X-Message-Number: 11989
Date: Tue, 22 Jun 1999 18:05:47 -0400
From: Saul Kent <>
Subject: Why Cryonics Isn't Popular

        In Cryonet msg. #11983, Robin Hanson 
suggests that cryonics isn't "popular" among "people 
who think of the distant future...as a scarry, alien 
place..." He also suggests that "evidence of the 
effectiveness of cryonics technology is only 
marginally important."

        I don't agree.  If we had evidence of the
effectiveness of cryonics technology, we would have 
a basis for assuming that cryonics patients could be
restored to life in the relatively near future, which 
might be less "alien" and "scarry" to people.

        Moreover, there are many people who look
forward to the "distant future", with only a small fraction
of these people signed up for cryonics.  In fact, only a 
very small fraction of the people who are favorable to 
cryonics are signed up.  

        I believe the primary reasons people
favorable to cryonics don't sign up are:

        1)  The prevailing scientific opinion 
that cryonics patients are preserved so badly 
that it won't be possible to restore them to life.

        2) The scientific evidence showing 
that cryonics patients *are* preserved badly.

        3) The paucity of evidence that it 
will someday become possible to restore 
the identity of today's cryonics patients.

        4)  The lack of evidence of a
scientific, well-financed effort to improve 
cryonics technology.

        As many of you know, I am doing my
best to improve cryonics technology.  In the early
1990s, I started 21st Century Medicine (21CM) to 
conduct research aimed at improving resuscitation, 
hypothermia and cryopreservation, all of which are 
integral to the practice of cryonics.

        I recently started a new research and
development company called Advanced BioSciences, 
which aims to apply the research advances of 21CM 
and other companies to the practice of cryonics. 

        When we reach the point where we can
provide people with scientific evidence of improved
cryonics technology and the likelihood that the tech-
nology will continue to improve, I believe we will see
substantial growth in the movement.  How substantial
this growth will be will depend, in large part, on the 
ability of cryonics organizations to use this evidence 
to convince mainstream scientists, the media, and 
the public of the credibility and value of cryonics.

        I think the whole idea of the popularity of
the practice of cryonics is a red herring.  Cryonics 
doesn't have to become popular to succeed. If only
one person in a thousand signed up for cryonics, 
cryonics would still be unpopular, but would be a 
multi-billion dollar industry, with more than 250,000 
people signed up in the U.S. alone, and thousands 
of patients being cryopreserved every year.  

---Saul Kent

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