Resurrection vs. Avoiding DeathJune 17 2009 at 10:18 AM
|Luke Parrish (Login lsparrish)|
Response to here is why it matters
Some things to consider:
The Bible specifies that every person who dies will at some point be resurrected. It also specifies that some will go to everlasting happiness and others to everlasting torment, depending on their conduct and whether they have the humility to accept Christ.
Now, there are two aspects here. One is that those who are resurrected will be judged afterwards and sent to either everlasting reward or everlasting torment. This is where two moral assumptions come into play. The first is that lack of humility (or some other essential quality) would be the only reason to reject Christ. The other is that the lack of said quality is sufficient to justify eternal torment. Personally I find both of these premises to be highly questionable, and I think anyone who say down and thought about it from an objective standpoint would think so too.
The second (and more relavent) aspect is the biblical statement that this resurrection (and/or afterlife) will be applied equally to all humans, regardless of their final disposition being cremation, or burial, eaten by beasts, etc. This is a highly central belief, and one that cryonics does not even attempt to match. Cryonics only hopes to bring back those who have had adequate cryopreservation soon enough after death. While these are a little fuzzy in definition because we don't know everything about future technology, there are some definite theoretical limits to it.
If you want to talk about a potential future resurrection via technology, you would have to assume some rather incredible technology levels. For example, a careful reading of ways in which electromagnetic and gravitational energies from the earth impinge on interstellar dust, if taken with extreme precision and processed with extreme computing power, could concievably allow us to reproduce the exact molecular conditions of any point in the earth's history.
This is only remotely plausible. But it is enough to give me a slight hope of perhaps seeing my dead grandfather again, should it turn out that there is no immortal afterlife already prepared for us. It also gives me a bit of positive spiritual perspective to think that our vital information -- including every one of the most private thoughts we have -- is being broadcast out into the galaxy at the speed of light via these incredibly subtle gravitational and electromagnetic signals. Perhaps because of this physical fact, every secret thing will be "shouted from the housetops" as Jesus once said.
The important thing to consider here is that cryopreservation is an incredibly different sort of technology than the virtual time travel mentioned above. It does not require more computational power than could reasonably be accomplished on this planet in the near future. The virtual time travel mechanism would be more complex than we can imagine, and would probably require converting extreme engineering feats such as converting a star's entire mass into computing machines. Cryotech is peanuts by comparison. Being reanimated via cryonics is more like never dying in the first place -- being brought back through virtual time travel simulations is more akin to being resurrected from the dead.
A person who deliberately pins their hopes on resurrection tech is more like a cultist, because they are choosing the method less likely to work and more likely to take a longer time even if it does. It is worth noting that such resurrection tech would only create a copy with no physical continuity, which is an instinctive concern for most of us.
A person who pins their hopes on purely nontechnological immortality is being even less reasonable, since they have no scientifically based justification -- the claim of being preserved and experiencing a physical resurrection at some point is certainly a scientific claim. Such a religious position is only not accused of cultishness due to its having been around for thousands of years and has not yet fallen out of general practice yet (the way animal and human sacrifices have).
A cryonicist who arranges for the most top-quality preservation that existing technologies can provide is much more reasonable by comparison to either of these positions. The rational cryonicist is both admitting the possibility of death and doing their human best to overcome it. If there is a better way (such as curing aging and practicing safe habits) they will take it -- cryonics is only a last resort, the most reasonable one available at a point where death would otherwise be certain.
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