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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Alcor Techno-Immortalists Failing To Freeze Out Critics

James M. Wicks, from the New York Case Compenium, Commercial Division (h/t JimF):
In a May 1, 2014 decision by Justice Sherwood, the Commercial Division granted defendants’ motions for summary judgment, and dismissed the third amended complaint in a case brought by Alcor Life Extension Foundation (“Alcor”), a non-profit organization engaged in the practice of cryonics, against the authors and publisher of a book entitled, “Frozen: A True Story, My Journey Into the World of Cryonics, Deception, and Death”. . One of the defendant authors, Larry Johnson, was employed for 8 months by plaintiff Alcor, and subject to a confidentiality agreement contained in his employment contract.  Alcor had previously sued Johnson in Arizona, claiming breaches of the confidentiality agreement... The court first considered the defamation claim against [the publisher] Vanguard.  Concluding that Vanguard demonstrated that it occupied a “public figure” status, the burden then shifted to Alcor to show by “clear and convincing” evidence that defendants acted with “actual malice.”  Reviewing the totality of evidence submitted, the court concluded that Alcor could not meet this burden... The court then summarily rejected Alcor’s claim that Vanguard somehow “aided and abetted” the fiduciary duty breach by Johnson, noting that claims for publication of defamatory material by a publisher are subject to First Amendment analysis.
I have had that book on a shelf for a couple of years but still haven't gotten around to reading it. It is interesting that Alcor tried but failed to prove in court that criticism of Alcor amounted to "malice" -- the all too familiar robocultic charge from my perspective that critique amounts to "hate-speech." That was His Holy Cosmic Engineer Pontifex Guilio Prisco's usual inane non-response to my anti-futurological critiques, for example. Given the Scientology precedent I did find the out of court settlement a few years back unfortunate, and am happy that the suit was eventually dismissed. Litigious cults shouldn't be given tools to squash dissent and dissenters in freethinking societies. I must say that confidentiality (like proprietary) clauses seem to provide all too familiar black boxes for SillyCon tech CEOs to hide their hype and frauds in. And so I can't say that I am particularly surprised to find Alcor playing that game, too: If techno-immortalist outfits like Alcor hyperbolize common or garden variety anti-aging skin kreme con artistry into full blown techno-transcendental faith-based initiatives, it isn't exactly a leap to find cosmetic company confidentiality agreements hyperbolized in robocults into a Holy of Holies.

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