X-Message-Number: 10375
Date: Thu, 3 Sep 1998 15:01:51 EDT
Subject: Rowe/Dye

Will Dye wrote (Message #10367):

Subject: Re: Platt/Rowe

>Bob contends:

>> Arthur Rowe is a conscious liar.

>Charles responds:

>> It is impossible for you to be certain of Rowe's motives or beliefs, 
>> [...] calling a scientist a liar is potentially actionable

>I'm not qualified to comment on cryobiology (freezing ?= griding), 

I disagree; I think you are qualified, and so is anyone who is willing to look
at the evidence. After all, if you think only credentialed people are
qualified to express opinions on cryonics/cryobiology related matters, then
you will simply note the heavy preponderance of negative opinion and dismiss
cryonics from your mind. 

In general, the heads of technology-related businesses, and of the U.S. armed
forces (the President), often have very little expertise, yet review the
presentations of the experts and make the final decisions. Detailed knowledge
is usually not necessary, and is sometimes actually a disadvantage, because of
the well known forest-and-trees phenomenon.

To take cryonics seriously in the face of establishment opinion requires
unusual confidence in your own common sense, as well as willlingness to face
criticism. But if you lack these qualities you have lost control.

In this particular case, the evidence is clear and simple. Is freezing damage
as severe as grinding damage? You can easily verify what I have said, that
many lower animals and other biological systems, and a few small organs of
adult mammals (such as rat parathyroid) have recovered after storage in liquid
nitrogen, and many others after dry ice storage, some even after liquid
helium. There is no record, as far as I know, of any recovery after grinding,
and no reason to expect any. (For appropriate comparison, the grinding
obviously must be on an appropriate scale--fine enough to compromise the
structures in which we are interested.)
It is therefore amply clear, and not refutable by any amount of sophistry,
that freezing is much less damaging than grinding. Rowe could not have failed
to know this.

>nor on legalities (accusations ?= actionable).  But I will take the dubious 
>step of jumping into this debate to say that there is another good 
>reason to avoid calling Dr. Rowe a "conscious liar".  

>Even when someone *is* a liar, it is generally a bad idea to call them 
>one.  Attention quickly turns from the issue of wether or not they are 
>wrong, to the issue of wether or not *you* can prove that they had ill 
>intent.  It's generally not a good idea to change the subject when 
>your critic has just made a gaffe, yet calling them a liar can do that.  

>For these, and other reasons, I strongly reccommend that we do not call 
>Dr. Rowe a liar.  

I disagree strongly, for the following reasons.

First, it is only appropriate to grant good faith to the opposition if there
is reason to believe the opponent is indeed operating in good faith. There is
ample evidence that many of our cryobiologist critics are not acting in good
faith. Here I'll merely capsulize a few of the items of evidence: (1) Rowe
initially was friendly to us (I have his letters) and changed his tune only
after it became clear we could not provide financial support at that time, and
some of the senior people in cryobiology were opposed--some, e.g. Meryman (I
have his letters) on admittedly ideological or religious grounds. (2) They
steadfastly refuse full and open debate, restricting themselves to sound-
bites. (3) The Society for Cryobiology has a formal policy against allowing
cryonicists as members--a clear violation of the principle of academic freedom
and scientific freedom. Their publication will not accept papers from publicly
known cryonicists, regardless of merit. (4) They frequently express opinions
on the probability of success of cryonics, saying sometimes that it is zero,
more often that it is "negligible," but never offering any calculation or any
detailed reasoning to support this assertion, fraudulently relying on their

Second, if we supinely accept their insults--they say, in effect and sometimes
explicitly, that we are just fools or fantasists--and still allow them the
dignity of presumed objectivity, then we are playing by their rules, always a
losing game. They are NOT objective, and we must not allow that presumption. 

Third, it is not appropriate for us to be indifferent to outrages, as a matter
of either internal or external psychology. George Smith has a counseling
program to cure anger, but I doubt that he would say anger is always
inappropriate. Sometimes it is necessary in order to energize yourself, and
sometimes it is necessary to make others realize you are serious. 

Fourth, I am not primarily turning attention from the merits of Rowe's
argument to Rowe himself. Rather, I am trying to bring or return attention to
the merits--since attention has drifted, and some readers were never aware of

Robert Ettinger
Cryonics Institute
Immortalist Society

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