X-Message-Number: 10415
Date: Sat, 12 Sep 1998 09:55:56 -0400
From: Thomas Donaldson <>
Subject: CryoNet #10409 - #10414

To Mr. Platt:

If you want to remain ignorant then I can't help you. I did not claim
that PERIASTRON was the only way to find out what we know NOW about
how brains work, and I am NOT offended at your desire not to receive
it. I merely pointed out that it was one way. It may not even be the best
way. You also seem to believe that my opinions about your involvement
in cryonics are bizarre. Okay, so here are some questions: noting that
we do not now have even a form of suspended animation for brains only,
what will you do if you discover you've come down with a disease 
which will probably kill you within the next 2 years or less? What will
you do if that happens to someone whom you love? What do you believe
should be done with those who are now in suspension? And here's a good
question, too: right now, more than any other time, it begins to look
as if we really will be able to do the research needed to radically
improve our suspensions. So what would you do if those hopes went
away, by one avenue or another? Say that the FDA found a way to put
Saul Kent out of business, for instance.

To both Paul Wakfer and Charles Platt:

Glad that you both feel how hard you are. I do not believe I fit into
either of your two categories. I've argued for research for many
years, and provided money to help it. Nor do I believe in the 
version of Nanotechnology so promoted by Ralph Merkle, though I do
believe that some kind of nanotechnology will be needed to revive
those frozen by current methods, if revival is possible.

But I have been involved in cryonics for longer than either of you
together, and I have come to see just how slow and how long it will
take for us to really attain the state you want. Among other points,
I do not intend to retract my pledge to Prometheus (and now to INC,
if as I understand the latter has taken over) until you explicitly
free me of it. And I almost had to be suspended with those methods
that you think so poorly of, myself. That may even still happen.

I will also note that right now, regardless of what we hope for the
future, if anyone gets into serious trouble they will still need to
be suspended by the older methods... no matter how much research
goes on for the future. Not only that, but for a long time there 
will remain those cases in which a rescue team did not quite reach
someone in time, for many different reasons.

What we must live with now, and many will have to live with even
if full suspended animation (remember that you predicted that it 
would take 20 years!) existed, is UNCERTAINTY. Yes, uncertainty is
uncomfortable. We can help that not just by trying to develop
suspended animation but also by trying to distinguish the minimum
state below which no future technology will ever be able to revive
someone. (That is what study of how memory works, combined with 
careful study of the effects of cryonic suspension, will give us).
Do you seriously believe that suspended animation will be of any
use to you if you deanimate of a heart attack far away from any
cryonics center? Or for that matter that the discovery of suspended
animation would cause legislatures to immediately change their laws
in our favor and doctors to flock to learn of this new technique?
That is not how the world works at all. Think how long it took 
such a simple thing as anesthesia to be widely used, and then think
again about cryonics.

And for Paul Wakfer: I have been in cryonics long enough to see
people start something with enthusiasm, and spend much of their 
money and energy on it --- only to meet with the dumb unthinking 
response of others, and become discouraged. Some of them leave cryonics
outright. Others remain members of a society, but never afterwards
lift a finger to promote cryonics. Did you really think it would be
easy, what you wanted to do? Yes, I agree that you had a good plan,
but if you listened you would know of those who might accept your
ideas in principle, but wonder about this or about that, or those
who decide to spend their money on research elsewhere, or those
who agree abstractly but not knowing you at all, wonder if you will
make the best choice for someone to lead that effort. Cryonics, I 
will say, is not just about living with uncertainty but also about
refusing to give up when things get difficult and success no longer
seems so easy. Keep on with INC; if you cannot raise the necessary
money this year, what about the pledges for next year? 

And if you really wish to abandon that effort completely, then I will 
take it over from you. I lack many things, and since my tumor I am far
from the financial state I was in before it, but I would try to keep that
effort going.

			Best and long long life,

				Thomas Donaldson

Rate This Message: http://www.cryonet.org/cgi-bin/rate.cgi?msg=10415