X-Message-Number: 10025
Date: Fri, 10 Jul 1998 11:26:06 -0400 (EDT)
From: Charles Platt <>
Subject: Damage and Skepticism

Scott Badger wrote: "If the skeptic survives to the time when cryonics
reliably *works*, and it's endorsed by celebrity scientists and the media,
then s/he probably won't need to be frozen since death and disease will
already have been conquered." 

You seem to assume that cryopreservation will continue to cause cell
damage, indefinitely. I believe this problem will be dealt with long
before molecular technology is developed or most forms of disease are
eradicated. I think it's likely, in fact, that brain vitrification will be
available within the next ten years. At that time, long before we have
functional molecular nanotechnology, cryonics will take a vast leap
forward in plausibility and may attract a new wave of consumers. 

Even after we have molecular technology, as you note, accidents will still
happen. If we arrest the aging process and eradicate disease, accidents
will become just about the only cause of death. Cryopreservation (or some
form of suspended animation) will still be necessary at this time, to
place the accident victim into stasis while (s)he is moved to a facility
where repairs can be made. 

Scott continues: "They won't sign up until it works, but by the time it
works, they won't need to." 

I believe that if brain vitrification is available in, say, 2010, the need
for it will be greater than it is today, because aging will be more widely
perceived as a problem (as the baby-boom population enters retirement),
diseases will still exist (indeed, probably there will be new ones), and
molecular nanotechnology will still be a dream. 

Mr. Smith writes, re the Face on Mars:

"If possessing curiousity condemns one to being a "problem" in the
cryonics movement, we must stop freezing human beings and limit ourselves
to cats and dogs.  On second thought, I am wrong.  Cats and dogs evidence
curiousity as well."

Curiosity should be tempered with common sense and skepticism, and in this
respect, most cats and dogs are way ahead of you. Common sense suggests to
me that the probability of some blotches on the face of Mars representing
humanlike features is rather small, and the desire to believe this kind of
thing indicates a general yearning to see the face of one's own species
reflected elsewhere in the universe. This is the same general yearning
that results in a Christian God sometimes being depicted as a kind,
elderly gentleman with white skin.

Robot probes suggest the probability of prior life in Mars is small. The
probability that "wise old aliens" had faces like ours seems vanishingly
small, when you consider that humanoid features are rare among species
even here on Earth. The probability that this previous race of beings
would take the trouble to construct a huge facial replica which is
viewable from space, but not from their own planet, is even smaller. I'm
sorry if you felt I was being dismissive, but to me these points hardly
need to be spelled out; so I didn't bother. 

Smith continues:

"May I suggest that most major world religions are most successful, even
today, while remaining in opposition to current scientific opinion in many

Sure, you could package cryonics as a religion. You would have to lie, 
however, in order to do so. You would have to PROMISE resuscitation. This 
is the essence of faith as opposed to science: faith entails promises. 
Personally I find this unacceptable. Cryonics should be a science, not a 

--Charles Platt
CryoCare Foundation

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