X-Message-Number: 288
Date: Wed, 3 Apr 91 21:32 EST
From: LEVY%
Subject: Murder and theft
Message-id: <>

I see the point about current attitudes toward legal death, but I tend not
to be as optimistic as most cryonicists, because of my belief that the real
problems are almost never the ones that we foresee.  In other words, I think
that the "horizon" of 100 years for successful cryonics is probably a wildly
mistaken estimate.  I signed up because, like all cryonicists, I believe that
suspension is the only sensible thing to do with yourself after you check out.
It just seems to me that (with notable exceptions like Steve Harris), the
people making predictions about cryonics are not people who earn their living
(or even spend very much time) dealing with the kinds of biochemical issues
that need to be dealt with before cryonics can become a reality.   The
argument from nanotechnology sounds neat, but it's really begging the question.
IF we had little machines that could fix everything, then OF COURSE we wouldn't
have any problems, because they'd fix everything, Q.E.D.  That doesn't mean
they're going to be here soon.  The physics of the moon landing were available
from the time of Newton, but it took hundreds of years before technology could
implement them.  

On the other hand, I'd much, much, much rather deal with a group of gung-ho
cryonicists, no matter how starry-eyed, than anyone who tells me to put my
faith in some afterlife, especially if such person is spouting creationism
and other nonsense.  Just as bad are people telling me that death is "natural"
or "just a part of life."  

What do you think?

[ Simon, thanks for your comments.  You have some good points and also some
  points that I would like to "tune up" a bit.  First, a semantic issue.
  You mention several problems that must be overcome "before cryonics can
  become a reality".  Actually, cryonics is already a reality; REANIMATION
  from cryonic suspension is the difficult part that has not yet been
  accomplished.  Yes, I know that's a rather picky point for me to bring up
  because I know what you meant to say, but I just wanted to get it straight.
  As for the accuracy of the 100 year estimate, my understanding is that even
  if it took a thousand years, the deterioration from chemical reactions,
  background radiation, etc. would still be minimal.  Thus, from a technical
  standpoint, we have a large safety margin and do not need to worry too much
  about recovering everyone within 100 years or so.  On the other hand, the
  ability of the suspension organizations to remain viable and continuously
  care for their suspension patients for 100 or even a 1000 years if necessary
  is something that we will all have to work on.  Other comments? - KQB ]

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