X-Message-Number: 10008
Date: Tue, 7 Jul 1998 22:01:57 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Credible evidence for cryonics isn't the problem

I have read Saul Kent's many writings regarding the issue of "credibility" as a 
necessary step 

to "save" cryonics.  With all due respect to this cryonics pioneer, I totally 

Is there any historical evidence to support the hypothesis that because 
something is 

scientifically demonstrated to be "true" or "workable" that it is then embraced?

I would submit that acceptance is an issue of popular whim based upon emotion, 
*not* science nor 
even reasonable evidence.

It is usually only after many years that scientists are willing to reconsider 
their beliefs 

(oops.  I meant theories).  Many have to be dragged kicking and screaming to the
courtroom of 

proofs before they will grudgingly admit to what is, as opposed to their 
hubris-filled opinions 
of what "ought" to be.

One of the biggest breakthroughs in medicine was simply washing your hands.  The
doctor who 

pressed for this (Semmelweiss) was ridiculed and died without seeing this simple

accepted - despite all the evidence of its effectiveness in preventing death and

Why?  Well among the reasons given by doctors of the day was that it was 
"ridiculous" to waste 
one's time washing your hands. 

I still await someone to authoritatively address the arguments made by Duesberg 
in _Reinventing 

the AIDS Virus_.  Duesberg, a top retrovirologist, has been campaigning for 
years to get the 

scientific community to explain why they support the HIV-AIDS hypothesis in the 
face of a 

mountain of evidence which makes such a hypothesis untenable.  Meanwhile people 
die of AIDS ... 
due to something.  Here the evidence is being bluntly *ignored*.

Egyptologists assure us that the Sphinx of Giza is about 4,000 years old.  
Geologists point to 

visible water erosion on the Sphinx which had to have happened at least 12,000 
years ago when it 

last rained in Egypt.  Egyptologists haughtily ignore the evidence of their 
senses and flatly 

deny the geologists' evidence - a multi-ton carving of rock with water rivulets 
everywhere on 

its ancient surface!  Scientific evidence isn't enough.  It must not contradict 
your own group's 
theories (dogma). 

_The Big Bang Didn't Happen_ declared plasma physicist Eric Lerner in his 1992 
book by the same 

title.  Now, six years further down the road, the nonsense of this 20th century 
"flat earth" 

theory is being attacked publically.  Why haven't the modern cosmologists and 
astronomers dumped 

the patchwork dinosaur known as the big bang?  Because it isn't *popular* in 

"circles" to do so.  After all, smart people for years have endorsed the big 
bang, so it *must* 

be true.  (Let's just sweep all those inconvenient facts which make it 
impossible under the 

On a more popular level, the so-called "face on Mars" might have been the first 
solid evidence 

for extraterrestrial life, but NASA scientists didn't even want to look because 
they somehow 

"knew" (oh, to be omniscient like them!) that it couldn't be artificial.  The 
issue of at least 

looking at what *might* have been the most exciting cosmological discovery in 
history seems a 

"no-brainer".  And the only reason these "bow tie" scientists were overruled was
because of a 

massive emotional appeal by ignorant members of the public (too ignorant to 
"understand" without 
looking, that the "face on Mars "couldn't" be artifical).

So much for the persuasive value of scientific evidence.  The scientists are 
bound by peer 

pressure.  Don't rock the boat.  Don't invite possible ridicule.  And for God's 
sake DON'T 

endanger your GRANTS!  This is why almost every major technological breakthrough

another generation for it to be accepted and acted upon.  We always have to wait
for the current 

generation of authority figures to die off and for the rebellious newcomers to 
use the latest 

"heresy" to leverage their own way into becoming a new intractable, fossilized 
possessed of *their* new dogma.

Scientists practice a *religion* (with rare exceptions who are quickly branded 
heretics and then 

excommunicated).  "Science", for most, remains an unknown ideal for the majority

professional scientists.  The religion of the scientists follows a priesthood 
protocal, with 

rites of passage (college degrees, internships, tenure, etc.) and sacred 
literature (approved 

My point is that you are dealing with human beings.  Scientists make their 
decisions about what 

to believe *not* upon "scientific evidence" but upon *emotions*.  The history of
science is a 
testament to this all too human need to *feel* right ... and damn the facts!

For this reason, I would contend that believing that you can convince the 
current crop of high 

priests (the current scientific community) that cryonics is viable based upon 

evidence is to not understand the nature of the human beast.  It is the very 
iconoclastic nature 

of cryonics, the fact that it is *not* acceptable to the current priesthood 
which is its best 

chance for becoming acceptable for the next crop of young priests who must find 
some opposing 

viewpoint to demonstrate their distinctness from the "old guard".  (The young 
apes must 

antagonize and challenge the authority of the established older apes to usurp 
the positions of 
authority and wrest power and domination for themselves). 

Which means only that *after* scientific credibility can be estabished for 
cryonics, then we get 

to wait still *another* generation for the above mentioned social forces to 
propel cryonics to a 

level of scientific acceptance.  I don't think I am willing to wait *that* long!

There is, however, another way.  It was demonstrated in how the ignorant masses 
caused the NASA 
priesthood to look at the "face on Mars" anyway. Emotion rules all!

As we are dealing with death and its redefinition, let's look at how the 
salesmen of death, life 

insurance salesmen, do their job.  (The next time you look at one of those 
skyscrapers in any 

major city, notice that reddish-colored mortar which holds the bricks together.
It is dried 
human blood).

Selling life insurance is not based on anything rational.  It is emotional.  
Once the "prospect" 

is shown that he can "protect" his loved ones, and continue to provide for their
future, he 

achieves a small form of immortality, but he also avoids being considered an 

selfish monster by his spouse.  "You won't leave me a widow who can no longer 
pay the bills!" 

she thinks.  The saleman knows that *these emotional issues of relationship* are
why someone 

will bet money in the form of insurance premiums that they will die sooner 
rather than later.

Selling insurance to mortals has complete "credibility".  So far, everybody 
dies, right?  But 
this is seldom if ever why anyone agrees to buy life insurance.

Ask any successful life insurance salesman about the truth of his work.  
Choosing to take action 

requires emotions, not statistics.  It isn't an issue of "credibility".  How 
many people 

actually check the financial statement of the life insurance company they sign 
up with? 
How many even have heard that insurance companies, like any business, can fail?

No.  Not credibility.  It is emotion.

James Halperin has done more with his book _The First Immortal_ to cause 
cryonics to grow than 

anything other than setting up a way and means to freeze people in the first 
place.  He has 

presented emotional situations with people.  People who read will relate 
*emotionally*.  The 
back of his book then tells them where to go for further information.

I had known about cryonics for years before.  I agreed with the rational 
arguments for it.  I 
figured that someday I would "get around to it."

I signed up for cryonics for myself and my family some years ago because I 
imagined how I would 

feel if I were sitting at the funeral of my wife or daughter or son, and knew 
that I *might* 

have saved them but now I was responsible for them *staying dead*.  It was fear 
of future guilt 
and remorse which moved me.  

What caused me to think these morbid thoughts?  A life insurance salesman.  (By 
the way, he was 

not even aware of cryonics.  But his sales presentation suggested these very 

So what do I think can work to cause cryonics to grow?  I agree with Robert 
Ettinger.  Keep on 

going.  But I have one additional suggestion.  Talk to more successful life 

salespeople.  They know what works.  We don't have to do anything new.  We do 
need to remember 

that human beings do what they do for reasons.  Those reasons are almost always 

Wait for scientists?  Forget it.  Just keep developing emotional arguments based
on what people 

truly value.  For example, I have a bachelor friend who is engaged to be 
married.  He 

considered cryonics shortly before a surgical operation one year ago, but has 
set it aside when 

he survived it.  The immediate threat to his own life was gone.  After he is 
married, I will 

remind him of the same scenerio I was moved by to urge him to consider again.  
Because he loves 

his wife, he will eventually sign up.  He would not like the thought of 
attending his wife's 

funeral knowing that he might have saved her.  He is a caring person.  (He also 
carries life 

Once enough "ignorant" laymen (like me) attach personal emotional importance to 
cryonics, you 

will see a groundswell.  The face on Mars may have been natural.  But it was the
emotions of 

many people which forced the scientists to look.  We need only continue to offer
the option of 

considering cryonics to our friends.  When they naturally reject it, we then 
need only realize 

that they have not felt the right emotion strongly enough yet to understand that
they *do* want 
to sign up.

Oh, and if it seems too "crass" or "undignified" to use bluntly emotional 
arguments to persuade 

those you know to take a chance on life, ask yourself this.  How will *you* feel
if you go to 
*their* funeral knowing you might have saved their life instead of...

-George C. Smith

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