CRYONICS: feasibility [was Re: Fox cryonics show]

From: Robert J. Bradbury (
Date: Sun Feb 06 2000 - 00:39:38 MST

I've seen some comments that some (many?) extropians in spite
of an awareness of Cryonics, don't believe it can work.

What I want to know is are there people who have read Ralph's
technical essay:
 The Molecular Repair of the Brain
and who *still* believe cryonics is infeasible?

By infeasible, I mean do you have concrete reasons to believe
that something Ralph says is in gross error or missing in the
details of how one would molecularly reassemble the damage caused by
freezing? Another way of asking the same question is -- How
can you believe that trillions of nanobots with collective
ultra-human intelligence could *not* reassemble the 3D jig-saw
puzzle left by your frozen brain?

The only thing I know to be somewhat questionable is the quoted
lifetimes for DNA (hundreds of thousands of years). Robert Freitas
has worked this out in more detail and the times are shorter but
the high redundancy in the body (and Celera's "proof in reality"
of disassembled human genome reassembly) provide ample reason to
believe we can reassemble functional genomes.

Now, perhaps people read Ralph's paper and said, "Well thats all
fine and good, but we don't have nanobots". While we still don't
have nanobots, we *do* have Nanomedicine and it seems to document to
a large degree the capabilities required by Nanobots in Ralph's paper.
One of the future Nanomedicine volumes, should have a chapter or
so devoted to cryonics related issues.

Now, if you believe it is feasible, but are not signed up, then you
are simply playing Russian roulette (which is fine IMO, just consider
leaving your frozen head to me, so I can harvest meme-sets from it).
But if you don't believe it will work, given the analysis that
are thus far available, it seems you have some internal demons
to wrestle with. You can't simply say you want "proof" that
it *will* work, you have to *assert* that it can never work.

Hekimi (discover of the clock genes) once observed to me --
"Anything man can conceive, he will eventually do." I believe that
is correct unless there are overwhelming reasons not to do it
(I can't see that being the case with cryonic reanimation).
So the only logical positions are to (a) claim it is infeasible and
provide justification for that claim; or (b) allow that it is feasible,
and will likely work at least for some people. In the (b) camp,
you have to justify why you are playing Russian roulette.

The position of "believing it will not work" *and* not having any
good reasons for that seems pretty indefensible to me. I'll take
on any 3 people with that position at the next Extro conference.


Addendum. In re-reading this note, it occurs to me that a great
future-venture startup would be a company that offers to pay
cryonics non-believers now for rights to their brain meme-sets after
death. A company that got financing for this would really *force*
the issue into the public light. I'm offering you $5000 for
the right to take your brain (after death), freeze it and
subsequently dismantle it for meme-experiences. Think
of the bidding wars you could get into for people with
"novel" experiences.

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