy.

It’s a cheap shot to say “the mistake you are making -- and making for a living, I'm afraid, which is pretty bad I must say”. I have supported cryonics for well over 25 years. I’ve been paid for working in cryonics for 1.5 years.
Everything you are and everything you have as a public figure is connected to your flogging of techno-transcendental wish-fulfillment fantasies like cryonics, nano-santa, GOFAI, and so on as a so-called transhumanoid eminence of twenty-years' standing (I think that's about when I became aware of you at any rate). I don't know to what you refer when you say you have been "working in cryonics for 1.5 years" presumably in some more official capacity as a bottle washer or whatever, I don't exactly breathlessly follow the vicissitudes of your career as a futurological flim-flam artist on a blow by blow basis, but I do know you've long flogged this crapola in something like a professional capacity. No doubt you'll still think that is a cheap shot -- more than one I daresay -- but it isn't quite the one you seem to think I'm making.

Scroll down to read the earlier turns this conversation has taken. Ridiculous though I find his views, I do appreciate that Max More (it really is hard not to laugh every time I write that) is exposing his views to scrutiny in this fashion, even if he is using it as an occasion for a little judicious spamming, too.


Giulio Prisco said...

So typical of you to claim that our ideas are not supported by top scientists, and then to reject the evidence of such support as "promotional material."

So typical of you to pretend that your personal attacks have something to do with science, and then to refuse debating in scientific terms because you have "pre-emptively repudiated" others' scientific arguments. Bit too easy if you ask me.

Re "displaces at least some dollars onto snake-oil scams that might have gone instead into actual medical research and the support of more sensible healthcare policy."

In other words, ALL money (including donations and private funds)must go to things that you approve of. Here is to pluralism and diversity in a free society!

Dale Carrico said...

If you claim that the concerns and outcomes that distinctively preoccupy transhumanists do not diverge from scientific consensus (to which fact-based policy makers should be accountable as well as to stakeholder reconciliation), scientific consensus as registered by standard measures like extensive scholarly citations, consonance with standard textbook concerns, grants and monies received, then you are simply lying, Giulio. Lying.

If you are claiming that "pluralism in a free society" doesn't provide for people to disagree with you and stand by their opinions, and to disapprove of the way public monies are disbursed for reasons they stand by in public, then your notion of "plurality in a free society" is little more than a license for quacks to prey on the unwary -- which may help account for the attractiveness of your conception to you.

You can by all means remain in the company of the "top scientists" who advocate hamburgerizing their brains in anticipation of their soul migration into cyberspace heaven with Robot God Mommy for what they take to be reasons so good they are widely published in scientific literature touting them -- that is indeed part of what pluralism and freedom means. -- You can continue to try to induce True Believers into passing the collection plate and telling you that you are the sooper-kewlest guru evah for believing the New Age techno-transcendental wish-fulfillment fantasies that preoccupy you -- that, too, is part of what pluralism and freedom means. -- And people who know your scam like a book like me can continue to expose your nonsense to limit the damage it does as best we can as long as we can -- that is part of what pluralism and freedom means as well.

And, no, I don't have to refrain from ridiculing what I judge ridiculous (and I expect much the same from those who erroneously think the same of me)... and, no, I don't have to treat you with respect on your terms when you haven't earned it on mine... and, no, I don't have to accept you are more "scientific" than I am just because I know enough to know I am not a scientist in the relevant fields under discussion while you lack both that knowledge but also the scruples to act accordingly... and, no, I don't have to accept the authorities you settle for when they do not measure up to my standards (which, for a reasonably technoscientifically literate layperson like me, demands respect for the actually prevailing scientific consensus on questions at hand, while you people diverge from that consensus on question after question after question)... and, no, I don't have to use your preferred language to critique, among other things, the language you prefer (I am a rhetorician and I focus on your discourse exactly as I should do, and quite usefully so given how much of the real distinctiveness of the Robot Cult plays out precisely at the level of rhetoric).

And, yes, that is and will remain precisely typical of me. Your bad luck, I'm afraid!

jimf said...

> [Y]ou are simply lying, Giulio. Lying.

I have to admit I cringe a bit when these exchanges devolve
into accusations of "lying". And Prisco did it first, long
ago, when he repeatedly, in comments here and elsewhere,
accused Dale of "lying" about >Hism.

I'm willing to extend Prisco the courtesy of assuming he is
**not** deliberately "lying". On the other hand, "lying"
is a slippery term. If a little kid breaks Daddy's camera
and then solemnly declares, when asked, that he never
touched it, that's lying pure and simple. If a tobacco
company executive in 1970 suppresses an internal study
indicating that smoking may promote lung cancer, is he
"lying" if he believes that **of course** cigarette smoking
doesn't cause cancer, and it would be irresponsible to
release studies with statistically uncertain conclusions
(just like global warming studies, eh?) to scare a
gullible and easily-frightened public and also to
damage the company's bottom line. In retrospect, such
a thing might look a lot like lying, but at the time?
Where do you draw the lie between lying and **self**

Prisco is caught up in a religious enthusiasm, which he
thinks will be good for him personally come the Singularity,
and which will save the world, too. He really really
really doesn't want to contemplate evidence that the
"Singularity", and other superlativities longed-for by
contemporary >Hists -- SFnal artificial intelligence,
SFnal nanorobotic assemblers, SFnal biological engineering --
including radical postponement or reversal of aging --
are **not** in the cards for anybody now living (if ever).
(Which leaves the O'Connors and others hoping they can
be frozen and thawed and **then** reap the benefits
of these technical miracles.)

Prisco may not be a stupid man (though he clearly isn't the
brightest character on the block either), but he, like
many religious adherents, is capable of a kind of selective
stupidity when it comes to defending himself (and his
"tribe") against threats to his cherished beliefs.

Is that "lying"? Weeellll... It is if you're looking to
insult somebody or provoke a fight, I guess.

Dale Carrico said...

Of course Prisco is caught up in religious enthusiasm. But as I have made repeatedly clear his religious enthusiasm may not be my cup of tea -- just as his aesthetic tastes may not be -- but I don't particularly think people's faiths or tastes are my business unless they brush up close enough to my own to trigger something I can talk about that says something more about me than them.

I ferociously disapprove the pretense that Robot Cultism is a scientific outlook, let alone a mode of serious science practice, or education, or engineering, or policy-making, or an actually progressive or democratizing political campaign or party or program or movement, including an "identity movement." I think it matters enormously not to confuse such things.

Dale Carrico said...

To the extent that the various sects of the Robot Cult are just a fandom for one of the more inept and derivative sfnal genres (futurology) or a kind of cosplay subculture or even a full-blown faithly sub(cult)ure it would not draw my ire.

I mean, sure, I think the Raelians are kooky but I find in them a certain campy appeal rather like documentary traces of 70s church services at SF's GLIDE, I think Scientology is perfectly hilarious, I think Mormonism is flabbergastingly bonkers, I think the Catholicism in which I was raised is a bunch of crazytown bloodsoaked kitsch (and that was before I heard about the Spider Queen), I mean, hell, I'm an atheist, of course I think the Singularitarians are bonkers as far as their faith goes -- but, But, BUT I don't feel much compelled to talk about any of these sociocultural formations except to the extent that they interfere with practical policy outcomes in ways that derange rational public deliberation to the cost of democracy or efficacy, except to the extent that their organizational dynamisms exhibit or facilitate authoritarianism, exploitation, or misinformation to the cost of the scenes of rational deliberation or consent on which democratic politics depend.

Dale Carrico said...

All of these formations, Scientology, Catholicism, Robot Cultism do indeed impinge on these larger concerns at times and in significant ways that need to be understood and effectively resisted. To the extent that Robot Cultists are just geeks there is considerable overlap between them and me which is no doubt why I noticed them decades ago in the first place and remain fascinated by them and know so deeply so many of the texts on which they base their beliefs and understand them so well.

This familiarity also helps account for the brusqueness of my exchange with Prisco. Do you realize how many YEARS he has been indulging in these squabbles with me? You've been around for a whole hell of a lot of them yourself -- as a much more sympathetic participant observer I might add -- and part of what I am responding to is my awareness that Prisco is himself simply going through the ritual motions of insulting or provoking a fight to what purpose I no longer completely quite understand.

Dale Carrico said...

I don't expect to change Prisco's mind anymore and I see no reason to extend him the courtesies on which such projects of conviction or reconciliation depend for their maintenance. Prisco needs to be ridiculed in the hope that his discomfiture will undercut his expectation of a positive hearing in general audiences and so limit the kind of damage he can do, or he can function as an exemplary object, something of a reductio ad absurdum, illustrating in readily intelligible ways deep structural tendencies to religiosity, incoherence, pseudo-science, and True Belief in futurological discourse that other adherents mask more effectively than he does but who are tarred by the brush of his extremity in ways that are wholesome for general audiences that may observe our exchanges and who may be susceptible to futurology but still skeptical enough or teachable enough to reject it to the benefit of us all.

Prisco knows very well what I take to be the indices of legitimate science to which rational laypersons much make recourse in assessing the merits of technoscientific topics for their attention, opinion, and the public resources they have a hand in distributing as citizens -- he knows this from discussions about GOFAI, drextech, uploading, geo-engineering, and, yes, cryonics -- and whether he is tsk tsking my "typical" so-called "anti-scientificity" for rejecting the ways in which his pseudo-scientificity fails to pass muster as science, because he is just yanking my chain to waste my time, or trying to undercut my project with deliberate misinformation for the peanut gallery, the simple fact is that he is indeed being mischievous in a way that must be called out and stopped in its tracks in my view.

Dale Carrico said...

Realize how crucial the general problem exhibited here really is: my judgment that the Robot Cult is a pseudo-scientific faith-based initiative best grasped in its discursive and cultural performance is asserted on my part from the vitally important because so general position of a literate non-scientist who respects the role of proper science, against people who occupy positions more similar to me than not but who are claiming to be scientific in ways that I do nor should they and also seeking to leverage their misunderstanding or deliberate mystifications on this score precisely against the position from which I am leveraging my critique both as a person actually trained in discourse analysis of the kind most relevant to what they are doing (though not by their lights) and also as a literate concerned democratically-minded citizen quite aware of the extent to which technodevelopmental social struggle in a (possibly the) key register of historical conflict and possible progress in our moment.

Prisco and many like him are lying to themselves, and in ways that make them ridiculous, and I am willing to lampoon them in such moment in ways that render them less attractive to general audiences vulnerable to their moonshine because of the utter prevalence in the societies in which they have been raised of deceptive and hyperbolic promotional and marketing norms and forms, techno-triumphalism masking brutal exploitation, scientific reductionism enabling infantile narcissisms and denialism, and techno-fetishisms deranging our sense of history and social struggle.

Dale Carrico said...

But I am more interested in exposing as a skeptic the misinformation and pseudo-science and fraud in which the Robot Cultist are indulging -- and in ways that have to be conscious -- to the extent that they are whomping up phony experts and think-tanks and "universities," and offering up conferences and terminological hanky-panky and citational log-rolling that are clearly working to circumvent legitimate objections, insulate themselves from criticism, augment the status and egos and fortunes of key movement players, and so on.

I see the point of your critique -- and I agree in general with the force of it -- but I think this concern can be misplaced in certain contexts, when one is engaging with bad faith interlocutors like Movement Republicans and Robot Cultists who actually depend for their mischief both on the pretense that rational standards are met even as they actively undermine them and then treat the exposure of this destruction as the destruction in which they themselves are engaged.

Dale Carrico said...

I think there are crucial parallels between the rhetorical and subcultural forms of Superlative Futurology and Movement Republicanism (though close historical reading reveals different specificities that are actually more interesting), which is not doubt part of the reason they are the twin objects of this blog's critical focus.

Anyway, yes, I do think Prisco is lying about what he is doing here, at any rate when he is talking to me because this is a game that has had many innings by now and at this point it would only be my pretending he is engaging in a good faith exchange that gives him any power to do here the kind of damage I disapprove of and to which he has, after all, consciously and explicitly devoted his life, flogging for the Robot Cult in ways that actively admit of its religiosity and yet still incoherently and vociferously insists on its scientificity and progressivity in the face of my endlessly reiterated critique on this score and in ways most of its adherents deny altogether. YMMV, still, of course, and for good reasons. But those are mine.

Taurus Londono said...

None of the seemingly countless words you've written here amount to anything that substantively repudiates the basic empirical realities upon which the idea of cryonics is based (and it is, of course, merely an idea).

"Promotional materials" and "circle jerk"....Right. You're a rhetorician. All well and good.

Dismissive condescension is good fun, however it is not, in and of itself, evidence.

"I cheerfully agree that, say, organ cryopreservation to facilitate transplantation, exploring methods of organismic suspension (including medically induced therapeutic comas), and so on are worthy of medical research dollars."

Eminently reasonable of you. So with what, in as much specificity as possible, do you take exception in the case of cryonics?

The Harvard Medical School's 1968 definition of "irreversible coma," which they explicitly describe "a new criterion for death" including four major criteria; "Unreceptivity and unresponsivity" "No movements or breathing" "No reflexes" "Flat electroencephalogram"...

Unfortunately, that's a very good description of someone who is under deep pharmacologic coma (ie; individuals anesthetized by isoflurane).

The Uniform Determination of Death Act is little more than an elaboration of the "brain-death" criterion; "...cessation of all functions of the entire brain, including the brain stem."

Since you are apparently operating under the assumption scientific empiricism is akin to democracy, it's worth noting that the UK's Royal College of Physicians rejected the Uniform Determination of Death Act, calling it "scientifically worthless."

For them, "brain stem death" is legal death.

Of course, both the Harvard's committee's definition of death, the 1981 US President Commission's definition, and the definition determined by the Royal College of Physicians would have applied to skier Anna Bagenholm during any of the 40 minutes in which she has complete cessation of heart and lung function as well as electrocerebral silence while her core body temperature was 13.7C.

The above criteria for death would also seem to apply, in and of themselves, to people who are in deep hypothermic circulatory arrest (ie; aortic arch surgery) during which patients have been brought down to as low as 8C for 38 minutes.

Flat EEG/Electrocerebral silence is a common feature of DHCA (though it should be mentioned that the rate of temporary and/or permanent neurological damage has been shown to be reduced when patients are brought to lower temperatures).

Hypothermic-induced electrocerebral silence and prolonged circulatory arrest, and without cerebral perfuson; according to the specific physiological criteria acceptable for a determination of legal death going back at least four decades, these individuals have apparently been made "dead" and then "resurrected."

Of course, surgeons and perfusionists aren't murdering people with CPB and then bringing them back to life; the definitions of death are plainly inadequate.

Indeed, aortic arch surgery seems to be headed towards a combination of DHCA and antegrade cerebral perfusion to reduce risk of temporary and/or permanent neurological damage; a 2008 paper suggested that this could lead to "safe" brain ischemia time of up to 80 minutes.

Harvard's ad hoc committee of 1968 would've greeted that possibility with smirking incredulity...
...something similar perhaps to the reaction of many of today's healthcare professionals who believe the popular myth that 6 minutes or more of normothermic ischemia *in and of itself* causes irreversible brain damage.

There may be electrocerebral silence within as little of 20 seconds of normothermic brain ischemia.
(continued next post)

Taurus Londono said...

If resuscitation takes place later than ~6 minutes after the onset of brain ischemia, neurological damage is *extremely* likely to manifest.

There are some credentialed health care providers who actually believe that longer than 6 minutes of warm ischemia *causes brain tissue to become necrotic*.

No mammalian neuronal tissue has ever been shown to undergo necrosis after just 6 minutes of warm ischemia...
...or 10 minutes...
...or 30 minutes...
...or 60 minutes.

And there is no scientific basis to assume otherwise (as doctrs who deal with reperfusion injury know).

Feline neuronal cells show pristine cellular integrity and ongoing lysosome function after *2 hours of warm ischemia*.

Occlusion of the central cerebral arteries of rats found that there was necrosis in brain tissue after 4 hours. 15% of neurons were necrotic after 6 hours. 65% of neurons were necrotic after 12 hours.

Rat neuronal tissue recovers *complete, healthy function* after *reoxygenation* 5-hours post-mortem just as well as tissue harvested immediately after death.

Most importantly of all...
...In neuronal tissue extracted from elderly humans (post-mortem), 70%-90% of cells were viable after 2 weeks in vitro.

So why is temporary and/or permanent brain damage almost a certainty after more than 6 minutes of normothermic ischemia?

Because several minutes of warm ischemia is enough to initiate self-destructive processes (electrolyte leakage, hydrolysis of ATP, denaturation, autolysis)...BUT, that process takes several hours *even at "warm" temperature*.

The actual *direct* cause of post-ischemic brain damage in normothermic humans is reperfusion injury. The effect of reperfusion alters the necrotic course of brain cells such that many become apoptotic instead (leukocyte-mediated inflammation). There is also mitochondrial destruction due to reperfusion-induced alteration of extracellular milieu which results in mitochondrial lysis (accumulation of calcium). The pathophysiology of reperfusion injury is multifaceted.

It doesn't help that medical professionals also have to deal with the fact that the pressure necessary for cerebral perfusion increases steadily during warm ischemia. While CPR can be capable of between 25-30 mmHg, it's been suggested that adequate cerebral perfusion would require 40-50 mmHg, and the pressure required increases with time ("no-reflow" phenomenon).

While resuscitation after several minutes of cerebral ischemia literally *causes* brain damage, first-responders/EMS & ER surgeons do not yet generally employ techniques such as induced hypothermia.

Yet the medical establishment doesn't argue that a means by which to potentially delay/prevent necrosis within an ischemic brain would be to reduce its temperature. (as above; DHCA)

Taurus Londono said...

Undoubtedly, induced hypothermia *will* be employed with increasing frequency to prevent damage associated with cerebral ischemia. We will likely see some protocol become standard for EMS in the very near future.

Of course, *the elephant in the room* is that any technique that prevents necrosis in ischemic brain tissue is *no less applicable* for the brain of a 50-year-old with myocardial infarction than it would be for a cachexic 15-year-old with glioblastoma who's suffered cardiac arrest.

Both could be declared legally dead; wait half a minute, and both will have a flat EEG. The 15-year-old's cancer-affected brain stem no longer supports autonomic function. Wait long enough, and the pressure generated by CPR will not be adequate to overcome his body's worsening resistance to blood flow.

But the mere resistance to blood flow doesn't make the man with MI any more "dead" after 15 minutes of warm ischemia than he was after 2 minutes of warm ischemia.

The cachexic 15-year-old's brain stem is sufficiently damaged that it will no longer support a heartbeat, but is she "more dead" than the man with MI because we can write her off the minute she flatlines?

If we didn't have CPR, we could write off the guy with MI too, couldn't we?

We shake our heads at the idea of people in the not-so-distant past who were declared "dead" the second their heart stopped beating for mere lack cardiopulmonary resuscitation techniques....yet we believe it's acceptable ("God's will," even) to declare the cachexic 15-year-old dead the minute her autonomic function stops because we don't have the technology to repair or replace her brain stem?

In both cases, "death" is an imaginary line that *WE* draw, and we continually re-draw that line as our nascent capabilities evolve. The 45-years since the "irreversible coma" criterion is a very brief span of time indeed.

Of course, if we possess the technology to delay or prevent necrosis (ie; destruction) of human brain tissue subjected to ischemia, that technology would be applicable for *ANY* brain of *ANY* age. 15-years-old, 50-years-old, 80-years-old... The only *fundamental* differences would be the degree to which each individual's brain is amenable to such an intervention (ie; the vasculature of a 30-year-old's brain could be very different from that of an 80-year-old).

Taurus Londono said...

Luckily, after four decades of research, engineering, and innovation, it seems that we have such an intervention; we can prevent necrosis in an ischemic brain, and we can maintain that brain in an unchanging state indefinitely until the time that our capabilities will have evolved sufficiently such that healthy, normal cellular function resumes without a degree of neurological damage that would essentially wipe out personal identity.

Even after decades of work, this method is, in a word, crude. It is so primitive, so rough in its design and execution, that it actually *causes its OWN kind of damage* even as it stabilizes the brain and prevents necrosis.

It involves cerebral perfusion with a solution that is in fact cytotoxic (though to a relatively modest degree). Even though this solution affords a level of preservation capable of maintaining the fine neuronal ultrastructure on which long-term memory is embedded, the process ultimately results in some number of micro-fractures (like cracks in a window pane); because these fractures are self-contained and occur at a temperature at which chemical reactions (indeed, molecular motions) essentially cease, no information is lost (unlike in the case of, say, a wound or an abrasion).

Although this technique offers and unprecedented level of protection from ice formation, there still seems to be the possibility of some limited ice damage.

We know that this technique preserves cell viability because it's been tested on a variety of tissue types; not only is structure and viability maintained in slices of tissue in which the technique has been reversed, a whole mammalian organ was shown to be normofunctional and life-sustaining when transplanted into an animal.

Best of all, we know that long-term potentiation (synaptic plasticity that underlies some memory formation) survives this technique, and can be demonstrated in the electrical activity of brain slices subjected to this technique.

Taurus Londono said...

Crude and damaging though the technique is, and as far beyond the black curtain of the future as the technology necessary for restoration to healthful life might be, at least two things are clear:

- This technique is sufficiently advanced that, in an ideal scenario of its application, it *should* save the patient's life.

- Whether or not that saved life is realized in the form of a fully conscious, fully aware human mind depends on nothing more than the continued evolution of current technological capability (not an alteration of the laws of physics as currently understood; not an unforeseen discovery or an unpredictable revelation).

The "idea" of cryonics is that such technological progress will eventually lead to lives that are fully realized by the patients currently preserved.

We don't know how many of these patients have been sufficiently preserved so that conceivable technology could allow them to perceive the universe again. Right now, the number may be far less than cryonicists hope.

Some of that hope rests on the quality of current cryopreservation techniques (upon which that hope is well-founded); *most* of that hope rests on the will of humanity to make possible fully realized lives for however many currently preserved patients our technological capability allows.

[References upon request.]

Dale Carrico said...

"Taurus Londono," or whatever your name is, you are going to die and you are never coming back and every second you devote to this fools errand of yours is a second that could have been devoted instead to saving actual lives helping people get better access to better healthcare, education, social support, and equitable recourse to accountable law in a more sustainable and consensual civilization.

Between where we are and where you want to go, between what we know and what we absolutely do not know you accumulate "mays" and "shoulds" and "ideallys" one after another after another at the end of the line of which you declare yourself to have arrived across the gulf into "well founded hope." It is only the fervency of your wishes that transforms this tissue of contingencies into such a foundation.

(And I should add that if it were really only "hope" you were claiming for your faith it is hard to see where you total dismissal of my skepticism is coming from given the long-ongoing marginality of your confident assertions from the consensus of scientists in each of the relevant fields from which you are presumably drawing. It sure sounds like you are more cocksure than hopeful, and it sure is hard to take that seriously the moment one steps away from the circle of your True Believers.)

Now, you can dismiss rhetoric all you like, but I am sorry to inform you that everything actually distinctive and apparently compelling about your project is happening at the level of rhetoric. This includes the technique of dwelling on modest details nobody needs to join a Robot Cult to take seriously (eg, improving organ cryopreservation techniques to facilitate transplantations) followed by your stunning leaps into claims that only those who join a Robot Cult could take seriously (eg, raising centuries-vitrified severed heads from the dead and directing nanobotic swarms to build sooperbodies to house info-souls presumably interred within them).

References to comparably confident and long compelling technical utterances by phrenologists available upon request.

jimf said...

> I don't know to what you refer when you say you have been "working
> in cryonics for 1.5 years" presumably in some more official capacity
> as a bottle washer or whatever, I don't exactly breathlessly follow
> the vicissitudes of your career as a futurological flim-flam artist
> on a blow by blow basis, but I do know you've long flogged this
> crapola in something like a professional capacity.

He's the CEO of Alcor, now. ;->

From the comment thread of
[E]xactly what you say about Nanotechnology solving all our problems
as opposed to nanotechnology (small “n”) was the issue that
Thomas Donaldson was concerned about. . . We saw it taking over
the technical debates, with time and energy sapped from the
grit of biological and biochemical research. . .

I respect Thomas a great deal, I’ve learned a lot from his writings,
and I would like to see many of them gathered and republished.
They seem to have aged well because Thomas didn’t fall into the
“singularity” delusion, and he assumed that we would make incremental
progress and still have problems to solve in the coming centuries.
He comes across as one of the voices of adulthood in cryonics literature,
compared with a lot of the adolescent-sounding foolishness which
has dominated cryonics discussions in the past 30 years. . .

Alcor owns the copyright to [Donaldson's] published writings. . .
[S]everal months ago I approached the Alcor Board to allow me to. . .
set up a site dedicated to Thomas’ writings. I have had no response
(see my posting. . . regarding Alcor’s DNR (Do Not Respond) “policy”). . .
I am getting VERY ANNOYED with the lack of response, and in paranoid
fashion am starting to wonder whether Board members are suppressing
the re-publication of some of his writings in the way a number
of his articles critical of Nanotechnology were refused publication
by Ralph Merkle as Board member prior to his suspension. . .

Your coining the term “DO NOT RESPOND (DNR),” to describe Alcor’s
(lack of) response to substantive queries is brilliant; if you only
knew the full extent of it! This appears to be mostly a Max More
phenomenon – though it predates his tenure – it has just become
extreme since he took office. Since he became CEO DNR has become
the primary mechanism of response to a range of queries or problems
which, for whatever reason, Alcor or Max does not wish to deal with.
I will tell you an interesting aspect to this phenomenon, and that
is that whilst the DNR is often the de facto way such PRIVATE
queries are handled, when the same queries are framed publicly
in such a way to cause potential embarrassment for Max personally
(or less so, to Alcor), you will often get an immediate response. . .