Re: Cryo-suspension for death row

From: Jeff Davis (
Date: Tue Oct 10 2000 - 18:31:56 MDT


I can't really work up any enthusiasm for death row cryo-suspension as an
application of cryonics. The death penalty is highly controversial and in
a multitude of ways involves the worst of human behavior. Acrimony between
political factions, interpersonal violence of the worst sort, before,
during, and after the initial event(s). Revenge, justification,
rationalization, violent emotionalism being denied or disingenuously being
put forward as reason. Political expediency of the worst sort.

I wouldn't want to see cryonics, which I view as a procedure suffused with
hope, optimism, and life-affirming intent, associated in any way by the
violence and human darkness which so completely colors the death penalty.

In attempting to inform a wider constituency of the rational basis of
cryonics, we are already challenged to overcome flawed definitions of
"death", deeply ingrained old beliefs about the inevitability,
irreversibilty, and naturalistic correctness, of death, and the
"scientific impossibility" of cryonics. Do we really need to add to these,
an application of cryonics which essentially puts it in the list with
hanging, the electric chair, the gas chamber, and lethal injection? To do
so defines cryonics in the public perception as a form of execution. If
that isn't bad enough, the political motivations behind this misuse of
cryonics, has it masquerading, in the most disingenuous and cynically
vicious way, as a humane act. It allows the executioners, at the political
level, to have it both ways: "We didn't *kill* the vile, subhuman, criminal
scum, we just *cryonically suspended* him/her. (Wink, wink, smile, wave to
the camera.)" Making it easier for political weasels to kill people feels
like a very dangerous place to go. History suggests that as it is right
now, it's already way too easy.

Call me a purist, but I think cryonics is about hope, progress,
rationalism, cultural honesty, compassion, and the ancient human quest to
end the depredations of disease, aging, and death. If we want to promote
it, let's reach out from that philosophical center.

                        Best, Jeff Davis

           "Everything's hard till you know how to do it."
                                        Ray Charles

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