[extropy-chat] Cryonics without comprehensive brain disassembly? - No

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Tue Apr 20 17:06:25 UTC 2004

On Tue, Apr 20, 2004 at 10:33:34AM +1000, Brett Paatsch wrote:

> I'm pretty confident myself. I think existing theoretical knowledge
> IS good enough at this point to make very good arguments for the
> con. Whether those arguments are persuasive would, like most 

Strangely enough, while agreeing with your premises (that current 
science is adequate), I arrive at the very opposite
conclusion. Perhaps you should reexamine your position, given that last time
you were unwilling to dive into technical details. Are you continuing to just
dismiss evidence by refusing to examine it? 

> arguments, depend on the willingness of the persons listening to
> be persuaded. Recall the intro I put at the top of the Smalley, 
> Drexler and the monster in Lake Michigan thread. True-believers
> can find ways to believe in the monster in the lake or in santa
> claus or God, or cryonics, or nanosanta indefinately. Intelligence
> does not remove the capacity for rationalisation. 

You claim this is a belief situation, while still not providing any data why
you think cryonics kills you. While refusing to examine ample evidence people
put your way. You were talking about rationalization, right?
> What is really missing is a reason for a person to go to the trouble
> of trying, as I think its one of Adrian's sig lines puts it, it is very
> hard to argue a person out of a position that they did not argue
> themselves into in the first place.  

And you know that how? I can readily think of several examples to the
> Why would anyone bother? Where is the pay-off? True-believers
> don't like to pay one for the service of dis-illusioning them. 
> Jehovah's Witnesses will come to you uninvited and talk to you
> effectively forever about what they believe but try and get one of 
> them to bet US$1000 dollars with you if they are wrong and see
> how quickly they move on muttering "wicked, wicked". There are
> easier pickings for them. They just want to talk about what they
> want to talk about and to sell you the Watch Tower if you'll buy
> it and to get you to join them if they can. But essentially they
> are playing a numbers game. They may be "nice" people. Puppies
> are "nice" too.  
> PT Barnum said there's a sucker born every minute. Unfortunately
> when one removes the dummy from a baby and doesn't replace it
> with something else one doesn't get smiles so much as tears. And
> it doesn't matter whether the removal is done with good intentions
> or not. 
> One rarely gets gratitude for the service of dis-illusioning. 

Above passage is 100% opinion, and 0% fact as far as science is 
concerned. I won't do one thing: argue opinions with you. 
> I think you are making a distinction without an important difference.
> Its of course trivially true that cryonics - a purported potential
> procedure does require anything. Its not a person. 

What is a person? Let's start with the supposedly obvious.
> Its also, so far as I know, true that cryonicists, the more committed
> one's, don't make explicit in the common literature about the
> purported potential procedure of cryonics that it will require the brain
> being disassembled at some point. I worked that part out for myself.

The degree of commitment doesn't correlate with technical knowledge.
Many cryonicists have strange beliefs about the procedure, which
unfortunately frequently results in a bad service (there's no peer review
mechanism amongst providers nor relevant legal regulation framework). This doesn't mean that
fundamental technology and physics behind the entire process is not sound. 

> But go ahead and show me if you can, how Robert Bradbury's
> superior perception of cryonics can do both an end-run around
> entropy and extract sufficient information on personal neuronal
> structures to produce even a very good *copy* of the original self. 

Your mention of entropy is a red herring. Given that you refuse to
investigate all aspects of identity in context of evolution of a system along
a state space trajectory your question about copy and original is meaningless.

Static image, or dynamic process copy? Identical trajectories? Do you
understand why systems diverge, and what it means if we keep them
synchronous? There's no point in arguing before we settle on meaning 
of above questions.
> No one isn't. No one has. Or do you have evidence that brains have
> been reanimated after undergoing a cryonics "preservation"
> procedure that I don't? If so please share. 

You're asking for hard validation criteria. As we can't do
nanoreconstruction, the best I can do is to point you towards Suda's
classical paper, and most of modern cryobiology (including whole-organ
cryopreservation pioneers like Fahy & Co).
> As I say, I think they must, for the purported potential procedure of
> cryonics to work. (Even given the other purported potential enabling
> nanotechnology). I think you do well to replace "may" with "may not"

Nanoreconstruction will be required in all cases but uploading. Both
nanoreconstruction and uploading use identical digital processing stages,
namely reversing cryopreservation that is reversible (there's plenty of
information erasure occuring due to structural denaturation).

> above. 
> > Sooo... using my original analogy you may (*or may not*) get
> > back your original atoms in their original structural form.
> I'm saying you can't. No way. No chance. But please show me if 
> you can, if you really think you can. Hell don't just show me show
> a lot of people and really differentiate cryonics from religion. How in
> your superior perception of cryonics to mine is it even possible in
> principle to get back the original atoms? I'm stating that it isn't. 

Are you really trying to say that atoms (ignoring isotopes, nuclear isomeres
and state in general, which are irrelevant for biology) are distinguishable?
(Think twice before answering, it *is* a trick question).

I presume you're aware that cryo AFM has atomic resolution? Look:

That, assuming you're lunatic enough to ask for atomic precision. 
> But only a dimwit would fall for the sophists trap of trying to prove
> they exist.  (And Harvey is no dimwit. Nor obviously are you).  If 
> there is one thing that everyone must have to be involved in any
> discussion - including discussions about science, and logic,
> and rationality - it's oneself. One needs to be oneself (and that's 
> a material substrate) BEFORE one learns language and acquires
> the tools of logic and can practice the scientific method. 

Please use science for a change, and state precisely what you so glibly refer
as "self".
> If your looking for a premise or an axiom or a first cause for you
> its you. You are the centre of your perceptual universe. Robert

You continue to produce content-free, yet profoundly-sounding sentences. Have
you considered a career in politics.

> Ettinger knows that and is now, apparently, writing a work of 
> "philosophy" :-) entitled the Youniverse. You can even order
> a copy in advance. His pitch is quite good really. I'm thinking
> of buying one myself, because I respect Robert Ettingers 
> commitment AND see SOME merit in his thoughts, even though
> I think he is wrong in some areas. Like that cryonics will work. 

I'm no friend of Ettinger, but it's way premature to rule out that
cryopreservation kills you for good.
> That's your understanding of physics. If you insist on 
> anthropomorphising physics, I suggest that you think of "her"
> (or him) as fickle and entirely self centred. She "physics" doesn't
> care about you at all. She does even care that you don't understand
> her. You understand her more or less well because its more or less
> useful to you to do so while you are alive. 

Garbage. You keep flaunting the most appalling deficits in your
understanding of basic undergrad-level physics (on those very rare occasions,
when you're choosing addressing those pesky technical details), and 
accuse Robert of the same? 
> But physics isn't a she of course and doesn't have a point of 
> view any more than science has a point of view or rationality or
> logic has a point of view.  They are things you can use to serve
> you as opposed to beliefs which are things which hurt you but 
> make you feel warm and fuzzy and social to profess because
> in a world of monkeys banannas can seem like the only useful
> currency. 

Are you drunk, or something?
> > It may however take some time for humanity to make this
> > process work on a reliable basis.
> Or, it may simply, never ever happen - because it would violate
> contingency. Essentially you are your living brain. Most of the
> atoms will have changed in your brain in your life but the neurons
> and their "connections" have never undergone anything like
> the wholesale dis-connection all-at-once, that cryonics processes,
> or dying involves. 
> It's a "bitch" but there it is. 
> Stem cells and cybernetics Robert. Stem cells and cybernetics.

I'm all for in-vivo patching, but most (if not all) of us will die before
that technology becomes available. Currently, as shitty as the options
appear, there are simply no alternative to staying alive. That, and cryonics
as your second-best bet. 
> You need to move your self off your substrate in stages while you
> are alive, (ie. no 12 hr plus EEG flatlines) - just like how you grew

Is there anything qualitatively different between a 30 sec, a 
10 min or a 12 h EEG lacune? 

> or you are gone my friend - you will be a fondly remembered
> Ex-parrot. Dead as Franklin. Dead as Newton. Dead as Pascal. 

Eugen* Leitl <a href="http://leitl.org">leitl</a>
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http://moleculardevices.org         http://nanomachines.net
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