FYI: (edited) CryoNet #8397 - #8403 (fwd)

Eugene Leitl (
Sun, 20 Jul 1997 17:13:28 +0200 (MET DST)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sun, 20 Jul 1997 05:00:03 -0400 (EDT)
From: CryoNet <>
Subject: CryoNet #8397 - #8403

CryoNet - Sun 20 Jul 1997

#8397: improving cryonics [Doug Skrecky]
#8398: Odds and Sods [Peter Merel]
#8399: Re: answers to Andrew Davidson [Thomas Donaldson]
#8400: Re: CryoNet #8384 - #8390 [Thomas Donaldson]
#8401: Re: Payment up-front [Stephen W. Bridge]
#8402: Estimating the probability of success of cryonics [Ralph Merkle]
#8403: Re: Succesful Cryonics? [Joseph J. Strout]

Admin Off-Line Approx. July 21 - 26
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and thus will not be able to handle any special requests
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am away, including the subscribe/unsubscribe functions. - KQB


Message #8398
Date: Sat, 19 Jul 1997 09:52:27 -0700
From: Peter Merel <>
Subject: Odds and Sods

Thomas Donaldson writes,

>Not only can you make a difference, but you are not a passive gambler even
>while suspended. Right now all those involved in cryonics are doing the best
>they can to avoid the problems you raise. So long as cryonics exists
>ANYWHERE they will continue to do so. You may have noticed Paul Wakfer and
>Prometheus; we are all doing whatever we can to make cryonics work, not
>just medically but politically and socially also. And when I am suspended,
>I do not expect all that work to suddenly cease. It will go on until we
>know how to revive someone and decide to do so.

This is an excellent point. Estimates of the odds are almost a self-
fulfilling prophecy; if everyone on the planet thinks, "yeah, sure, and
pigs might fly!" then cryonics would get resource-starved and its odds of
political and technological success go to nil. If everyone on the planet
thinks, "whoop de do, we CAN live forever!", we'd see early revivals within
the millenium. Compared with a moon landing, cryonics is not exactly rocket
science :-)

And then there's the plausibility of Everett's multi-worlds interpretation
of QM; if there's any chance that cryonics might work for you, then, Everett
being on the mark, a plethora of you will make it. Why should you care
if you don't survive in a millionty-billionty other universes, so long as you're fat and happy in this one?

Any odds are better than sods.

Peter Merel.


Message #8402
From: Ralph Merkle <>
Subject: Estimating the probability of success of cryonics
Date: Sat, 19 Jul 1997 14:19:23 PDT

I tried to post this a few days ago, but it seems not to have made it.

Periodically, someone posts an analysis of the form

Probability of success =

probability of event 1 x
probability of event 2 x
probability of event n

While this approach is entirely reasonable in the abstract, it
is only valid when the different events are independent. Usually,
however, the events listed are correlated in various ways, resulting
in a serious error in the overall estimate.

For example, if two events are:

government allows revival
not put in zoo

we see that there is a likely correlation. If, for example, after the
successful revival of people in cryonic suspension the Supreme Court
rules that they have the same rights they had prior to suspension,
then the government would be more likely to block attempts to put
you in a zoo.

Similarly, the items

will awake without dire pain
my cryonics organization is willing to revive me

are also correlated. If there is a significant probability of waking
in dire pain, the cryonics organization will likely conclude that
further research is required and that those in suspension should not be
revived until the problem of dire pain is solved.

My experience is that lists with more than three or four items suffer
from severe correlations, which invalidates the simple multiplicative
estimate of the total probability of success.

In general, cryonics will fail only if:

1) Information theoretic death occurs at some point in time
2) Technologies that are feasible in principle are never applied
in practice.

In addition, it is theoretically possible that cryonics could be a
technical success but would still be undesired if, on waking, you
found that being dead was preferable to being alive. We could
therefore add a third item:

3) I don't like the result.

Even this short list suffers from correlations. For example,
unsatisfactory results (item 3) could be caused by failure to
apply appropriate methods (item 2).


Message #8403
From: (Joseph J. Strout)
Newsgroups: sci.cryonics
Subject: Re: Succesful Cryonics?
Date: Fri, 18 Jul 1997 08:47:02 -0700
Message-ID: <>
References: <5qlt5s$2jd$>

In article <5qlt5s$2jd$>, Richard Hawkins
<> wrote:

>Hi, I wonder if someone could help me. I just wondered if anyone know if
>there have been a successful attempt at freezing an animal for a period of
>time and then resucitating it (being in good "working" order). Could someone
>briefly explain how it works?

Some lower animals, like the Antarctic nematode, can be frozen to liquid
nitrogen temperatures, rewarmed, and go about their business just fine.
But these animals are particularly adapted to the cold. No mammal has been
frozen and revived; we don't have the technology today to repair freezing

This is not a test of whether cryonics works, of course. Cryonics works if
the patient's condition is stabilized in a state that *future* technology
can repair. Tests of this are currently underway -- check back again in
100 years or so to see how these tests come out!

There is much cause for optimism, though: humans and other animals have
been successfully cooled to near-freezing temperatures, their blood washed
out and replaced with a perfusate solution, and restored to normal life and
health (do lit searches on "deep hypothermic surgery"). And the freezing
procedures used appear to preserve brain structures in good order, which is
what would be required (at a minimum) for successful repair.

>Also, what's the difference between cryonics and cryogenics.

"Cryogenics" is an incorrect term for cryonics which is often used by the
media to let you know that they really haven't done any research into the
topic at all. The same applies to laypeople as well, of course -- if
someone tells you they're convinced cryogenics can't work, then you can
tell immediately that they actually know nothing about it. Rather
convenient, really...

| Joseph J. Strout Department of Neuroscience, UCSD |
| |


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