X-Message-Number: 16431
Date: Tue, 05 Jun 2001 00:32:14 -0700
From: Mike Perry <>
Subject: Re: CryoNet #16418

>Message #16418
>Date: Mon, 4 Jun 2001 00:29:54 +0000 ()
>From: Louis Epstein <>
>Subject: Replies to CryoNet #16407,#16411
>On 3 Jun 2001, CryoNet wrote:
> > Message #16407 Date: Sat, 02 Jun 2001 12:09:07 -0700
> > From: Olaf Henny <>
> > Subject: Questions to Mike Perry and Louis Epstein:
> >
> > First to Louis:
> > A former client of mine who had been diagnosed with Alzheimer s
> > was quoted to me by a mutual friend: "For all intents and
> > purposes my life is over"  -   Two years later he was dead.
> >
> > Would you, Louis consider ending your life, while you are still
> > in control of your faculties, in order to be cryo-preserved with
> > a slim chance to live thousands of years with sound mind and
> > body instead of watching your mind fading out with ever
> > dimming awarenes?
>I would prefer to keep functioning
>as best I could for as long as possible
>to increase the chance that a way of
>restoring me to full function could be found.
>A gamble,but so's everything.

Another question: would you advocate the use of force if necessary to 
prevent an alzheimer's patient who wanted it from being suspended prior to 
the loss of his mental faculties? In his view, *not* to be suspended is the 
suicidal act, since (he thinks) it is unlikely a cure will be found in time 
to save him. Whereas, with cryonics, at least he has a chance and, he 
thinks, a better chance of surviving in good mental shape than with the 

> > ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> >
> > Message #16411 Date: Sun, 03 Jun 2001 00:57:11 -0700
> > From: Mike Perry <>
> > Subject: Re: CryoNet #s 16400, 16402
> >
> > >
> > >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.
> >
> > Oh yeah? Suppose someone has a brain tumor. In a short time, by all
> > appearances, it will squeeze his gray matter out his eye sockets, or
> > otherwise transform it to goo. All he wants is to be suspended *now*, 
> while
> > still in his right mind. He wants this for himself, but doesn't seek to
> > impose on others' freedom (beyond denying them the freedom to frustrate 
> the
> > choice he has made, which is hardly unreasonable). Are you going to 
> tell me
> > you'd use *force* if necessary to hinder this person from getting his 
> wish?
>There has to be a better way
>of containing the tumor...
>limiting its growth,killing its
>cells,or what have you.Has much
>been done with low-temperature
>needles,as has been done in other
>tumor operations?
>(Freeze the tumor,let the person

Look, there are simply cases you can't deal with. If you could, people 
would not die of brain tumors. But you know very well they do. Cryosurgery 
is sometimes used with brain tumors, but it too doesn't always work.

> > Thomas Donaldson was one such case. The courts did, in effect, deny him 
> his
> > wish to a premortem suspension, with the implication that force, at
> > whatever level necessary, would be used to prevent him carrying out his
> > wish even though he sought no imposition, in any normal sense, on anyone
> > else's freedom. As it turns out, there was an escape hatch in that Thomas
> > could have chosen to stop intake of food and fluids and die by dehydration.
>I happen to think that this should also be prohibited.
>If the deliberate purpose of an action or inaction is
>to die,the action or inaction can not be rationally

In this case, the deliberate purpose was not to die but to escape death, 
albeit by an unusual route.

> > Several Alcor patients have done that, but it is an ordeal, even with
> > pain killers. One such person took over 10 days to die and looked like a
> > concentration camp victim.
>People who deliberately seek death deserve only frustration.

They were seeking life, not death. That's what cryonics is all about. A way 
of prolonging your life when other approaches look hopeless.

> > Another brain cancer case I know of, whose immune system had been
> > weakened by immunosuppressants, managed to deliberately infect himself
> > with pneumonia so he could be suspended before his mind was gone.
>And you think he shouldn't have been prevented
>from doing this?

You better believe it. It's possible that some other available way of 
hastening his clinical death would have been better. But the main point is 
he hastened his clinical death so he could be frozen with his brain in as 
good a shape as possible, *to maximize the chance of eventually being 
restored to good health*. His motive was far from "suicidal" in any normal 
sense. This, of course, sidesteps the issue of whether people should have 
the right to terminate their lives (induce clinical death) without any 
intent of actually saving their lives--but I'll pass on this for now. (I 
think you know my position anyway.)

>It sounds demented to me.

Think again. This is cryonics we're talking about.

> > You say,
> > "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."
> >
> > But some others *disagree* with you to the extent that they would choose
> > premortem suspension *for themselves* under circumstances such as the
> > above. I am one of those people. I could be wrong, and they could be 
> wrong.
> > Maybe cryonics won't work, though I happen to think it probably will. But
> > whether it will work or not, *we should have the freedom to choose*.
>I believe in eradicating death,
>not treating it as a legitimate
>goal of a thinking person.

Again, you're missing the point of cryonics, which is to extend life not to 
end life.

>We need fanatical,not conditional,
>opposition to death.

The problem with fanaticism is its low margin for error. You (by 
appearances) want to fight death, and you want to force everybody else to 
do what you "know" is best in this regard. But future events could prove 
you quite wrong. If cryonics turns out to work (and there are some 
world-class scientists who think it probably will, like encryption expert 
Ralph Merkle) it will mean that billions of lives could have been saved if 
only the practice had been more widespread. It will also mean that those 
people who chose to hasten their *clinical* death so their brains would be 
in good shape when frozen were, after all, making a rational choice which 
*should not* have been frustrated by a well-meaning outsider.

> > > > 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 past?
> >
> > Officially, it hasn't been "offered" in the sense of "advertised," but 
> it's
> > done on a contingency basis, depending on circumstances. Besides Alcor, I
> > think both ACS and Trans Time have done brain-only's.
>They're functionally one now,aren't they?
>TTime being a provider to ACS?

No. That was years ago.

> > In one case, apparently relatives objected to removing the whole head, so
> > just the brain was taken. Another involved a suicide victim who was 
> autopsied
> > (a legal requirement, probably like the Wilson case) and his brain removed.
>As noted,I find it hard to consider a
>frozen brain realistically a person.
>There are many preserved brains in
>anatomy departments...are they people

They could be. Depends on how well the memory areas are preserved, and so 
on, something we just don't know yet. But imagine what it would mean if 
even chemopreserved brains could be restored to being the people who once 
possessed them--provided you haven't sliced and diced them to oblivion.

>And from what I've read in the Cryonet archives,
>Bedford's relatives have completely lost interest.

As far as I know that's true.

>Was CSNY organized to be too dependent on relatives
>in ensuring continued care?

That's my understanding.

> > >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!
> >
> > On the other hand, in 1901 I bet most people would have considered powered
> > flight about "as far beyond us" as it was in 1867, just after the Civil
> > War. For what it's worth, I don't expect to see revival of frozen bodies
> > in 2003 either, but progress can surprise you.
>I think it will take more like another 34 years
>than another 2,and quite probably more than that.
>(Hmmm...where would Moore's Law take us by 2035?
>I'll be 74 that year...)

Probably it will indeed take much more than 2 years. I don't have a good 
estimate for you on Moore's Law, except that if you double something every 
18 months (1.5 years) for 34 years you get about a 6.7 million-fold 
increase. (I'll be 88 in 2035--argh!)

> > >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.
> >
> > As far as I know, James Bedford is the earliest born (of those still
> > frozen), his DOB being April 20, 1893.
>The 1888 was an estimate I got from
>Robert Ettinger.(When was his mother born?)

About 1899, according to info I have (maybe Bob can get a more accurate 

>...anything that dehumanizes a brain is bad for it.
>Enhancement has to be within a biological context.

At this point, we can hardly rule out that some nonbiological construct 
will function better than natural brain tissue and thus lead to benefits 
for the person using it.

> > ...
> > >A freshly printed book is not as old as the
> > >first writing of its words.
> >
> > The book itself, to me, is not just the printing,
> > and it *is* as old as "the first writing."
>Don't kid yourself that any copy you pick up
>IS the original manuscript!!

Of course not. The original manuscript is not the book either. The book is 
a body of information only. But you could say it is as old as when first 
assembled or written down.

> > >...
> > > > > > 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.
> >
> > Nothing mysterious. You said "no (non-theological) precedent"; okay, it is
> > theological, i.e., this is something theologians have considered. But I
> > think now we can approach it scientifically too. One book that does this
> > Robert Ettinger's *Man into Superman*; another, more recent example is my
> > own book, *Forever for All*.
>OK,so there is no actual precedent
>for the occurrence,just for the
>assertion that this is possible.

Right. Sorry if you were confused.

Mike Perry.

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