X-Message-Number: 3306
From:  (Thomas Donaldson)
Subject: SCI.CRYONICS Re: biostasis viability
Date: Wed, 19 Oct 1994 21:26:41 -0700 (PDT)

Some comments are in order:

1. Almost by definition, no one is suspended unless they are already seriously
   damaged. Cryonics is not a lark into the future. It is an attempt to 
   survive. To ask that survival be assured before you decide to make your
   personal arrangements for suspension is like someone who refuses to get 
   into the lifeboat of a sinking ship because the living arrangements on the
   lifeboat won't be so nice as those on the ship ... except that the ship is

2. The subjects which have now taken on the common name "nanotechnology" 
   existed for some time prior to Drexler's book. Even in Drexler's book, he
   points out that cryonicists were seriously thinking about what would be
   needed for revival.

3. Ralph Merkle's article was originally published in MEDICAL HYPOTHESES, by
   no means a mainstream journal. Furthermore, as I discussed in a (quite
   tardily published) article in CRYONICS 15:3(1994) 37-39, there are very
   serious reasons to believe that the problem of repair will be harder than
   Ralph makes it seem.

   The main gap in our knowledge consists of our understanding of how human
   memory works. We are (collectively) moving towards that understanding, but
   without it we simply cannot PROMISE that revival will someday become
   possible. Does this provide an argument against cryonics? NO. To see why,
   refer to Point 1 above.

4. Just as with any other technique, fixation has practical problems which
   show up when you try to actually DO it rather than theorize about it. One
   such problem is that of reaching the inner parts of the brain with 
   fixative: the fixative works on the blood vessels too, and makes it harder
   to get fixative into the brain beyond its outer layers.

   If we wish to theorize, with the complete understanding of memory which we
   do not now have, we might well verify that fixatives have preserved 
   someone --- if the problems of using them are also solved. The reasons 
   for using cryobiology instead have been well discussed in previous messages;
   but serious work on fixation haven't even begun.

				Long long life,

				Thomas Donaldson

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