X-Message-Number: 1022
Date: 19 Jul 92 01:46:34 EDT
From: Brian Wowk <>
Subject: cryonics terminology

> Cryonics literature, including the FAQ, should use the words "die" and 
> "death" with their ordinary meanings, such that ordinary people will 
> understand.  Substitution of "deanimate" where an ordinary person 
> expects to see "die" is a signal that the speaker is from a different 
> culture, and not to be trusted in important matters:  He may be trying 
> to lie to you by using words in unfamiliar ways. 
        I agree 100% about usage of "deanimate", and for the same reasons.   
"Deanimate" should be dropped from the cryonics lexicon and replaced by more  
specific terms such as "cardiac arrest" and "biostasis."  For the record, I  
first expressed my misgivings about "deanimate" in my 1988 essay, "The Death  
of Death of Cryonics" (available from Alcor as a reprint). 
        On the other hand, I disagree that we should continue using the word  
"death" in the muddled way people usually do.  Cryonics requires an essential  
distinction be made between absence of metabolism and impossibility of  
recovery.  The best way to emphasize this is to insist that "death" (with no  
preceeding adjectives) ONLY be used to characterize total obliteration of  
brain structure.  Continuing medical progress will eventually change "death"  
to mean only this anyway.  It is to our advantage to speed this semantic  
evolution as much as possible. 
        In reply to Steve Harris' recent postings, my "Death of Death" essay  
did not suggest that "clinical death" or "legal death" be avoided as terms.   
It simply said that if you want to say "dead" instead of "cardiac arrest",  
then indeed make sure you say "*clinically* dead." 
> I'd also suggest "revive" in place of "reanimate". 
                                           --- Brian Wowk 

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