X-Message-Number: 12031
Date: Tue, 29 Jun 1999 21:33:47 EDT
Subject: 3 Brief Replies & 1 Short Comment

1.  Mr Robin Hanson wrote:


True enough.  But it's not a matter of facing a huge challenge, but of going 
out and grappling with it.  Problems have solutions, and we can always start 
somewhere.  Why not with ourselves?  It's not hard to truthfully say to 
people,  "Cryonics could save the lives of millions of men, women, and 
children."  It certainly sounds better than "I don't want to die!", and a 
good cry is half the battle.  Recruiting people to a good cause isn't hard.  
The fact is, caring people exist.  There are people -- lots and lots of them 
-- who actively want to help others and save lives, and give their own lives 
some meaning in the process.  What's wrong with cryonics as one way to do 
that -- maybe the best way?  Nothing -- except the fact that it's never 
presented to them that way.  We ought to try it.  To catch a mouse, you have 
to make a noise like a cheese.

2.  In a curious post to sci.cryonics, Mr Charles Platt wrote:

<<It has been pointed out to me that Mr. "Pascal" is surprisingly well
informed about cryonics. He presents himself as a relative newcomer to the
field; yet he has read Fahy's testimony in the Dora Kent case,>>

Easily available in toto at www.cryonics.org (along with a great deal else).

<< he understands at least the basics of ischemia, >>

Public Library, medical section

<<he is familiar with Saul Kent's role in cryonics currently and previously 
(and dislikes Mr. Kent),>>

Good grief, where did Platt come up with that one?  I think the world of Saul 
Kent!  He's a prince!  How in the world can anybody study cryonics without 
being aware of Saul's contributions?  OK, I think that his current views on 
how to market cryonics are not terribly edifying, but you can certainly 
disagree with a person on some one point without detesting the guy.  Saul 
Kent is great!

<<he is familiar with Alcor publications even though supposedly he belongs
to a different organization,>>

Alcor's magnum opus, CRFT, is available online, plus it has a quarterly 
magazine out.  And I belong to CI, no 'supposedly' about it.  (Are there 
really closet Alcor members running around pretending to be CI ones?.)

<<and he has developed fully formed opinions about everything.>>

Not so.  I have not yet fully decided whether I prefer polka-dot underwear to 
the floral-bouquet pattern versions.  

<<it took me a couple of years to acquire this kind of detailed knowledge of 
cryonics-- Most revealing of all is Mr. "Pascal"'s surprisingly detailed 
knowledge of
cryonics history. For example, I mentioned an insurance agent who tried to
market cryonics "before I entered the field." In his reply to my post, Mr.
"Pascal" introduced the fact that the agent was active more than two
decades ago. I myself did not say this; "Pascal" did.>>

Actually, "I" believe I said that the fellow was active 'one or two' decades 
ago.  A ten year span there, you'll notice.  See, I knew that Charles has 
been involved with cryonics for about ten years since he said so in an Alcor 
article I read.  Since 'more than ten years' means 'one or two decades'  (I 
deftly assumed the salesman had not been marketing cryonics earlier, during 
the Boer War, say), I deduced I had the right to phrase it as I did.  
Elementary, my dear Plattson.  In doing so, I may have seemed to be more 
knowledgeable than I am.  -- Would that I were the only person in cryonics of 
whom that may be said.

<<Only a tiny handful of cryonics veterans know this particular piece of
cryo-trivia. Therefore I have to conclude that Mr. "Pascal" is not being
straight with us and may, alas, be the reincarnation of a well-known
former net troll, clawing his way back from the state of suspended
animation that was imposed upon him a couple of years ago when his former
cryonics organization became terminally irritated by his provocations.>>

Sorry.  I exist.  Furthermore, I am also me.  I even look like the picture on 
my web site (well, a little uglier maybe; it's a good photo).  I am kind of 
loath to put my actual home address out on the Internet, lest the legion of 
strange people that infest it turn up at my door.  However - since I really 
am a member of what I believe to be the most significant organization in 
cryonics, ie CI -- interested readers wishing to confirm my identity could 
probably do so by making a check out to 'David Pascal' and sending it care of 
The Cryonics Institute, my provider.  I note that filling in a really large 
amount will produce a correspondingly big conviction after I cash it. 

(Yes.  I am joking.) 


Mr Platt's resolution was all too brief, for he responded to some other 
remarks I had made the very same day.  I'm a bit pressed for time however 
(see below) so I'll get to it some other day.

3.  Mr Saul Kent -- whom I revere -- wrote:

<<  Over the years, I've been disappointed
that salesmen with good track records in other 
fields have been unsuccessful in selling cryonics, 
and that others with strong ideas about how to 
sell cryonics haven't tried to do so.>>

To Saul I would say this.  Look.  You're in the vitamin business, right?  
You've done well, I take it.  Now I'd wager you didn't do that  by writing 
front-page articles called "The Failure Of Vitamin Therapy" and putting them 
in major health journals.  Nor did you go onto newsgroups and mailing lists 
and say, "You know, everyone, a lot of doctors and scientists think vitamins 
are really pretty useless."   You didn't tell folks, "Vitamins are a bad 
product.  What we really need is to put our money into research, for however 
many years it takes, till we come up with a vitamin that's unarguably and 
absolutely 100% effective."  What you did was go out and say -- very wisely, 
and in complete truth -- that a number of respected doctors and scientists 
felt that vitamins are worth taking, that some studies seem to bear out the 
idea  that vitamin-taking may be good for the body, and that they were 
affordable and really couldn't hurt, provided people used them with a little 
common sense.  Then you went out and got someone to write a catalog of your 
products, hired some people to place ads, probably did some Direct Mail 
stuff, and so on.  The result of this good active marketing effort was good 
active marketing results.  There isn't any big surprise about this.

But with cryonics, it's a 180 degree turn.  Cryonics marketing seems to 
consist of people sitting around chewing the fat about quanta, until some one 
lone salesman decides he's going to go out and sell suspensions door-to-door. 
 Of course, selling tried-and-true stuff like Life Insurance is quicker and 
easier and more profitable, so -- after a while this fleeting attempt peters 
out, till a few years pass, and another half-hearted amateur attempt is 
tried.  Well, what can I say?  Poor planning, poor funding, no staff, no 
media -- it's weak, underfunded, sporadic marketing, and just as the good 
marketing above got good results, bad marketing like this gets bad results. 

Now, I don't think looking to get money for research is a bad thing at all.  
But how does calling cryonics a 'bad product' help anyone do that?  People in 
cryonics -- maybe it's because of their academic background, I don't know -- 
seem to think that getting funds is like competing for a grant:  The 
Foundation's only got so much to disemburse, so getting that money means 
you've got to elbow every other contestant or department out the way.  But 
it's not like that in the real world.  You know, in your place, I'd skip 
cryonics totally and just go with straight Direct Mail.  Every morning I open 
my mailbox, and there sit five or six letters asking me for money to stop 
diabetes, cancer, hunger in Kosovo, etc.  I read them, and if the cause 
sounds good, I send in a few dollars.  If I got a letter from an organization 
asking for funds to help fund research  for organ preservation, cornea 
transplants, hypothermic surgery, ischemia prevention, I'd certainly consider 
sending along a few bucks.  I certainly never sent anyone money for telling 
me cryonics or any other '-ics' that *didn't* work.  The DM approach (and a 
good list, of course) has gotten money thousands of times over, from people 
who have no interest in cryonics at all -- ie a target market of hundreds of 
millions.  Why not do what works? 

And finally, I myself write :

Listen, everyone - as some of you out there may know, my hard disk bit the 
dust some days ago.  Hence my files, particularly recent email, have 
experienced warm ischemia.  Science is leaping to the rescue, trying to 
resurrect some of the data at the local computer shop.  But, if anyone 
reading this has sent me email in the last few days, there is a real good 
chance it's fritzed out and I haven't gotten it.  Try again, OK?

David Pascal

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