X-Message-Number: 6767
From:  (Thomas Donaldson)
Subject: Re: Paul Wakfer's comments
Date: Sun, 18 Aug 1996 13:24:17 -0700 (PDT)

Hi again!

For those on the Prometheus forum, some of what I say here will repeat my
previous posting there. For those not, perhaps this may serve as an 
explanation of my opinion from the person (ME) who originated it.

In my previous posting ("Cryonics is not Suspended Animation") I was pointing
out that BY DEFINITION the occasions at which we would expect to be suspended
were those in which current medicine had no idea what it might do to help us.
If a treatment were really available, no doctor would decide on suspension 
in preference: suspension cures nothing, but merely allows a very long wait
for a POSSIBLE but still uncertain cure. Not only that, but if someone tries
to be suspended in a situation in which treatments DID exist, there would be
strenuous efforts to apply that treatment. In one way, we see this now with
some of Kevorkian's "patients": some have simply suffered from prolonged
depression, and such patients have evoked the most concern and request for 
intervention. And that is why, too, most legislation on a "Right to Suicide"
has included strong provisions that 2 or more doctors agree on the patient's

Doctors will someday become converted to our viewpoint on "death" and "aging",
and our viewpoint on cryonics too. But until that time, to anyone who does
not accept the idea of waiting in pure hope (note that there can NEVER be
any guarantees that treatments will be found in any fixed time), suspension
will seem just as much a leap into the dark as it does now.

Ultimately history will decide who is correct. But I raise these points 
specifically against the notion that we will see any great interest by 
current medicine (even a 1% interest) in using suspended animation for 
medical reasons. And we most certainly won't see it until we can do far
better than suspended animation for brains alone (though yes, it may produce
more reams of "ethical" writing by those who specialize in that). As for
those who sit on the sidelines and hope that cryonics will someday become
sufficiently "advanced" for them, when push really comes to shove, they
will find that their fundamental uncertainty remains unchanged. And that
fundamental uncertainty (the HOPE that someday we can be fixed) is essential
to cryonics and cannot be removed by any given technical advance. Nor will
we (or medicine, when it comes to that) ever be able to PROMISE a cure 
to those who become suspended.

And because the world and people are full of complexity, I'll also point out
that successful brain suspensions may ease the way toward use of laws
allowing assisted suicide by cryonicists. But even that is hardly acceptance by
doctors as a technique they themselves will use.

			Best and long long life,

				Thomas Donaldson

Rate This Message: http://www.cryonet.org/cgi-bin/rate.cgi?msg=6767