X-Message-Number: 15142
Date: Wed, 20 Dec 2000 07:09:42 -0500
From: Thomas Donaldson <>
Subject: comments on 2 issues

Hi everyone!

If you've wondered where I went, the answer is simple. I was producing
PERIASTRON, the 1 November issue (it's now been mailed out to those
subscribing and a few others, and ACS will no doubt soon have some
of it on their web site).

I felt, after reading the various messages, that two issues (related)
deserved my comments. The first of these is the sequence of messages
by Dani Kollin and others commenting on what he said: There is NO
need at all to introduce religion into cryonics. Why? Because cryonics
does not involve any dealings at all with truly dead people, only
with people whom many (due to ignorance) think to be dead.

Think about that. You don't become truly dead merely because a doctor
writes out your death certificate. We've already seen, at least some
of us, the effect of means to restart stopped hearts has had. More
recently, though it hasn't shown up so loudly, those involved in
resuscitation now know how to bring someone back after about 2 X
the delay it used to take. If you are really really dead, then no
amount of cryonics advances will ever bring you back. We freeze 
(or hopefully turn to glass) people whom we think can someday 
be brought back, not because they are really dead but just the
reverse: we think that the BELIEF that they are dead is straight
out FALSE.

All the religious issues which some people raise about cryonics
comes from the belief that the guy who wrote the death certificate
knew what he (or she) was doing. If you understand that he/she 
DIDN'T know, that death certificate becomes a piece of scrawled
and meaningless paper. So much for religion and cryonics.

A second issue also arose on Cryonet recently. This one is more
subtle, but just as insidious in its own way. Very simple: no, it
does not follow that because we are finite, thn we are only going
to be subject to a finite (though perhaps very large) number of
fatal illnesses. Just as a mirror is finite but can show an 
almost infinite variety of scenes, it's not enough to say that 
WE are finite. We respond to the world, and the world is far
larger (if you insist, I can give you figures) than we are... and
I mean here not just the Earth but the entire Universe, and 
whatever else we may someday learn about. 

Yes, given that we do NOT grow or even change, WE may be finite.
But the universe in which we're living is far larger, and can cause
us to come down with very many new conditions not thought of before.
Sure, if we assume we are not only finite but unchanging, those
conditions may (some of them) resemble one another superficially,
but since they come from outside us, just how to treat them may
differ a good deal. Moreover, we DO grow and change, which means
that it's not even clear that an assumption that we are finite
AT ANY GIVEN TIME will say very much about disease conditions
we'll get OVER time. We can be finite at any time but
infinite over time.

And why is this important? Because it says that we'll still want
to use some form of cryonics into the indefinite future. Sure, the
exact form may differ, and ultimately involved (perhaps) use of
means to read us off into some storage device, but the basic idea
of preserving someone if we can't fix them will continue indefinitely
... and there will ALWAYS be conditions we cannot fix at some 
particular time. Sure, some time later we'll know what to do, but
that time may take years to arrive. And moreover, the number of
people who need such treatment may easily keep on going down by
some factor < 1, but that does not mean it will ever reach ZERO.

We cannot really get immortality without also using cryonics.

So those are my comments on two recent issues in Cryonet.

		Best wishes and long long life,

			Thomas Donaldson

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