X-Message-Number: 8260
From:  (Thomas Donaldson)
Subject: Re: CryoNet #8243 - #8247
Date: Fri, 30 May 1997 20:41:52 -0700 (PDT)

For Joao Pedro:

First of all, cryonics is not simply a matter of futuristic hoping. Real people
are doing it. Yes, we know very well that our current methods for cryonic
suspension (of which freezing takes a large part, but we also replace a 
patient's blood with chemicals which should help decrease the damage before
we freeze them) will cause lots of damage. 

The critical point here is that we do not do it to people in the prime of life
and able to live for many years afterwards. We do it only to people who would
otherwise simply decay and die --- or if cremation is used, be totally
destroyed. This changes the picture a lot: you are not choosing between 
a life in the future and a life now, you are choosing between a guaranteed
death (total oblivion) and a possible life in the future. Since we all know
that we someday will be in such a situation, we have all made preparations for
it well in advance. 

One other point: if you look at cryonics more deeply you will learn that in
order to be suspended you must first be declared dead. One major difference
between cryonicists and all other states and societies is that we have a 
different (and we think much better) definition of death. You are dead if
all the information required to restore you to life has been destroyed. That
is very much not the same as the other kinds of criteria: you need not be
breathing, your heart need not be beating, etc etc. Some noncryonicists 
say that we freeze "dead people". That's not what we try to do: we try to
freeze LIVE people, though our notion of when someone is dead differs from
that of others.

Why is our definition better? Because it is more universal. The definition
of "dead" has constantly changed as our abilities to bring people back to
life increased. First there was artificial respiration. Then we learned how
to restart someone's heart. Now there is intensive research on repairing 
and reviving people after the so-called 5 minute limit. As a matter of fact,
with the best technology and people who know about the latest methods,
someone can often be brought back now after 15 minutes. This all means that
the criteria change. But underlying all such criteria, even centuries in
the future, is the idea that what we need (ie. information) to revive 
someone is gone. That is why we think our criterion is better. 

Finally, you ask about the present state of cryobiology. Dim, dank, and 
miserable. To be more precise, so far only a very few organs with special
characteristics can be frozen and brought back to function. Most cryobiologists
do not want cryonics to succeed, and it has affected their success elsewhere.
I would, however, be at fault if I did not also tell you that there are
cryonicists who are also cryobiologists, and cryonics societies have begun
to commit money to research, with the immediate aim of finding a way to 
suspend and revive BRAINS. There is movement going on right now, headed
by Paul Wakfer (he will probably put a message on cryonet, so you'll learn
more about this if you're patient) which aims to raise $1 million a year,
with the aim of funding the research we need. His email address is
 Other cryonics societies are also interested
in funding research, though Paul's effort is aimed at all cryonicists
worldwide regardless of their cryonics society.

			Best wishes for your exploration of cryonics,

				Thomas Donaldson

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