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Cryonics Frequently Asked Question List Section 1: Introduction and Index Last Modified Fri Nov 1 12:35:50 1996 Copyright 1993 by Tim Freeman. See the end of Section 1 for restrictions on redistribution. Cryonic suspension is an experimental procedure whereby patients who can no longer be kept alive with today's medical abilities are preserved at low temperatures for treatment in the future. Send comments about this list to Tim Freeman (firstname.lastname@example.org). The words "I" and "me" in these answers refer to opinions of Tim Freeman, which may or may not be shared by others. There is much information available as cryomsg's. You can fetch cryomsg "n" by sending mail to email@example.com with the subject line "CRYOMSG n", where "n" is a message number. You can get a current version of this entire FAQ list by fetching cryomsg "0018". You can get a current version of section "n" of this FAQ list by fetching cryomsg "0018.n". Also, all cryomsg's referenced in this FAQ (and a few others) are available by anonymous FTP from ftp.cs.cmu.edu, directory "/afs/cs.cmu.edu/user/tsf/Public-Mail/cryonics/archive". You will need to give the entire directory path at once to FTP, rather than the commands "cd /afs" "cd cs.cmu.edu" and so forth, because the directories at the beginning of the path are protected from anonymous FTP access. There is more about this in the answer to question 8-2. Many FAQs, including this one, are available via anonymous FTP from rtfm.mit.edu in the directory "pub/usenet/news.answers". When a FAQ is presented as a netnews post, the filename for it on rtfm appears in the Archive-name line at the top of the post. The parts of this FAQ are archived as "cryonics-faq/part*.Z". Readers with access to NCSA Mosaic or other World Wide Web browsers will be able to read the hypertext version of this FAQ. The initial URL to start with is "http://www.cs.cmu.edu/afs/cs/user/tsf/Public-Mail/cryonics/html/overview.html". In this list, the acronym "CRFT" stands for "Cryonics: Reaching for Tomorrow", which is available from Alcor. The address of Alcor is part of the answer to Question 6-4. Much more is said about Alcor than any other cryonics organization in this list. There are several reasons for this. First, Alcor is the largest, and it gets the most attention. Second, I am an Alcor member, and most of the reference material I have on hand was written by Alcor. I invite people more familiar with other organizations to contribute answers to these questions. This FAQ list needs a new maintainer. Cryomsg 1242 describes what the new maintainer would need to do to take over the job. If you are interested, send me mail. This FAQ list would also benefit from a detailed comparison of the various cryonics organizations. My thoughts about what could go into this are in cryomsg 1241. If you want to volunteer to write this answer, send me mail. This FAQ list has these sections: 1. Introduction and Index 2. Science/Technology -- Is cryonics feasible? 3. Philosophy/Religion -- Is cryonics good? 4. Controversy surrounding Cryonics -- Dora Kent, Cryobiologists, Donaldson 5. Neurosuspension -- Whether to take your body with you. 6. Suspension Arrangements -- The organizations that exist. 7. Cost of Cryonics -- Why does cryonics cost so much? 8. Communications -- How to find out more. 9. Glossary & Acknowledgements -- Important and unimportant jargon. The following questions are covered. Questions marked with a "*" are not yet answered. 2. Science/Technology 2-1. Has anyone been successfully revived from cryonic suspension? 2-2. What advances need to be made before people frozen now have a chance of being revived? 2-3. Is there any government or university supported research on cryonics specifically? 2-4. What is the procedure for freezing people? 2-5. How can one get a more detailed account of a suspension? 2-6. Is there damage from oxygen deprivation during a suspension? 2-7. Do memories require an ongoing metabolism to support them, like RAM in a computer? 2-8. If these frozen people are revived, will it be easy to cure them of whatever disease made them clinically die? 2-9. If I'm frozen and then successfully revived, will my body be old? 2-10. Why is freezing in liquid nitrogen better than other kinds of preservation, such as drying or embalming? 2-11. What is vitrification? 2-12. How is the baboon? Did it live? Any brain damage? 2-13. Who has successfully kept dogs cold for hours? Did they survive? Any brain damage? 2-14. Who froze the roundworms? What happened? 2-15. What were the circumstances under which cat brains produced normal-looking brain waves after being frozen? 2-16. Would it be possible to use some improvement on modern CAT or MRI scanners to infer enough about the structure of a brain to reconstruct the memories and personality? 2-17. Does background radiation cause significant damage to suspendees? 3. Philosophy/Religion 3-1. Are the frozen people dead? 3-2. Is cryonics suicide? 3-3. What about overpopulation? 3-4. When are two people the same person? 3-5. What if they repair the freezing damage (and install a new body, in the case of neurosuspension), and the resulting being acts and talks as though it were me, but it isn't really me? 3-6. What would happen if people didn't age after reaching adulthood? 3-7. Would it be better to be suspended now or later? 3-8. Why would anyone be revived? 3-9. Is there a conflict between cryonics and religious beliefs? 3-10. Is attempting to extend life consistent with Christianity? 4. Controversy surrounding Cryonics 4-1. Why do cryobiologists have such a low opinion of cryonics? How did this start, and how does it continue? 4-2. Who made the statement about reviving a frozen person being similar to reconstructing the cow from hamburger? 4-3. What was the Dora Kent case? 4-4. What about that fellow in the news with the brain tumor? 5. Neurosuspension 5-1. What are the pros and cons of neurosuspension (only freezing the head)? 5-2. How many people have chosen neurosuspension over whole-body suspension? (This question has only a partial answer.) 6. Suspension Arrangements 6-1. How many people are frozen right now? 6-2. How is suspension paid for? 6-3. How will reanimation be paid for? 6-4. What suspension organizations are available? 6-5. How can I get financial statements for the various organizations to evaluate their stability? 6-6. How hard will these people work to freeze me? 6-7. What obligations do the suspension organizations have to the people they have suspended? Will they pay for revival and rehabilitation? 6-8. How long has this been going on? 6-9. How much of the resources of the cryonics organizations are reserved for reviving patients? 6-10. How can uncooperative relatives derail suspensions? 6-11. How should I deal with relatives who will not cooperate with my suspension arrangements? 6-12. What if my spouse does not approve of my suspension arrangements? 6-13. What practical things can I do to increase my chances of being suspended well? 6-14. How can I pay for my own revival and rehabilitation, and keep some of my financial assets after revival? 6-15. Is Walt Disney frozen? 7. Cost of Cryonics 7-1. Why does cryonics cost so much? 7-2. Is anyone getting rich from cryonics? What are the salaries at these organizations like? 7-3. *How do cryonics organizations invest their money to last for the long term? 8. Communications 8-1. How can I get more information? 8-2. What is a cryomsg? How do I fetch one? Copyright 1993 by Tim Freeman You may freely distribute unmodified copies of this entire FAQ list, provided that you do not work for any cryonics organization or suspension services provider. You may also distribute modified copies of this FAQ list, provided that you also do the following: 1) Include instructions saying how to get a current copy of the full FAQ list. 2) If you use text from this FAQ that is attributed as a direct quote from another source, get permission from the author of the other source before you use their text.