X-Message-Number: 19607
Date: Wed, 24 Jul 2002 07:43:57 -0700
Subject: Editorial Response
From: Peter Merel <>

Being San Diego based, I felt obligated to respond to the union-tribune 
editorial, and I include the text of that letter here. I also stumbled 
across a page that provides hundreds of email to editor gateways - 
http://www.globalfreepress.com/media_blast.pl - and am trying to come up 
with something generic enough to use with that. A few years ago 
Electronic Frontiers Australia used a similar list of email-to-fax 
gateways to good effect in opposing net censorship legislation. When the 
hypnocracy broadcast editorials, we shouldn't feel squeamish about 
broadcasting responses ...


When I was a boy, Dr Christian Barnard performed the world's first heart 
transplant. My local newspaper declared this "an abomination". It 
invoked holy writ, and questioned whether the transplant recipient still 
had a soul. It said Barnard was a monster, and his patient a dupe. It 
said the whole business was an offense against God, Nature, and Humanity.

Your July 17 editorial treats cryonics the same way. Of course we're 
shocked by the Williams case. The whole idea is very strange to us. But 
let's give this strange idea the same open minded consideration we 
eventually gave Barnard's transplants. Let's ask ourselves a simple 
question. Could this actually work?

Obviously we don't have the technology to revive frozen people. Cryonics 
needs nanotechnology to do that, billions of molecular robots programmed 
to fix the frostbite cell by cell. Along with whatever killed you in the 
first place. We don't have those robots. Will we ever?

For that we need to consult Moore's law - the exponential decrease in 
component sizes. Nanotech components will be ready this decade. It'll 
take longer to figure out control systems for them - but there's no 
science to say that's harder than, say, developing a modern computer 
operating system. We'll need nanotech systems to keep up with world 
population growth anyway. And while they develop, the frozen folks at 
Alcor will keep.

Okay, so cryonics might actually work out. Still, who would want such a 
thing? Well, who would want a heart transplant? If it works, it's the 
same business - it's a way to save lives. Freezing costs what a good 
heart transplant costs. Via an insurance policy that's the price of a 
pizza a week. Aren't the lives of our parents and grandparents worth 
this much?

The idea that the Splendid Splinter might get another turn at bat is 
shocking. But if it happens, we'll get over it the same as we got over 
heart transplants, because they save the lives of people we love. Trying 
to save lives isn't stupidity. It's courage.


Peter Merel.

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