X-Message-Number: 23354
Date: Sun, 01 Feb 2004 13:10:20 -0700
From: Paul Antonik Wakfer <>
Subject: Re: CryoNet #23346 - The Essence of Cryonics
References: <>

> Message #23346
> Date: Sat, 31 Jan 2004 07:46:53 -0500
> From: Thomas Donaldson <>
> Subject: CryoNet #23341 - #23342

I strongly disagree with Thomas' characterization of cryonics given in 
this message.

Most intelligent people and certainly all those knowledgeable in 
medicine are not blind to the facts of the history of medicine - that 
there is now possible the full recovery, and return to life from near 
death of many sick and injured whose recovery from those specific 
diseases and damage was not possible in the past (or not to the same 
extent). These same people fully understand that, in similar manner, in 
the future many people who would be declared dead today will be cured 
and repaired to live full lives. If this were the major problem of 
cryonics promotion, then all these people would already have adopted the 
idea, and by example and persuasion of knowledge, would have led the 
rest of the population to do likewise.

However, the essence of cryonics is not related to death at all! It is 
instead related to patient transport - in particular to medical time 
travel - the ability to transport a severely damaged patient to a future 
time when his damage will be fixable and his death averted. This means 
that there are two critical stages involved with the *proof* that 
cryonics works (and thus before it can be widely salable).

The first stage of proof for cryonics will occur when it is shown that a 
fully healthy human (or sufficiently close human surrogate) can be 
cryopreserved and revived without any life-shortening damage. The second 
will occur when it is shown that a human with some disease or damage 
which would currently lead to certain death can be cryopreserved until 
that disease or damage is curable and then be revived, cured and 
returned to full life as he was before he became diseased or damaged. 
These are the ultimate milestones which must be achieved before cryonics 
will be recognized as a fully rational medical option. Thus, as medical 
time travel cryonics *can* be proven to work. Proven cryonics will give 
us medical transport into the future (without a bumpy ambulance ride 
which causes additional damage) which we do not have now. The only 
continuing element of non-proof will involve its perfection for the most 
severely damaged cases.

With respect to the current necessity to begin after declaration of 
death, cryonicists should continue to demand the right to begin 
transport of a terminal patient *before* legal death is declared. 
Cryonicists should never be *wanting* to cryopreserve those already 
declared dead, but should only be willing to accept this if they can do 
no better. They accept it only because they (and all intelligent medical 
people) know that such patients are usually still recoverable when death 
is currently declared.

It is true that in the most extreme cases of patient damage, where the 
myopia of many medical professionals prevents them from being able to 
imagine that such people can *ever* be fixed, cryonicists must also 
argue against the abandoning of such patients. However, I think it is 
very important to completely separate the promotion of the possibilities 
of future medicine from the promotion of suspended animation. The reason 
why such a separation is important is because there are many potential 
applications for whole body suspended animation and for reversible 
cryopreservation of biological tissues which do not involve severely 
damaged terminal patients or those already declared dead.

Once suspended animation is perfected, the procedures will generally be 
able to start *before* death! The starting after declaration of death 
will then be only in those special cases when the patient could not be 
reached before cessation of heartbeat, respiration and brain function. 
In fact, in the latter situation it would be wrong to call the procedure 
"suspended animation" since "animation" was already involuntarily 
terminated - ie. the full life attributes of a human are absent from 
such a person. In such a case cryonicists should not shirk from the 
language of cryopreservation of "human remains" because even a full body 
of tissue which cannot be currently restored to life clearly does not 
have all the essential characteristics of being human. It is only 
because the goal of cryonics is the initiation of a medical procedure on 
living humans that cryonicists do not like to use the "human remains" 
terminology, even though in practice the cryopreservation of human 
remains is currently what is actually done.

It is folly to think that the notion of death should or can be 
completely eliminated since not only will there always be situations 
where no human remains are every found, but there will also always be 
situations which are so devastating that restoration to life is truly 
impossible (this is so in spite of Mike Perry's and other's belief to 
the contrary). It is only *after* medical time travel is perfected that 
the current uses of death terminology will have any possibility to be 
greatly reduced, since only then will it often be possible to transport 
most dying and/or "life impaired" patients far enough into the future 
that they will be repairable and restorable to full life.

--Paul Wakfer

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