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From att!uunet!mcvax!diku!stodol Tue Jul 11 19:40:05 1989
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Date: Tue, 11 Jul 89 20:04:27 +0200
From: David Stodolsky <uunet!mcvax!diku!stodol>
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To: dkuug!ho4cad!kqb
Subject: CRYONICS - Re: Risk, AIDS, perpetuities
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[ In msg #115 ] Thomas Donaldson <> said:
> cryonics subsists among
> massive (yes, unfounded, but nonetheless real) contempt from both lay
> and medical people?

There is no contempt for using reduced body temperatures during 
extensive medical procedures.  What I was suggesting was a really long, 
but not cryonic suspension procedure.  A major current objection to 
cryonics is that it causes irreversible freezing damage.  What is realistic, 
if freezing is avoided?  How long can we currently suspend a mammal, 
with 95% probability of recovery?  What is the theoretical limit given 
current knowledge? 

This is the technical part of my suggestion, but what is really important 
is the psychological, social, economic, or political part.  If we can show, 
on a strictly economic basis, that it makes sense (i.e., saves money) to 
suspend people with AIDS (PWAs).  Then we immediately get support 
from those paying the bills (in a rational world).  More important, we 
get the support of PWAs and their, in some cases, politically well 
connected organizations.  These people know they are going to die, in a 
way that is a lot more immediate than the average person.  And they 
know that the only thing that will save them is research.  They will 
exist in increasing numbers in the future and this means political power. 

Contempt from both lay and medical people is a fact of life for them, 
and the fact that cryonics is regarded in the same way would probably 
be seen as an asset by many.  The least we can do is educate PWAs 
about the suspension option. 

This also might lead to a better long term approach to the perpetuities 
problem we have been considering.  A person undergoing an operation
at reduced body temperature is obviously alive.  Could this also be 
applied to someone suspended for days/months waiting for a replacement
organ?  How about someone suspended for years, waiting for a new 
treatment for a currently incurable disease?  If we look at the current
debate on abortion, we can see how much defining what a living human
being is, is a political decision.  With adequate political clout the
perpetuities problem would disappear. I am not saying that this is a good
idea, just that it is one approach, and that the political considerations
are very important if cryonics is to achieve respectability, and get research
money, and the public support needed for long term stability.

David S. Stodolsky, PhD      Routing: <@uunet.uu.net:>
Department of Psychology                  Internet: <>
Copenhagen Univ., Njalsg. 88                  Voice + 45 31 58 48 86
DK-2300 Copenhagen S, Denmark                  Fax. + 45 31 54 32 11

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