Re: Cryonics sources [was: Nature defines transhumanist]

Date: Sun Jun 18 2000 - 08:42:40 MDT

In a message dated 6/16/00 3:24:50 PM Central Daylight Time, writes:

> Its kind of interesting when you think about it, that you have
> dozens or hundreds of people depending on the intuitive beliefs of
> perhaps 4 individuals (including myself in the "authoritative" group)
> who have looked at this in enough detail that they claim to
> understand the problems well enough to say "this will work".
> But then again, there are millions of people who believe in
> the resurection based on a considerably less robust analysis... :-)

You know, I find it comforting that smart and knowledgeable folks like you
and Eric and Ralph see cryonic suspension as a reasonable course of action,
but I think I know enough to make a relatively firm decision on the point,
even with my layman's understanding of the science and technology. I think
all that's required is to work through the following chain of reasoning:

1. The mind is a function of the material operation of the brain.

2. Identity persists through highly varied states of brain functioning
(although identity may be effected significantly by those changes in brain

3. Freezing with good cryoprotectants can preserve at least some of the
informational content of a dead or dying brain. Information preservation
will get better as cryopreservation techniques improve.

4. Technology is advancing on a broad front such that "reading" the
information content of a cryopreserved brain will be more and more complete
and precise.

5. Not cryopreserving your brain will result in a near-complete loss of its
information content in a relatively short period of time.

Once one works through these fairly straightforward points, the choice for
cryonics seems clear-cut. To me, it's the rational version of Pascal's Wager.

      Greg Burch <>----<>
      Attorney ::: Vice President, Extropy Institute ::: Wilderness Guide -or-
                                           ICQ # 61112550
        "We never stop investigating. We are never satisfied that we know
        enough to get by. Every question we answer leads on to another
       question. This has become the greatest survival trick of our species."
                                          -- Desmond Morris

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