LONGEVITY REPORT 73
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I Think I May Have Become An Eclipse Chaser Chrissie Loveday
Why Most Choose Death George Smith
Bio-conservative or Techno-radical? David Pascal
Living to 100: Lessons in Living to Your Maximum Potential Age Jason A. Taylor
The Importance of the Concept of Self Thomas Donaldson
Reasoned Critiques of Popular Life Extension Strategies Kate Lindner
Advertising and Recruitment Robert Ettinger
Meme Storage in DNA Doug Klimesh
If We Don't Do It, Who Will? George Smith
People Ignore Cryonics Because it Makes Sense to Ignore it Raphael T. Haftka
An Opposite Point of View Brian Manning Delaney
An Open Letter to Coroners and Pathologists H. Wayne Logsdon
Contents are provided for information only, under the right to free speech. Opinions are the authors' own. No professional advice is intended. If you wish others to be legally responsible for your health, life or finances, then please consult a professional regulated according to the laws of your country.
Volume 12 no 73. First published September 1999. ISSN 0964-5659.
I Think I May Have Become
An Eclipse Chaser...
by Chrissie Loveday <email@example.com>
Click here for illustrated multi-media version
I can't remember how long I have known about the Great Cornish Eclipse. It seems I have always awaited August 11th, 1999. The world press has made it clear by now, that the Cornish weather proved as unpredictable as ever and we were cloud covered at the very moment of totality. Apart from a few glimpses between heavy cloud, we relied on TV coverage for the most exciting part. But there was still the experience of being under the line of totality and that was something I shall never forget.
After a near perfect day on 10th and a perfect dawn on 11th, we dared hope the forecasters were wrong. But the clouds rolled in. There was great excitement when a brief sliver of the sun showed between the clouds.
Special viewers were forgotten. The various experiments were abandoned. We waited. Suddenly, the skies began to darken and we could see evening rushing at us from the West. On top of our cliff, we can see for miles around and as the darkness took hold, flashes from cameras illuminated every hill top and bit of the coastline. We realised just how many hundreds of people there were all around us, yet unseen. It was never quite as dark as we had been expecting but it was a strange kind of darkness, lit from beneath by a pinkish glow.
Flares were set off and the children were very excited by the fireworks. As fast as it came, the darkness rushed away. Dawn charged in, also from the West, leaving us slightly bemused. Was that it? I confess to feeling slightly cheated by the speed of it and missing the views that so many others had witnessed. The next cove along had a view ... we didn't!
We were able to relive out moments through various video cameras we had left running and the excellent TV coverage. On reflection, the darkness here is never quite so intense. Perhaps it is our proximity to the sea. It is never completely dark in the summer, so maybe that was our eclipse experience too. Having all my family to stay made the whole occasion very special and we shared champagne and a good lunch in celebration of something ... life maybe?
It occurred to me afterwards, once everyone had left us, I was feeling a sense of anti-climax and also a sense of bereavement. You know, the feeling you get when something is over ... Christmas, birthdays, holidays. We usually say rather cynically that they are all just days. Any days. The much heralded Millennium day is only another day, if we are honest. Maybe we need excuses to celebrate or have a party. But anything is capable of providing the sense of anti-climax when it is all over.
Is this why so many elderly people become disenchanted with life? I get weary of hearing that people have nothing left to live for. That life is merely to be endured and not enjoyed. Maybe, the anti-climax factor for life, becomes too great to cope with and depression sets in. My personal antidote to the feeling is to busy myself with a new project. There is always something that needs to be done, but I am lucky. I retain my interest in things new and my imagination is ever running riot. (Not that I admit to being elderly, even if I'm getting that way.)
So what's my next eclipse experience to be? I feel I must see the whole thing one day. I talk of travelling to see the next one in Africa in 2001 or going to Australia the following year. We have to wait till 2090 to see another in the UK. I'll keep taking the pills but feel it is more than a little optimistic! It's also too soon to expect to be re-animated, I guess. Think I'd better start writing my next book and hope that pays for a trip to Zimbabwe!
Why Most Choose Death
by George Smith <firstname.lastname@example.org>
It isn't that cryonics needs to be "proven". It's just that death is and remains more popular.
I believe this is due to four reasons:
(1) Unhappiness. (2) Guilt. (3) Pain. (4) Peer Pressure.
(1) I would submit that most people are not happy with their lives. When confronted with an option to extend that life they are rejecting the sense of unhappiness.
In this sense, death is popular because it offers an end to unhappiness. ("Put him out of his misery, Gabby!")
(Most people will fight like crazy to stay alive when the chips are down, but since cryonics is a cool intellectual decision made in advance of need, the will to survive seems to seldom kick in).
(2) As most people age and lose loved ones to death, they feel it somehow wrong to selfishly choose to live when they buried or cremated others. Avoiding guilt is the name of this cause for death's popularity.
And (returning to #1) death ends grieving, a form of unhappiness. It is not common for one to die within 6 months of the loss of a significant other.
(3) Additionally, as one ages and the body becomes less comfortable (various physical aches and pains), death offers an end to the unhappiness caused by chronic discomfort. ("Shoot him again, Gabby! He's still not out of his misery!")
(4) Six billion lemmings can't be wrong. The incredible peer pressure of every culture planning for and dealing with death as an "expected part of life" (!) makes death popular because it is "natural".
Peer pressure runs this planet. An excellent perspective on this is found in the book the Lucifer Principle The urge to conform is not only popular - it is popularity itself!
Additionally, what is not "natural" is easily seen as "unnatural". This quickly causes many minds to equate cryonics with defiance of God. While theologians don't have a problem with cryonics (it's just another medical alternative), the popular mind seldom thinks deeply about these issues. ("You shoot him, too, Oprah! Gabby's run out of ammo!")
I do not believe that reason nor scientific evidence (or future proof) are nearly as important as the above observations.
Proof is the booby prize compared to popularity. Death is popular. To "sell" cryonics so that it becomes more popular requires addressing the fact that death is our competitor! Death is Hertz. We are not even Avis ...yet.
While to you and I within cryonics, it seems like a no-brainer ("Shall I choose death or cryonics? Hmmmm.") the fact is that the world still prefers death as the more desirable alternative.
In summary, the choice of death over cryonics is an emotional choice. Popularity is not an issue of reason or logic. You can amass all the "reasons" and "proofs" you wish, but the emotions are where the battle is won or lost.
I helped Gabby look for his dropped keys for an hour under the streetlight until he told me he dropped them a block away. He told me it was easier to look where the light was better. Too bad I was out of ammo.
Bio-conservative or Techno-radical?
by David Pascal <Davpascal@aol.com><http://www.davidpascal.com>
Bio-conservatives feel that you have to do as little damage to a person as possible when performing a cryonic suspension. The less damage going in, the less damage to repair afterwards. Techno-radicals, by contrast, note that even the most ultra-sophisticated cutting-edge procedures produces damage on a scale that's not only sickening to contemplate but irreparable by any currently existing means; but not (thank God) irreparable in the light of certain technological research programmes and developments, most notably nanotechnology. Indeed scientists in that field have long argued that the ischemic and freezing damage done to cells even in crude freezing cases not only is repairable, but that the window of time allowing for such repair may be considerably longer than formerly thought. (Interested readers are directed to Ralph Merkle's Molecular Repair of the Brain essay at his Xerox PARC website.)
CI is in the techno-radical camp. The Cryonics Institute has taken a look at things with bitter realism, and it's noted clearly that all the painstaking procedures in the world won't prevent immense damage from happening to a cryonics patient; it has further observed that the high-ticket bells-and-whistles medical-esque approach of the bio-conservatives doesn't mean squat if the member of such a 'conservative' organization dies alone and undergoes hours or days of lengthy ischemia, or dies in an accident and faces mandatory legal autopsy, or indeed dies in a fire or of a gunshot to the head or departs in any one of the usual thousand-and-one ways which can make the bio-conservative approach a sad joke. Someone dying today faces the strong possibility of severe, severe ischemic damage. Period.
Bearing all this in mind -- and bearing in mind too that scientific breakthroughs follow money, and that the nanotechnological ideas of MIT Professor Eric Drexler have led to an eighty billion dollar research effort funded by everyone from Kodak, Xerox, the National Institute of Health, the Army, Navy, Germany, Japan, etc etc, on down -- CI has reached the position that if there is any hope, it lies in the in the subsequent repair of ischemic damage, and therefore with the future of nanotechnology specifically. Not in the (arguably) only marginally less inept damage currently inflicted by bio-conservative technique, with its -- dare I say, 'false hope'-- that circumstances will just magically fall into place and that that technique will be applied in spic-and-span laboratory conditions. CI has also noted, with dismay, that the bio-conservative approach runs suspension prices up to the point where the elderly, the uninsurable, the ill, the 'poor' (if we can apply that word with a straight face to someone with under $120,000+ in pocket money), and indeed the average American and his family are simply written off as walking corpses and left to die like dogs. Writing off this majority incidentally cements cryonics into being a marginal enterprise, constricts it's ability to raise funds and so conduct research, etc etc.
In short, the techno-radical position seems to have the financial edge, the scientific edge, the realistic edge, the marketing edge, and the humanitarian edge; so CI has gone with it.
Be it noted! CI does *not* go around bad-mouthing 21CM or Greg Fahy or even Charles Platt; *nor* does it flatly reject the bio-conservative approach. CI supports and advocates research; CI too thinks you should get to a patient as quickly as possible and take as good care of him or her as you can, all things considered. But *all* things *have* to be considered. It isn't just a case of saying, "Well, in the abstract, under perfect laboratory conditions, technique A here is marginally superior to technique B." If one was trying to peddle cryonics to white lab rats, maybe that would be the way to go. But no human I know dies under laboratory conditions. You have to look at the real world of people's finances, and clogged air traffic, and relatives freaking out at the mention of neurosuspension and all that stuff, and give the person the best real-world chance, and the most plausible hope, that you can.
For me, that means CI. That's why I'm a CI member. Not an officer, not a director, not a staffer; I don't get a paycheck from CI or make a penny off of them, I'm just a guy who's looked at all the providers, and I believe that, all things considered, my odds are a lot better with CI than any other provider. It's not that I've got one foot in the grave, or or can't make out them big words in cryobiology journals, or am old or sick or broke. I'm in my early forties, I belong to Mensa, and I could afford to fund a suspension with any cryonics organization -- hell, with all of them put together. I know exactly what happens when a CI patient gets suspended: I stood there and watched one take place from beginning to end. And yes indeed, I've read the BPI briefs and weighed Charles Platt's acid criticisms and looked at neurons and synapses in microphotograph after damned microphotograph. And I still believe that CI offers me -- and cryonics -- the very best real-world shot. Believe it, hell: I'm willing to bet my life on it. But more important than maintaining my own little ego, I support CI because I think it offers to the most people, to the 'poor', to the sick and elderly, to the 'average' men and women of this world who don't have the good luck to be Wired correspondents like Charles or yuppie consultants like me, the only realistic chance they have; and that CI's way offers the cryonics movement the only way to break out of the masturbatory self-centered technobabble elitism that's crippled and marginalized it all these thirty years.
But while I think that CI is the *best* alternative, I want to *emphasize* that I am not *attacking* the bio-conservative approach. Research is good; painstaking care is wonderful; rapid response is excellent; all organizations should strive for it, and all members should applaud and support it. We should all open our pockets and fund 21CM night and day. Research is the Holy Grail, and though I expect the final breakthrough will come at Xerox PARC or the Zyvex Corporation rather than through perfusing some mutt in Scottsdale, it's *not an either/or situation*. It isn't like Mike Darwin is a divine guarantee of zero ischemia, and loping ogre Eric Drexler is some drooling 'fringe' dolt shunned by chaste and saintly biologists. Both sides have merit; both sides have substance; both roads are worth taking; travellers on either deserve praise and support, not blame and criticism. We're not enemies. We've got the same goals and the same hopes; we're just trying to reach them by different paths. What's wrong with that?
Why not just go to the people and put our cases to them plainly and let them make their own decision, without cutting each other up? We need to make the best case *for* our position, not *against* some other guy's. You want funding? Write a fund-raising letter! Don't slam Eric Drexler or Ralph Merkle or Bob Ettinger. Hell, Bob Ettinger was thinking about the effects of ischemia on brain cells before Charles Platt *had* any brain cells to get ischemia with! Can't we grant that the man's views may have some tiny validity. Drexler has a doctorate in molecular nanotechnology from MIT! He's been profiled by Time, interviewed by Al Gore and the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. This is 'fringe'? Can't we allow that -- just maybe -- we might follow in the footprints of the Joint Chiefs and listen to what he's saying, rather than judge him on the basis of some poll of biologists that never took place?
What is so damned hard about walking up to people and saying, "Hi, I'm with CI/CryoCare/Alcor. I think cryonics is a good idea and I think the particular approach our organization has worked out is the best way to provide it. Other organizations have different approaches, of course. Why don't you take a look at what we think and do and why, and then take a look at what they say, and how they do it, and then make your own decision?" Is this so tough? For God's sake, there are five *billion* people in this world, but do we take our case to *them*? No, we get on our own private little mailing list and go on about how scholars and professors and researchers are 'fringe'. What a waste of misdirected effort.
Living to 100:
Lessons in Living to Your Maximum Potential Age
by Jason A. Taylor, PhD, email@example.com
When, less than an hour ago, this book arrived, I was excited because it's authors interviewed over 100 centenarians to find out what they did to make it that far. So I had hoped there would be something truly useful: information about what foods they ate. You see, if you take a large enough sample of objects in which each object's properties is a smooth function of several random variables, the variables upon which each object's properties primarily depend can be easily picked out just by looking at just the similarities between the extreme objects. In English: each extremely long lived person must have been on a longevity diet, had longevity genes, and lived a longevity lifestyle. I can't change my genes, don't want to change my personality/driving habits, and already think I know nearly everything about exercise, so the one thing I wanted to learn from this book was what type of diets the centenarians ate. Unfortunately, it wasn't in this book. Instead, there are lots of pictures of old people doing things like playing golf. I learned nothing new.
The only thing I could find was on page 59:
One of our centenarians had been eating bacon and three eggs every day for breakfast for 15 years. Had he survived so long in spite of or because of this diet? Other centenarians swore by dietary concoctions they had invented, such as James Hanlon's breakfast combination of oatmeal, olive oil, raisins, apples, and other fruits. There was no rhyme or reason to the results we saw.
But the real truth is that these authors simply were too narrow-minded and lazy to ask questions about what the centenarians used to eat. They didn't obtain the relevant data but formed a conclusion anyway. A classic example of bad science that looks good on paper.
What is most pathetic is that they actually did perform a limited survey using an inappropriate questionnaire which only asked what the centenarians are eating right now. About the questionnaire, they write (on page 58),
After looking at responses from only 20 centenarians, it was clear that studying self-reported diet would not prove fruitful for several reasons. In the first place, we were interested in the conditions that allowed people to live to 100---what they were doing once they arrived at that age was often a different story. Many of our subjects had lost their robust appetites, and were no longer consuming full diets. We found a number of centenarians with deficiencies in important nutrients. They had to some extent migrated away from their lifelong dietary habits, and those potentially health-sustaining practices were the ones that interested us.
I agree with them that the questionnaire they used was inappropriate. But to then say that lifespan is independent of diet is in blatant contradiction with the scientific method. (In fact the above supports the theory of calorie restriction.) It's like saying that because it is relatively difficult in studies about heart disease to measure the saturated fat to poly-unsaturated ratio in diets that heart disease is not a function of it.
Their attitude is summed up on page 118 in this ridiculous paragraph: Newspapers and magazines are full of fountain of youth prescriptions: hormones, extracts of ginkgo and garlic, yogurt. Fruit flies don't take any of these nostrums. Their variation in longevity did not appear to be linked to differences in diet or environment.
Regardless of his opinions on calorie restriction, I think Doug Skrecky (along with 100's of others) has shown that the opposite is true.
If you are 60 and want to feel inspired about being active while old, read this book. You can have my copy. If, on the other hand, you hate fluff, don't waste your time with this book.
Click here for further reviews where I have to say the reviewers liked it more than Dr Taylor - in fact they gave it five stars.
The Importance of the Concept of Self
by Thomas Donaldson PhD firstname.lastname@example.org
æhen we are cryopreserved, certainly with present methods and quite possibly for future methods of some time yet, we want ourselves to be revived. Since irreparable damage may occur to some parts of our brain, it's natural to ask whether or not (even if we learn how to revive that damaged brain) the person in that brain will believe that he/she has actually revived.
There is actual scientific work going on now to try to work out by experiment the brain locations involved in selfhood. My own guess is that our sense of self involves interaction between particular centres in our lower brain and the rest of our cortex. Those centres may or may not be individual to us, but probably are not (if so, then their destruction just may mean nothing at all for our revival as individual selves: just replace them before revival).
Just how many centres in the cortex are needed to make us feel that we are the same person as before remains an open question, and the exact centres may differ with the individual. For instance, if I am a pianist and lose those centres in which my abilities with the piano are stored, I may feel that I have lost something so central to my selfhood that I am no longer the same person. Someone who is not a pianist might lose the same centres (though they are probably not so large or extended) and feel that he or she has been completely revived. In one sense our memories (of all the many kinds of memory we have) are vital to our selfhood; but some may be more vital than others.
Note that the pianist may lose his/her skills with the piano without losing his/her memory of being a pianist and playing many complex pieces. This could happen because we do have several different kinds of memory, and loss of one kind does not imply loss of the others. And unlike the cases of brain injury happening today, the necessary brain centres might be completely restored --- but such a pianist would still have to relearn how to play the piano.
And all these considerations are important, both for someone who chooses cryonics and for the problem of reviving someone. Whatever else we might do, we want to revive as much of the brain cortex as possible. And not only that: it turns out, strange to say, that our cerebellum deals not just with coordination but holds some kinds of memory too. So that revival of as much of our cerebellum as possible also may be needed. Our hippocampus, on the other hand, may not play a lasting role in preservation of any kind of memory, and thus its complete loss may mean little.
And so, if we wish to repair those already suspended, and probably many who will be suspended in the future, we'll need to understand just how our brains create a self and how to do as much as possible to restore it.
I don't wish to bang drums here, but this one just begs to be banged: scientific work on how our sense of selfhood works is one of the issues I report in Periastron. And I mean scientific, experimental work, not just philosophical musings. The idea that we could only do philosophy on this subject disappeared with Skinner.
Reasoned Critiques of
Popular Life Extension Strategies
by Kate Lindner email@example.com
Someone on the Internet asked for reasoned critiques of popular life extension strategies that do not involve either rah rah merchants or FDA ban everything types.
A book that I'm reading, presents the sceptical position without condescending o the reader, is Eat, Drink and be Merry by Dean Edell. A plus is that the book is fun and entertaining. As a baby boomer, he has straddled both the alternative and he mainstream camps. He urges the reader to read his book for the epistemology and not for specific health recommendations. His position is that people should have the right to experiment with unproven remedies, but they should first inform themselves about the scientific method, which he discusses in an accessible way. You should understand the difference between a repeatable controlled double blind study and what your roommate told you about his great grandmother who drank chamomile tea every day lived to 110. Dr. Edell gives cautious support to herbs but is sceptical about other alternatives. He gives very little time to life-extension, but remember, its not a health book, its an epistemology book.
From what I've seen, sceptical literature IS often condescending and apt to push for increased regulation. Dr. Edell's book is a refreshing exception.
(My comments are intended for information and NOT medical advice.) (As is everything else in this newsletter - editor)
Advertising and Recruitment
by Robert Ettinger firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.cryonics.org
The costs and benefits of professional public relations or advertising for cryonics are a continued matter for debate. Let me simply say that our investigations from time to time over the years show very clearly that the cost is far higher than would likely be justified. I could dig out the numbers, but it would take time better used for other purposes. And that is just the cost of advertising, not including the cost of professional consultants to scout the market and plan the advertising, if we wanted to go that route.
As just one example, about three years ago the Discovery Channel did a full hour documentary, which has been shown countless times since, and produced very little. If we had had to pay for it, it would have cost, I imagine, at least $20,000 just for the production, without paying for the air time. Of course, that production included the obligatory negative sound bites by professional cryobiologists, yet overall it was positive and sympathetic, and I doubt that an advertising agency could have produced something notably better. There have also been many other less ambitious TV productions, which collectively have produced next to nothing, not to mention the countless print articles, some of them positive and sympathetic. If we had paid for that advertising, it would have been a whole lot of money wasted, even if we had had that much money.
By far our best results so far have come from the Web in the last year. We can put up as much copy there as we like; we can include color graphics and even animate them if we wish; and we can modify it as often as we like, for almost nothing except our time and effort.
Of course, the medium is in flux and the future is uncertain. The number of browsers or potential viewers is growing rapidly, but the number of vendors competing for attention is growing much faster yet. There are also slews of vendors trying to vend to the vendors, and a couple of layers above that, and as time allows we are investigating some of these offers to assist our sales, but I don't hold any high hopes for buying banners or any of that.
Now the nitty gritty. In my opinion, there is currently a pool of prospective members out there that is very small compared to the population, but very large compared to our present membership--tens of thousands, maybe even more, and slowly growing. The key points, in my judgment, are these:
1. Interested people need to be able to find us. In the past, this was not easy, especially for organizations that had not received the lion's share of publicity. Now, with the Web, they can find us, and that is paying off. We are working on ways to make ourselves even more noticeable.
2. In the past, it was very hard to reach people with much more than sound bites or the sloppy, superficial, skewed work of journalists. Now, we can make our case in full on the Web, and this is working. Needless to say, our presentation needs improvement, and we are working on that--and individuals can help. For example, send your organization photos of yourself and your family, and a little letter or essay about yourselves and your involvement in cryonics, how you became interested and how you became convinced and how you chose your organization. Readers love human interest and testimonials. Reach the emotions as well as the reason, as Smith and Pascal advise. :Provide a sense of community and of humane motivation.
3. Don't abandon the unglamorous but needed work of patiently educating your own friends and relatives, and letting even acquaintances know of your interest. With a bit of imagination, it needn't be unpleasant or too much of a drag. You don't have to do it every day, but do it on some regular schedule. If each member could recruit one additional member per year hallelujah.
In short, do what is doable. Do what is already working, even if the success rate is modest. Do what costs you little or nothing except a bit of time and effort. Don't abandon the good in search of the better. Don't worry too much about break-throughs or brilliant new ideas or charismatic new leaders (welcome as these would be). Just do what you can, and keep on doing it.
Meme Storage in DNA
by Doug Klimesh <email@example.com>
[This essay is stored in its most up to date form at http://www.provide.net/~dougklim/Memedna.htm.
I welcome comments especially regarding possible references at firstname.lastname@example.org ]
It is well known how genes are stored in DNA, deoxyribonucleic acid. Genes are distinct units and are the linear instructions for building all the molecules that produce all that we know of as life. What is not known is how the instructions for controlling this machinery are stored. Inherited instincts must also be stored in DNA, because DNA is the only storage medium involved in the transfer of information to the next generation. I refuse to believe that instinctive behavior can be generated by enzyme expression alone. Given that approximately only 10% of the DNA of the human genome codes for amino acids, the other 90%, called introns, should be used for storing behavior instructions. I canÆt imagine that instructions for building a computer such as the brain would be stored digitally and not include software for running it. Nature is very efficient, so it seems very strange that nature goes to such great lengths to make and preserve exact copies of DNA and yet would have so much of it unused. I propose there are two types of instructions stored in intron DNA. The first type is instructions at the cellular level, and the second type is at the brain level. A meme is an idea or a unit of thought. This essay is a (large) meme as is each sentence and each word. A word is not an actual meme, but the representation of a meme. A meme is not tangible in the same way computer software is not tangible, and memes can be thought of as software or programming or as instructions for action or thought. Humans transfer memes everyday by conversation, mass media, books, the Internet, and any other way an idea can be conveyed. By coming in contact with a meme, oneÆs thought process, and therefore oneself, is usually changed in some (usually slight) way. Ethologists use the term "fixed action pattern", which is a good definition of a meme when dealing with instinctive behavior.
Besides DNA, an other possible means of inherited instinct storage is Rupert Sheldrake's morphogenetic fields. Sheldrake proposes a nonphysical field that controls physical entities. This field, originally proposed to explain embryo growth and cell differentiation, extends beyond space and time so that all the members of a species that has ever existed exerts some influence over a current member. He also uses morphogenetic fields to explain how nature chooses particular crystal formation and protein folding. Although scientists generally dismiss such nonphysical things, I believe in some type of morphogenetic fields. However I don't believe morphogenetic fields can explain the hybridization of instinctive memes as discussed below.
The only other possible theory of inherited instinct storage that I have found is in Stuart Hameroff's Ultimate Computing. He proposes that the microtubules making up the cytoskeleton of basically every living cell in addition to providing the structure and shape of the cell and the means of intracellular transport also function as electrical information processors. So when a cell divides, it may pass on genetic information not just in DNA but also in the
form of microtubules, which are integral in cell division mechanics. Although this type of generational information transfer seems possible, what is more interesting is Hameroff's larger idea that these microtubules function as electrical information processors. The microtubules do not seem to be information storage devices but instead seem to be electrical information transfer and logic devices. These tubes could make up the logic gates of a cellular computer. A living cell is a very complex machine, and it seems that a computer would be required to control it. However the structure and mechanism of how these logic gates work is unknown. Hameroff hints that one type of logic gate is the structure of one tube perpendicular and not touching another. Also some type of information processing seems to occur in just the tube itself. So now we have some type of logic gates built up from these microtubules, and we also have memory storage in the form of DNA. So I am proposing that some type of machine code, somewhat similar to the machine code of silicon microprocessors, is stored in DNA. Evidence to support this is that prokaryotes very rarely have introns, and they have much less and simpler microtubules. A simple analogy is the comparison between automobiles of decades ago with the new cars of today that have an embedded computer controlling fuel/air mixtures and many other engine and other controls. The prokaryotes correspond to the older cars where engine controls were done mechanically or using simple logic devices. The eukaryotes correspond to the new cars. Both cars work, but the new cars "learn" the driving style and environment of the driver and can be reprogrammed for say high performance with the swap of a memory chip. Currently scientists do not understand the function of introns. It has been suggested that introns are used as a checksum or error correcting code for exons, the coding regions.[ref?] Even if this is true, it does not explain why generally the more complex a species is the more introns it has. Another idea about introns comes from research into genetic algorithms which shows that having "scratch pad" area where nonfunctional genes are stored improves genetic algorithms. I recommend the Winter 1998 issue of Evolutionary Computation for information about introns and genetic algorithms. However H. Eugene Stanley and his collaborators and others  have shown that long range correlations exist between base pairs of introns but not exons. Furthermore Stanley et al using statistical linguistic analysis have found that introns have certain statistical features in common with natural languages and that exons do not.  Although the methods and results have been seriously questioned, it seems that the differences between the coding and the noncoding regions can not be accounted for by saying that introns are just unused or scratch pad areas of genes.
Geneticists may feel smug knowing how DNA translates to proteins, but to be able to understand the software code will be magnitudes more powerful. Trying to decipher this DNA code would be similar to deciphering the code of an embedded (no keyboard or monitor) computer's digital tape storage without any documentation about the microprocessor. Although the logic gate structure is unknown, likely the more efficient way to decipher the code of a unknown microprocessor is to analyze the stored code, not by taking the processor apart. Imagine trying to figure out the machine language commands of a present day silicon microprocessor with millions of transistors by taking it apart. Instead you would give it various software inputs and analyze the outputs. An analogy to help picture the DNA software decipher problem is to imagine looking at the raw hexadecimal (binary) code of a standard computer program. Assuming you don't know the hexadecimal machine codes, and assuming you know (or the program you're using to look at the hex dump knows) the ASCII code that translates binary numbers to text characters, you would find that most of the code is nonsense to you, but you would see occasional English words that you would recognize. These English words correspond to the amino acid coding and the "nonsense" regions to correspond to introns. This analogy also shows how hard it is going to be to decipher this code. (This analogy is open for misinterpretation. The embedded English words correspond to what we understand when we look at the raw data. The words do not correspond to memes.) Not only can microprocessor instructions be various lengths, but also not all of it is instructions, some of it can be labels and data. This "data" may correspond to the form of the body.
Once we start dealing with species that have nervous systems and brains, we encounter another layer of programming. Although a single cell can not comprehend complex organism actions, the brain is "just" a network of neurons. Just as a single human does not have the comprehension of the combined thought of our whole society, each person knows English. To get a complex task to occur involving a large number of people, the people just have to be told in English what their individual task is. In other words to program the brain is to program many individual neurons. Thus the difference between cellular and brain level programming is mainly one of complexity. To continue with the silicon computer analogy, usually a high level computer language that most programmers program in gets compiled (translated) into machine language that the microprocessor (hardware) understands. One high level language command is the equivalent of a number of machine language commands. So although brain level memes are more complex, they should be based on cell level memes. The question arises as to the mechanism of converting DNA base pair sequences to electrical signals. Already we know fairly well how messenger RNA is converted to amino acid chains, so it is not hard to picture a possible mechanism existing, especially when we know start and stop codons. However given the current work of measuring the conductivity of DNA, especially by Jacqueline Barton et al http://www.nih.gov/nigms/news/releases/barton.html, more efficient mechanisms seem possible. By intercalating conductive molecules around a number of base pairs, say a codon of three base pairs, in RNA and either measuring the conductivity or sending a particular signal along these base pairs, an electrical "signature" can be generated.
Interestingly Hameroff has recently teamed up with Roger Penrose to propose that consciousness is due to some type of quantum coherence effect going on with these microtubules. I believe they are on the right track and that consciousness (and artificial intelligence) can only exist in the physical world in/as a quantum computer. As a quantum computer is a very complicated concept, it is beyond the scope of this essay. Basically instead of storing bits as either 0 or 1, a quantum computer uses quantum states, which in the cell I believe to be electron spin. Thus the state of the quantum bit, or qubit, can be in a superposition of both 0 and 1 if there is no outside observation of the states while it is computing. Thus theoretically quantum computers would be magnitudes faster than classical computers. I would say that consciousness is coupled with this quantum computer. In other words the command that the microprocessor is currently interpreting, after being read in from DNA, is experienced as a thought by the consciousness. The point is that the eukaryotic cell contains not just a classical computer, but a quantum computer as well. Since humans have not yet built a quantum computer, much less programmed one, the software question becomes even more complex. I use the term "meme" for this essay instead of say "software", because, as Stanley et al have tried to show, introns have natural language characteristics. Because consciousness is part of all living beings, we are dealing with more of a natural language than microprocessor level instructions.
How does life break down instincts into various memes? A textbook example of an inherited meme is a certain spider that spins an egg cocoon in exactly the same way every time using thousands of movements. The spider will do the whole sequence of steps from start to finish in exactly the same way every time despite experience, being moved to a new location, previous partial cocoon completion, or running out of silk. This whole cocoon building and egg laying behavior pattern is probably stored as a single meme. The spider mother does not raise her young, so there is not a question of passing down the meme by rearing. Because memes are passed down through the raising and socialization of offspring, especially in humans, confusion can arise when figuring out the exact mechanism for meme inheritance.
Other studies show the hybridization of memes. Separate studies of complicated instinctive procedures such as nest building and mating rituals of certain birds show that mating slightly different species together will produce overall (non-working) actions that combine instinctive elements from both parents. These and other behavior hybridization studies show that memes are stored like genes.
I assume that memes are coupled with specific exons. Thus activating a particular gene could trigger a particular thought or at least a particular action. This could help explain the "disheveled" gene in mice (also found in flies and humans) that disrupts socialization when it is removed. [ref?] Possibly having a particular thought (on the cellular level) could activate a certain gene. So genetic/memetic experiments are possible. One could swap all the introns of a particular gene that is only expressed at a point early in development with the introns around a gene that is expressed only later in life and see if the gene expressions are reversed. This theory also supports the idea of multiple copies of a gene in the genome where the exon is the same, but the introns are different. So there would be different instructions expressed from a particular gene at different times. Plants could also be used for these experiments. Also some genes are not (exon) expressed at all and may store only memes. In a gene, memes could be software for controlling the enzyme that the gene codes for, similar to device driver software necessary for most computer hardware.
I have discussed many of the problems and complexities involved in the process of decoding memes in DNA, but there are positive aspects. The human genome is being mapped and recorded onto the Internet, so computer analysis of a large number of introns is possible. By setting up a distributed Internet computing project, very inexpensive supercomputer equivalent analysis is possible. By already knowing exactly where genes and introns start and stop on the chromosome and given the large number of genes, DNA analysis is possible without needing a lab. However by attacking the problem on all fronts, success should happen quicker. Not only by doing experiments with intron removal and alteration on various species will the mysteries of DNA be unraveled, but also by searching for the molecular structures of DNA to electrical conversion and the electrical logic devices of microtubules.
Whether or not anything I have postulated about the specifics of meme storage in DNA is true, I strongly believe in its existence and that scientists should be trying to decode them and also looking for the molecular structures involved with them. I have mentioned many possible uses of introns: error correcting code, scratch pad area, microprocessor type instructions, brain type instructions, enzyme control instructions, and storing the form of the body. I assume that introns do many of these things, just as a gene can have multiple introns. Like most complex, cutting edge scientific investigations today, the decoding of memes in DNA requires many areas of knowledge. This requires a collaboration of experts from many diverse fields. It also requires people who are knowledgeable in many fields but not an expert in any (such as myself). But first it requires a belief in the goal.
 Ivan Amato. "DNA Shows Unexplained Patterns Writ Large". Science. 257, 747. Aug 7, 1992.
 R. N. Mantegna et al. Phys. Rev. Lett. 73, 3169. Dec 5, 1994.  Philip Yam. Sci. Am. March 1995 p24.
 Rupert Sheldrake. A New Science of Life: The Hypothesis of Morphic Resonance. Rochester, Vt. : Park Street Press, 1995.
 Stuart Hameroff. Ultimate Computing: Biomolecular Consciousness and Nanotechnology. 1987.
 Hameroff, S.R., and Penrose, R., (1996) Orchestrated reduction of quantum coherence in brain microtubules: A model for consciousness. In: Toward a Science of Consciousness - The First Tucson Discussions and Debates, S.R. Hameroff, A. Kaszniak and A.C. Scott (eds.), MIT Press, Cambridge, MA. http://www.u.arizona.edu/~hameroff/hardfina.html
 Purves, William K. and Orians, Gordon H. and Heller, H. Craig. Life: The Science of Biology, Third Edition. Sunderland, MA: Sinauer Associates, 1992. p.984.
If We Don't Do It, Who Will?
George Smith <email@example.com>
The question has been aptly asked many, many times. Most recently Thomas Donaldson pointed out that even with Nanocomputers (which happily are now on the drawing boards and will be built) extant, we cannot depend on others to apply efforts toward cryopreservation or improved revival methods.
After all, as it has asked quite often, WHO will do it if WE don't? My answer is - THEY will.
The incredible money machine which surrounds organ transplant surgery will certainly continue to apply anything and everything toward this end. They already do. Why will they do this? Because it is profitable. Do you think improving the success of liver, heart, kidney transplants won't continue to be pursued by the medical research establishment? Of course it will. We will benefit directly as they succeed.
Additionally, the equally costly efforts which go into emergency and crisis services to restore and maintain life especially in the United States will also seize upon and develop the use of nano devices in the same way that they have developed and implemented the use of the vast plethora of current medical technological procedures, drugs and devices. Why? Because it is profitable.
In fact, the same day that the Nanocomputer breakthrough was announced last month on a local television channel (shocking and pleasing me to no end!) the very next verbal statement the news announcer made was regarding the use of such dust mote sized computers in creating tiny robots which could move through the human body for diagnostic and healing purposes. THEY provided that statement, I am sure. THEY know where this is all going. We will benefit as they succeed.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the powerful and wealthy medical technology machine is already geared to achieve the very ends we desire. They will develop and use nano devices to better preserve transplant organs as well as restore patients to better health (and the huge number of coma patients from car accidents to consciousness). They will do it because they already try to do it with all other available technologies which they developed and implemented. They will do it because it is profitable.
WHO will do it if WE don't? THEY will. In fact, they already are. We will only need to apply their inevitable successes to our specific needs to better cryo-preserve and then revive our members.
In the meantime I disagree with my esteemed fellow cryonicists who feel that our own research is critical to our success. I sincerely doubt that our miniscule efforts will result in anything before the juggernaut of modern medicine plows ahead with the creation of the very tools we would like to do ourselves.
I could be wrong and some marvelous remarkable breakthrough awaits one of our own small number tomorrow morning. But to ignore the dedicated efforts of the giants of the medical industry who will get there if it is possible to get there at all, is the height of hubris.
Who will do it if we don't? THEY will. And they will almost certainly do it first. Then we can and will apply what they have created. THAT effort will be WELL worth funding.
If I am missing something critical here, I am open to being shown my error. But MY questions are these:
WHO is more likely to find medical applications for Nanocomputers, our few poorly-funded cryonics researchers or the world's largest medical research giants who already pursue these ends with billions of dollars at their disposal?
WILL the research giants seek to use nano to improve organ transplant successes in the same way they have pursued all other new technologies (drugs, lasers, x-rays, magnetic resonance, fiber optics, etc.)? WILL the research giants seek to use nano to improve resuscitation techniques for comas, drownings, and various debilitating nervous diseases in the same way they have used all other new technologies? ARE the research giants still highly motivated by the huge profits they can continue to reap by ongoing successes in these areas?
WILL we be willing to apply the breakthroughs these research giants will achieve to the mission of cryonics?
WHO will do the research if WE don't?
Private email feedback to what I have written so far included the suggestion that very little "organ cryopreservation" is being done by anyone outside cryonics circles and that when it comes to "brain cryopreservation" there is virtually no research at all. So, basically, WE have to do the research or it will not happen. This thinking misses my entire point.
The current organ transplant-surgery industry WILL research and drive and apply the use of the new Nano-computer to make more money. Freezing isn't the issue. It isn't important what we do NOW with "organ cryopreservation" research. The medical industry develops new technologies in the areas in which they make the most money. Transplanting organs is one such area. (How much does it cost for a new heart?) Brain trauma healing is another. (How much does a brain surgeon make in an hour?) Organ cryopreservation is not the issue. Current big business in medicine is. Consider, how can we NOT benefit from their inevitable successes in these areas? If I can repair a comatose auto accident victim, if I can develop and use nano-sized devices to diagnose and repair still-breathing patients, it isn't difficult to see how applying these advances to cryonics will be accomplished since restoring a damaged brain to normal functioning is the primary issue. Freezing damage is just another form of trauma. Again, I am discussing the big picture, not merely the classical cryonics perspective which has included the all-too-seldom challenged assumption of "if we don't do it, who will?".
Sorry, but I think that when all is said and done, current cryonics research will have proven to have been a waste of time, like trying to build a television set with finger-paints.
AFTER the huge medical giants have researched and developed the nano breakthroughs, THEN we will need to APPLY these developments to cryonics. At that point research will be necessary as we cannot assume the medical industry will ever support research into cryonics. THEN we will need to roll up our sleeves and "do it ourselves". Nevertheless, the horse needs to be in front of the cart.
Nothing I say will divert those who are already dedicated to their research efforts. And who knows, maybe they will make the breakthroughs before the industry giants with their billions do so. It is possible. Just highly unlikely. Sometimes you do win the lotto despite the odds. I just don't see the point when it is certain that any breakthroughs will come in short order from the huge medical technology giants anyway. Those of you dedicated to research at this primitive stage can do so, but I can't help but feel that this is a waste of time and money.
It strikes me as being no different than deciding that I will try to create the first successful fusion power generator. Maybe I will succeed. But it is far, far more probable that others who have huge resources and billions of dollars will do it first. And, if it will be done at all, they WILL do it sooner or later anyway. My efforts will have been unnecessary and most probably a complete waste of my time. I am speaking here to the rest of the cryonics community apart from those with dedicated research intentions and simply pointing out that one of the largest research industries in the world (medical technology) will certainly pursue the development of nanotechnology for medical applications. And it is almost certain that THEY will accomplish what WE need BEFORE any of us with our relatively miniscule funding and resources will do so.
Don't confuse heroic fantasies with real world realities. Big Business will make it happen. Nanotechnology applications to specific cryonics concerns will THEN require R&D but only AFTER we have the tools developed by the Big Boys of medical technology to work with to do it. And, I contend, THEY WILL DO IT. They already do it. It is profitable for them to do it. It is what they do. Isn't this obvious to everyone?
One other piece of feedback I received suggested that failing to pursue our own current research efforts would result in "cryonics not existing at all". Nonsense.
Cryonics already exists. It is BASED upon an optimistic anticipation of FUTURE advances in science which will restore those patients who have been frozen. Remove the optimism and it isn't cryonics.
Remove the reliance upon the technology we await and it isn't cryonics. And, my entire point is, that we should be strictly honest with ourselves and realize that our current efforts at research will almost certainly be bypassed as the multi-billion dollar modern medical research industry applies the Nano-computer to its ends which will happily dovetail with our own. You can commit to current research, but it seems too soon to be useful. Others with more money and resources will get there first almost certainly. THEN it is time to get to work when we have the necessary tools to work WITH. Don't try and repair your car without the tools you need. It might work but usually doesn't. We are ahead of ourselves. And that's okay.
It isn't really a problem because we will be bypassed by those with more money and resources. What IS important is that we stop pretending that "If we don't do it, who will?", which is pessimistic nonsense. Either cryonics will succeed or it won't.
If it can, it will.
Because people with Big Bucks will develop the technology which we will be able to use to make cryonics succeed. The most important event of the 20th century was the announcement of the Nano-computer. From that moment forward the social forces of human nature make the success of cryonics inevitable. Therefore I respectfully disagree with the need for our personal pursuit of current research as redundant and wasteful, and that the belief that we must pursue current research to succeed at all to be short-sighted, pessimistic and misleading. I also remain open to correction.
Mr Smith's point of view can be verified by applying it to past inventions, television for example. In his book A Demon Haunted World Carl Sagan examined in detail what would have happened if Queen Victoria had thrown every penny she had under her control at producing a television service to send her voice to every corner of her Empire.
One could have said the same thing in the 1950s about space flight. There were loads of people working
on aeroplanes, but only a small band of "lunatics" like the British Interplanetary Society took space flight
seriously. Behind the scenes there were a few established engineers working on it, but even in the year of
the Sputnik (1957) highly regarded officials, such as the British Astronomer Royal, were reported as
saying that "Space travel is bunk".
Half a century earlier, established steam engine engineers and academics did calculations based on the power/weight ratio of steam engines and declared that powered flight was bunk. Go back another 75 years or so and the establishment though that if a human travelled faster than about 15 mi/hr the air would be sucked out of his lungs, or even that his body would explode.
The fact of the matter is that cryonics is not attracting serious attention because the infrastructure to complete the whole cryopreservation-revival cycle is not present. The establishment refuses to listen to the argument that people dying now are better cryopreserved in hope than left to burn or rot in despair. The other half of the cycle (restoration) can be performed when the infrastructure is there.
Many people "make" PCs for themselves. But they only do this by plugging in boards. They could not do this if someone else had not made the boards in the first place. Go back 30 years, and people "made" radios. They could not do this unless others made transistors and other parts for them. Back another 30 years and yes, people could still make radios, but winding your own coils and using oxidised copper sheet or lump of coal and a piece of fine wire ("cat's whisker") to make a semiconductor diode didn't produce a radio that could do much. And that lot probably bought their headphones.
Those that made transistor radios would have been just as capable of making computers as we are, but
they'd laugh at you if you suggested that they try or even that they could try in the future. I know, I was
there. I can remember wanting a computer in around 1960 (influenced by sci fi no doubt) and being told
that they cost three million pounds and in any case couldn't do much. Two or three years later I and a
friend were wondering what could be done with a few diode gates, transistor flip-flops and a teleprinter.
But by 1980 I had a computer with 32k memory and which could run little programs in BASIC, and do
far more than the 3,000,000 pound job in 1960. I could have struggled with diodes and a teleprinter
between 1963 and 1980 and never got that far.
Today, of course, I effectively can get any computer I am capable of using for virtually nothing - past investments in the industry produce the money and the Internet provides a cheap source of boards, with customers forcing down prices. But if I had spend the money otherwise invested in millions of diodes and transistors (they were relatively expensive then) my total expenditure on computers would have been positive not negative, and I doubt whether the contraption I was planning would have worked anyway.
cryopreservation now + investment now = reanimation research in the future +
revivals in the future
People Ignore Cryonics
Because it Makes Sense to Ignore it
by Raphael T. Haftka firstname.lastname@example.org
University of Florida Department of Aerospace Engineering, Mechanics and Engineering Science
Aren't we so smart!
All the explanations that I read (I am not sure I read all) of why people ignore cryonics imply a deficiency on the part of the rest of the world, while we, cryonicists, are so smart. If several billion people ignore cryonics, they may be smart, and understanding this may help us.
People do not only ignore cryonics, but most other fringe movements which may require large investment of resources. These include religious cults, extreme Y2K groups, survivalists, white supremacists, government conspiracy groups, etc. The logic of ignoring these groups rather than scrutinizing their claims carefully is sound if you agree with the following assumptions:
For example, assume you may want to examine 100 movements, and that if you spent 2-3 days each, you will have 90% chance of telling which one really deserves your participation. Assume that two (cryonics and one other) are deserving. Then after spending 200-300 days examining all the evidence, you will have a good chance of identifying cryonics and that other movement. However, out of the 98 bogus movements, you will conclude that about 10 also deserve your participation. This is not a good outcome, for example, if one of the 10 is Hari Krishna.
This problem, which in medical diagnosis is known as the false positive, makes it a sound policy not to examine seriously fringe movements.
This conclusion means that we may have to sneak up on people to get them to make the time investment to understand cryonics, rather than go by direct marketing. The very young are a good target, because they have not raised their guard yet, and indeed, my recent survey showed that most of us have become interested in cryonics at a very young age.
Most important is Robin Hanson's article on health altruism. I liked his reasoning, and it means that we may want to focus on recruiting people to help us with arrangements. They then acquire familiarity with cryonics without the threat of being recruited into a movement that will require many thousands of dollars, and also appear crazy to their friends. Indeed, a year ago I had myself interviewed in the local paper in the hope of smoking out cryonics candidates in my town. Nobody was interested, but a nurse, a patient representative in one of the local hospitals, offered her help.
An Opposite Point of View
by Brian Manning Delaney <email@example.com>
This is from a posting on the Internet newsgroup sci.life-extension and is included here to keep readers informed as to what some other people think of the life extension movement and its views.
Supplements have either no effect, or a marginal effect on longevity. Life-extension includes more than anti-aging efforts, true, and if that's all you mean, then sure. But here's one recipe/scenario for delaying the development of dramatically effective longevity-enhancing regimens: 1) Make false or exaggerated claims in ads about the efficacy of life-extension supplements. 2) Paint government regulation, toto genere, as bad.
3) Since many people will now think A) the threat of limited access to supplements will appreciably shorten their lives, and B) the FDA are wrongly attempting to limit access to supplements, the supplement industry can now count on the public to do much of their work for them (by, for example, mouthing unthinking libertarian platitudes such as: "the FDA has murdered millions"). 4) This, of course, makes the FDA more defensive, and thus more liable to be even more stupid than it's already capable of being, which makes step #2 easier. 5) (cycle) 6) People put less money and energy into creative enterprises such as Thomas Mahoney's  venture, Geron, etc. -- investments which are far more likely to give us more life than the purchase of supplements will.
If libertarians focussed on reversing bans on fetal cell research, stem cell research, etc. (which bans are, fortunately, not yet absolute in the U.S.), then they'd be a positive force for life-extension. And some libertarians do, of course, have such a focus. Those libertarians who, on the other hand, simply seek to increase the consumer base for largely worthless pills are a pernicious force, since they help supplement-pushers perpetuate the myth that supplements have a significant effect on longevity, which distracts us from the real work needed to be done to retard aging.
If people could be brought into a full awareness that these pills are going to do either nothing (or next to nothing) to prevent them from being dead dead dead in a disturbingly diminutive number of decades, then these many millions (I think it's actually billions, now) of dollars could be better directed -- for example, towards BASIC SCIENCE from which will come the tools to stop aging entirely (and then reverse it).
Supplements: The Fatal Distraction. Supplement Pushers: The Malicious, Selfish Distracters. Supplement Sellers: The Unwitting Distracters. Libertarian Political Philosophy: The Grease in The Distraction Machine. Supplement Consumers: The (Distractedly) Dead Or Dying. (FDA: The bumblers who make libertarianism's grease easier to apply.)
Supplement-pushers give people the God to have hope in (even the wafers), and libertarians provide the Devil to revile (government regulators, who try to confuse us with their sophistical talk of "p values," "statistical significance," "in vivo vs. in vitro," and all that annoying stuff).
Something to love, something to hate. Nice & simple. No assembly required. Why ask why?
An Open Letter
to Coroners and Pathologists
by H. Wayne Logsdon <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This forceful article appeared in sections on the Internet newsgroup sci.med.pathology. The author's feelings were aroused by the what a pathologist did to his little daughter with the full support of the authorities. It is, as are all Longevity Report articles, republished with the author's consent. It is relevant and useful because compulsory autopsy of someone who wishes to be cryopreserved is, to cryonicists, state endorsed murder. Once cryonics has been proved to work, such autopsies will be seen by the entire world as state endorsed murder. There is no difference to subjecting a patient about to receive a heart transplant an autopsy instead. Current conditions exist because cryonics is unprovable until too late, that is to say once revivals are possible whose who died earlier will have been lost unless cryopreserved. The use of the words "cryogenic freezing" are left as this shows that the author was aware of cryonics without having read much about it.
Do any of you know how a "free" citizen of the United States, or any other country, can 100% guarantee that they will not be autopsied or dissected? I know how to legally give them a run for their money, but I don't know a foolproof way other than dying in a secret cave in the Northwest Territory, or blowing yourself up into vapour, or dying in the two mile deep part of the ocean (unless you're a Kennedy, in which case 45 naval vessels, at a cost of several hundred million dollars, will be dispatched to get you, after which you will be butchered, burned, have you remaining bones ground up, then you will be thrown into the two mile deep part of the ocean (good Catholics huh).
Graham Shephard wrote on the newsgroup:
As long as they don't start until after you're dead, does it really matter?
Yes it really matters, for the following reasons:
Please remember that medical knowledge stops at death. You have no more of a clue what happens after death than I do. I only say that I believe, not that I can prove, as you can not prove. The problem is this issue that dead people have no rights. As civilization slowly progresses from the despotic Emperor / King systems to more and more democracy, hopefully we will eventually obtain full control of our bodies, as should be our right.
A little legal conundrum has arisen over the last 20 years or so about cryogenic freezing. Since live people cannot be frozen, they must first be declared legally dead, but then should be frozen ASAP. After some one spends well over $100,000 for this procedure, will the M.E. dash all hope by butchering him/her, and really pissing off the family, maybe getting negative press (M.E.s are political creatures).
As you probably know, like the old blues song "to poor to die" says, the common folks cannot get medical care without government licensed MDs/DOs, can't die without government approval (MD/DO must sign death certificate), can't get a funeral without government approval (licensed funeral directors) and can't get buried without government approval (licensed cemeteries), but the government can dig you up any time, and as often as, they want.
Have you ever thought of the lack of logic that no one can force us to donate organs (yet!!) or donate blood (yet!!) but innocent people can be forced to donate practically all of their body fluids and many tissue samples to the government because of the way that they die?
Suppose I was murdered. There are a lot of ways to get murdered without having much damage done to you body. The average murderer spends about 6 years in prison. The victim gives up their life, then the government butchers them in a way that, 95% of the time, causes much more body damage than the murderer inflicted. Is this justice?
It is akin to the woman who gets raped. If she reports it she practically gets raped again with the hospital pelvic examine that the government forces her to undergo so that they can get evidence. Then she figuratively gets raped again in Court as the defence lawyers try to convince the jury she played some part in it. If the rapist gets convicted the courts have ruled that the government cannot force the rapist to undergo an AIDS test! Don't life stink?
I have carried an organ donor card since 1983 with an extra little "Xed" box on it, which I added, labelled "None". Along the bottom of the card I wrote, back in 1983 "If an autopsy is done on me I instruct my heirs to sue everyone responsible for every dollar possible." I signed and dated that card on 1983 and four times since, every 3 or 4 years. I have never donated blood and never will, unless a close relative needs some.
Have you seen the guy in the Smithsonian who was sliced into 1 inch think vertical slabs by "Doctors"? Have you seen the Visible Human Project where "Doctors" used an industrial milling / planing machine to start at the top of this guys head and shave 1 mm slices off of him right down to the soles of his feet, when there was nothing left of him much larger than a grain of sand? They showed on TV how the compassionate MDs used what looked like a Sears and Roebuck bow saw to cut him into three approximately equal length pieces first because he was too tall to fit under the blades standing up.
Yeah, humanity has a special place in the hearts of the medical community, or was it humanity's hearts have a......... whatever!.
You guys have lost a lot of the awe you used to command during my mothers and grandmothers generation, for a lot of reasons, and in my opinion, all for the better.
I forgot to add one thing about the murderer scenario. In my State, if the murderer is convicted of a murder so heinous that he gets the death sentence and is actually executed some day, he does not get autopsied or dissected, just the victim does.
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