Re: SciAm: nano and cryonics

From: Samantha Atkins (
Date: Sat Aug 18 2001 - 13:28:00 MDT

"Robert J. Bradbury" wrote:
> Samantha wrote:
> > My greatest fear is that we act without knowing what it is we
> > want to acheive and thus act very unwisely with any/all
> > technologies at our disposal. The price of the attendant
> > errors can be our extinction. But I don't distinquish so much
> > between which form of technology is likely to be the most dangerous.
> Point understood. But from where I sit we are already "extinct".
> If we do not conquer death and/or fail to make cryonics work
> I personally am extinct. If we do not conquer space and learn to
> eliminate or avoid the hazards in our galaxy, we, as a species,
> become extinct. So I find myself forced to take a pro-active stance
> with regard to embracing technologies. I share your concerns
> about determining the right rate of adoption.

But I personally am not the species, am not the whole of
humanity. Yet I do not think or act only for the preserverance
of myself. "We" are not extinct if any one of us dies any more
the body is dead when a cell dies.

But I think I take your point generally.

> > As long as there is freedom then those who don't see cryonics
> > as viable have no guilt whatsoever. Honest opinion is not guilt
> > producing. Forcing others to forego their own opinions is cause
> > for guilt.
> The problem is that many people have been brain-washed into
> believing that there is a "magical" solution. That false
> knowledge creates a false sense of security that means they
> do not take the effort to seriously investigate cryonics.
> To preserve their world view, they treat it with skepticism
> if not outright revulsion. If there is "guilt" here it
> probably lies in the hands of people who distribute historical
> stories for salvation to people incapable of giving "informed
> consent".

I don't believe that skepticism concerning cryonics is primarily
to preserve any particular world view. At least it is not in my
own case.

There are many stories for salvation. Cryonics is one of them.
Do you think most people can honestly evaluate cryonics? Or do
I misunderstand whaty you mean by "informed consent" and perhaps
what weight you give to it?

For most people being saved from death by cryonics and/or
nanomedicine is "magic". But which magic offers the most in
reality? Which magic offers the most to the entire person and
leads to the most good? Which magic has what effects on entire
peoples? Simply not dying is a wonderful, powerful "magic".
But it is not the full solution.

Until now we could not do much about the seeming inevitability
of death. We cannot yet do a lot but we have some small hopeful
means such as cryonics. But until the first cryonaut is
successfully revived this is no more sure a means than the
ancient Egytian rituals of mummification. It is what we believe
is the most likely to preserve our beloved self within the
context of the best of our current knowledge.

- samantha

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