[ExI] Cryonics Alexandre Erler and bad philosophy

John Clark johnkclark at gmail.com
Tue Nov 28 01:51:03 UTC 2017

On Mon, Nov 27, 2017 at 4:50 PM, Max More <max at maxmore.com> wrote:

​Hi Max

Sorry for being a pain, you don't have a easy job and you know one hell of
a lot more about Cryonics than I do but some things don't add up, or at
least I can't get them to.
 I just wish somebody could explain to me exactly what the downside of ASC
is because the philosophical objections given by Erler in the current issue
of Cryonics strikes me as being utterly ridiculous   ​

​> ​
> The fact that ASC allows you to show clearly ultrastructural preservation
> better doesn't mean that ASC is doing a better job at ultrastructure
> preservation.

It doesn't?  At the very least it clearly shows that its easier to obtain
the ultrastructural information with a ASC sample than a ALCOR sample.

​> ​
> Current research is working on reducing or eliminating dehydration so that
> we can provide equally clear evidence of excellent preservation with the
> existing process.

​Maybe I'm missing something but it seems to me that the very fact that
dehydration distorts things so much you can't take clear pictures of
ultra-structure with a electron microscope but you can with the ASC method
means ASC is doing a better job at preserving information with less

> Chemical Brain Preservation and Human Suspended Animation
> http://www.alcor.org/Library/html/chemopreservation2.html

​From that webpage:​

> ​ "​
> restoring function after reversal of our procedures is the most credible
> test of the efficacy of our procedures
> ​"​

Well yes, but nobody is going to be revived from liquid nitrogen
temperatures using either ALCOR's method or the ASC technology until full
scale Drexler style nanotechnology is developed. In the meantime we're just
going to have to use some other criteria for judging which does a better
job, and right now I can't think of a better one than good electron
microscope pictures.

​ "​
> We are reluctant to settle for preservation of ultrastructure alone
> because this goal can always trigger objections that we are failing to
> preserve crucial identity-encoding parts of the brain
> ​"​
> .

​It's always possible that one method preserves some vital quality that we
can't yet see better than the other, but there is nothing we can do about
that because we can't see it, the best we can do right now is pick the
technology that best preserves the qualities we can see, and that would be
ASC   ​

> ​"​
> we want to minimize the time the patient has to be retained in low
> temperature care.
> ​"​

I want that too, but even assuming both methods preserve enough information
to bring the person back I can see no reason why a ALCOR preserved patient
would come back one hour before a patient preserved with the ASC method.  ​

> ​​>
> At Alcor we believe that a credible cryonics organization should aim for
> perfecting human suspended animation.

​The day
human suspended animation
​ is perfected will be the same day nobody ever needs to go into suspended
animation again. If the technology is good enough to bring a vitrified
brain cooled to liquid nitrogen temperatures back to full function and
health then killing cancer cells or fixing a bad heart would be child's

Preserving enough undistributed information to bring a person back is hard,
but using that information to actually do it is far far harder; ALCOR is a
small organization and can't do all the heavy lifting by itself, if the
information is preserved sooner or later Nanotechnology will be developed
that can do something with it. I think right now ALCOR should concentrate
on making sure future technology has something to work with.

> Making slices out of a whole vitrified brain while vitrified is a tough
> problem. It is easier to make thin slices out of a whole brain that’s been
> turned into solid plastic because the resin used is designed for being cut
> into thin slices for microscopy. So plastination has a natural advantage in
> this

That may have been a valid point 5 years ago when
​those words were​
 written, but the ASC brain has been warmed up and is no longer vitrified,
and it shows better ultra-structure than the ALCOR preserved brain after it
has been warmed up and is no longer vitrified.

> After initial stabilization with aldehyde fixatives, a chemopreservation
> patient would have to be transported to a dedicated facility for treatment
> with even more toxic chemicals such as osmium tetroxide and plastic resin
> monomers. Osmium tetroxide is a volatile and extremely powerful oxidizer
> ​"​

Osmium tetroxide
​just used for staining to get good pictures from a electron microscope​,
it wouldn't be used if you were trying to preserve a life and not do

​" ​
> In the case of chemopreservation, the absence of low temperatures could
> permit ongoing degradation of poorly fixed and embedded tissue
> ​" ​
> .

​No longer relevant, ​both ASC and ALCOR would store brains at the same low


> ​> ​
> Being able to chemically preserve brain slices is not comparable to
> preserving entire human brains.

 ​No longer relevant
​, ASC has preserved an entire pig brain.

The reason I'm making a​ big deal out of all this is... well... because its
a matter of life and death.

 John K Clark
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