X-Message-Number: 14329
Date: Thu, 17 Aug 2000 08:00:09 -0400
From: Thomas Donaldson <>
Subject: the future of cryonics

Hi everyone!

A quick summary of my own argument that acceptance of suspended animation
will take some time (much longer than Paul Wakfer seems to think): 

The analogy with heart transplants just begins to show the kind of 
reaction to expect. The situation I alluded to, that most conditions 
could take much longer than just a few years to see serious cures,
remains (unfortunately) true. Not only that, but the possibility of
suspended animation for ANY condition is not going to escape people.
Even now most doctors would not consider the possibility of someday
treating AGING, as a simple case. To go into suspended animation because
you're growing old would not be seen favorably by many people. That
becomes especially true if it requires different medical techniques
which now are looked on with uncertainly and (in some cases) horror.

Imagine someone saying that we'll be able to totally cure your old
age by moving your personality into another young body. (Note that
I said PERSONALITY here, not brain). Even genetic modification of 
your body would be looked on by too many as an unfavorable activity
possibly to be forbidden; real immortality, of course, would require
exactly such modifications.

Moreover as cryonicists we suspend many people who do not come
to us in the best possible shape... bluntly, they are seen as 
"dead". Would normal (or even radical) hospitals provide suspended
animation for such people? Not only that, but many people would not
want to awaken in a future even 1 year away, and may simply delay
their suspended animation until they fall (unexpectedly?) into just
that class of "dead".

If we take the kind of long view which those of us who are suspended
and later revived would take, the period most people would take to 
come to terms with suspended animation will seem relatively short...
perhaps only a century. But to those living through that period,
it will look quite long. How many people will refuse suspension
before it finally becomes popular?

Again, medicine and doctors often present a new development as if it is
close to a complete cure, when if we look at what's actually being
done we have only a step towards that complete cure. Cure of severed
spinal cords looks as if it will happen relatively soon, but the 
day in which we not only can get some nerves in severed spinal cords
to reconnect, but can get ALL OF THEM to reconnect will be much
farther away. It's not that it won't happen, but for suspended 
animation we don't want anything partial if waiting longer gives
us something complete. And so those cures available in only a year
may start looking at best quite lacking.

So these are some reasons to expect adoption of suspended animation
(or in the case of someone with what is now considered a REALLY
serious condition, suspension) will take some time and not develop 
at any rate close to instantaneous once we can do suspended animation.
The more radical a medical technology, the longer it will take for 
general acceptance. When we really consider what could be done in
more than a year, we begin to raise some quite radical possibilities.
And we're not going to be able to hide those possibilities behind
the smokescreen of medicine. 

		Best and long long life to all,

			Thomas Donaldson

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