Imagine you visit in a foreign land, and are invited to attend a local funeral. At the funeral, you are shocked to see that the viewing line is also a stabbing line; each attendee stabs the corpse as he passes by. Your host explains this custom: Back in the bad old days, in rare cases the dear departed at a funeral was not actually dead. Anticipating this possibility made loved ones anxious, as they did not have full closure on the death. The spouse could not be as sure they could safely remarry, etc. People found they could rest easier if they each made very sure the dear departed was definitely dead.
Er, no. The quasi-dead thing happens naturally. Cryonics just keeps the quasi part from disappearing.
No, the point being that discouraging others from actively putting themselves into a state of being quasi-dead through moral opprobrium doesn't rise to the level of stabbing someone.
(Also, I personally don't have much of a dog in this fight. I find the idea of cryonics, in itself, somewhat eccentric, but mostly harmless. I wouldn't care if any of my family did it.)
Besides, Rich Griese, people gain status by signaling that they can carry out the wishes of the deceased without abusing their positions, especially in financial matters like trusts.
Read Snopes on premature burial, and tell me you're not freaked out a little by the young girl's skeleton found in the mausoleum
And I know Robin's example is directed toward Tyler's criticism of cryonics, but I think it stands more broadly as Robin saying what he believes, while Tyler does a lot more social acceptability filtering before deciding whether and what to say.
"Rich yuppies"? I've had cryonics arrangements for about 20 years, funded by life insurance plus affordable annual dues, and I earn somewhat less than the U.S. median household income.
I don't understand why so many people feel guilty about existing, then express hostility towards cryonicists who implicitly don't share in that guilt. Does existential guilt signal higher status in the person who advertises it about himself? And does its absence lower a person's status?
Does the "limbo" viewpoint persuade Frisbeetarian clergy to endorse cryonics? :)
So what do you think of this culture? Do you nod approvingly at how wise custom can sometimes be, or do you run in horror at their willingness to sacrifice loved ones on the altar of certainty.
Neither. I chalk it up as "just another krazy kustom (sp)", and recognize that their methods for ascertaining death are much better today than when the custom originated, so they almost certainly don't actually kill anyone this way, and only continue the custom out of a sense of tradition rather than a conscious belief that their probably killing someon to save their certainty.
By the way, Robin_Hanson, I heard a rumor that some cultures -- get this -- bury their dead. Can you imagine that? If they made a mistake, then that would *certainly* kill off the person even if they were alive!
The navy metaphor might work better if all sailors were fitted with heavy weights on their ankles, and all lifevests and rafts removed from ships. That would ensure that any one on a downed ship would drown, and provide closure for the families.
I wouldn't dislike the culture as long as the not-quite-dead were likely to continue living only short unpleasant lives. The 'closure' for friends and family is a real benefit however strange that may seem to you and me. It's just tiny compared to the benefit to the person who might be revived as long as their quality of life would be good.
I've heard that a big reason for the modern tradition of embalming is to ensure the deceased stays dead. Wish I knew a source to cite on that.
So the stabbing ritual would be more warranted for those who may still be living due to their own earlier efforts to survive?
Son of a gun, I did a reply instead of doing a top-level again..
What's the quickest way to discern this position from pro-life on Terri Schiavo? The money? The lack of a living will? The 'brain-dead' thesis?
Who's got the better chance of waking up?
However, what if their explanation is that they've seen evidence that people who they thought were dead were actually alive, and this is in fact a mercy issue so they don't bury them alive?
If one was religious, there's an argument to be made that freezing the body traps the "you" in a limbo where you can't get anywhere. Before this gets poo-pooed on lack of proof of something like an afterlife, remember, the freezee is taking it on faith that they're ever being revived, and even if they are, taking it for granted that things will be no worse than the current day. Those are educated assumptions of course,when the possibility of death is certain, but not a guarantee.
Many people request being dissected under certain circumstances. For instance I have heard more than one person say" If I die and they think it is suicide,I want an autopsy. Because I was murdered." And most state laws will concur.