After years of procrastinating, I've finally taken steps towards signing up for cryonics, thanks in no small part to things I've read here on LessWrong. I view it as a very long shot, but worth a try nonetheless.
However, I'm getting some very weird signals from the Alcor representative. The two default options for criteria for preservation were:
I wish Alcor to place into cryopreservation any biological remains that they may be able to recover, regardless of the severity of the damage from such causes as fire, decomposition, autopsy, embalming, etc. Similarly, members who have chosen Neurocryopreservation will have any remains of their brain placed into cryopreservation regardless of damage.
I wish Alcor to place into cryopreservation any remains of my brain that they may be able to recover, regardless of the severity of the damage. If none of my brain tissue is recoverable, do not proceed with my cryopreservation.
I found neither of these satisfactory: if I died from a blunt impact to the head, or if my brain has been burnt, crushed, has a bullet through it, etc., I do not want to be cryopreserved, and I want the money to go to my spouse. The instructions said to write out custom criteria if desired, so I wrote my criteria (in a lot more detail), and part of that was that my spouse should make the final decision if there was any possible doubt about my criteria in the event of my death.
The representative emailed back and stated that the second option above should meet my needs. It obviously does not, so I insisted on my criteria. She came back with "with the wording [I] asked for. [She] changed it slightly." Digging into the document, here is the "slight" change:
The Member might die under circumstances which would cause considerable damage to his/her human remains. Under such conditions, the Member specifies the following quantifiable and objective conditions under which his/her human remains should not be cryopreserved. The Member acknowledges and accepts that the Alcor Board of Directors shall have the sole and absolute authority
to determine if these conditions apply at the time of legal death. Further, the Member releases Alcor from any and all liability for its good faith decisions in this regard. Member requests Alcor to place into cryopreservation any remains of their brain that they may be able to recover, regardless of the severity of the damage. If no brain tissue is recoverable Alcor will not proceed with the cryopreservation.
Yikes. We are now at two blatant attempts to mislead me and dramatically change my criteria. They are coming off as dishonest and untrustworthy. Given other sketchy things I've read about them (there is plenty of debate on this site and elsewhere calling them out for bad behavior), I'm starting to think the Alcor detractors were right. I'm seriously considering aborting my application, canceling the insurance policy that funded it, eating my losses, and giving up on cryonics. I view cryonics as a pretty long shot anyway, and if part of the "multiply chained nature" of the gamble is paying a sketchy company to probably not even attempt do the job right, I'd rather spend my money on other things. Has anyone had similar experiences with Alcor? I'd like to proceed, but am feeling creeped out and offended by this bad behavior.
Thank you in advance for sharing and discussing.