X-Message-Number: 12046
Date: Fri, 2 Jul 1999 11:29:34 EDT
Subject: Wakfer's distortions

Paul Wakfer (cryonet # 12043) wrote:

>On sci.cryonics, Ettinger wrote:
>(and, I on cryonet also I expect, although I don't know since I only
>resubscribed so that I could post this message.)

No, I didn't post it to Cryonet.

[Wakfer quotes Ettinger]:

>> Please see our Research page for detailed reports by
>> independent experts on procedures used on sheep heads, corresponding to CI
>> patient procedures, and the results. The main researcher was professional
>> cryobiologist Yuri Pichugin, who is held in sufficiently high esteem by 
>> that he was imported from the Ukraine to work with them in their current
>> research.

Wakfer describes this as a distortion, and if it conveyed the impression that 
Pichugin is working directly for 21CM, then that impression was wrong. But 
the main thrust of my comment remains true--that 21CM's chief scientist(s), 
including Greg Fahy, think enough of Pichugin to work with him, and to have 
gone to considerable trouble to bring him here. Pichugin is working under the 
(co)direction of Fahy, and Fahy is the chief scientist at 21CM. I said 
Pichugin is working WITH 21CM, not as a direct employe.

If Wakfer is trying to imply that Pichugin was brought here as an act of 
charity, that is REALLY a distortion of fact--and indeed it would imply that 
the welfare of the research and of 21CM were being sacrificed for maudlin 

In his next message, Wakfer says:
[Ettinger wrote]
> >1. I have always been optimistic, and although the growth of cryonics has 
> >very slow, it DID take root and HAS grown, in a very hostile milieu of
> >tradition.

Wakfer then writes:

>This is distortion.
>There was little hostility during the first years after your book was

I said "hostile milieu of tradition," and that was and remains true. If 
someone would rather say "inhospitable" instead of "hostile"--fine, but for 
practical purposes that changes nothing. The soil was not fertile, but the 
seeds took hold anyway.

>certainly none from mainstream cryobiologists who embraced
>cryonics as a potential source of popularization of their 'backwater'
>research area and a source of funding leading to its rapid growth and

A distortion. Most of the leading cryobiologists--I have their letters and 
met some of them--were hostile from the start. A relative few (Rowe for 
example) pretended at first to be friendly for the reason Wakfer mentions, 
the hope of funding.

>It was only when cryonicists such as yourself (with continued reliance
>on our 'friends of the future" making everything possible) continued to
>repudiate their scientific detachment, realism, and conservatism that
>the disenchantment began in earnest and grew into a major rift.

Major distortions, too numerous for the space and time available. Calling 
those people "detached" or "realistic" is flat-out wrong--as even some 
currently in Wakfer's camp once acknowledged and argued.

[Ettinger said]
>> Currently, CI growth is fastest of all the organizations--the result
>> of many factors, to be sure, but I think our relative optimism has helped.

[Wakfer said]

>In the field of 'supplement pushers', the fastest growing companies
>appear to be those which present the least complete, truthful, or
>solidly scientific information (many of them also organized as MLM).
>Those companies, too, are extremely optimistic (each new product will
>make you healtheir, have better sex. and live longer than any other).
>I am sure this is one of the factors in CI's case as well.

Not just a distortion, but a plain canard. CI's web site has more 
cryonics-related information on it than any other, including links to ALL the 
other organizations.

[Ettinger wrote]
> >As Dave said, Saul Kent for example is relatively
> >negative on the chances of cryonics with current procedures (even 
> >but in his area of business success--selling vitamins and health
> >supplements--his approach has been the traditional one of blowing your horn
> >loudly and hopefully, a "joyous shout unto Heaven."

[Wakfer wrote]:

>Another distortion.
>As a member of the Life Extension Foundation almost from its inception,
>I have been very pleased to see a clear trend toward scientific
>objectivity in all LEF publications. 

I did not attack LEF, nor did Dave Pascal. But what we said about LEF's 
optimistic advertising is easily verified by anyone who reads its 
publications. They are POSITIVE, POSITIVE, POSITIVE.

>>The major different between what
>>LEF is doing and cryonics, is that there *is* good scientific evidence
>>for many of the benefits of supplements (even if not yet fully accepted
>>by the science/medicine establishment), whereas for cryonics proceedures
>>there is none whatsoever!

This is not just distortion--it is gibberish, unless you choose to define 
"evidence" as "whatever satisfies Wakfer". Note also that Wakfer regards lack 
of acceptance by the Establishment as something not to be taken too seriously 
in the context of vitamins and supplements, but to be taken as conclusive in 
the case of cryonics.

>> We all understand, of course, that part of the motivation for Kent's and
>> Darwin's and Platt's negativism is their desire to motivate people to put 
>> money into research, as opposed to buying actual cryonics services. That is
> >legitimate, if openly argued; it is not legitimate, if evidence for the 
> >of cryonics is suppressed for their agenda.

>But Bob, nothing is supressed because there IS NO EVIDENCE in any
>currently accepted bio-scientific meaning of that word.

Wakfer seems to equate the EXISTENCE of evidence with the ACCEPTANCE of the 
persuasiveness of that evidence. A majority of cryobiologists do not believe 
our patients can be revived; that is NOT the same as saying that there is no 
evidence in our favor. Again--see for yourself, if you are new or want to 
review. On our web site we have reams of evidence. Judge for yourself how 
good it is.

>In the past, I too was a devout believer in the cryonics gospel of faith
>in nanotechnology, our friends of the future, the milk of human
>kindness, the inevitable progress of technology, the stability of
>civilization, the distributed nature of mind in the brain, and the
>possibility (even if very small) of restoring sufficient information
>from a chaotic mess, but that faith wore thin when I saw very few people
>actually willing to *do* anything to give that 'promise' a better chance
>to come to pass.

What a strange, strange statement! By his own confession, Wakfer was 
initially persuaded by the evidence that he now calls non-existent. (Or else 
initially he was not persuaded by evidence, but emotionally "converted" 
through "faith.") He changed his mind not because the evidence of scientific 
feasibility changed, but because of his disappointments in the the support 
given cryonics research. 'Nuff said.

Robert Ettinger
Cryonics Institute
Immortalist Society

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