Re: Cryonics on ABC World News Tonight

From: Chris Russo (extropy@russo.org)
Date: Tue Feb 20 2001 - 08:48:19 MST


At 21:49 -0800 2/19/01, Jeff Davis wrote:
> >Chris Russo wrote:
> >Cryonics currently is nothing more than fantasy.
>
>A point of view not held by all. Dr. Semmelweiss's ideas about sanitation
>were once a 'fantasy'. Clearly what is fantasy and what is reality is a
>matter of opinion, not fact. The consequence of this opinion is the
>certain death of millions, a matter of importance too great to be left
>unchallenged.

I would like to raise an objection to this tactic that you've used
several times in your post - I won't bother responding to each one.
You take an idea that was eventually proven to be fact, and then use
that as an analogy to show that your idea will eventually be proven
to be fact. The error is that you neglect to mention the billions of
ideas that are proven to be untrue for every one like the above that
actually did turn out to be true. Cryonics might be one of the
zillions of failures, it might be one of the much fewer successes.
Without *scientific evidence*, we just don't know.

> > It has a zero rate
>>of return of people to the human population, and I've yet to see any
>>evidence that that's going to change right over the horizon... or the
>>next horizon... or the one after that.
>
>With all due respect, I don't think you understand cryonics. Please don't
>feel insulted. There is an aspect of cryonics so unprecedented, so outside
>the human experience, that even people intimately acquainted with cryonics,
>people who know the FACTS, still don't 'get' it. Cryonics stops time.

In a sense, but you don't *know* that it will bring about the result
that you need - to restore people to some reasonable percentage of
their previous state. How do we know that irreversible brain damage
and memory loss don't happen within a few minutes of dying? How do
we know that the very act of taking someone's body to such low
temperatures doesn't *permanently* damage who he is?

Once certain types of damage happen, all the future technology in the
world won't help. They might be able to create a functioning human
being again, but if it doesn't have most of the memories and thought
processes of the original, what good is it? You might as well have
just taken a DNA sample and frozen it for later cloning.

>I detect a note of smugness. Try out the receiving end: You know, I
>suppose, all that the future holds? I grovel before the awesome power of
>your intellect,...or is it your crystal ball?

You're right, I don't know all the future holds. That's the point,
because neither do you - but you're still willing to sue medical
professionals dealing with health problems in the here and now, for
something that's sheer speculation.

>Cryonics stops time. That is its unprecedented power. What has been
>accomplished from 1877 until today is irrelevant. The accomplishments of
>the next thousand years?,... irrelevant. Cryonics brings to bear the
>limits of the possible. Grasp the implications of that and you will then
>'get' cryonics.

Yes, I 'get' it. It's your religion. Substitute "Jesus" for
"cryonics", and I've heard it all before.

> >You're
>>suggesting that doctors pursue unscientific treatments for their
>>patients, or they'll be sued.
>
>Thermodynamics is sufficiently scientific to validate cryonics.

No it's not. You have no clue as to what kind of damage is done to
an organism after death and in the freezing process. Thermodynamics
is just one piece of the puzzle, and even though it "stops time", it
doesn't *reverse* time, which may be what's needed to undo tissue
damage.

> >By the same logic, medical professionals could be sued for not
>>advising all of their dying patients that they should believe in
>>Jesus Christ. If we can't base a belief upon scientific principles,
>>we might as well go with a popularity contest, right? Next to the
>>number of people in this world (doctors included) who believe that
>>Jesus Christ is the solution to death, cryonics adherents are nothing.
>
>The analogy is inapplicable. Religion is clearly unscientific.

You're banking on the limitless discoveries of the future, but you
can't believe in the limitless possibilities of the past? What if
God is just some super-technical being who has existed long enough to
accomplish everything that religion has him accomplishing?

Why is one person's guess as to what may be possible any worse than
yours? Why is one guess "clearly unscientific", but your guess is
"scientific"? Belief in Jesus and belief that cryonics will solve
everything both take good-sized leaps of faith. When you make a big
leap of faith, you leave the realm of science and anyone's guess is
as good as anyone else's. Suing someone over not buying in to your
faith based guesses is unethical.

>You don't find the cryonics thesis compelling, so you feel put upon by
>those who do, so you denigrate it with 'frivolous', 'stunt', and 'cheap
>advertisement'.

Actually, you're wrong about my view of cryonics. I find it very
interesting and might even have it done to myself when the time
comes. However, if I do so, it will only be a last-minute act of
desperation, not a venture into something known or probable. I might
also say a little prayer to Jesus, too. You never know. :)

> This is exactly the attitude which makes the lawsuit
>necessary. I (and probably most cryonicists) don't denigrate the medical
>profession, and I DEMAND the same respect.

I'd say that to feel denigrated when someone simply asks you for
evidence is an irrational response.

Don't blame others (esp. doctors) for failing to drink the liquid
nitrogen Kool-Aid with you. Instead, take some responsibility for
the fact that cryonic restoration has *no* evidence. Keep performing
experiments (or funding them with your money), and who knows? Maybe
one day you'll be shown to have been right.

If I'm revived too, I'll look you up and buy you dinner.

Regards,

Chris Russo

-- 
"If anyone can show me, and prove to me, that I am wrong in thought 
or deed, I will gladly change.  I seek the truth, which never yet 
hurt anybody.  It is only persistence in self-delusion and ignorance 
which does harm."
              -- Marcus Aurelius, MEDITATIONS, VI, 21



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