X-Message-Number: 11331
From: Thomas Donaldson <>
Subject: Yet another reply to Mike Perry
Date: Sun, 28 Feb 1999 23:39:38 +1100 (EST)

Hi Mike!

This is a kind of provisional answer, mainly because I'm answering just
before 12 midnight my time, and will check out your references tomorrow.

First, thanks for the references to Bekenstein bounds, whatever they are.

Second, I will point out that discreteness does not imply digitalness.
Yes, atoms and electrons, when found, occupy DISCRETE positions in space,
but this does not mean that those positions can be expressed DIGITALLY ie
in a computer with a fixed length of numbers (if that is what you mean).

There is one fundamental issue which affects our discussions. As you
know, general relativity (and even special relativity) are neither
discrete nor digital. Quantum mechanics is presently the theory in which
notions such as discreteness make sense. Just how to put the two together
remains unknown. General relativity tells us about space-time, and
that is exactly where I come from when I make comments such as those in
the previous paragraph. Given that electrons can have any velocity
less than c, neither their position nor their velocity must be digital
(in the sense I defined it), even though any PARTICULAR electron, when
its wave function collapses, will have a discrete position (or velocity).

As for the possibility of resurrecting all possible creatures able to
fit into 5 cubic meters, I explained my response to that idea in my
previous message: I cannot imagine much that is as senseless as that,
even if the world IS digital. Nor do I see it as having any moral

If we, as cryonicists, truly want to resurrect all those for whom
resurrection is possible, then the way to go is to study the effects of
cryopreservation by all the methods so far used, especially their effects
on human brains. And second, study brains with particular interest in
how their chemistry and anatomy link together, so as to allow us to
infer the proper state of a brain damaged by present, past, or even
future faulty cryopreservation. (The chemistry is particularly important:
it will not be enough simply to look at electron micrographs. We already
can distinguish some kinds of neuron from others solely from their 
chemistry, and this ability extends to fragments of neurons).

At present the required knowledge (a complete database covering all these
questions for all kinds of neurons) does not yet exist. When it does, we
will be able to infer connections and even the EXISTENCE of neurons which
no longer exist after faulty cryopreservation. In some cases, we will 
NOT be able to do this; since there is probably some redundancy, we
may still be able to recover the person. 

And yes, in some sad cases there may not be enough information to recover 
the original person or anyone like them... even with the kind of
understanding of brains and cryopreservation damage which we will then
have. In those worst cases, we then go to the statement made in that
patient's original cryonics signup papers: just what should be done in the
event of such and such level of damage. And if the patient asked to be
revived regardless, then they should be revived. If the patient placed
conditions on his or her revival, then follow those conditions. 

To revive such a patient against that patient's expressed wishes should
not be done. To follow those wishes seems to me the most moral activity.

As for those who were never frozen, everything I know suggests that the
knowledge we need to revive them has now been lost and will not prove
recoverable without some great change in our current ideas on physics,
enough to allow further means of inferring the past state of a person. 
Yes, our current physics has some large gaps, among which is the one
I described above. I hope to see those gaps filled. But I will also
say that even then we may find that our physics still will not allow
recovery --- whoever said the world was friendly to us?

			Best and long long life to all,

				Thomas Donaldson

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