X-Message-Number: 10071
Date: Fri, 17 Jul 1998 07:54:02 -0400
From: Thomas Donaldson <>
Subject: CryoNet #10067 - #10070

Hi everyone (Bob and Paul too):

So I seem to have gotten myself on the wrong side of both Bob Ettinger
and Paul Wakfer.

No, French is not a degenerate version of Latin. French is French. 
Are we to brush off English as a pidgin language between Anglo-Saxon
and French? Certainly these languages each have their advantages AND
disadvantages. The same would be true of Latin itself, which it its
turn evolved from yet another language.

To discuss this issue for a language we can (I hope) consider with a 
bit more objectivity, consider Indonesian (which is the same as Malay).
Indonesian has far more grammar for forming new words than English,
and thus has a smaller basic vocabulary. It also (at one time) borrowed
extensively (but vocabulary only) from Sanskrit rather than Latin or
Greek. Some who says that English has a greater vocabulary is missing
something about how Indonesian works. (I've been there years ago and
had a fun time picking up a bit of Indonesian).

I doubt that if we take a scientific attitude to language we will get
very far if we try to see one as a "degenerate" version of another. And
once we are immortal, and have centuries of experience behind us, we
may well want to say much more, with many more nuances, than any
contemporary human or human language could sustain. Fine. We'll no
doubt work out means to do so. On the other hand, we may also lose the
desire to say other things: we would have a bigger language, but not
one capable of saying just what we say in English now in 1998. The
vocabulary required to discuss shoeing horses has survived in some
small groups in 20th Century America (horse racing, for instance) but
most people now neither know nor care about shoeing horses.

For Paul I will say this: the rift between cryonics and present medicine
and cryobiology is NOT a matter of language (contrary to differences
between Bob and you). We (cryonicists) may be wrong or right in what 
we think, but the difference in world-view is profound. Even the notion
of freezing someone for 200 years "to bring them to future medicine"
is way beyond the ken of most doctors. (I cannot speak of doctors as
a group, at least in the US, because they have no standard opinions ---
and would say the same of medical researchers). Geologists, of course,
are quite happy to talk of millions of years, but they do not think
of those millions of years in the same way as they think of next 
Sunday. Other scientists also meet very long spans of time professionally.
But to most of these people, doctors and researchers included, the 
thought that 100 years in the future should be considered personally
just like they think of next Sunday is very hard to grasp. That is 
exactly what cryonic suspension, reversible or not, will present them

Certainly, in the early stages, some cryobiologists eyed cryonicists
with interest --- as a source of research funding. Offer them money 
and they will forget their problems about the future. But I doubt very
much that their ultimate refusal to help us came solely because we
did not talk in their terms. They refused because we could not, at that
time, produce much support for THEIR research.

And as you know, this issue is not and was not universal among 
cryobiologists either. We see that very well now, since at least one
major cryobiologist is almost out of the closet. And if our research
efforts start to really bear fruit, it will be interesting to see the
effect on the cryobiological community. 

I do not advocate going to people, grabbing them by the collar, and
immersing their face in cryonics. It sounds like you did well on your
tour of China and Japan. It may have helped that the Chinese tradition
of searching for immortality is stronger than the European, but your
careful choice of wording was very likely still a good idea. Nor is it
a good idea to use vocabulary which might offend your audience. But 
there still remains a fundamental difference which verbiage can only
obscure for a short time.

			Best and long long life to all,

					Thomas Donaldson

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