X-Message-Number: 2538
Subject: CRYONICS re: #2526
Date: Tue, 11 Jan 94 12:44:51 EST
From: Stephen J. Van Sickle <>

Dr. Stodolsky:

>One of the major blocks to public acceptance of cryonics, is its
>elite nature.

Many people I have spoken with about cryonics were vaguely familiar
with the idea, but seemed to believe that the cost would be millions 
of dollars.  The fact is that cryonic suspension costs no more than 
many common medical procedures, and if pre-mortem suspension were
widely practiced could even reduce over-all medical expenses.

The interesting thing is that these people (friends and relatives I
informed of my arrangments) seemed to have taken comfort in the idea
that cryonics was too expensive.  Only *after* being informed of its
affordablity did they fall back on "it wouldn't work anyhow".  Some
refused to believe the prices I quoted at all, insisting that I must 
have gotten something wrong.

Evidently, cost is used as a basis for not thinking further about
cryonics, and masks some more deep seated reason for resisting it.
In my opinion, this reason is the very core idea of cryonics, and 
most people see it immediately, if not consciously, causing
great distress.  It is the idea that Death can be defeated.  This
goes directly against thousands of years of society adapting to the fact
that Death was irreversible.  Contrary to dozens of SF stories on
this theme, I believe that if immortality were handed to them on
a silver platter, cost and pain free, scientifically proven beyond
a shadow of a doubt, most people would not accept it.  To do so
would mean not only destroying many very basic beliefs, but also
accepting that the loved ones that they have seen die are really, 
truely gone.

For this reason, I believe that cryonics will never grow much more
than an order of magnitude larger than it currently is.  This may
be enough, however, to afford significant economies of scale.  To
get even this much growth, though, it is necessary to target those
whose strongest beliefs center around the scientific method, since
this is the only belief system I am aware of that includes within
it the ability to (relatively) gracefully change in the face of 
evidence.  To do this will require much more research, much more
hard evidence, much more everything.  

Mr. Darwin:

I do know a way you can change the world and make a potload of money.
Consciously and deliberatly make cryonics a religion.  It worked for 
L. Ron Hubbard.  Don't include me in the plan, though.  I haven't 
the stomach for it.

Stephen J. Van Sickle

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