lonely hunter
May 28, 2004 1:36 PM   Subscribe

Timeship. Stephen Valentine goes insane and builds a cryopark.
posted by plexi (21 comments total)

 
21st Century Medicine, cryonics: modern mumufication
posted by thomcatspike at 1:47 PM on May 28, 2004


"Cryonics companies say that by the time scientists have conquered death, they will also have the technology to repair damaged cells."

Ummmm...... right.......

If I'm smart enough to die with 120K in the bank, how come I'm not smart enough to know bullshite when I hear it?

Why will future scientists spend billions developing a technology whose only purpose is to revive people with no money? The logic is flawed, the science is bogus, and the economics are laughable.

This is the ultimate in greed. Rather than leaving the money to local charities, these folks will use it to keep their bodies frozen. Until the money runs out, at which point they'll be left to rot.

This has to be one of the best cons ever.
posted by y6y6y6 at 1:58 PM on May 28, 2004


mummification
posted by thomcatspike at 2:03 PM on May 28, 2004


Really? I see no reason to not believe that at some point in the next 1000 or so years, people will understand the science necessary to pull off this sort of thing. We're not talking about voodoo here, just very advanced biology.

Whether anyone in the future would care enough to reanimate the bodies is a good question, though.
posted by 4easypayments at 2:30 PM on May 28, 2004


Two points:

- Valentine sounds like an overambitious dreamer/salesman, but in none of the links do I see any evidence for his having gone insane (unless the aphasia link somehow has something to do with him)

- He hasn't built the cryopark yet.
posted by signal at 2:53 PM on May 28, 2004


This is the ultimate in greed. Rather than leaving the money to local charities, these folks will use it to keep their bodies frozen.

But using the money to take their bodies to Rio or kept functional with expensive organ transplants, or outfitted with expensive clothes or gadgets like cameras, ipods, etc. or buried in expensive boxes in expensive plots is somehow different?

You can't know if it will work or not. Stuff we do today would have been fantasy 2 or 3 hundred years ago. It seems like it's worth the gamble to me particularly as it's my money to spend. In order of preference, I'd choose frozen, burned and and then way at the other end a distant, distant last ditch choice pumped full of chemicals and buried to rot in a box.

Though, I have been wondering if it would be possible to create a space craft, accelerate it to near light speed, and come back a few centuries later which would only be a few months ship relative time. That way, if there's something wrong with you, you can maybe come back when there's a cure without needing to repair ice damage to the cells. Is anybody working on something like that? I bet you could get a lot of rich people to go for the ride -- plus, even if it doesn't work, at least you got into space which would be totally cool.
posted by willnot at 3:05 PM on May 28, 2004


"in the next 1000 or so years, people will understand the science necessary to pull off this sort of thing."

This presumes the conclusion that there *is* science necessary to pull it off.

Can we repair the millions of tears in the cell walls? Hell no. We'd have to thaw it to get at the tears, which would result in a pool of goo.

Do we even know that the memories and identity can be read from the structure of the neurons? Of course not. Memeory seems to depend on the electrical fow as much as the physical structure. We'll revive someone only to a blank slate.

If someone is revived how do we know anything about whether it was successful? if they have memories, aren't those more likely to be dreams of halucinations?

We aren't savages these days. We have a pretty good grasp of these things. And we know this is impossible.

And the economics work against it. We now know how to turn lead into gold. But we'll never do it. It would cost millions of dollars more than the gold is worth.

Or look at it another way. If we could create diamonds as cheaply as glass, then diamonds would be worthless. If we can store someone's life in a PDA, then isn't life pretty worthless?
posted by y6y6y6 at 3:16 PM on May 28, 2004


This presumes the conclusion that there *is* science necessary to pull it off.

No, it presumes the possibility that there might be science to pull it off. The way I see it, there are a few possibilities:
  1. Do Nothing - I'm dead
  2. Try Cryogenics, but it proves to be a dud. It Doesn't work. - So, nothing's changed. I'm dead just like I would have been if I didn't take the gamble, and I won't even miss any of the money I gambled on the scheme because well, I'm dead and past caring.
  3. It works - Hey, now I'm not dead, and the money I invested was worth it because I'm alive to enjoy a bit more life, and as a bonus, I'm living in a Sci-Fi future.
So, whether it works or not, there's no downside to trying -- unless you're suicidal and want to be dead for some reason.
posted by willnot at 3:27 PM on May 28, 2004


which would result in a pool of goo.
What happen after freezing a potato & an onion.
posted by thomcatspike at 3:49 PM on May 28, 2004


willnot: Replace "cryogenics" with "God" and "waking up in the future" with "eternal salvation" (or "heaven" or whatever) and you have something similar to Pascal's Wager.

The validity to this line of reasoning can be (and has been) questioned (see this section here). When thinking of Pascal's Wager, one objection that I have is "all those days spent in church are not worth a payoff I deem to have zero probability". Similarly, saving up all that money for body storage may not be worth it if you have a guaranteed payoff of having the money to spend when you are alive (it depends on the probability you decide to assign to cryogenics becoming viable). Of course, if the amount of money in question is pocket change to you, this objection does not work.
posted by jjray at 8:10 PM on May 28, 2004


We aren't savages these days. We have a pretty good grasp of these things.

I doubt any age in recorded history has ever thought otherwise...
posted by juv3nal at 8:12 PM on May 28, 2004


"Mr. Bond, we are not an international criminal cartel. We are merely an organization dedicated to life extension..."
posted by Joey Michaels at 8:33 PM on May 28, 2004


Can we repair the millions of tears in the cell walls?
Pssssst, your argument would be more convincing if you realized that humans don't have cell walls

Also, just because you can't conceive of it doesn't mean it's impossible, or that it's will even be impractical.
posted by TungstenChef at 8:55 PM on May 28, 2004


Replace "cryogenics" with "God" and "waking up in the future" with "eternal salvation"

Yes, except that I've seen documented advances in medical science within my lifetime, and I have every reason to believe that we will continue to advance in our ability to repair damage done to animal tissue. Where as, I haven't seen any reason to suspect god might be real past wishful thinking.

Also, most god(s) seem to require that you actually believe, and I guess you'd also need to be lucky and pick the right set of dogma to believe in. This on the other hand just requires you think .... well, maybe, and really what do I have to lose? A few hundred thousand that I probably wouldn't have spent anyway. I mean unless you know for certain the day you're going to die it's pretty hard to time it so that you go broke just when you don't need that nest egg anymore. I'd rather error on the side of caution that take one more trip somewhere.
posted by willnot at 9:31 PM on May 28, 2004


"Cryonics companies say that by the time scientists have conquered death, they will also have the technology to repair damaged cells."

then why won't they have the technology to rescusitate those buried in the ground? Just because a body is frozen into an external shape doesn't really mean it's any closer to being brought to life than king tut...
posted by mdn at 9:48 PM on May 28, 2004


willnot> So, whether it works or not, there's no downside to trying...

Is this the new version of Pascal's wager? If so, the usual counter-arguments apply.

Plus, you missed some extra possibilities:
  1. Spend your money on things that you will enjoy while you are alive rather than giving it to the person running the freezer.
  2. Give your money to someone researching a treatment for a disease that might otherwise kill you.
... and so on. It isn't as if getting frozen is free, after all.
posted by snarfodox at 11:07 PM on May 28, 2004


snarfodox - please explain how any of the arguments in the page you linked would apply to what I describe.

The first -- false dilemma suggests that the wager misses other possibilities for instance that there might be a god that rewards skepticism. Well, that doesn't apply here since life seems to be pretty binary. You're alive or you are not. The only way that applies if if the alternatives i.e. burial or cremation might also bring you back to life which seems considerably less likely to me.

The many gods argument doesn't seem too different from the false delima argument, and is similarly unworkable with a binary choice like alive/not alive.

Now you mention the costs related to belief argument and suggest that one possibility is that you give your money to someone researching a treatment for a disease that you might have. Well, living is the disease, so even if you could cure brain cancer or heart disease or drowning or aging, it seems unlikely that all of the resources of the planet (much less my meager portion) could find a cure for all of the things that might kill me within my natural life time.

And, I've already addressed your #4 in an earlier comment (which I suspect you might have only skimmed) in which I mention that I hope to die with some money in the bank anyway since I don't expect to be able to time my death so conveniently that it coincides exactly with the moment I go broke, and it seems better to have some left over rather than need to get some at a late stage of life.
posted by willnot at 11:47 PM on May 28, 2004


I'm not sure we'll ever have the ability to thaw out a body frozen today, but I have very little doubt that we will be able to send people into controlled deep hibernation in the relatively near future (within a lifetime, not generations). It's a small step from there to controlled, reversible clinical death. There are animals that can do it, so it's possible.

If we can store someone's life in a PDA, then isn't life pretty worthless?

Are you saying that medical advances cheapen life by making it more common? The answer to your question is yes, of course, if lives were valued by an outside agent. But no one is buying lives. It's not a market. Even if it were, each unit of supply comes with its own demand, as each person values their own life.
posted by Nothing at 12:12 AM on May 29, 2004


If we can store someone's life in a PDA, then isn't life pretty worthless?

Air is free. But also immensely valuable.
posted by hob at 12:53 AM on May 29, 2004


>>"We aren't savages these days. We have a pretty good grasp of these things."

>"I doubt any age in recorded history has ever thought otherwise..."


I'm willing to argue that we are indeed savages.
posted by spazzm at 8:57 AM on May 29, 2004


I'm not sure we'll ever have the ability to thaw out a body frozen today, but I have very little doubt that we will be able to send people into controlled deep hibernation in the relatively near future (within a lifetime, not generations). It's a small step from there to controlled, reversible clinical death. There are animals that can do it, so it's possible.

There are animals that perform reversible clinical deaths? I don't doubt the hibernation theory, but I'm a little skeptical about the reversal of death because life is constant movement and change in organization, while death is de-composition, disordering of that matter. So the idea is to create a stasis, a state where neither growth nor decay occurs. We can't even stop decay from happening while life (growth) continues - life is a constant replacement of the decay, a constant attempt to keep on the plus side of the decay - without life balancing things out, I don't see how we'll stop the decay from continuing. We'd have to create a state where motion was impossible - we'd have to store bodies at absolute zero, which we already know is impossible... I dunno, maybe there could be some kind of pseudo life body upkeep, but if we got that far, we could just have immortal life, not bother with dying and then being revived. I mean, unless we wanted to take a break, I guess. But the point is, immortality seems much more plausible to me than revivification.
posted by mdn at 3:32 PM on May 29, 2004


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