X-Message-Number: 10211
Date: Mon, 10 Aug 1998 10:26:47 -0400
From: Thomas Donaldson <>
Subject: CryoNet #10206 - #10209

Hi everyone!

About degrees:
The first thing to be said is that a PhD is much (maybe too much) like
a union card. It's very difficult in any country which uses PhD's to
get some jobs without one. And it's become even more difficult while I
have had mine... very noticeably.

As someone who believes that in an ideal world unions would not exist
(don't squawk! the AMA is a union, too, in case you haven't noticed)
I actually disapprove of this feature of Doctorates (ie. PhDs). Ettinger
got his job before the PhDs had sewn things up as tightly as they have

The basic problem is that unless you know someone well, it's not easy
to know what THEY know or what they can (or have) done. I respect 
those cryonics researchers I know because I know their work well enough
to respect it, not because they have a PhD. But it does make one more
mark against us when we try to explain ourselves to the outside world.
A Cryobiology PhD can speak nonsense and be immediately believed;
someone who is not can speak truth and be ignored by almost everyone.

This has advantages too. A lot of people now get their PhDs for career
reasons, not because they are fundamentally interested in a particular
subject. And this means that few or none of those people will EVER
stick their necks out to do something in the least bit extreme ---
cryonics being an instance. They're not interested in searching for
truth, they're searching for money and fame. And what we want from
someone doing research in cryonics is that desire to search for truth.
Even if that search leads away from money or fame. Those are the people
who may, if supported, someday even work out how to REVERSIBLY suspend

Yes, that leaves us all with questions about who to support for research.
By now there are enough cryonicists that we don't all know one another.
Not only that, but it's very hard to publish papers which are openly
cryonicist or support cryonics in any way. (This can be fixed by setting
up our own journal --- seriously. It's been done before for that reason,
and doing it again would hardly be unusual). But the real proof of
someone's work in cryonics consists of how much they have done to 
improve the process --- which suggests that we need better criteria 
than simply that of whether or not a suspension could or could not be

AS for the hippocampal project, I will add my voice to that of Paul
Wakfer urging more support. It will not alone produce reversible 
suspensions, but it's a significant forward step. I say that not because
Greg has a PhD, but because I too have read and thought about
vitrification, which is the method which will be used. But you need not
believe me -- my PhD is in mathematics, you see, so that you get to judge
my opinions by their merits, not as those of a cryobiologist --- or even
a biologist of any kind.

			Best and long long life to all,

				Thomas Donaldson

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