Volume 2, Issue 3
3rd Quarter, 2007

Why Transbemans in Biostasis are Alive

Dr. Martine Rothblatt

Page 4 of 5

How will we deal with the concept of death as a subjective state? That means that there cannot be a Uniform Determination of Death Act based on objective criteria because I am taking the position that real death is actually a subjective state.

Harkening in the same spirit, Socrates said something about this subject, "It's only my body that is dying," he argued as his friends wailed over the prospect of him having to kill himself. Therefore, he did not think that he was dying either.

Image 9: Legal Death is Not Real Death

Legal death is not real death. That concept is brilliantly laid out in the book by Richard Morgan, Altered Carbon, [1] where it is all about real death or not real death.

The information theory definition of death says that if the information constituting somebody has been irreversibly lost, that is when they are really dead because that means you cannot really put them back together.

Legal death reflects society's consensus that the information constituting you is forever lost if your heart, lungs and your whole brain flat line, but real death reflects more emergent realities. If the information in your brain is frozen rock solid or glassified via vitrification, then you cannot say that information is forever lost. Similarly if it is uploaded, you could not say that the information constituting you is forever lost.

People will disagree. Transbemans in biostasis are alive because some people, certainly the individuals who are in biostasis, are sure that their consciousness will return. From a subjective definition of death, they are absolutely sure that they are alive. Therefore, I would say that the transbeman in biostasis is alive simply because they have a reasonable basis to believe that the information constituting themselves can be reversibly put back together.

On the other hand, to nonbelievers in biostasis technology the transbeman would be dead because they subjectively believe that the information constituting them has been forever lost. They will come up with arguments such as your nerve cells will all degrade. People can argue the science, but it is ultimately almost a religious type of belief. I do not believe you will be reversibly revived and I do not want to be confused with the data.

Image 10: One Can be Dead and Alive

If death is a subjective state that means that one can be both dead and alive, and that is certainly a startling concept for many people. It was a concept that is currently explored in the film that is out right now, Deja Vu. [2]

To mortalists, cryonics is irreversible. Even if you push them and they said that you did reverse the cryonics, they might take the position that it is actually a new being that is being born, it is not you, but it is somebody slightly different and, therefore, you are dead.

To immortalists, cryonics is reversible. When reversed the same beme pattern exists or with mind transfer you can have a cyberconscious being that is still yourself and, therefore, I am alive.

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1. Richard Morgan, Altered Carbon - stormed the gates of British SF in 2001 with his breakout novel Altered Carbon, a story of sex, guns and "sleeves" set 600 years in the future. Humphrey Bogart wouldn't last five seconds in the corrupt, violent underworld where the wealthy swap bodies as easily as we might change our pants.
http://www.scifidimensions.com/Apr03/richardkmorgan.htm August 9, 2007 11:13AM EST

2. Déjà vu (2006) - In Algiers, New Orleans, after the explosion of a ferry transporting the sailors from the USS Nimitz and their families with 543 casualties, the lonely AFT agent Doug Carlin is assigned to investigate the terrorist attack. Without any lead, he is informed by Sheriff Reed about a corpse of a woman that was found one hour before the explosion, but burnt with the same explosive. He is invited by FBI Agent Pryzwarra to join the surveillance team leaded by Jack McCready in the investigations, using a time window and Einstein-Rosen bridge through seven satellites to look back four and half days in time. He discloses the identity of the mysterious dead woman called Claire Kuchever and decides to follow her last moments trying to find the criminal. Along the surveillance, Doug falls in love for Claire and tries to change destiny, saving her life.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0453467/plotsummary August 9, 2007 11:17AM EST

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