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28 August 2006 @ 01:09 am
On the freezing of people and comments  
As I write this post, I have an odd sense of déjà vu, because I know I have posted about this sort of thing before, but anyway.

First of all, let me say that from how little I know drjon, I like and respect him. But, he has challenged me to take my grievance to my own journal, so here we are.

To start with, please have a look at his entry on cryonics to see the discussion that sparked this.

Now, I like to debate or argue, I always have. I enjoy the spirited cut-and-thrust of point and counter-point. There's no malice to it, I just like to challenge the views of others and have my views challenged in turn. I think, in general, both parties are the better for it - it's educational.

So, I get very annoyed when, instead of responding to my arguments, or even saying "let's agree to disagree" (these things can go on too long, to be fair), my point-of-view is dismissed out-of-hand.

You didn't see the program in question, but you feel competent to judge it? Fascinating.

I admitted that I didn't see the program - full disclosure on my part. But I have seen many like it. I have seen 60 Minutes before (and doubt its integrity), I have prior knowledge of the character of the man being interviewed (and merely suggested this be taken into account) and, more-to-the-point, had by this stage moved on to commenting on the more general topic of the entire cryonics industry anyway (of which I have ample knowledge to form my own opinions) and not on the specific program in question.

But, not only was my competency to have an opinion brought into question, but an attempt was made to stop me from defending myself, via freezing further comments. My response to that action was perhaps a little unfair, I can't be sure that it was petulance that inspired drjon's action here, but that's certainly what it felt like. He certainly is entitled to not address my arguments, but attempting to lock out further discussion just seems like putting your fingers in your ears and going "la la la".

Certainly if I was trolling or flaming this action would be suitable, but I was merely making reasoned debate, and when someone makes the kind of "let's wind this down" comment in an argument, that's fine with me, but you can't pair such a statement with further inflammatory remarks and expect the other party to not want recourse. Hence, as I say, I would have willingly accepted an "agree to disagree" remark, but am unhappy to allow my arguments to be stomped on with extreme prejudice and happily walk away without a response.

Anyway, here's drjon's final analysis:

1/. You're mouthing off about something you didn't actually see: maybe you should think about that.

Mouthing off? I was expressing an opinion. Making reasoned arguments. If I had just said "60 Minutes sucks" that would be mouthing off. And as I said, I have prior knowledge of the program, the interviewee and the technology, which is more than enough for me to form an opinion about the issues at hand. Perhaps I was being prejudiced in my analysis of 60 Minutes and Dave Gray, but my opinions on cryonics are well-founded and I stand by them.

2/. This is my blog, not yours. You've said your piece, and I've not got the time to be wasting rebuting someone who doesn't know what they're talking about. Conversation's over. Maybe you should think about that.

I'm willing to admit my prejudice about the show, but I merely made my original statements as a general warning about believing the opinions of the show and the interviewee. I admit I can't go into specifics about what was said in the show, but if you told me that you saw Tom Cruise endorsing a product, I feel I can claim enough knowledge of that man to warn you to take what he says with a pinch of salt, and that's no different to what I said regarding this show. I didn't say the show or the interviewee are definitely not worth paying attention to, I just said it's worth considering the source of information.

But, as I say, the larger issue is cryonics in general, and I have enough knowledge of that to make an informed opinion. To have that opinion dismissed because I didn't watch 60 Minutes is frankly insulting. I have all the information I need to form an opinion of cryonics right at my fingertips and inside my own head. And here's my opinion: cryonics is bullshit. It won't work for a whole host of reasons, and it's hubris to think you have the right to live beyond your natural lifespan in a world that can barely support the people already on it.

3/. You've got a shiny blog all your own. Maybe you should think about that.

Thanks for sharing your opinion. Next time, some netiquette would probably be a good idea.

And here I am. My real reason for ranting here is completely beside the original topic of cryonics, it's about the point you raise about netiquette. Netiquette is a two-way street. Yes, your blog is your own, and yes you can do what you want there. However, at the bottom of every entry you have a link that says "post a comment". That's an invitation for others to join in the discussion and add their own opinion, you are effectively inviting people in to your blog.

So, let's run with that analogy. You invite someone into your home. They say some things you don't agree with, but they are generally polite, they aren't yelling or threatening or hurling insults. Do you throw them out just because you don't agree with them? I mean, sure, it's fine to ask me to end the discussion, like you might politely ask someone to leave your house. But saying "discussion over" and freezing comments is effectively throwing someone out the door and slamming it behind them. I would have expected such a treatment if I had been uncivil, but I was merely making polite debate.

Invite comment, and you invite criticism. If you can't bear that criticism and feel you need to censor it, don't invite comment in the first place. If you don't feel like rebutting my every argument, then don't, but to slam the door on me is just plain rude, especially when you are getting in a sucker-punch as you do so.

EDIT: And now he's banned me.
I've added no further comment on his blog and was not planning to, but I've been banned just in case.
He's acting like I'm some evil troll.
This really saddens me.
Current Music: Penn Jillette - Penn Radio - August 18, 2006
Baralierbaralier on August 27th, 2006 05:10 pm (UTC)
Having seen drjon's post and followed here to see if you would take up his suggestion I thought I'd take you up on your offer and leave a comment.

As I see it you were mouthing off. Making a reference to an advertising campaign that a person appeared in does not automatically mean that everything that comes out of there mouth is false. You admit you didn't watch the programme but you made sarcastic comments about his endorsements of cryonics. If he'd come out and made a public announcement to the effect then the two may have some relevance but having a person who is looking at death in the near future comment on their own desires for their remains is entirely beside the point.

If Chopper Read makes a remark that he'd like to be cremated does that mean all cremation is therefore of dubious or possibly criminal nature?

I don't think you were banned for your opinion on cryonics. Had you just posted your comments about its cost rather than the unfounded assumption that the piece was some sort of commercial propaganda somehow initiated by Dave Gray I don't think you would have had any problems.

But of course that's just MY opinion.

I also think you need to be aware of the difference between endorsement and advocation (hint, only one of them involves money).
Jacobyak_boy on August 27th, 2006 05:51 pm (UTC)
Look, as I say my prejudicial comments about Dave Gray were probably a little unfair. The advertisement in question was a paid endorsement and Dave Gray himself is not really to blame for the faulty claims therein. Really I was just making a little sport of a public figure, and as a public figure Dave Gray is, I believe, a fair target for such mockery.

And, also, I let my preconceptions about commercial current affairs programs to colour my view of a story I hadn't seen.

I have no problem admitting that in casting these aspersions I was being prejudicial and have no real fact base to attach these arguments to.

And I'm happy to be told that. But when I am arguing with civility in a forum where my comments have been invited, I don't appreciate being dismissed out of hand, kicked out and banned.

I maintain that (at least until my final comment) I was behaving perfectly reasonably, even if my arguments were wrong. And, as I say, I made the final comment only after I felt I had been aggrieved by being treated like a common troll.
Jacobyak_boy on August 27th, 2006 06:01 pm (UTC)
And, as I've said before in situations similar to this, I am happy to be proven wrong in argument. I want you to prove me wrong.

If you don't feel like going to the effort of proving me wrong, that's fine too. I just feel like there's a right way to end such an argument and a wrong way. I feel like the right way is to ask for it to cease and the wrong way is to announce that the argument is over, especially when such an announcement is coupled with further inflammatory comment.

The way I see it:

"I'd rather not argue this any further" is good.
"Discussion over" is not so good.
"Here's why you are wrong. Now I am going to prevent you from defending against these accusations" is pretty poor.
Gailkowari on August 27th, 2006 10:16 pm (UTC)
Cryonics = Religion
You made a poor judgement call in arguing against this guy. He made a very quick comment in his LJ about cryonics. And it read to me like he was excited that someone was going to do an article on something he agreed with.

You waded into territory akin to questioning Faith. Because at the moment, that is what cryonics is - damn near Religion, actually, a lot like scientology in that it takes your money and you have to believe in it. No wonder there was an emotional knee jerk reaction. Maybe you should think about that ;^) It is the afterlife for atheists!

You are, of course 100% correct that freezing body parts with our current level of tech will reduce them to an unressurectable mush when the person is thawed out. Sure, you will look the same, but your bits just wont function. Until they can get past the cell wall degradation inherant with freezing the water molecules (and other molecules) which EXPAND on freezing (thus screwing up the cell integrity), then cryogenics is a crock of shit.

But you know that.

And yes, ACA, 60 Minutes all of those "current affairs" shows have paid ads as segments. It is fairly certain DG was paid by a cryo company who paid for the ad on 60 minutes to do the spot. No wonders or revelations there, and not a huge assumption either. (DrJon is soery mistaken and naive if he thinks otherwise, as you clearly point out)

But I dont agree with the other poster who said you were being inflammatory. You weren't. The only mistake you made was criticising someones faith. And they reacted accordingly. You were a touch sarcastic, and you didnt make it clear that you were being so about UDG.

I mean, the facts are:
UDG has endorsed dodgey products for money before.
60 Minutes has paid ad "interviews"
Cryogenics is dodgey.
UDG was on 60 minutes endorsing Cryogenics.

Now, while you cant put 2 and 2 together here, it is fairly likely that the next stpe in this progression is that "60 minutes interveiw is a crock of shit" but you know, women getting the vote => nukes argument is exactly the same (is that ad hominem?) But you did state that you weren't making that argument, just that you should think about the big picture and peoples motives (which is DAMN NEAR such an argument that people get confused)

In short, you weren't mouthing off, but you made a VERY bad judgement call on how you approached the topic. If you were saying something similar about someones religion, would you have been a touch genlter perhaps? Or do you tend to go in saying "Your religion is crap and here is why" every time? If so then, fine, but if not...
(Deleted comment)
gerbilsage on November 11th, 2006 12:11 pm (UTC)
Re: $0.02
But you must remember that drjon is about as sharp as a soggy cracker. He only banned yakboy because drjon has absolutely no coping skills or conflict resolution ability.

- M.
Prisspr1ss on August 27th, 2006 11:33 pm (UTC)
topic material!
My response is up on my journal.
escarpeescarpe on August 28th, 2006 12:50 am (UTC)
And now MY unwanted 2 cents!
I don't think I know any of these people so I feel totally comfortable saying exactly what's on my mind.
First: I've always found your arguements to be annoyingly well thought out, I haven't always agreed with you and I do think you can sometimes run with something and get overly excited and blunt about it but then so can I.
Second: I would never begrudge you a difference of opinion and I know I can give as good as I get so I would never ban someone becasuse they dissagreed with me.
Third: Everyone know's there's no nuonce, body language, intonation or contextual help on the net. In my mind it's not I who has to accomidate for that but the people reading my posts.
Fourth: I freaking hate censurship of any kind, I never re-edit history and I never delete posts, so consiquently there are lots of substandard posts on my journal and people who disagreed with them.
Fifth: Your attack on Ugly Dave Gray was techincly an ad hominim attack but I think a vaild one. Having a commedian recommend a scientific procedure in my mind does not help your case in any way. As we've been over here before the Foo Fighters support an Ani-Aids charity but not being doctors that dosn't do anyhting for me.
I would argue that Cryogenics does not elivate your chances of coming back either signifigantly or at all, just like in life frozen/burrned it adds up to the same thing, I've read mulitple articles on this subject from reputable scientific journals and they all say the same thing, it's a great idea but Ice crystals fuck you.
Added to that your putting a signifigant finacial strain on your or your family not to metion the emotional strain. What does your family think of you as? Dead? Away? Alive but not here yet? Dead but coming back? How do you explain that to children? How do you let someone go and truly morn for them if you think their coming back?
Yes, you may have treaded on a sacred cow here with this person but frankly if your going to post on a forum that invites comment you must expect some people to disagee with you.
Although I disagree that he's behaving like an evil troll, unless you have evidence that he's under a bridge waiting for you to wander by?
Robert (Bro. Pepper-spray of Reasoned Discussion)montecristo on August 28th, 2006 01:28 am (UTC)
I beg to differ. Cryonics != religion
Hi. I saw a link to this page on pr1ss's page. I'm interested in the topic too, so I popped over and read your rant and drjon's original post.

To be fair, he was being abrupt. Nevertheless, I disagree with kowari's take on the issue of drjon's reaction. I don't think that it's actually a "religion thing" with him but a discrepancy between his fundamental premises and yours. This quote of yours from his page:
The ethics is another matter altogether. As far as I'm concerned this technology is tremendously unethical. We live in a world of finite resources, a world that is already straining under the weight of humanity. We are already sucking dry this world's energy resources, while at the same time polluting its air and killing off its non-human lifeforms.

reflects a philosophical world-view that is so far out from mine, and what I suspect that drjon's is, from reading his bio, that I figure he probably despaired of opening a two-million-comment can of worms trying to debate sociology, economics, ethics, politics...etc. with you, while metaphorically standing on one foot. It was probably overreaction on his part, but that's probably from whence it came. For what it's worth, just from what I read in the original post, I didn't get the impression that you were "some evil troll."
Gailkowari on August 28th, 2006 02:23 am (UTC)
Re: I beg to differ. Cryonics != religion
I should probably clarify religion thing. NOTE These are personal views, not fact in any way shape or form ;^)

I mean any belief in something which purports to extend or superceed life. That is where I draw the analogy of religion from, as most (not necessarily all) religions are primarily concerned with what happens after your life in this realm is done. I would have to ask someone more learned, but I think this comes from a very deep seated need in the human psyche to stay alive and any argument down these lines is treading dangerous waters in all directions of the argument. Religion is, in part, a reaction to that need as far as I can tell.

Cryonics is the same, just a technological version of this, hence my likening it to religion, and treating the people who believe it in the same manner with regards their reaction.
Gailkowari on August 28th, 2006 02:27 am (UTC)
Other Random Comment
Hey, is the Penn Gilette Pod cast back online?
It died for a while there.
Outlier Manlukeii on August 28th, 2006 02:47 am (UTC)
Re: Other Random Comment
Did you hear the rumour that Neil Gaimon and Penn Gillette are doing a movie together?
Jacob: bullshityak_boy on August 28th, 2006 02:56 am (UTC)
Re: Other Random Comment
I think something goes beyond rumour status when one of the people in question talks about it in his personal blog.

Gailkowari on August 28th, 2006 03:48 am (UTC)
Re: Other Random Comment
THAT is a really scarey concept
Jacob: bullshityak_boy on August 28th, 2006 02:50 am (UTC)
Re: Other Random Comment

Indeed. The man is my hero.
Gailkowari on August 28th, 2006 03:47 am (UTC)
Re: Other Random Comment
It was down for quite some time... I shall make sure tomble realises and is dutifully downloading it
Tombletomble on August 28th, 2006 06:10 am (UTC)
Re: Other Random Comment
Don't worry. As soon as they stopped official podcasts I moved across to the unofficial podcast at pennfans.net

Robet Éivaayvah on September 2nd, 2006 01:03 am (UTC)
I know this is mostly about your argument, but on the topic of cryonics...

Personally, I think it's ridiculous to accuse people of not having the right to live, simply because they're dying or dead. As for the feasability of cryonics: It does rely largely on a deus ex machina solution to some huge problems. However, I think anyone who says "science can't..." hasn't been paying attention to the history of science. If we knew the solutions to today's problems, we'd already have tomorrow's technology.
Jacobyak_boy on September 2nd, 2006 02:49 am (UTC)
I admit that there's a possibility that the technology might work. However, I think it's a hugely outside chance, and also I think it's beset with all sorts of problems.

Not the least of which are legal problems. Right now cryonics is legally acceptable because it's simply freezing dead people (the motivations in doing so are largely beside the point). If we had the technology to bring these frozen people back to life, I think anyone trying to do that is going to find themselves fighting some pretty major legal action to stop them.

I mean, let's roll with the assumption that it's going to be at least a century before we cure death. Do you think, if we currently had the ability to bring back to life people that died in 1906, society would allow us to do that?
Robet Éivaayvah on September 2nd, 2006 05:44 am (UTC)
I'm not sure that's quite the same though. These people have been deliberately frozen in order to be brought back. But the major problem I see is, how would we decide when the right moment is to bring them back? With a dying cancer patient, you just use the best cure you can find. Okay, modern technology means we can bring this guy back with 40% of his brain in tact. Is it good enough? Or do we wait until we've got a guarantee of 50%, 60%?

If you're talking just the generic "playing god" issue, I think that argument would end up pretty weak if society goes secular. On the other hand, if we do "cure" death, then we'd likely end up with population control issues. (Although I think parenthood is declining.)

Nonetheless, it's the closest thing there is to a secular afterlife, so I can't say I blame people for seeking it. I think the majority of people who provide cryonics services earnestly believe in it.
Jacobyak_boy on September 2nd, 2006 06:18 am (UTC)
"Playing god" isn't just a religious argument. It's really about whether or not we should be messing about with the natural cycle of life and death - and the possibly unforeseen ramifications of doing so.

As I said, population control is already one of the biggest issues facing the human race. Prolonging our lifespans even further is only going to cause more problems - at least until we find a way to more reliably sustain our ecosystem with the weight of humanity placing pressure on the environment.

I guess part of the promise of cryonics is the possibility of waking up in a better world where all these problems have been solved - but would such a utopian society really want to contaminate their world with the people of the past?
Robet Éivaayvah on September 2nd, 2006 07:45 am (UTC)
Once people were deemed dead when their heart stopped. Then we learnt to bring people back from beyond this point, so we had to redefine death. You still hear people talk about "dying and coming" when their heart stops, but most of us have gotten past any related ethical issues. It's unlikely it'd be scientifically regarded as "bringing people back from the dead", because we'd have already redefined death.

Indeed, the "playing god" argument can exist outside of religion, but your argument could just as easily be used to justify killing off everyone who lives past 80. As far as overpopulation is concerned, I'm only worried about protecting the planet (and oxygen, etc). As for our own "personal space", we shouldn't have to rely on people dying just so we can each have a nice backyard with a few peach trees.

But hopefully, the looming "peak oil" crisis will be a great help for the environment.