Re: Julian Simon and cryonics

Hal Finney (
Mon, 16 Feb 1998 19:44:07 -0800

If it's any consolation, cryonics is far from a sure thing. In fact,
I think realistically we have to view it as a long shot. There are many
things which can go wrong. Damage may occur in the hours and minutes
before death, as bodily systems are failing. More damage will be done
after death and before the suspension, as not all suspensions occur
under ideal situations. Then there is the freezing damage, where we
really don't know how much is being destroyed. I have read descriptions
by cryonics workers of the appearance of brain tissue after it has been
frozen which are very sobering. They make it sound like it's really
getting chewed up, even with the best protocols used today.

Then even once frozen there is the chance of damage, sabotage, failure
of the cryonics storage facility, government regulation, human error,
war, gray goo, collapse of civilization. This adds up to a formidable
barrier when you are talking about many decades of freeze time.

If Julian Simon had been frozen, I wouldn't expect to be able to talk
to him at some point in the future. I'd say there is a chance, a slim
chance, that it might be possible. Obviously some chance is better than
none. But sadness at his death should be tempered with the realistic
realization that even if he had been frozen, his chances would not have
been good.