X-Message-Number: 23771
From: Peter Merel <>
Subject: Cryonics Selfish?
Date: Mon, 29 Mar 2004 20:55:57 +1000

Hi Linda,

Cryonics, if it ever works out, must be regarded as quite selfish. Like 
any form of medicine. What right do any of us have to live past the 
average lifespan of humans without access to medicine? It seems correct 
to say that most folks over the age of 40 should think twice about what 
they're doing to their fellow men by living all these extra years.

You're also quite right about the carrying capacity of the planet. 
Without the resource synthesis technologies promised by the development 
of molecular nanotechnology and related new tools, it's about 2-3 
billion people. Yes, only half the number alive today. That's going to 
cause us all a little trouble by and by.

Anyway most cryonicists don't expect that the practice will work out 
for them without nanotech or similar developments. So we're either 
headed for a technologically advanced world of plenty to which the 
returning cryonicists will bring unique historical experience and 
insight, or an environmental catastrophe in which it won't matter, 
because the cryonicists won't have sufficient technology to be able to 

As for souls, well, presuming there is a God, seems like He/She/It 
wouldn't have given us the intelligence to be able to avail ourselves 
of medicine, or the will to do so, unless that seemed a pretty good 
idea. Most Gods were reputed to heal the sick and raise the dead. Of 
course cryonics can't do that last one - because if it works then the 
folk on ice aren't really dead. I mean not biologically dead. Just 
legally dead, which isn't quite the same I suppose.

Cryonics is a challenging idea - but then most medicine has been 
regarded as challenging when first invented. Remember the ruckus over 
heart transplants a generation ago? But now they're well accepted. Even 
such a simple technology as having doctors wash their hands before 
assisting childbirth was originally looked on with skepticism. The 
inventor of that one, a fellow named Ignatz Semmelweiss, was locked up 
in an insane asylum for it about 1850. And then beaten to death by the 

Which might not have been an inordinate punishment. Semmelweiss's 
invention dramatically reduced infant mortality, resulting in a 
dramatic surge in human population growth. Which in turn has resulted 
in a lot of the environmental and social problems we're experiencing 
now. Perhaps we should think that Semmelweiss got off lightly.

Peter Merel.

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