X-Message-Number: 12055
Date: Sat, 03 Jul 1999 16:34:56 -0400
From: Paul Wakfer <>
Subject: Re: Ettinger's distortions [was Wakfer's distortions (Just the Facts)]

Ettinger wrote:
> Paul Wakfer (cryonet # 12043, and probably on Sci.Cry.) 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.

Then I apologize for doing so.
In the past, it has always been your practice to seek maximum coverage
for all your words of wisdom.

> [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 
> is working WITH 21CM, not as a direct employe.

But he is *not* working WITH 21CM. He is working for HUREI, and with
Greg Fahy, in Greg's INDEPENDENT capacity as co-principal investigator
of the HSCP.
Certainly, if Mike Darwin read your phrase that Yuri "is held in
sufficiently high esteem by 21CM", he (Mike) would repudiate that in an

Your *intent* was to make CI's research efforts more credible by
associating the man who did them with 21CM and that simply will not
wash. Also, it is very curious that you would attempt to do this while
at the same time (or in other places) denigrating (or ignoring) the
importance and value of the work which is being done by 21CM.
If 'playing both sides against the middle' is not distorting, then I
don't know what is!

> 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
> reasons.

Please re-read my statement. Any charitable aspect was entirely
secondary, and in fact was less charity than it was related to not
violating implied promises after Yuri had made efforts and partially
burned bridges behind him in order to come. However, in the end, it was
the fact that we could find no one else and we wanted to get on with the
project, which clinched our decision.

I find it really strange that Bob believes that he can accuse *me* of
distorting things about which I was directly connected and a prime
decision maker, when he was nowhere near the center of this
decision-making and clearly still misunderstands the relationships
between all the entities involved.

> In his next message, Wakfer says:
> [Ettinger wrote]
> > >1. I have always been optimistic, and although the growth of cryonics has
> been
> > >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
> >published,
> I said "hostile milieu of tradition,"

There was no "hostile milieu of tradition," either, except perhaps from
deathists. Certainly not from scientists, for which there was no
'tradition' at all!

> 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.

But there are vast differences in degrees of 'taking hold'. Granted it's
hind-sight, but my reading of the history of the times is that major
mistakes in dealing with cryobiologists were made which caused the soil
to become much less fertile and caused much fewer seeds to take hold and
those which did to grown extremely slowly.

To again contrast cryonics with the life-extension/supplement
revolution, a similarly far-out idea (introduced to the public at large
much later than cryonics) caught on and grew much more rapidly because
it was scientifically (however tenuously) based, admitted its lack of
hard evidence, and called for more research to prove its theories. 
> [Wakfer]:
> >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
> >success.

> 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.

I think your 'pretending' is a pure backwards view based on your not
wishing to admit any fault in what transpired. Such distortions are
quite typical of those needing to hide guilt from their own psyches.

Your statement does not ring true since in the 50s and early 60s
suspended animation was considered to be the 'holy grail' and end goal
of cryobiology, only to be repudiated in order to escape being tainted
by association with cryonics *after* it was clear that it was taking the
road of scientific quackery!

> [Wakfer]:
> >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 
> people "detached" or "realistic" is flat-out wrong

They were as detached and realistic as scientists are trained to be and
must be in order to remain scientists.

> --as even some currently in
> Wakfer's camp once acknowledged and argued.

First, I don't have a 'camp'. I don't pretend to be a 'camp' leader and
I certainly have never been a camp follower :)

Second, I acknowledge what you are saying both for myself and some
others. However, it happened because we were 'believers' then, just
like you and so many other cryonics devotees. The difference is that
*we* were capable of objectivity and of consequent change based on
additional information and analysis. 

> [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.

Again your bias is shown by your choice of what to address. You did not
address the words 'truthful', or 'solidly scientific', but instead only
the word 'complete'. As the old saying goes 'garbage in, garbage out'.
Paragraphs of pseudo-scientific mumbo jumbo and dozens of links to
garbage are still garbage!

> [Ettinger wrote]
> > >As Dave said, Saul Kent for example is relatively
> > >negative on the chances of cryonics with current procedures (even
> CryoCare's),
> > >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.

And *I* did not imply that you or he did.

> But what we said about LEF's

> optimistic advertising is easily verified by anyone who reads its 

Only about that which they have some reasonable scientific evidence to
be positive about. When they realized that Shark Cartilage, for example,
was *not* having anti-cancer effects, they quickly and forthrightly
become NEGATIVE about it!
> [Wakfer]:
> >>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".

No, I mean positive end results which are shown to hold by placebo
controlled experiments (double blinded if possible).

For supplemental health and/or life-extension claims this means that
some study on tissues, animals models, and/or humans has statistically
significantly shown the putative effect.
For the cryonics goal, this would mean that some experiment has restored
some reasonable surrogate animal model to life after storage for a
period of time by a method for which it is agreed that much longer
storage would make little difference.
No such experiment has ever succeeded. Thus, there is ZERO evidence of
this kind for the cryonics goal.

> 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.

Again you show a gross lack of understanding (more likely
acknowledgment, since you are not that stupid) of the *levels* of
Here is a brief summary of that hierarchy.
1. Anecdotal evidence (obtained from individual results of reliably
rational and objective people).
2. Biological theory implications. These are notoriously liable to be
incorrect and may be less reliable than anecdotal evidence, in general.
However, if the area of the theory is sufficiently simple, biological
theoretical predictions can approach the accuracy and reliability with
which they regarded in the physical sciences.
3. Experiments with cell cultures and tissues, first of animals, better
with humans.
4. Experiments with animal models. Again depending on how closely the
animal models is to humans and the nature of the cells/tissues/effects
involved, the important of type 3 and 4 evidence may be reversed.
5. Epidemiological studies in humans. Depending on many factors, this
evidence can be properly regarded as low as number 1. In any case this
kind of evidence does not say anything about causality. It is also not
applicable to cryonics, although the unearthing of permafrost burials
and the man found in the glacier may be looked upon as a kind of
epidemiological study of cryonics.
6. Full, placebo-controlled, whole body human studies.

The scientific establishment generally advises against the use of things
which have not passed all the way to number 6 in terms of efficacy
(safety is a separate issue). The problem with this view is that many
non-patentable things will never get the funding to pass beyond number
5. In addition, a reasonable case can be made for some things which are
in the more persuasive parts of 3 and 4, depending on ones age
(necessity for intervention) and the theory revolving around the item
under contention.

The only items applicable to cryonics are 2 and partially 3 and 4 (in
their weakest senses).
If this were the only evidence for an expensive supplement, I would not
take it unless/until I became terminal (just as is my approach with

If cryonics was really as 'reliable' as many (certainly yourself)
maintain, then there should be enormous pressure from those who have
currently dismal lives (such as paraplegics, totally blind, those in
constant pain, the highly depressed, etc) to escape their current
predicament and travel forward in time to when they could be cured and
live happy productive lives.
In fact, there *are* no such pressures because even such desperate
people realize (just as most of those who are terminal) that cryonics
currently has virtually no chance of succeeding. It appears to be only
the majority of those who sign-up for cryonics, feel 'saved', and become
members of the flock, who cannot see that fact of reality.
It is only those of us who value any chance for extended life extremely
much higher than present happiness or other after-life uses of ones
that will go to all the time, effort and expense of sign-up to gain this
minuscule chance. 

> [Ettinger]:
> >> 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
> more

> >> money into research, as opposed to buying actual cryonics services. That is
> > >legitimate, if openly argued; it is not legitimate, if evidence for the
> promise
> > >of cryonics is suppressed for their agenda.
> [Wakfer]:
> >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.

Not at all, as I made clear in more detail above.

> 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.

I agree. Based on the summary of kinds of evidence given above and
detailed elsewhere, I urge everyone to ojectively judge what is
available at your website.

And then, if you still like the cryonics idea (as I do), proceed to help
strengthen that evidence to a reasonable scientific standard (at least
above level 4 in the summary above).

The Institute for Neural Cryobiology is open for donations at any time
(which will be put 100% toward suspended animation research) and 21CM
will eventually have a share offering which you can be saving up for.

> [Wakfer]:
> >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 

> was not persuaded by evidence, but emotionally "converted" through "faith.") 
> 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.

No. 'Nuff distortion said!

First, the evidence has changed (for the negative) while I have been
involved with cryonics (since 1986).
Second, I accumulated capital and got more heavily involved to try to
make the evidence stronger
and the chances of restoration higher. When first involved (and before
more negative evidence came and/or I had the experience/knowledge to
properly assess what was there), I thought that it served my purposes
best to take the most positive view possible (just as you and others are
doing). (I think that Charles Platt has described his cryonics
development in a similar fashion - he was more positive when he knew
less.) The difference is that I was not a *real* believer and my mind
remained open to learn and to change. I also admit to some degree of
psychological 'conversion' and faith. I think that it is virtually
impossible to be espousing such far-out idea which 99.999% of the world
believes are 'crazy' *without* being partially captured by such 'faith'.
If you and many others don't have that, if you are fully rationally
convinced of what you say, then you are even stupider than I thought :-) 

The lack of support given cryonics research was not part of the evidence
against the feasibility of cryonics, but instead against the feasibility
of making it work.

What you may not realize, or don't seem to understand is that I did not
join cryonics wanting or expecting to be frozen with then or now current
techniques. I joined cryonics so that the techniques would be adequate
for my needs when/if I should eventually come to need them. However, I
finally realized that the faith of cryonics devotees was working against
this. That is when I lost (actually, decided to no longer have) my
-- Paul --

  Voice/Fax: 416-968-6291  ICQ: 25490505
The Institute for Neural Cryobiology - http://neurocryo.org
Perfected cryopreservation of Central Nervous System tissue
for neuroscience research and medical repair of brain diseases

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