X-Message-Number: 16402
Date: Fri, 1 Jun 2001 22:01:07 +0000 ()
From: Louis Epstein <>
Subject: Replies to CryoNet #16396 - #16399 and more

On 1 Jun 2001, CryoNet wrote:

>     #16398: Reply to CryoNet #16377 and #16390 [Jeffrey Soreff]
>     #16399: Reply to Epstein #16390 [Mike Perry]
> ----------------------------------------------------
> Message #16396 Date: Thu, 31 May 2001 09:54:38 -0400
> From: Thomas Donaldson <>
> Subject: comments re Epstein's writing
> Hi everyone!
> Some comments about Louis Epstein's latest writing: I said that finding
> a circumstance in which I would not want to continue living might take
> some imagination and be difficult. Epstein seems to believe that there
> is NO such circumstance.

I readily believe that there are circumstances in
which people would not WANT to continue living.
My point is that not wanting to can NEVER justify
an action with the deliberate aim of ceasing to

> His arguments also raise other questions, of which the simplest is:
> has he made arrangements for his cryonic suspension? With whom? Given
> the importance of that question, I would say that his answer will very
> strongly affect the meaning of what he says.

I have not,for both financial reasons and lack of confidence
that suspension can really be reversed.If I did,it would
probably be with CI because they charge less and share my
bias toward whole-body preservation.
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> Message #16398 Date: Thu, 31 May 2001 18:47:04 -0400
> From: Jeffrey Soreff <>
> Subject: Reply to CryoNet #16377 and #16390
> The proposed Oregon law would have set both lower and
> upper limits to the level of health care a person could
> receive.  The proponents of the law had a notion of what
> level of levels they considered reasonable, and effectively
> treated levels outside those limits as unnecessary diversity.
> It would have squeezed the distribution from both directions.
> Sure, it would have made people more similar, less diverse.
> It would have done it by removing freedom.  Mr. Epstein,
> does this make it clearer to you why many people on this list
> value freedom and its normal consequence, the diversity that
> comes of individuals' unregimented choices?  Do you see why
> _anyone's_ judgement that some choices are unnecessary, and
> should be forbidden, feels like a threat?

However,the mentality that freedom should
have NO limits...the uncritical WORSHIP of
diversity I see in many places...leads to
utter chaos.You can NOT,in the name of letting
everyone into the tent,let in people who want
to burn it down.Lines MUST be drawn SOMEWHERE.

I favor very broad limits that are very
firmly enforced.Others think more amorphous
frameworks are better.

> ----------------------------------------------------
> Message #16399 Date: Thu, 31 May 2001 22:47:04 -0700
> From: Mike Perry <> Subject: Reply to Epstein #16390
> >
> > >
> > > >As far as I am concerned,a wish to die is insane by
> > > >definition,and the person who has it needs to be
> > > >protected from its consequences.Others don't have
> > > >a right to wilfully end your life,and NEITHER DO YOU.
> > >
> > > I support free choice, but certainly I don't like it when people
> > > choose death.
> >
> >As noted above,I believe they can choose how hard to fight to stay
> >alive,but not to do anything where death is a known and chosen aim
> >of the act...where death is the thing the person wanted.
> Again, I support free choice, even if they do choose death, though then
> I don't like it. But someone certainly should choose to be cryonically 
> suspended premortem under certain circumstances, though by current legal 
> definitions they would be "choosing death" and might be forcibly prevented 
> from exercising what ought to be their right.

Absent better evidence that suspension is in fact reversible,
I don't see that deliberately hastening the cessation of one's
life processes should be accepted.We have not developed a way
to stay alive at a hundred below zero with veins full of

And I don't think even the most ardent cryonicist would
see time in suspension as offering attractive quality
of life,compared to what could be spent with breath and
a pulse.

> >Well,couldn't the same science that created anencephalic clones also
> >produce bodiless brains?...almost certainly,since you see cryopreserved 
> >brains as surviving to be implanted.
> Sure.
> >And couldn't it thus be argued by those who define personhood
> >differently that the anencephalic clone is "entitled" to have
> >a brain created for it-as-person,since the ability to grow such 
> >brains means it DOES have potential-for-consciousness?
> Could be. But they see it very differently than I do. A brain, with the 
> usual imprinting, defines a person. An anencephalic clone, not having a 
> brain, would not be a person and not "entitled" to anything. As for the 
> potential to grow a brain, every nucleated cell of my body has that 
> potential, if you consider cloning. But that doesn't "entitle" it to
> such a procedure.

Well,the legal regimes that may develop around
future medicine may be less than conducive to
what you seek.As I noted,it may be considered
abusive to modify a clone so that it develops
in the anencephalic state.
And any way you write the laws will have both
advantages and disadvantages.

> > > >Have there been any cryonics cases where just a brain was 
> > > >preserved,besides Luna Wilson?
> > >
> > > Yes. I don't have a list handy, but there have been several.
> >
> >All at Alcor,I presume?
> >
> No. The latest comprehensive list of cryonics patients, as far as I know, 
> is from *Cryonics*, 4th quarter 1998 It shows several brain-only's from 
> different organizations. More details if you are interested.

Well,I guess I don't know the history
well enough.What organizations have
offered brain-only preservation in the

> >Is there a published number of how many
> >whole-body patients Alcor has preserved?
> >Probably MUCH fewer than CI.
> I can tell you that Alcor currently has 15 whole bodies
> (I think CI has 38) out of 44 patients overall.

So unless ACS and Cryocare(which preserved two
and I don't know if they were whole body) have
23 between them...CI has a majority of the
presently preserved whole-body patients?
(Alcor inherited the salvageable CSC bodies,
I gather,not sure where CSNY's went...)

As far as transporting patients into the future goes...
James Bedford has already been taken 34 years from his
clinical death.I don't know how much better 2001's
treatment of lung cancer's is from 1967's,but revival
of frozen bodies is not much less beyond us now than
it was then,I expect!

I've been told the earliest-born cryonically suspended
person was born around 1888...that could mean that the
cryonicists might soon hang an asterisk on who the
oldest living person is,depending on definition.I am
presently aware of five living people documented or
very likely to be documented as born before 1888.

> >And it occurs to me that someone who has a body that was modified to
> >develop without a brain might be at a disadvantage when healing from
> >brain injury.How could the genetic modification be reversed?
> Depends on how the body was modified. Nobody said it had to be genetically 
> modified. If it was, you could probably reverse the modification via 
> nanotech, shift the atoms around and such. But whatever the details,
> it's a bridge to cross when we get there.

I'm afraid the mileposts approaching the bridge
still have a very high number on them.
> > > I don't propose "tearing out" the foundations, but I don't propose
> > > "maintaining the building" exactly as is either. Yes, we need to 
> > > strengthen the foundations and build in other ways. In time though,
> > > we'll surely outgrow our H. sapiens frame, and I think that time
> > > will not be too long in  coming, on the scale of history.
> >
> >Where you see us as modifying ourselves,I see us as having an
> >unprecedented capability to avoid having to modify ourselves.
> Both prophecies could come true. Note you say "avoid *having* to modify 
> ourselves." Not *having* to do something you don't want to do should be 
> your right so long as reasonable corresponding rights of others are 
> respected. What I see is a future where options will increase. Many, if not 
> all, will eventually, voluntarily choose modifications, I think, because 
> they will feel them advantageous.

While I consider it wrong in principle,
and that the more we are able to nullify
considerations that might compel us to
change ourselves,the less we can justify
changing ourselves.

> >Evolution occurs in response to environments...but we can choose
> >and alter our environments in ways no other species ever has.
> >That is what makes us the climax of evolution rather than just
> >another passing organism.
> Not just environments, but our very physical nature is open to our
> own modification.

Which notion I find profoundly disturbing.
And completely in conflict with my position
of our being the form from which no further
change is necessary,and thus unique.

> >I know you're not the first to talk about this.Greg Bear once said 
> >we would not look recognizably human in fifty years...but about a 
> >third of those fifty years have gone by since he said that.
> So this was maybe about the mid-80s. My guess is that the 30-odd years 
> remaining won't be enough, but I'm sure it will happen eventually.

Which to me would be a catastrophe.

Dinosaurs and cockroaches have lasted longer than humans have...
I want to make sure we endure,recognizably human,longer than
any life form has ever existed.
> > > >I am very suspicious of the concept of "more than human".
> > > >It may have meaning as "human,and ALSO superhuman"...but
> > > >the nonhuman must be necessarily seen as subhuman,
> > >
> > > Why?
> >
> >For the sake of humanity,which you apparently don't value
> >as much as I do...
> I value *people* a great deal, but the present human species, the bodies 
> we're in, and so on, are things we'll make use of for awhile, then very 
> likely discard for something we are convinced is better.

Well,I'm evidence of the difficulty of convincing people of
such a thing.
> > > I feel that my memories of where I've been and what happened, etc. are
> > > worth keeping, but I wouldn't feel that every detail of being human is
> > > similarly to be maintained forever.
> >
> >Why not?
> As one example, my brain has finite size and is fragile. Maybe it's good 
> for a few decades, but how could this lump of stuff be good for centuries, 
> millennia and beyond without considerable reinforcement, enhancements, and 
> so on? Even if you kept it in perfect repair, the memory space would be 
> used up, and I would need something bigger, or made of different materials. 
> I suspect when we have advanced further we'll find that other materials can 
> perform the functions of brain tissue much better than the original, and 
> we'll want to replace it accordingly.

Incremental enhancements in function
would be a much easier sell to me than
any suggestion of a wholesale replacement.

Man-plus vs. non-man is a BIG difference.

> > > And if I became much smarter than I am now, and more kind and loving
> > > than people can be, that might be called "nonhuman" but I
> > > wouldn't think it "subhuman."
> >
> >But if you differed substantially from humans in this state,
> >humans would have to think you subhuman,or die in consequence.
> "--or die in consequence"? Who's gonna kill 'em?

Any number of circumstances.

The simple demoralization of not
being alone at the top would be bad.

> >(I know,you hope they'll become extinct).
> Not so. I never hope the people, considered as individuals, will become 
> extinct. The biological entity, H. sapiens, will disappear, I think, but 
> only by voluntary choices, as people decide that other, newer housing is 
> better for them. I think the day will come when you'll have a hard time 
> persuading someone to stick with the kind of body we have now, much as 
> today you don't see much market for horses and buggies (in the 
> industrialized world).

I hope very much that you're wrong.

Immortalism appeals to me as a means
of defying change,not accomodating it...
a basic philosophical approach that I
suspect sets me apart from most who
post here.(I think I got into this in
my first posting to the list).

> > > >Again,a tree can grow,but it must never be torn out
> > > >by the roots.
> > >
> > > And I don't advocate "tearing out by the roots".
> >
> >Abandoning your body is certainly tearing out your roots!
> I don't see it that way at all. I've certainly abandoned the body I had as 

> a young child. It's the memories that are important, not the physical housing.

But your body organically turned itself into the one
you have now...you didn't wilfully discard your
child form for something biologically inconsistent
with it.
> > > >To become something divorced from your origin is to
> > > >cease to exist...a death as thorough as any other.
> > >
> > > I don't advocate being divorced from your origin. You should remember
> > > who you were.
> >
> >But if you are not the same biological entity,you are
> >divorced from what you were.
> Of course we are speculating heavily here, but I think you could remain 
> what you are in essential respects yet not be expressed in the same 
> physical format.

I don't see the physical format as separable
from the essential respects of what you are.

A freshly printed book is not as old as the
first writing of its words.

> >A copy of certain aspects,
> >perhaps,but you are no longer human.
> Well, you'd be conserving what is really important
> about the being *you* are, call it what you will.

I think you're too ready to divide and
discard the things that make you yourself.
Nothing should be conceded that can possibly
be retained.

> >No,simply not being the identical one means it is not you.
> >Millions of identical coins are minted every year...they
> >are not each other.Copies are not originals.
> You should read chapter 7 of my book, *Forever for All*, titled 
> "Interchangeability." Yes, I know that not everybody will subscribe to this 
> point of view. But I see a fundamental difference between considerations 
> you might apply to inanimate artifacts like coins, and a person, which is 
> fundamentally an ongoing, informational process. Too much to go into here.

I don't think I'm likely to be convinced.
An individual is an individual.Multiple
copies are automatically distinct from
one another,and from the original.
> > > And I think it's the information processing that counts, not the
> > > mechanism that does the processing, so in principle a brain could
> > > be realized in a non-protoplasmic substrate. I see no problem with this.
> >
> >I think you're blind to the problem with this.
> >And consider it important not to be.
> I've spent a long time addressing the possible problems, and won't
> claim perfect success, but I think the problems are addressable, and
> the rewards of doing so are great.

In this case the problems are matters of
perspective.Actions you consider reasonable
and progressive I consider unconscionable
and appalling.I am,whatever the Yudkowskians
may think,on protoplasm's side.I will defend
it against any imitation lifeform.

> > > From your perspective. Again, one must ask, what does it mean to be human?
> > > To my thinking, it doesn't depend, in principle, on the stuff you're made
> > > of but on how that stuff functions, processes information, and so on.
> > > Additionally, "being human" is just a stage in the life of a hopefully
> > > growing and developing individual.
> >
> >Certainly no (non-theological) precedent for that.
> Well, there is a precedent, call it what you will. And I think it is 
> becoming increasingly feasible to address this issue scientifically, 
> without invoking any mysticism.

What precedent are you citing,then?
You don't make it clear.

(And I suspect I would consider it
either not applicable,or a bad model
to follow).
> >If we're not human in any biological sense,we have died.
> >The copies of us that linger will only be programmed to
> >ape being us.
> >
> Here again, we differ. I think we'll have to transcend our biology to 
> become immortals such as I myself hope to develop into. If well-managed,
> it  will not mean the death of what we are now, but something quite the 
> opposite, a fulfillment and forward progress, and I am looking forward to it.

Immortality for humans can not be achieved by
giving up being human.As a longevity record-keeper
I would certainly disqualify any non-biological
entity that happened to store the memories and be
programmed to imitate the patterns of a deceased

Meanwhile,out in the dying world...

Arlene Francis,actress
Hank Ketcham,cartoonist
17 bomb victims in Israel
At least 9 Nepalese royals

Enough deaths already!

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