X-Message-Number: 10485
Date: Mon, 28 Sep 1998 09:47:18 -0400
From: Thomas Donaldson <>
Subject: CryoNet #10476 - #10484

To George Smith (again):

The issue with cryonics is that most people declared "dead" simply are
NOT dead. To decide to go along with current popular beliefs and call
them "dead" has about as much sense as someone 400 years ago deciding
that even though the Earth orbits the Sun we should say that the Sun
orbits the Earth because that is the popular view. (It has even less
sense, actually, because in some countries you'd be imprisoned if
you claimed that, while no one will imprison us for claiming that 
cryonics patients are not dead).

I am not trying to be obscure. Nor do I claim that cryonicists believe
that NO ONE can die. You die if enough of your brain is destroyed that
no future technology can ever bring you back: which happens with victims
of Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease, a large number of more 
obscure medical conditions, severe strokes, and brain tumors. You also
die if you are cremated, either deliberately or in an airplane crash.
You die if you rot away into a skeleton. But so long as your brain 
remains, even if damaged, then the possibility that some future 
technology may work out how to revive you also remains.

Nor is it true that we believe that we will someday "revive the dead". WE
hope to someday find out how to mend badly damaged people who have been
kept from further deterioration by cryonic suspension. In the end, some
of these we'll know how to mend, some we will not (at any given time).
And yes, we may find that some people have suffered so much destruction
of their brain that they have died. But even then, cryonics patients
are NOT is some magical in-between state. Their true condition is unknown,
and we keep them in suspension until it becomes known. This is actually
something with lots of precedent: accident victims are cared for until
it's clear that nothing can bring them back, for instance. People are
put on respirators and given special blood solutions and drugs, because
they are not yet considered "dead". 

The major difference is simply that our definition of "dead" differs
from the popular one. And our definition is clearly better. I am old
enough to remember when someone was declared "dead" if they stopped
breathing and their heart stopped beating. Then artificial resuscitation
was rediscovered (there was actually a period in the late 18th and early
19th Centuries when doctors also tried to resuscitate people). Then we
were authoritatively told that no one could be brought back after 5 minutes
at room temperature --- whereupon scientists have now pushed that limit
back to more than 10 minutes. It seems to me that "dead" should be 
an absolute state, so that if someone is declared "dead" we really know
that nothing can be done for them. Currently that's simply false. 

We should NOT be shy of saying that common opinions are WRONG. If we 
are so shy, then just what we are doing becomes mysterious and possibly
blasphemous. That is hardly the best way to explain ourselves to someone
new. For that matter, it's also a way to shove ourselves into a religious
mode, so that some people will think that they must not become cryonicists
because doing so would offend their god(s). We have different beliefs,
which we will defend, on when and whether patients are "dead" in the 
first place, and we are acting on those beliefs. It takes a very strange
god, indeed, who would so frequently change his mind over whether somone
is "dead", as frequently as we've seen our ability to revive people to

			Best and long long life to all,

				Thomas Donaldson

Rate This Message: http://www.cryonet.org/cgi-bin/rate.cgi?msg=10485