Re: Is cryopreservation a solution?

Joao Pedro (
Mon, 22 Sep 1997 18:56:49 -0700


Geoff Smith wrote:
> > Geoff Smith wrote:
> > > If you admit you were generalizing, do you retract your statement that
> > > human cells are neccessarily more difficult to cryosuspend than other
> > > cells with smaller genome? (I see you have deleted this statement from
> > > your post)
> >
> > I didn't claimed human cells more difficult to cryosuspend, I claimed
> > human beings more difficult to cryosuspend than frogs, there is an
> > important difference and I still maintain my opinion on that matter.
> Wrong. You said:
> "Our case is much different, first because we are obviously much more
> complex than any microorganism or even than a frog."
> to which I said:
> "That's not a reason, silly!"
> and you replied:
> "Errors occur and since we are more complex the chances of errors
> occurring increases"
> Come on, Joao, selective amnesia really detracts from a debate.
> I'm wrong ever day, can you admit maybe your were in error, just with
> once? It would really make it easier to debate with you.

I guess I'm what you would call, a convinced jerk. I hate being wrong,
last year, a college of mine told me something like this (I don't
remember the exact words): "I hate discussing with you, even when you're
wrong you appear to be right." It was a great complement, it was like in
Socrates' trial when the accusation said: "Socrates, the men that can
make a poor argument to look like a good one." (or something like that,
the idea is the same) Anyway (instead of admitting I'm wrong, I'm just
praising myself), yes, it can be interpreted that I claimed human cells
more difficult to cryosuspend than frog cells and microorganisms simply
because they are more complex. It was a mistake, I was wrong. It wasn't,
however, my intention to make it susceptible to this interpretation, my
idea was, like I mention in my last message, human beings are more
difficult to cryosuspend than frogs and one of the reasons is because of
complexity since humans are more complex, they'll have more types of
cells and the chances of errors occurring would increase and etc (I
already wrote about this, no need to bother you again).

> > I define "perfection" as the absence of mistakes/errors. More 'perfect'
> > means with less errors. "Complexity" is harder to define, in
> > biology/zoology, perhaps the more functions an organism performs the
> > more complex he is (including internal, cellular functions). Or perhaps
> > the higher different types of proteins or cells an organism has, the
> > more complex he is.
> What if the organism has a multitude of different proteins and cells, but
> they are organized in a simplistic way? I am wholly unsatisified with
> this definition, and I fail to see how you can make such a concrete
> biological statement based on it.

I'm not satisfied with this definition either, I said that "complexity"
is hard to define, if you have a better idea I'm all hears.
I cannot think of any organism with many different types of cells and a
simple organization, how do you define simple organization? Number of
cells? Number of tissues?
Anyway, when analyzing species like we were (frog vs. human and
microorganisms vs. human), one can clearly see what is the most complex.

> > > If you think the
> > > functioning and abilities of your brain are "spiritual" and unknowable,
> > > then I cannot debate with you, because your ideas have been cemented by faith.
> >
> > I don't think so, I was asking if you think so, I'm sorry if I offended
> > you.
> I was not in the least bit offended, but I am a little offended that you
> chose to erase and not answer my original question : "Where do you find
> something "spiritual" from my phrase "functioning and abilities of the
> brain." Functioning and ability indicate something concrete and
> studyable. If I said "mystical powers of the brain," this would indicate
> something "spiritual" Is this just a language problem?

No, about 93% of Americans are religious (you're Canadian right?),
therefore asking for religious explanations is never a bad choice.
Extropians are not known for their religious minds but perhaps you are
religious (well, now it seems pretty obvious that you aren't). It was an
attempt to understand your ideas, I made other attempts, I asked other
questions. I didn't find anything spiritual in your sentence but that
doesn't prevent me from trying what is the most common hypothesis for
explaining any phenomenon, that is, religion. I missed in this attempt
and, like I said before, I'm sorry if I offended you.

> > > I think you have entirely missed my point. I will give you 3 points will
> > > together will give you much grief:
> > >
> > > 1. Your brain is fragile- you will lose neurons whether you age or not.
> > > 2. You have a finite number of neurons.
> > > 3. Your neurons do not grow back.
> > > 4. You (I assume) want to live for a long time.
> >
> > I'll just write a citation from Leonard's Hayflick "How and Why We Age"
> > "A controversial question in biogerontology is whether or not we lose
> > nerve cells as we age." This is from the 1994 edition, there is a 1996
> > edition with an extra chapter, I've read that chapter but I haven't read
> > the rest, presumably it's the same sentence in the 1996 edition.
> >
> > And yet you affirm that I lose neurons!
> Yep. And I'll affirm it again: you lose neurons. Maybe not every day,
> I'm not making any claims about that. Remember when you reminded me of
> that man who had the pole through his head, and his personality change.
> Do you think he lost some neurons? Do you think it was aging?
> Have you ever played soccer? Did you know that soccer players who head
> the ball more have lower IQ's? Do you think the soccer ball is just
> accelerating the aging process?

My God, I play soccer 2/3 times a week. I wonder what that means? (just

> > Personally I think that we lose neurons but this is just to show you
> > that sometimes things are not as simple as they look. IMHO, we lose
> > neurons basically because of aging.
> I won't argue with that. Sounds reasonable, but it doesn't affect my
> point in the slightest.
> > You put an interesting question, if one doesn't age, will he lose
> > neurons (naturally, of course)?
> > Sincerely I don't know and I bet (unless something new has been
> > discovered in the last months) you don't either.
> Looks like I've discovered something new!
> I can see the headlines now:
> "'Pole Through Head May Harm Neurons,' Says Geoff Smith, Prominent
> Neuroscientist"

I wrote:
"You put an interesting question, if one doesn't age, will he lose
neurons (naturally, of course)?"
Is the word naturally applied to soccer? Is the word naturally applied
to poles going through one's head? I don't think so. Some non-aging
animals like some sharks appear not to lose any brain cells (or lose so
few that it goes unnoticed). The lost of neurons is caused by aging or
exceptional events (like shooting yourself in the head, taking some kind
of drugs, playing soccer).

> > > > I guess it's a bit irrational (when you don't have any evidences and
> > > > need to draw conclusions, you use your balls right?)
> > >
> > > No, I don't. I find my balls are not very good at making logical
> > > deductions. What do women do?
> >
> > Probably nothing, it explains a lot of things (sorry, stupid joke, I
> > apologize immediately).
> I will accept your apology on behalf of 3 billion women. Although I'm not
> sure why you would apologize, I think this tesicular deduction you speak
> of may explain why there are more women in university than men. (maybe not
> in Portugal, but in Canada there is)
> Luckily, I am not adding to this imbalance since I do not make testicular
> deductions.

It was a joke! Don't you have any sense of humor?

Speaking seriously now, it is a proven fact that women have fewer brain
cells than men and that women have a smaller, lighter brain. More
important, it is commonly accepted that women are less aggressive which
gives them a disadvantage in most professional careers (not to mention
the fact that women have to give birth).
During World War 2, the British industries noticed, for the first time,
the fact that women are better workers, when it comes to organization
and concentration in small tasks during mass production, than men. In
Portugal, the percentage of women in universities is higher than the
percentage of women in the population. I think that the explanation lies
in the facts observed in WW2, that doesn't make women better
professionals than men, like you can witness from the winners of Nobel
prizes and the facts I mentioned above, it's actually the contrary. I
have an article in my site that mentions this, it's a simple "Essay on
Intelligence" (

> > > You're going to let computers become more intelligent than you? Haven't
> > > you seen Terminator 2 ?!?
> >
> > Yes I did but as long as they serve us, it's ok.
> Why do you think that an entity *more* intelligent than you in every way
> would want to serve you.
> Myself, being not neccessarily more intelligent than you, does not want to
> serve you, so why would a more intelligent creature wish to?

Although there is an indirect relation between intellectual development
and subversion in humans, that doesn't mean that a being of higher
intelligence is more difficult to subvert, besides, there are exceptions
to this relation. The only example of high intelligence that we know is
our species and therefore all divagations of how an entity of higher
intelligence than ours would behave are just that, divagations. If I
build an entity more intelligent than myself, I'll surely find a way to
control it, I can think of a million ways to do this depending on what
entity we are talking about (from physical controls like drugs to
psychological ones). You say that this entity is more intelligent than
me in every way, do you include irrational mental capacities like
determination and leadership? That might be going a bit too far, it all
depends on the purpose of creating more intelligent beings.
Anyway, this is pure speculations, our brain is still a huge mystery.
Have you read "Descartes' Error: Emotion, Reason and the Human Brain" by
the brilliant Portuguese neurologist Antonio Damasio? It's very

I can't stop noticing that we are drifting a bit out of the original

         Hasta la vista...

"Life's too short to cry, long enough to try." - Kai Hansen Visit my site at: