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Tags preservation , cryonic

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Old 8th May 2006, 06:40 PM   #1
DRBUZZ0
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What are your opinions on cryonic preservation?

Hello.

I was talking with my friend recently about the concept of cryonic preservation after death. (As done by Alcor and others). We both agreed that the chances of it ever working as planned [IE: A person being revived years later] are extremely low.

The problems are obvious. First, the process causes cellular and molecular damage. Also, there are the problems of reanimating dead tissues. Of course. Of course, there is also a great deal of uncertanty as to whether events of the future could interupt your preservation and whether future generations would even want to revive you.

However, there is one logical argument for preservation which I think holds some water: The chances of coming back may be very very slim, but the chances of coming back if you are burried/cremated are zero. And while cryonics may be a less than perfect means of perservation, it's currently about the best we got.


Personally....I'd go for it, if I had a some extra cash burning a hole in my pocket...or rather..a lot of extra cash. So as it stands...I'm not signed up for it.






(OH btw: There's no spell check on this computer. Yeah...I know I can't spell. Sorry)
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Old 8th May 2006, 07:09 PM   #2
TjW
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Frankly, cryonic preservation leaves me cold.
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Old 8th May 2006, 07:27 PM   #3
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I'll bet the corpsickles remain dead. The whole thing was a gigantic scam. I wonder if Walt Disney ever fell for it. Bet Goofy did.

Last edited by Jeff Corey; 8th May 2006 at 07:30 PM.
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Old 8th May 2006, 07:49 PM   #4
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Cryonic freezing means you'll remain dead, if cold, and sooner or later the company will go bankrupt and they'll have to bury the frozen dead. Being buried in a sealed coffin means you'll remain dead, but contained. Being buried in a wicker basket under a tree at one of those natural burial places means you'll be eaten and live on--more or less. I plan on option 3. I'll feed bugs and at least be of some use to nature, and no drain on the finances of my descendants, whom I would hope would be smart enough to avoid paying for the care and upkeep of my carcass.
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Old 8th May 2006, 07:53 PM   #5
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Say the unlikely event of this becoming possible occurs some 1000 years in the future.

Do you think they would bother to enforce a 1000 year old contract written in some archaic language that few understand? Especially since you won't complain if they fail to revive you.

Why would they revive you? You'd be completely lost in that society and might not even be able to communicate properly anymore. Do you think they'll want to burden themselves with someone with your now severely retarded skill set? Maybe as an experiment or a curiousity, but that's about all.

On the other hand we might have been taken over by space aliens. They might want someone to keep their cesspools clean.
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Old 8th May 2006, 07:59 PM   #6
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They could use your brain ("The Ship That Sang") but only if it were alive. Not flash-frozen and defrosted on a low setting.
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Old 8th May 2006, 08:52 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Pyrrho View Post
Cryonic freezing means you'll remain dead, if cold, and sooner or later the company will go bankrupt and they'll have to bury the frozen dead. Being buried in a sealed coffin means you'll remain dead, but contained. Being buried in a wicker basket under a tree at one of those natural burial places means you'll be eaten and live on--more or less. I plan on option 3. I'll feed bugs and at least be of some use to nature, and no drain on the finances of my descendants, whom I would hope would be smart enough to avoid paying for the care and upkeep of my carcass.

I think that the likelyhood of the company going bankrupt is a lot higher than humanity finding a way to repair shredded cells and deciding to use it on you.

And if it does become possible in 1000 years (which it may..there's really no chance of knowing). Then, you'll have to just hope that they'll have some motive to revive you and that it's not "see the 1000 year old freak" at some zoo.

Humanity may become more civilized and have a philosophy of helping the fellow man in an enlightened future.....but I wouldn't bet on it.


But then again. If I were a millionare on my deathbed and I didn't feel like giving my money to my kids or some charity, I might give it a shot.

Like I said. The chances are low....probably very low....but not zero
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Old 8th May 2006, 08:59 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by BobK View Post
Say the unlikely event of this becoming possible occurs some 1000 years in the future.

Well this could be a solution:

Get some stuff that is valuable, likely to remain valuable and has a low probability of being synthesized cheaply: Like planinum. A unique and rare material which is not easily made by nuclear reactions and has many uses.

Or some sort of rare item which would possibly be considered an antique, such as a piece of historical memoribelia.

Or something unlikely to be avaliable in the future....

Hide it somewhere it will have a very high likelyhood of being for a long time.

For example: drop it in a pressure vessle to the bottom of the ocean in a geologically stable area. Or burry it in a deep bore well in a remote area which has few resources and again, is geologically stable.

Possibly hedge your bets and hide many of them.

Memorize the corodinates and record what you have done. (in multiple languages ect.)


Is there any gaurentee that these items will survive? Or that they will retain value? Or that future generations will even be interested?

No.

But there aren't any gaurentees you'll last that long either.

But at least it provides some modivation for investing resources in reviving you.
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Old 9th May 2006, 01:05 PM   #9
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lol

see....with human ingenuity like I've got every faith in science to crack the whole cryogenics think sooner or later.....

i'm in.....
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Old 9th May 2006, 02:04 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Jeff Corey View Post
I'll bet the corpsickles remain dead. The whole thing was a gigantic scam. I wonder if Walt Disney ever fell for it. Bet Goofy did.
This shows the contrast between skeptic cognition and inventive cognition. The person who habitually applies scientific principles to solve inventive problems would look at cryonics and say something like, "Hm, interesting proposal. (1) I don't think the way you currently do cryonics will work, however. (2) Why not try it some other ways I've thought of?" Skeptics just stop at (1), and don't bother to think about (2), even though technological progess comes from asking (2)-like questions and then testing the alternatives.

As for the "scam" accusation, if you know some of the principals involved in cryonics, as I do, you would realize they haven't made any money off of it. Cryonics resembles progressive talk radio in many markets like Phoenix, in that it has to defy market signals and depend on private subsidies to stay in operation. It hasn't succeeded as a for-profit business so far.
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Old 9th May 2006, 02:30 PM   #11
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I’m afraid cryonic preservation is kind of in conflict with the decision to be an organ donor. From my point of view, not being an organ donor seems like one of the most selfish acts a person can do. I’ll be dead so I can’t know or care what they do with my body. If someone could benefit from my heart, kidney, liver, lung, or any other organ that will transplantable by the time I die then I can’t think of a more senselessly selfish act than denying it to them. Hopefully, when I die they’ll chop me up leaving little remaining to go to waste.

However, I’ll have to request that at least one of my organs go to a religious musician. Then the world can watch to see if he/she becomes a tone deaf atheist, thus testing Schwartz’s “cellular memory”. Have to let my skeptical and scientific personality play a role in my influence after death you know.
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Old 9th May 2006, 02:47 PM   #12
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For a cool-and-creepy fictional take on this subject, check out Greg Bear's early novella Heads. Cryonics, religious demagogues, and research on absolute-zero on the dark side of the moon... good stuff. Gave me the... wait for it... SHIVERS! HAR!
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Old 9th May 2006, 02:50 PM   #13
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Let me quote a line from a song by the Old Dogs:

You can have yourself frozen and suspended in time,
But when they do thaw you out, you're still gonna die.
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Old 9th May 2006, 03:23 PM   #14
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Well, the present methods of freezing are without a doubt going to cause enough damage to make defrosting impossible.

So for now, why bother, I think.
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Old 9th May 2006, 03:49 PM   #15
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The argument that no one in the future will care to revive anyone still cryopreserved is bizarre. I don't know why it keeps getting made. Psychological projection?

Cryonics isn't like shooting people into a black hole in space. It requires continuous maintenance. The opportunity to even make the decision of whether someone should be revived implies that there are people who care enough to continue maintenance. That makes the question, "Why will they revive me," equivalent to the question, "Why will they maintain me," which since the mid-1970s has been going well. There is a growing multi-generational corps of people and resources committed to making this work.

There is no conflict with organ donation because major organ donors are usually people who end up brain dead on life support, which is practically a contraindication for cryonics. In other words, anyone who is a cryonics candidate is generally not going to be an organ donation candidate. Most people don't understand the highly specific circumstances that organ donation requires.

Dr. Buzzo wrote:

"I think that the likelyhood of the company going bankrupt is a lot higher than humanity finding a way to repair shredded cells and deciding to use it on you."

If you think cryonics under good conditions shreds cells, you have some reading to do

http://www.alcor.org/Library/html/annals.html

http://www.alcor.org/Library/html/br...ervation1.html

Finally, citing difficulties reviving dead cells begs the question (i.e. it is a form of circular logic). There is no rigorously defined event called "death." Whether cells or people are alive or dead is determined by whether you can perform the requisite chemical/physical manipulations to resuscitate them, not the other way around.

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Old 9th May 2006, 04:05 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Buckaroo View Post
For a cool-and-creepy fictional take on this subject, check out Greg Bear's early novella Heads. Cryonics, religious demagogues, and research on absolute-zero on the dark side of the moon... good stuff. Gave me the... wait for it... SHIVERS! HAR!
In Larry Niven's Known Space series, organs and limbs became easily tranplantable and so all of the "corpsicles" were harvested for organs and their brains rendered down for RNA training (injectable) in whatever they were proficient at.

I think cryonics is a waste of money. Why would future generations want to revive people from 100's of years ago -- people who have no useful skill and don't fit in with the present society?
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Old 9th May 2006, 04:11 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by supercorgi View Post
I think cryonics is a waste of money. Why would future generations want to revive people from 100's of years ago -- people who have no useful skill and don't fit in with the present society?
Well, as much as it sounds awful to say it, for Joe Average, you might be right.

Now, suppose we could revive J. S. Bach, intact with all senses, etc, and could make him the leader of a rock band, including all those synthesizers, (that would include the pipe organ synth), oh say Mark Knopfler and Eric Clapton for guitarists, etc...
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Old 9th May 2006, 04:29 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by supercorgi View Post
In Larry Niven's Known Space series, organs and limbs became easily tranplantable and so all of the "corpsicles" were harvested for organs and their brains rendered down for RNA training (injectable) in whatever they were proficient at.
As if a technology capable of restoring cryonically preserved organs wouldn't be just as capable of regenerating genetically matched organs, which is the whole reason most cryonics patients aren't even preserved with organs to steal!

Originally Posted by supercorgi View Post
Why would future generations want to revive people from 100's of years ago -- people who have no useful skill and don't fit in with the present society?
Why, then, would they still be preserved? How can people keep reciting a question based on such obviously faulty premises?
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Old 9th May 2006, 05:15 PM   #19
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Wouldn't it be better to donate all you money to JREF? If you die and are frozen improperly it will be that much longer till they figure out how to fix the problem of being frozen improperly. Then they have to also be able to fix whatever you died from. It seems to me to be much more likely that the cryogenic company will run out of operating expenses or there will be a world war or natural disaster and they have to close down at some point unfreezing everyone to be buried or cremated.
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Old 9th May 2006, 05:53 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Dogdoctor View Post
Wouldn't it be better to donate all you money to JREF?
Wouldn't it be better to put some effort into making this work, by improving the technology, and building a community and society that values life enough to not toss it out at the first excuse to do so?

Most people grossly misunderstand the cost. Cryonics is far cheaper than health insurance or retirement. For someone who signs up young, or even in healthy middle age, the costs are comparable to entertainment budgets. Most people in the U.S. who really want it can afford it through life insurance. But like medical coverage, it's not something that you can just forget about until you need it.
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Old 9th May 2006, 06:10 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by jj View Post
Well, the present methods of freezing are without a doubt going to cause enough damage to make defrosting impossible.

So for now, why bother, I think.
Well...the current method of cryonics is far from perfect, but can you think of a better one, with current technology?

Perhaps this analogy fits: You're alone on an aircraft which is about to crash (there's no hope, the pilot is dead, the wing is coming off and the cabin is on fire). There is a parachute on board, but it's not a very good one. It's severely underrated for your weight, it does not have a reserve chute and it hasn't been taken out of the pack and inspected since world war II.

In that case, logic seems to say: this chute may not work, but not using it definately will not work.
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Old 9th May 2006, 06:14 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by bgwowk View Post
Wouldn't it be better to put some effort into making this work, by improving the technology, and building a community and society that values life enough to not toss it out at the first excuse to do so?

Most people grossly misunderstand the cost. Cryonics is far cheaper than health insurance or retirement. For someone who signs up young, or even in healthy middle age, the costs are comparable to entertainment budgets. Most people in the U.S. who really want it can afford it through life insurance. But like medical coverage, it's not something that you can just forget about until you need it.
The money you spend on retirement is spent on retirement which you may or may not use. Buying health insurance buys health insurance which you may or may not use. Cryogenics buy you the false hope that you will be alive again at some time in the future. It is extremely probable that you will not be alive in the future but be frozen till something happens and you are unfrozen dead. If you are worried about wasting your life then do something now.
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Old 9th May 2006, 07:14 PM   #23
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Walt Disney was not frozen.

Larry Niven's _A World Out Of Time_ showed a horrible use for frozen people. In a world totalitarian state,a political criminals cound get his mind wiped, and his brain treated with memory RNA taken from a frozen person. The frozen guy could live again, in a different body. If the new person didn't want to cooperate with The State, they wiped the brain again and started over with someone else's memories.

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Old 9th May 2006, 07:48 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by DRBUZZ0 View Post
In that case, logic seems to say: this chute may not work, but not using it definately will not work.
How much does the most-likely-not-going-to-work parachute cost?
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Old 9th May 2006, 07:54 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by advancedatheist View Post
As for the "scam" accusation, if you know some of the principals involved in cryonics, as I do, you would realize they haven't made any money off of it.
Not being profitable doesn't make it not a scam. It could simply mean that not enough people are being conned to make it profitable.

Honestly, I don't think it's a deliberate scam, but it does seem to be selling a bunch of hope for something that is terribly unlikely to work on the off chance that it might.
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Old 9th May 2006, 08:00 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by jj View Post
Well, as much as it sounds awful to say it, for Joe Average, you might be right.
Getting cryonically frozen costs something like $100,000 today. Liquid nitrogen costs about $2 per gallon these days.

I wasn't able to find the total cost of printings of Samuel Pepys' diary, but I bet that it dwarfs $100,000. At $20 for a hardback, that would be a run of 5000, a tiny, tiny run, and there have been dozens of editions of Pepys' diary.

All to have a little bit of first-hand insight into a conniving but not terribly important bureaucrat who diddled around a lot and happened to witness the Great Fire of London.

If we had just an average Joe from that time period, I'm betting that just his agent could make a cool million in the first year just on lectures and books.
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Old 9th May 2006, 09:12 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by bgwowk View Post
Wouldn't it be better to put some effort into making this work, by improving the technology, and building a community and society that values life enough to not toss it out at the first excuse to do so?
Cryogenics is based on the idea that both the technology to revive the frozen body and the cure for what killed them will eventually be available. It seems to me it would be better to just focus on curing what's killing them to begin with.

The people going in for cryogenics are betting that the company that is maintaining the frozen body will still be maintaining their body when, and if, both of those things do happen. If the cryogenics companies really aren't making money like you say, then that doesn't seem terribly likely. And even less likely for cases where just the brain is preserved. I'm no doctor, but I'm willing to bet the process of reviving a frozen body is orders of magnitude easier to do than growing a new one.
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Old 9th May 2006, 10:12 PM   #28
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There's something seriously wrong with an intellectual process that makes sweeping pronouncements about a field in absence of information other than popular cliches. For starters, here's a list of 60 scientists who say cryonics is not a scam and could actually work

http://www.cryoletter.org/

The people involved in this are building something that becomes more likely to work with every step of progress made. What's done now is more advanced than 20 years ago, and what's done 20 years from now will be more advanced still. People signing up today know that in the best case they'll benefit from future cryonics technology even more likely to work than today's technology. In the worst case, at least they'll get a second opinion from physicians with tools so advanced we can barely imagine them today (mature nanomedicine).

Eventually, maybe mid century, this is going to be made to demonstrably work. Then scientists will begin to look back on the thousands of people cryopreserved with more primitive technologies, and begin to probe the limits of how far back future medicine can reach to retrieve people. They may well find that with capabilities to individually repair every molecule of the body that that reach will eventually extend all the way back to the 20th century.

There are data supporting cryonics that go far beyond just Pascal's Wager.

http://www.alcor.org/sciencefaq.htm
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Old 9th May 2006, 10:36 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by tsg View Post
Cryogenics is based on the idea that both the technology to revive the frozen body and the cure for what killed them will eventually be available. It seems to me it would be better to just focus on curing what's killing them to begin with.
That misses the entire point of cryonics, which is that there will always be problems in medicine for which there is not an immediate solution. Ethically, what is the correct thing to do when medicine encounters a difficult problem? Stablize the patient until a solution can be found? Or throw people away like garbage? Centuries from now, historians may marvel at the shortsightedness and rationalizations used to sanction the unnecessary death of millions.

Originally Posted by tsg View Post
The people going in for cryogenics are betting that the company that is maintaining the frozen body will still be maintaining their body when, and if, both of those things do happen. If the cryogenics companies really aren't making money like you say, then that doesn't seem terribly likely.
Then cryonics organizations can't win, can they? If they make money, they are a scam. If they don't make money, they are still a scam because then they can't succeed? In fact, cryonics organizations are growing and accumulating assets as their patient populations grow. The real point is that these organizations have no shareholders or highly salaried staff, consistent with the fact that cryonics is a community effort of idealists, not a conventional business.

Originally Posted by tsg View Post
I'm no doctor, but I'm willing to bet the process of reviving a frozen body is orders of magnitude easier to do than growing a new one.
Someday cryonics technology will be good enough for that statement to be true, but not yet. Right now growth of whole bodies from single cells is a "technology" already demonstrated in nature, whereas nanotechnological repair of cryopreserved people is not. Programming a single cell on the surface of a brain to regenerate a new body around that brain in a fluid support environment would be a trivial excercise for a technology that understood and controlled tissue growth and development as totally as computers are programmed today. Genetic manipulations to trigger regrowth of lost limbs in adults is already an active field of investigation. Technology to recover neuropreservation patients will be an outgrowth (if you'll pardon the pun) of foreseeable trauma medicine.

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Old 9th May 2006, 10:59 PM   #30
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Well stabilizing a patient at this point does not include freezing them. An unrevivable Popsicle is not anything like a stabilized patient. Cloning a person will soon be a possibility but they won't be the same person so the original person will be dead.
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Old 9th May 2006, 11:46 PM   #31
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In addition envision this , 4 billion Popsicles waiting for someone to learn what to do with their remains. The cost of electricity, storage area rental and equipment upkeep required to maintain a cryogenicly frozen person would be a big waste in a future where life would be the only cheap thing other than computers. In addition as soon as they fix whatever is wrong with you , you may die again from unrelated causes and need to be refrozen till they can figure out what to do with you again. If you are cryogenicly frozen and it takes 200 years to find a treatment worth waking you up and treating you who is going to pay the cost of your upkeep? What if costs change as they tend to? Imagine what a million dollars will be worth in 200 years after inflation. I would say real cryogenics are not in the foreseeable future. Dieing has a function and shouldn't be stopped.
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Old 9th May 2006, 11:55 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by Dogdoctor View Post
Well stabilizing a patient at this point does not include freezing them.
It does if the cryopreservation process preserves the structure and chemistry of the brain well enough to preserve memory and personal identity. Incidentally, freezing generally isn't used anymore. Vitrification is preferred because it avoids all ice crystal damage, in the brain at least.

Sometime before cryonics is demonstrably reversible, it will be good enough to be reversible in principle with foreseeable technology. At that point it becomes ethically justified, if not imperative. There are good arguments that we are already there. Since people here seem to be into citing science fiction authors, even two decades ago Arthur C. Clarke put the technological odds of cryonics working at 90%.
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Old 10th May 2006, 12:12 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by Dogdoctor View Post
In addition envision this , 4 billion Popsicles waiting for someone to learn what to do with their remains. The cost of electricity, storage area rental and equipment upkeep required to maintain a cryogenicly frozen person would be a big waste in a future where life would be the only cheap thing other than computers.
You forget that we are already in the future. Cryonics has been going for 40 years now, almost two generations, and it is still going and growing. Why is that? Could it be because there is a community of people that holds life in higher regard than you?

Originally Posted by Dogdoctor View Post
If you are cryogenicly frozen and it takes 200 years to find a treatment worth waking you up and treating you who is going to pay the cost of your upkeep? What if costs change as they tend to?
Who's been paying for it so far over decades of economic ups and downs?

Originally Posted by Dogdoctor View Post
Imagine what a million dollars will be worth in 200 years after inflation.
Indeed. Growing at a 5% real interest rate after inflation, you figure it out.

Originally Posted by Dogdoctor View Post
Dieing has a function and shouldn't be stopped.
Why don't you write that to your Congressman? I'm sure Washington would appreciate such an innovative solution to spiraling health care costs.
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Old 10th May 2006, 12:50 AM   #34
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As if anyone cares about my opinion:
I figure that by the time my mind ceases to function, that I will not desire to be revived at some future date.

R.A.Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land gave me my post-mortem fantasy:
Let them harvest any-and-everything usefull, then have a (long, joyous) party with everyone who knew me, and if they want to honor the memory of my life by barbecuing and consuming my remaining flesh, then so be it: if not, then take the flesh to an animal shelter and give the dogs and cats a few good meals.

Just remember me for what I had been.

Worms don't deserve the treat.

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Old 10th May 2006, 12:53 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by bgwowk View Post
You forget that we are already in the future. Cryonics has been going for 40 years now, almost two generations, and it is still going and growing. Why is that? Could it be because there is a community of people that holds life in higher regard than you?
Cryogenics hasn't shown itself to be useful yet it persists for 40 years. Homeopathy hasn't shown itself to be useful yet it has persisted 200 years. Could it be that people like to make money off of gullible people?
Length of life isn't important without quality of life.
Quote:
Who's been paying for it so far over decades of economic ups and downs?
Do you mean to say there are actually idiots who have been frozen and are paying for this irreversible condition? Vitrification cryogenics is still a frozen popsicle that can't be revived.



Quote:
Indeed. Growing at a 5% real interest rate after inflation, you figure it out.
That won't mean anything after the next stock market crash or the next world war.

Quote:
Why don't you write that to your Congressman? I'm sure Washington would appreciate such an innovative solution to spiraling health care costs.
Spiraling health care costs will only be increased with cryogenics because instead of dying and ending the costs, the costs will go on and on and on. I do see one practical use of cryogenics and that would be organ transplants.
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Old 10th May 2006, 03:17 AM   #36
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Who gets frozen? Would you freeze someone who died at 103 years old? Too old? How about 80? What are the criteria? Do only the rich get frozen? Will there be a social program to freeze poor people? Will handicapped people be frozen? Will retarded people be frozen? This is a whole new can of worms.
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Old 10th May 2006, 03:33 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by CaveDave View Post

Worms don't deserve the treat.
What do you have against worms?
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Old 10th May 2006, 03:40 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by The Painter View Post
Who gets frozen? Would you freeze someone who died at 103 years old? Too old? How about 80? What are the criteria?
Quote:
Do only the rich get frozen?
Bingo
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Old 10th May 2006, 03:45 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by Dogdoctor View Post
That won't mean anything after the next stock market crash or the next world war.
Actually if you're holding for the long haul wouldn't the stock market correct itself? I don't think it would be that hard if you were rich to set up a fund that perpetuates itself.
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Old 10th May 2006, 04:16 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by bgwowk View Post
It does if the cryopreservation process preserves the structure and chemistry of the brain well enough to preserve memory and personal identity.
Well, that's the big "If" isn't it? Does it? If it doesn't so right now, why would we assume that it would be recoverable later?

Okay, so there is "a chance". But it's such a slender one, and the money expended on it would seem to me to be better spent on the living.

Originally Posted by epepke View Post
If we had just an average Joe from that [Great Fire of London] time period, I'm betting that just his agent could make a cool million in the first year just on lectures and books.
Yes, almost certainly. But if cryogenics was proved to actually work, then the uptake would go through the roof. The price would fall due to normal free-market economic whatchamacallit. It would become available to more and more people. What price on the book tour then?
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