Re: Is cryopreservation a solution?

Geoff Smith (
Thu, 11 Sep 1997 20:03:02 -0700 (PDT)

On Sat, 13 Sep 1997, Joao Pedro wrote:

> It's simple, even if you're only frizzing the head, the temperatures
> will always vary considerably between the cells at different positions.
> More, the ideal rate at which you decrease the temperature surely varies
> amongst different cell types. I read at least one good documented
> experience (I'll try to find the authors) with the freezing of an
> animal's brain in which they concluded that extensive tissue damaged was
> observed. To give you another example, in the laboratory, only minimal
> quantities of cells can be frizzed correctly, you can verify this at any
> biology laboratory. You can argue that some destruction is caused in the
> unfreezing process and that in the future this process will be perfect.
> I don't know for sure exactly what are the percentages of cells damaged
> in the freezing and unfreezing process but I expect that the cells
> damaged in the unfreezing process to be less. If cells are not damaged
> when the unfreezing process begins, they will not be destroyed then,
> perhaps some cases of cells that are a bit damaged can be saved with
> more advanced unfreezing processes but I'm moving to areas in which my
> (and everyone, I suppose) knowledge is limited. I agree with Anders
> Sandberg when he says that most of the damage is done in the freezing
> process and not while we are frizzed.

I think I mentioned this before, but.. dehydrate the cells! I wish
someone versed in zoology would butt in here and add some more informed
discussion about the frogs that freeze and unfreeze with no outside
If the frog's strategy of dehydrating their cells does not work for
humans, give me a reason why not.

> Geoff Smith wrote:
> > If I were to extrapolate current technological progress, I would say 100
> > years is a very conservative estimate. The Prometheus Project's goal is
> > much less.
> That doesn't mean they will accomplish their goal. Besides, just because
> they can unfreeze you, that doesn't mean they will. Remember, they will
> only unfreeze you when aging is controlled and that can take a while.

I'm not saying I have faith in the Prometheus Project's projection, but I
can observe the current rate of technological advancement, and from that
extrapolate that medical technology will be doing things we can't even
comprehend in the very near future.
As for unfreezing, how will they know when aging is controlled?
Say someone has lived for 500 years, do we know he will live forever?
Obviously not. Will we ever know? Well, maybe in an infinite number of
years. I have doubts that cryonics organizations will use this
information to judge when to unfreeze me. I expect to be unfrozen when
they can repair whatever damage killed me. I don't expect this to be a
very long wait unless we suddenly fall into another dark ages. Medical
advances occur every day.

> Speaking about how long it will take for us to control aging, never
> forget that even when we correct all the errors in our genome that
> create aging now, we will have to worry about the errors that will cause
> us diseases when we are 200, 300 or 1000 years old! Our knowledge will
> have to advance faster than the millions of genetic errors that millions
> of years of evolution have not corrected, it's a very difficult task
> (that's why I'm 19 and already worrying about aging). For more see "Why
> are We Allowed to Age?" in
> (remember I asked this a couple of months ago?)

Do you intend to still have a genome in 1000 years. I don't. I'll have
had all the kids I want to by then, so why else would I need one? If you
don't like the flawed human genome, get rid of it! Think about the
advancements that have occurred in the last 50 years... now think what we
will be able to do 1000 years from now. Getting rid of the genome will be
trivial. This is in essence what "uploading" is, I suggest you do some
research. There is already a multitude of nascent strategies for
uploading the human mind.
All this would be irrelevant to you if you think the genome is necessary
for consciousness- but, again, give me some evidence.

> As a conclusion, I think that for old persons going to cryonics their
> chances of immortality are minimal. If one is cryopreservated at an
> early age with few brain damage then he might survive.

This seems awfully pessimistic... even if it isn't, what other options do
you have?

> As for the identity issues, there are many interesting situations. Like
> persons who endure terrible accidents or drug abuses. There is a case in
> which a man had an iron through he's brain that completely changed his
> personality although his intelligence was pretty much the same as
> before. Is this the same person as before? I think not. Am I the same
> person I was 10 years ago (neural changes have been huge)? No but I
> changed, I blossomed into another person in a continuos process and that
> is not the case in cryonics or accidents.

Buddha would agree with you. By saying that you are not same person as 10
years ago, are you saying there is no self? That's basically what Buddha
said, but it all depends on how you define self.

I would say there is a self, but it is not a state. It is a history of
states and changes of state, with the potential for even more

> Anyway, I'm not planning to
> have irons going through my brain neither going to cryonics, I'll just
> concentrate my efforts on the aging research.

Why are you placing all your bets on aging research? This seems overly
risky :(