Re: SciAm: nano and cryonics

From: Randy Smith (
Date: Thu Aug 16 2001 - 11:36:14 MDT

The Theorem Theorem:
If If, Then Then
>Subject: Re: SciAm: nano and cryonics
>Date: Thu, 16 Aug 2001 09:11:53 -0700
>Robert Bradbury writes:
> > I agree with Robin that it sounds like the last gasps
> > of those who don't want to admit that once we know
> > how to fly, the blood of billions will be on our
> > hands for not doing it sooner.
>[Note, I don't think this is an accurate paraphrase of Robin's posting.]
>One thing that does come through in the on-line articles is the damage
>to the Drexlerian nanotech vision done by its association with cryonics.
>We had some discussion last year about a similar article in Nature that
>made the same connection (might have been by one of the same guys).
>Where cryonicists see nanotech as lending credibility to their field,
>the rest of the world sees nanotech's credibility as being destroyed by
>the connection to cryonics. Most people seem to have an strong prejudice
>that cryonics cannot (or should not?) work, and any technology that
>could supposedly make it work becomes instantly suspect.
>Much of the criticism of nanotech in the sciam articles brings in its
>supposed utility for cryonics, as though that is a sort of reductio ad
>absurdum that proves the vision is false. Super computers, ultra strong
>materials, even self replication may be acceptable dreams. But raising
>the dead is beyond the pale.
>I tend to agree with Robert above that ultimately this is due to the
>understanding that if cryonics works, if currently dead people are some
>day brought back to life, then we are all responsible for a holocaust
>beyond imagining. Every person allowed to die today without suspension
>is an unnecessary and preventable death. As Robert says, the blood of
>billions is on our hands. Most people are not able to deal emotionally
>with the horror of this possibility.


I have to disagree with you on the reason why people are uncomfortable around cryonics.  In conversations with strangers at the bus stop, I often manage to work in the fact that I am signed up for cryonics. I like to do this when there are several people involved in the conversation.  They are disbelieving at first, and then the discomfort sets in. But I don't think they have time to think about the possibility that by not doing cryonics, their loved ones are dead. It seems to be a visceral feeling that the idea is essentially "wrong." I think it has something to do with universal societal taboos dealing with the dead.




>(Of course, even most of us signed up for cryonics aren't doing anything
>about it either, and we are the ones who are most likely to have to face
>consequences eventually for our inaction.)

Get your FREE download of MSN Explorer at

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Fri Oct 12 2001 - 14:40:10 MDT