X-Message-Number: 15776
From: "Jeff Grimes" <>
Subject: Belief
Date: Thu, 01 Mar 2001 16:51:57 +0000

The question has been asked: Do I believe in cryonics?

I don't think it matters much what I believe but since I 
complained when other people didn't answer questions, I 
will answer briefly.

I believe there is no "soul" in the religious sense.

I believe thoughts and memories are sustained by brain 
chemistry and brain structure.

I believe if you can preserve the chemistry and structure, 
you preserve the most important parts of the person. (If 
you're a concert violinist, maybe you need the whole body 
to preserve all the learned reflexes, I don't know.)

I don't believe anyone knows how to preserve brain 
chemistry and structure, over long periods, without very 
serious damage.

I don't believe anyone really knows if this damage can be 
repaired. Obviously beyond a point, it will be too severe. 
No one knows where that point is, so far as I can see.

I don't trust people in the future to fix everything. This 
seems an amazing piece of wishful thinking.

I don't think any cryonics organization has enough money or 
enough interest to do research to solve the damage problem. 
So far as I can tell, only one independent lab with a 
handful of employees is trying to solve it, using money 
from one source (according to their statements on this 

I would bet that there must be a bunch of millionaires 
signed up for cryonics (as well as ordinary people). It is 
amazing that these rich believers apparently are not 
supporting more research into damage-free preservation. 
Even if they believe the nice men in the white coats 
probably will fix things in the future, why not increase 
your chances by reducing damage to day?

My conclusion is that cryonics is a neat idea but is so 
full of uncertainties, and is so full of wishful thinking, 
I don't have much faith in it right now. The wisest advice 
I received was, "Buy an insurance policy because if you 
leave it till later, you may not be insurable at that 
time." As it happens I do have life insurance, and if I 
ever see a cryonics organization that takes the problems as 
seriously as I do, then I will use my insurance to join 
that organization, in the future.

Of course it has also been pointed out to me that if 
cryonics provides any chance at all, it is better than 
cremation or burial. But, there is a psychological aspect 
too. What if cryonics provides false hope? What if it 
encourages people to waste their time speculating, arguing, 
and wishing, when they could be enjoying their everyday 
lives instead? If the increased chance of surving in the 
future is only .0001 percent, does that make the worry and 
speculating worthwhile?

I don't know the answers to those questions.

Jeff Grimes.

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