X-Message-Number: 10420
Date: Sun, 13 Sep 1998 05:21:12 -0700
From: Paul Wakfer <>
Subject: Thomas Donaldson is one of the Good Guys
References: <>


Please quit thinking that everything that is said on CryoNet is directed
at you!
None of my criticisms are meant for you, and I know that nothing Charles
wrote was initially directed at you either.
Certainly, you have supported research, put in money, been very active,
and altogether done far more than your share to make cryonics succeed
over the years. If every inactive cryonicist had done *one tenth* as
much as you, we would be enormously farther ahead than we are.

> though I do
> believe that some kind of nanotechnology will be needed to revive
> those frozen by current methods, if revival is possible.

This has never been disputed by anyone that I know of.
> But I have been involved in cryonics for longer than either of you
> together, and I have come to see just how slow and how long it will
> take for us to really attain the state you want.

You have come to see that it *is* slow because it always has been. But
this is quite different from saying that it *must* be slow because it
always has been. And, in fact, there is no good reason why research, and
the development and growth of cryonics has to remain slow. I could, in
fact, accuse you and some others of getting discouraged and giving up,
because you all now accept the inevitability (and almost necessity) of
slow growth (what I like to call "cryonics in the small").

> Among other points,
> I do not intend to retract my pledge to Prometheus (and now to INC,
> if as I understand the latter has taken over) until you explicitly
> free me of it.

Several things here.

1. INC has *not* taken over the Prometheus Project. That was never the
intention and it makes no sense. The Hippocampal Slice Cryopreservation
project (HSCP) is simply a small project that came out of the Prometheus
Project idea, rallying cry, research promotion, and pledge raising
effort. The HSCP will carry on and should be underway within a month. 
2. With the initiation and intensification of effort on suspended
animation research by 21st Century Medicine, the original idea of the
Prometheus Project is, in fact, already taking place.  While I did think
that it might still be possible to carry on a parallel effort, lack of
sufficient financial or promotional support has made me realize that it
is not feasible to do so. Hell, I can't even turn the Prometheus pledges
into a measily $75K to finance the HSCP.
3. There is no need for you to even think in terms of being released
from your pledge to Prometheus, because all pledges were always
conditional on reaching $1 Million in pledges (and many other
conditions) and that is simply not going to happen now. However, if you
need me to do so, I hereby officially terminate the Prometheus project
(whatever it was), declare it dead and disbanded, and release you and
all others from your/their pledges. I will keep the web site going for a
while with suitable modifications when I get around to it, because it
continues to attract potentially useful people every so often.
> And I almost had to be suspended with those methods
> that you think so poorly of, myself. That may even still happen.

Yes, I think very poorly of "those methods", but since they are the best
we have I would use them if I had to, because they are better than the
alternative (as I stated at the end of my last message). All that I can
do is express the hope that neither you nor I nor anyone else has to be
suspended before those methods are vastly improved.

> I will also note that right now, regardless of what we hope for the
> future, if anyone gets into serious trouble they will still need to
> be suspended by the older methods... no matter how much research
> goes on for the future.

Thomas, why do you feel you need to keep saying this when *no one* has
said suggested anything different?

> Not only that, but for a long time there
> will remain those cases in which a rescue team did not quite reach
> someone in time, for many different reasons.

Not just for a long time, but *forever*! Just as now, many people die of
accidents, diseases, etc, which if they had occured in a fully equipped
hospital could have been fixed/cured. However, as I have stated many
times if/when perfected suspended animation becomes a fully accepted
part of standard medicine, the percentage or optimal (or nearly so)
suspensions will rise dramatically, because all medical personel
including EMT's will be trained to initiate such proceedures. That was
the goal of the Prometheus Project and is now the goal of 21CM.

> What we must live with now, and many will have to live with even
> if full suspended animation (remember that you predicted that it
> would take 20 years!)

There is now good reason to think that the research, at least, can be
done more quickly, perhaps by 2010. Bu yes, if will be at least 20 years
before it is integrated into established medicine.

> existed, is UNCERTAINTY. Yes, uncertainty is
> uncomfortable. We can help that not just by trying to develop
> suspended animation but also by trying to distinguish the minimum
> state below which no future technology will ever be able to revive
> someone. (That is what study of how memory works, combined with
> careful study of the effects of cryonic suspension, will give us).

Thomas, that sort of analysis may reduce *your* uncomfortable feelings
of uncertainty, but it is not going to do much for most scientists, and
it is going to convince damned few people to sign up. What *will*
convince both scientists and get people to sign up is a fully perfected
process, and humans who have been frozen and restored! It does not
matter that they might not get such a reversible suspension because of
getting mangled in a bad accident or something, what will be important
to people is that they have a chance at near perfection!

> Do you seriously believe that suspended animation will be of any
> use to you if you deanimate of a heart attack far away from any
> cryonics center?

Actually, yes, because by the time suspended animation is perfected and
implemented in major medical centers, anyone wishing the process will
also likely have some automated monitoring system that they can wear
which will call for air ambulance aid, if it detects that they need it.
This is the logical extension 20 years from now of the bracelets and
necklaces that we all wear.

> Or for that matter that the discovery of suspended
> animation would cause legislatures to immediately change their laws
> in our favor and doctors to flock to learn of this new technique?

Not immediately, but, yes, very soon after it is fully proven and
verified and has gone through clinical trials.

> That is not how the world works at all. Think how long it took
> such a simple thing as anesthesia to be widely used,

>From my understanding it was not at all "clear" that anesthesia was
necessary or superior. In addition, communication of scientific/medical
results, and their value were extremely inferior then to now.

Someone being vitrified and revived will be much clearer, more well
communicated. and more quickly accepted and demanded by sufficient
numbers of people as a life saving measure.

> and then think again about cryonics.

There is nothing think about. Cryonics has really not *accomplished*
anything yet.

> And for Paul Wakfer: I have been in cryonics long enough to see
> people start something with enthusiasm, and spend much of their
> money and energy on it --- only to meet with the dumb unthinking
> response of others, and become discouraged. Some of them leave cryonics
> outright.

Please don't lump me together with others. I do not discourage easily
and I am not discouraged with *cryonics* at all. I am only discouraged
(and disgusted, frankly) with finding so many "deadheads" in the
cryonics community. Your phrase, "dumb unthinking response", describes
them perfectly. And once again Thomas, I am not talking about *you*.

> Others remain members of a society, but never afterwards
> lift a finger to promote cryonics.

Quite so. And the ones who have been attracted by Nanotechnology are
generally the worst of the lot.

> Did you really think it would be easy, what you wanted to do?

No, I thought it would be exceedingly difficult and was *told* it would
be impossible. That was one of the reasons why I was keen to try.
Anyway, in a sense what I wanted to do *is* happening. But people have
not supported my particular efforts and plans. There is no longer any
place for me and I cannot see any way that I can do anything
particularly effective in the cryonics area, so I am leaving it for now.
There is still one potential that might bring me back and get me heavily
involved again. If it happens great, but I am not going to wait around
for it or anything else, "holding my breath".

> Yes, I agree that you had a good plan,
> but if you listened you would know of those who might accept your
> ideas in principle, but wonder about this or about that, or those
> who decide to spend their money on research elsewhere,

If many were doing this, I would have no complaint, but few are doing
anything but behaving like everyone else and spending it on their own
narrow, short-range self-interest. While I am on this unmentionable
subject of how cryonicists use their assets, let me point out some ways
in which perfected suspended animation could very likely be attained and
established in standard medicine within 15-20 years.

1. If Don Laughlin sold one car per year from his car museum and used
the proceeds to purchase shares in 21CM.
2. If all signed-up cryonicists decided to drive a honda accord (or
equivalently priced vehicle) for the next 20 years instead of their
present vehicle (if higher priced) and used the money saved to fund
3. If all signed-up cryonicists moved into a much less expensiver
residence and used the money saved to finance research.
4. If all signed-up cryonicists reduced the number of dinners they eat
out, movies/concerts/theater they attend, etc. etc. by 90% and put the
money saved towards research.
I could go on and on, but you get the idea. There are so many luxuries
of which everyone partakes which pale in comparison with what the money
spent on them could achieve in the way of making more certain that their
lives would be saved.

> or those
> who agree abstractly but not knowing you at all,

They could have made an effort to get to know me if that was necessary
for them, but they didn't.

> wonder if you will
> make the best choice for someone to lead that effort.

There was never any requirement for me to lead the research effort.
All I was doing was trying to raise the money. Some kind of job for
myself out of it would have been nice, but not essential.

> Cryonics, I
> will say, is not just about living with uncertainty but also about
> refusing to give up when things get difficult and success no longer
> seems so easy.

Thomas, *I* know all this just as well as you do. The difference between
us is that I can't do less the put my *entire being* into what I am
attempting to achieve. I cannot sit and twiddle my thumbs waiting for
other idiots to become convinced of what I *know* is right, and have
explained in the most logical, sound way that I know how, and they still
won't accept, even though they profess to want to save their lives. In
any case, there is no longer a need for me keep banging my head against
the wall, because we now, thanks to Saul Kent and Bill Faloon, have a
very well funded suspended animation research operation in progress.
Therefore, I am now free to put my efforts to extend my own life to
better use elsewhere.

I am not going off to crawl into a hole and quietly accept death. I will
never do that. I remain committed to the achievement of an open ended
lifespan for all humans who want it. I have simply expressed my
displeasure and disgust with most of the cryonics community and have
decided to abandon trying to work with them.

-- Paul --

Rate This Message: http://www.cryonet.org/cgi-bin/rate.cgi?msg=10420