Re: [sing] Alcor Action Alert

From: Aubrey de Grey (
Date: Thu Mar 11 2004 - 06:11:15 MST

Nuts to this Bcc nonsense -- mail them individually. It only took me
15 minutes. Something with the person's name at the top will be far
more powerful, plus you can specifically tell Stump to withdraw the
bill rather than vote against it.

What time is the hearing?

Here's my text:

Dear Rep. Aguirre,

I have just learned, to my very great surprise and consternation, that
the Arizona House of Representatives will be considering bill HB2637
(embalmers; funeral establishments; storing remains) today (Thursday).
I strongly urge you to vote "NO" to this bill, which is potentially a
desirable piece of legislation but which in it current form will do
untold harm to an industry that will play a huge part in the future
of humanity and in which Arizona enjoys a unique leadership position.
No other organisation in the world is remotely in Alcor's league in
terms of the ability to lower human tissues to very low temperature
without damage; hence, any legislation that hinders their work is a
blow to this technology worldwide, whereas legislation that assists
this industry by delineating appropriate regulation and oversight is
potentially of great benefit. Your vote today is therefore of huge

I am a research scientist working on the biology of mammalian aging
at the University of Cambridge in England. My specific focus is on
the development of techniques to repair and reverse the age-related
degenerative changes that accumulate during life and eventually kill
us. As you may recall, I travelled specially to Phoenix to testify
to the House Health Committee on this matter on February 26th and was
most gratified at the apparently universal appreciation by Committee
members of the importance of Alcor's work, not only for current Alcor
members but for the vast numbers of people who will undoubtedly opt
for cryonic suspension in the period -- which is not far away -- when
a genuine cure for aging is clearly foreseeable but not yet actually
available. Depending on the pace of progress by me and my fellow
gerontologists, you may well be among those people. If the pace is
slower, your children may be. Either way, the work that Alcor is
spearheading will very probably save tens of millions of lives. That
is not an exaggeration.

For your convenience, I will summarise here the reasons I gave to the
Health Committee why it is so imperative that Arizona get this piece
of legislation right. Alcor preserves people in a state that is very
similar, from a recoverability point of view, to someone who has been
immersed in cold water for several minutes to an hour and whose heart
has stopped for most of that time. Such people are clinically dead,
which means that they could have been pronounced legally dead, but in
fact they can in many cases be resuscitated. Thus, hundreds of people
are walking around today in perfect health who have at some time in
the past been clinically dead. Cryogenic preservation involves doing
a modest amount of further damage to someone who has recently become
clinically dead, but at the same time placing them in a state (very
low temperature) in which no further deterioration can occur. Thus,
in decades to come, when techniques to repair molecular and cellular
damage to all tissues (including the brain) have been developed by
me and my colleagues around the world, those same techniques will be
applicable to people in cryonic suspension. The tissue damage that
caused them to become clinically dead, plus the extra damage that was
associated with suspoension, will be reversed and the individual will
be restored to complete health.

It is therefore imperative that legislation which regulates cryonics
be drafted in a manner that reflects the fact that cryonic patients
are potentially resuscitatable, despite being clinically and legally
dead. In the first instance, the use of the term "remains" in many
places in the legislation is clearly unacceptable. "Remains" are
what human bodies become when they are incontrovertibly beyond the
reach of medical science, something which (as I have explained above)
is not the case for cryonics patients. Secondly, it is absolutely
essential that this legislation include a clear definition of what
cryonics is and an oversight structure that clearly distinguishes
cryonics from embalming and other purely cosmetic procedures that
are used to preserve (briefly) the appearance of bodies by actively
eliminating the possibility of resuscitation, including provisions
for becoming licensed as a cryonics provider. Third, the current
legislation ignores the fact that Alcor and the Funeral Board have
reached a clear accord with regard to the way in which cryonics
should and should not be regulated, which can undoubtedly be
translated into good legislation given the extra time that seemed,
on February 26th, to have been permitted.

In summary, I strongly urge you to vote against HB2637 in its current
inadequate form, and instead to work with the interested parties to
craft appropriate legislation that will bring credit to Arizona and
cement its leadership role in both the short-term (Kronos) and long
term (Alcor) scientific battle against the ravages of old age.

Best wishes,

Dr. Aubrey D.N.J. de Grey
Department of Genetics
University of Cambridge
Downing Street
Cambridge CB2 3EH
United Kingdom
+44 1223 366197

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