X-Message-Number: 13283
From: Thomas Donaldson <>
Subject: Yes, Platt is basically right
Date: Wed, 23 Feb 100 23:50:42 +1100 (EST)

Hi everyone!

I was quite taken by Platt's message. We have disagreed on many things in
the past, but basically I would agree with much that Charles Platt is
saying. Nanotechnology may indeed be useful in working out how to revive
us, but we will still need plenty of other information, and must face the
serious possibility that some patients have essentially been destroyed.

No, I do not agree that an electron micrograph is sufficient proof that
damage has randomized a patient's brain. There is lots of other
information which we may apply, starting with a knowledge of the fine
structure (including the kinds of molecules) involved in brains --- known,
for those who do not read PERIASTRON, as chemical anatomy [1]. But none of
this information will fall automatically into our hands. Not only that,
but if we work NOW to decrease the damage caused by suspensions, then
every bit of that work will make the inference of how a brain once fitted
together much less problematic --- even if it does not produce a brain 
whicch can be simply and immediately revived, it will still produce a
brain for which the problem of inferring its healthy structure will be
much easier than before.

It is that latter point that in many ways is most important for those who
still remain alive. I'd say that we DO have a responsibility to work to
revive those frozen earlier, but no one now alive is helped by anyone who
decides that the problem need not be worked on because Nanotechnology will
solve it for us. For that matter, I'm willing to predict that even if we
develop true suspended animation, there are still going to be people ---
like those Charles Platt mentioned, who are found dead after a delay, or
die in circumstances making it hard to get to them in time to apply our
suspended animation technology. 

And no one reading this really knows that he or she will not be among such
people. People, that is, who must first be studied closely with all our
present and future knowledge of how brains work, and study not merely of
their physical anatomy but their chemical anatomy too, in order to work
out just how to revive them.

If you are alive enough to read this, you should at a minimum contribute
money to ANY SCIENTIFIC EFFORT by cryonicists to improve our methods of
suspension. I would even make a stronger statement, though nothing Platt
or I say here proves it: with sufficient funding, we can work out how to
freeze[2] and revive whole humann brains in less than a decade.

			Best and long long life for all,

				Thomas Donaldson   

[1] Chemicals can be identified by many means. The really important point
    here is that biochemicals, too, exist or do not exist in particularly
    cells or parts of cells. Such knowledge will ultimately us tell much
    more than just an electron micrograph.
[2] Strictly speaking we might work out how to keep human brains in a 
    solution which does not actually FREEZE but instead acts like a glass:
    a liquid which moves so slowly it behaves as if it is a solid. But
    in terms of whether or not revival succeeds, that is a detail.

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