X-Message-Number: 10672
Date: Sun, 1 Nov 1998 06:04:28 -0500
From: Thomas Donaldson <>
Subject: CryoNet #10664 - #10671

Hi everyone!

To George Smith: Yes, heretics certainly cause lots of problems. But
burning them at the stake doesn't seem to work. They keep popping up,
especially when no one is looking. Like weeds or something. :-)

To Randy: For what it may be worth, there is a VERY high consensus
among neuroscientists studying memory that events on atomic scales
(such as changes in spin of electrons or protons) have no impact on
our memory. Our memories involve changes in the connectivity of our
neurons: sometimes, actual growth of new synapses, other times, 
possible changes in the synapses themselves. Hence no submolecular
change is likely to affect preservation of important things about us,
such as our memories (or connectivity of our neurons). 

There may also be changes in our DNA or molecules associated with our
DNA, but again we're talking about a level way above that of individual
subatomic particles. If you're interested in reading up on the subject,
I can send you a list of books and papers.

We both know that experts can sometimes turn out to be wrong. I'm not
going to argue against that, but simply say, first, that the consensus
above is VERY high, and second, that if you decided to believe 
differently, you'd need to do lots of experiments with brain tissue
even to get a halfway good case. Such experiments have not been done.
And since cryonic suspension does require preparations in advance,
such as becoming a member of a society and providing funding for your
suspension, then at some point we simply have to (provisionally) 
accept the best present notions about how brains work.

			Best and long long life to all,

				Thomas Donaldson

PS: And you have to look at how brains and memory work even if you
hope to revive as a virtual person in a future very powerful computer.
Just how are we to read you off from your brain unless we know just
how you're encoded in your brain in the first place?

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