[an error occurred while processing this directive]
About
Content
Store
Forum

Rebirth of Reason
War
People
Archives
Objectivism

Post to this threadMark all messages in this thread as readMark all messages in this thread as unreadBack one pagePage 0Page 1Page 2Forward one pageLast Page


Post 20

Sunday, July 17, 2005 - 11:43amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Right on Steve! :-)



Post 21

Sunday, July 17, 2005 - 3:50pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Dean, I'd prefer not to do that either but I meant every word. Marcus has been at this a lot more then I have and knows better then to be comparing people here to some damn commies. I'm through with this thread.



Post 22

Sunday, July 17, 2005 - 6:46pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit

How the hell do you compete against a person who has a 500 year head start on you? Free market my ass, you’re going to be stuck on the bottom.
Well, if you are 10,000 years old, and he is 10,500 years old, it probably wont make much of a difference.  In fact, the longer you live, the less the difference in age will make. 

Michael F Dickey




Sanction: 3, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 3, No Sanction: 0
Post 23

Sunday, July 17, 2005 - 8:07pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Obviously has no sense of self confidence to survive, so craves a subsidy in effect...



Post 24

Monday, July 18, 2005 - 7:11amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Marcus has been at this a lot more then I have and knows better then to be comparing people here to some damn commies.
Thomas Malthus wasn't a communist, but political economist and Anglican parson.
So am I comparing you to a parson as well?

It's a shame you cannot refute what I have written, rather than just sulking about it.

 
In fact, the longer you live, the less the difference in age will make.
I agree with you there. It would stop being a question of age, but how well you can do the job.




Post 25

Monday, July 18, 2005 - 7:24amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
It seems to me it is not irresonsible or immoral to want to or even try to live forever, or for a very long time, but it is, however, very mixed up with assorted nutjobs and fruitcakes. In short, it is just weird to go around, say, with an Alcor cryogenic bracelet etc.

Incidentally, this calls to mind Rand's Robot. As I have posted in the comments on this thread, One thing to keep in mind is there is a difference between being immortan and knowing you are immortal. I have noted this before (where, I cannot find) regarding Ayn Rand's views about the nature of value. In Virtue of Selfishness she writes:
It is only the concept of 'Life' that makes the concept of 'Value' possible. It is only to a living entity that things can be good or evil. ... To make this point fully clear, try to imagine an immortal, indestructible robot, an entity which moves and acts, but which cannot be affected by anything, which cannot be changed in any respect, which cannot be damaged, injured, or destroyed. Such an entity would not be able to have any values; it would have nothing to gain or to lose; It could not regard anything as for or against it, as serving or threatening its welfare, as fulfilling or frustrating its interests. It could have no interests and no goals… Only a living entity can have goals or can originate them. And it is only a living organism that has the capacity for self-generated, goal-directed action.
(See this Randian essay on related matters.)

The problem here, it seems to me, is the assumption that IF you are immortal, then you would be absolutely sure of this fact. Because the argument seems to rely not so much on *being* immortal, but in believing you are immortal. (I think the argument is fallacious in either case.)

What really matters, for action, is what one believes to be the case. This seems to me to apply to Rand's hypo about "valuing" as much as it does this little discussion about time preference. Now in my view, we would still have time preference, and still value, even if we were immortal and knew it.

But even from the perspective of those here arguing about whether immortality affects time preference (or, in Rand's case, the capacity to have values), the focus has to be on what the actor thinks or believes, not on what is really the case. Suppose A is immortal but does not know it. He only knows he is older than others and has not yet died. He assumes he has some weird gene that makes him live longer but he has no way of knowing or proving he is really immortal. In this case, he would not act as if he is immortal (whatever the implications of that are) since he does not think he is.

Also assume this: A is not immortal but falsely believes he is. Presumably he would act as if he is immortal. But note: today, many people, e.g. Christians, do in effect believe they are immortal; they believe they don't really "die" but their soul goes to heaven and exists forever. These people evidently are (from their point of view) immortal, yet still value, and still have time preference.

So clearly, this entire focus on "immortality" is doubly mistaken. First, it is not immortality that matters--it is one's beliefs about one's own mortality. And second, apparently even a belief in immortality does not undercut the capacity to have values of time preference.

... I really think a big flaw in this entire hypo is that no one can ever know they are immortal--even an immortal person could not know it. In fact, it's probably impossible to be immortal anyway, given entropy and the universe's ultimate collapse.
(Edited by Stephan Kinsella
on 7/18, 7:28am)




Post 26

Monday, July 18, 2005 - 7:35amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Clarence,

Rather than fearing the the unfair "competition" of people who have far less limited life spans, think of what can be accomplished by humans who have several hundred years to devote to their careers. What if Feynman or Einstein were still alive? Or Tesla or even Edison? Talk about standing on the shoulders of giants. Imagine technology that essentially made all people wealthy beyond what we have experienced in our lifetimes. It's happened before, just project into the future. With increasing wealth, birth rates fall. The population of the world would go into continuous decline. With a much smaller population the value of individuals to each other would increase dramatically. With the "slave" of technology meeting the physical needs of humanity the arts and sciences and philosophy would flourish. Virtually anything you wanted to pursue of an original nature would be valued. As creative individuals we do not compete with anyone.

Great picture! Good to see you.



Post 27

Monday, July 18, 2005 - 7:42amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
That's the secret Robert.

Living forever requires a totally new mental set; not only of one's physical life, but the life of society at large.   CONFIDENCE, to say the least.  

Are those who wish to live forever, the ultimate in workaholics; those who have a perfectionism that says, "I have to try and get it all done?"

I'm not counting on  living forever; until someone puts food on the market that stays fresh until I need it.  At 62, "living forever" conjures up a notion of having food in my refrigerator  that thrives on benign neglect.     haha

Marcus,

I hope that you guys are working on this first.





Sanction: 3, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 3, No Sanction: 0
Post 28

Monday, July 18, 2005 - 7:45amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
"It seems to me it is not irresonsible or immoral to want to or even try to live forever, or for a very long time, but it is, however, very mixed up with assorted nutjobs and fruitcakes. In short, it is just weird to go around, say, with an Alcor cryogenic bracelet etc."

I know some people going the Alcor route. While I'm not as optimistic as they, I have to agree that their approach is decidedly less weird than that of the larger number of people I know who think prayer, self-repression and asceticism will make them immortal.




Sanction: 4, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 4, No Sanction: 0
Post 29

Monday, July 18, 2005 - 8:06amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
"I know some people going the Alcor route. While I'm not as optimistic as they, I have to agree that their approach is decidedly less weird than that of the larger number of people I know who think prayer, self-repression and asceticism will make them immortal."

Well this is just semantics. Theism, prayer, faith, etc. are very common, and "normal". Many people view it as background to life and don't take it all that seriously, any more than Objectivists who do Christmas really take the religious aspect of it seriously.

I just can't help the gut view that these longevity, life-extension, cryonics types are a bunch of hippie-dippie California weirdoes.



Post 30

Monday, July 18, 2005 - 8:28amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit

Ignore the obvious pro-death and scare tactics of this article (complete with picture of scary 'zombie dog')

from - http://www.news.com.au/story/0,10117,15739502-13762,00.html

US scientists have succeeded in reviving the dogs after three hours of clinical death, paving the way for trials on humans within years.

Stephan said:

I just can't help the gut view that these longevity, life-extension, cryonics types are a bunch of hippie-dippie California weirdoes.

We always find things we are unfamiliar with wierd.  How wierd is cryonics really, given the above news?  Consider that the vast majority of people find Objectivism wierd as well.  And as I outlined in this thread  - http://solohq.com/cgi-bin/SHQ/SHQ_FirstUnread.cgi?Function=FirstUnread&Board=2&Thread=1166

You must remember and realize that we are all raised in a culture that finds value in death (e.g. it gives meaning to life, etc) just as we are raised in one that espouses moral relativism and altruism. 

Michael F Dickey




Post 31

Monday, July 18, 2005 - 9:51amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Based on my small sample set at least, the 'hippie-dippie California weirdoes' description doesn't fit at all.

The analogy concerning religion and those who take it seriously or casually, however, fits very well. Christians who truly believe in self-sacrifice and asceticism are a minority of fundamentalists, set apart from a backdrop of many casual Sunday believers. Alcor clients and believers in life extension, nano-tech and cryogenics are 'futurists' - lovers of science and technology who take to it to an extreme with a religious zealotry.

I expect most of us have great admiration and respect for science technology, and perhaps even derive a spiritual inspiration from observing or being involved in its advance. We're just the Easter Christians of technology compared to the Drexler/Kurzweil/Alcor following true believers.




Post 32

Monday, July 18, 2005 - 1:05pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
I think cryonics is more the case of just being a longshot then being weird.

My view would be "Do I leave this 50k to my kids, or buy a chance that I can be revived at some point."

This will probably depend on how much money I have when I get to the point where dying becomes a likelihood.

I think it is all but inevitable that science will get to the point where something like this can be done. It also happens in nature, like frogs that freeze during a long winter and essentially stop being frogs, until they thaw. If nature can do it why not science? Unless you subscribe to some sort of mystical superiority of nature over science.




Post 33

Monday, July 18, 2005 - 1:44pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
"My view would be "Do I leave this 50k to my kids, or buy a chance that I can be revived at some point." "

True, and you are taking into account the costs. Someone once showed me an Alcor marketing tool which consisted of a game-theory grid of 'Use insurance money for Alcor or not' on one axis, versus 'Alcor life extension technology works or not' on the other. Of course using Alcor is supposed to be the dominant strategy since the worst case of using them is a lost $50K, whereas the worst case of not using them is missing out on a whole new life.

I laughed heartily since I immediately saw it as an exact parallel to Pascal's Wager, and sharing many of its fallacies.

"I think it is all but inevitable that science will get to the point where something like this can be done."

Definitely. The majority of what the life extension folks describe *technologically* I think will be feasible. I find them overly optimistic in some cases and on timescale, but generally the ideas are plausible. Where I really disagree is seeing them as completely ignoring the human realities:

OK, so 200 years from now there will be the technology to thaw your severed head, attach it to a cloned body, fix your Alzheimer's, patch up telomeres, etc. Even if the freezer isn't shut down between now and then due to accident, crime, war, fraud, bankrupt company, etc., what are the chances that a reactionary religious and government backlash wouldn't outlaw reviving the 'past-lifers'?




Post 34

Monday, July 18, 2005 - 3:09pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
I agree with that analysis, and thats why I regard it as a longshot, not becuase of the science, but because of the other factors.

That Alcor doesn't properly include the costs in its blurb makes me more skeptical.




Post 35

Monday, July 18, 2005 - 3:26pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Stephan,

Immortality - in the manner I mean - does not mean invincibility.
You may still die from disease, accidents, war, natural disasters etc....
So, if you need death to balance out your life, well there it still is.

Cryogenics,

I have never taken this possibility seriously because the technology needed to resurrect the frozen stiffs will be incredibly complicated and will take a very long time to develop. Probably hundreds of years. After all that time, who knows if Alcor will still be holding those stiffs? Who knows whether or not the storage procedure will be adequate enough to restore the stiffs to a normal healthy state? Who will pay for their resurrection? It wont be cheap, that is for sure.

I would rather try to maintain my health and vitality now, rather than bet on an uncertain future event out of my control.




Post 36

Monday, July 18, 2005 - 6:48pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Marcus--I agree w/ you re cryonics.

"Immortality - in the manner I mean - does not mean invincibility. You may still die from disease, accidents, war, natural disasters etc.... So, if you need death to balance out your life, well there it still is."

Sure. But my point was Rand's hypo of the invincible immortal robot being unable to have values is flawed. Presumably, you would have to both be immortal, *and know it* in order for her hypo to apply (and even there, I doubt it does). But it is impossible to know one is immortal.

Moreover, there are religious types who claim to actually believe in immortality, yet they still apparently have values.



Post 37

Tuesday, July 19, 2005 - 5:46amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit


I have never taken this possibility seriously because the technology needed to resurrect the frozen stiffs will be incredibly complicated and will take a very long time to develop. Probably hundreds of years.
Well, computers, nuclear power, space travel, airplanes, cars, etc etc took nearly 90,000 years for humans to develop.  Yet they were eventually developed.  And if you are in a state of suspended animation, held at the temperature of liquid nitrogen, hundreds of years is no different then dozens of years.  The rate of chemical reactions and molecular changes is proportional to temperature.   Marcus, you are a scientist, care to share with us the formula which correlates the rate of entropic decay with temperature?

Who will pay for their resurrection? It wont be cheap, that is for sure
If it is really expensive in 100 years, it will be much less expensive in 200 years, and orders of magnitude less expensive in 400 years.  Of course, all of those time estimates are rediculous and absurdly conservative and ignore the tremendous drop in costs of every material resource and productive human endeavor the world has seen.

Who will pay for it?  Well, people who would prefer you existed over not existing.  Perhaps your children, or your childrens children?  Your significant other? 

I would rather try to maintain my health and vitality now, rather than bet on an uncertain future event out of my control
Marcus, you state these two things as if they are zero sum, why cant you do both?

My view would be "Do I leave this 50k to my kids, or buy a chance that I can be revived at some point."
Would your kids prefer to have their father or the 50k ?  If they are the kind of person who would prefer the 50k, they wouldnt deserve it to be left to them anyway. 

People, please try to spend more than 2 seconds thinking about the future and the rapid growth of technological progress before so casually dismissing this. 

Many people here seem adamanet on coming up with whatever excuse possible to not want to be cryogenically suspended.  It's too expensive? Who would want me around?  It will take centuries to figure out?  What if the world is an oppresive religious government?  Shame on you all, you should know better.

Michael F Dickey




Post 38

Tuesday, July 19, 2005 - 1:39pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
It's too expensive? Who would want me around?  It will take centuries to figure out?  What if the world is an oppresive religious government?  Shame on you all, you should know better.

I am not saying that it is impossible, it may work. I am just outlining what my doubts are about the process.
If I have a spare 50K (or however much it is) when I die, then why not?

I wouldn't want to be resurrected with brain damage or as an invalid, but apart from that, I am open to the possibility.




Post 39

Tuesday, July 19, 2005 - 1:59pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
All the best to you with the research Marcus.

I do wonder though if people would still appreciate life as much if we were all immortal. I certainly appreciate life more now as an Objectivist than I did in my "pre-Rand" phase when I believed my soul would live on in Heaven.

MH




Post to this threadBack one pagePage 0Page 1Page 2Forward one pageLast Page
[an error occurred while processing this directive] [an error occurred while processing this directive]