X-Message-Number: 2620
From:  (Thomas Donaldson)
Subject: CRYONICS Re: Spouses/Partners & Problem with Cryonics
Date: Sun, 20 Feb 1994 01:05:19 -0800 (PST)

Hi again.

1. I don't have a good answer. My wife is a cryonicist, but none of my 
relativesis willing even to go so far as to read about it. And I know that means
someday I may find myself attending their funeral. 

I suggest, though, that you try to get this guy to read more than Ralph Merkle
on the subject of cryonics. I personally have bad problems with his essay ---
the one Alcor passes out. I think that he uses all his numbers to reach a
totally invalid conclusion (that is, his conclusion doesn't follow from his
premises) and would not be surprized if some readers pick up on that. (I don't
mean that CRYONICS is invalid, just that the argument in that essay in favor  
of cryonics is invalid). Put simply (and unfortunately people will howl at
me for saying this) the problem with cryonics isn't that of STORING a broken
structure, but of working out how to put it back together properly --- and
Ralph pulls out his calculator and bravely shows that we can STORE patients
(yes, in a computer, no less!). 

The Alcor publication CRYONICS: REACHING FOR TOMORROW is much better. Not
only that, but it definitely discusses the cryobiological questions.

But frankly, I don't think you should get your hopes up in any case. A lot
of cryonicists have to deal with this problem in one way or another. I'm
sorry. I've tried everything I could with my own relatives, and nothing
has worked.
			Long long life,
				Thomas Donaldson

2. About problems with cryonics: just to be plain about it, even frogs and
salamanders cannot survive freezing in liquid nitrogen; but they can and have
survived freezing to much higher temperatures. Not only that, but in the
50s similar experiments were tried with hamsters and rats, using glycerol
instead of letting them produce their own antifreeze (which they can't do),
and they could survive placement at just below 0 degrees C. (This experiment
is famous because it proved that our memories don't depend on electrical
activity in our brains --- but that's only half the issue for cryonics). This
was done by Audrey Smith in the early 50's. There's been other stuff since.

Unfortunately, however, there is no easy way to convince anyone that cryonics
can work short of getting them to think carefully about what such experiments
MEAN. Ettinger's book has slowly become outmoded, but I will say that he
still makes the best argument. This is unfortunate in one way: I think that
cryonicists themselves, if they could manage to set to work on it, could 
produce even better EXPERIMENTAL evidence; but that work would involve money,
time, and cooperation which cryonicists haven't yet gotten together.

			Long long life,

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