X-Message-Number: 10382
Date: Fri, 4 Sep 1998 12:43:26 -0400 (EDT)
From: Charles Platt <>
Subject: Damage

On Fri, 4 Sep 1998, CryoNet wrote:
> Furthermore, hamburger does NOT look on light microscopy anything
> like healthy beef muscle tissue. 

Correct. I never said it did. I said that light-microscope pictures look
relatively good.  Mike Darwin has compared this with aerial photos of a
city where riots have taken place. The buildings are still intact (most of
them) and the network of streets is clearly visible. But when you zoom in
closer (the equivalent of electron microscopy) you find smashed windows,
looted stores, bullet holes, and other damage which needs to be repaired
on a piece-by-piece basis. You seem to feel that low-level damage of this
type, as expressed in brain tissue, may be reparable. Well, it may be. 
But that doesn't change the fact that the damage is there.

> tomorrow, then you are talking as if you'd be just as happy if your
> brain were ground into hamburger and THEN frozen. 

My posts were referring to cryonics procedures typically applied in the 
1980s. Of cours some of those procedures are still used today by some 
groups, but I have been trying to avoid getting into THAT can of worms.

> Not only that, but many cell structures necessary for the metabolism
> of the cell might be destroyed completely without destroying the
> information required to recover a patient. I say here, openly, MIGHT;

Indeed, might be, could be. Frankly I am not interested in this totally 
idle speculation. We might just as well speculate on the problem of 
restoring cow from hamburger. Hey, maybe it COULD be done. Maybe the 
granules of meat carry signatures from the cutting blades, enabling us to 
match them and rejoin them. Maybe other features of the hamburger enable 
reconstruction. But this is not relevant. The question was whether a 
scientist was justified in being extremely skeptical about rebuilding one 
of the most complex structures known to humanity after it has been 
damaged severely on the cellular level. OF COURSE we should be skeptical.

> And the proper response of a cryonicist to the state of neurons after
> freezing is not shock but cool examination to see what may survive
> and in what form. 

Another total waste of time, leading to endless unresolved debate. You
cannot know the answer to these questions. The "proper response" (which I
gather you prescribe for all cryonicists, as a kind of policy directive)
might be to work on the problem of damage in order to fix it, so we don't
have to sit around having these endless debates about what could or might
be possible 100 years from now. You seem to enjoy these kinds of debates,
Thomas;  you certainly participate in dozens of them. I find them
exasperating, because they do nothing to move us forward. 

> I would certainly agree with Will Dye that it is unwise to call your
> opponent a liar in a debate. However so far as I know, we are not here
> debating with Arthur Rowe, nor will he hear of our discussion.

Your clear implication is that it's quite okay to say something 
actionable if you're fairly sure that the person won't read it. This does 
not seem to be a very ethical position, to me!

> lies of authorities have done much, I believe, to prevent our growth and
> even to prevent the research which will ultimately lead to that suspended
> animation we'd all like to be available. 

Perhaps cryobiologists would say that the lies, or exaggerated optimism,
of cryonicists have done much to denigrate the good name of cryobiology,
discouraging scientists from working in certain fields. And they would be

Bob Ettinger writes:

> I disagree; I think you are qualified, and so is anyone who is willing to look
> at the evidence. 

Yes. But I don't believe you have looked at it. Certainly at the 
Technology Conference, you walked out of the room.

--Charles Platt

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