X-Message-Number: 12064
Date: Sun, 4 Jul 1999 16:58:52 EDT
Subject: Wakfer's whoppers

It is often said of the American public that it tends to believe the last 
thing it saw or heard, and has an attention span of minutes or hours. I hope 
this isn't true of cryonicists, or even of  browsers on cryonics sites, 
but--within reason--I probably shouldn't allow Wakfer's continued/renewed 
distortions to be the last word.

Before beginning the latest response, a humorous note. A while back, as some 
readers recall, Wakfer ostentatiously unsubscribed from Cryonet because there 
were too many posts he thought inappropriate. However, he either kept 
watching or had someone reporting to him, since he recently resubscribed to 
attack me and CI. A teensy bit of hypocrisy? Obviously, except for the 
dramatic flourish, he could more easily just have stayed with his 
subscription and read only what he chose. O.K.--I'll mercifully omit some of 
Wakfer's latest, and just hit a few high (or low) spots:


>In the past, it has always been your practice to seek maximum coverage
>for all your words of wisdom.

Whereas Wakfer has always hidden his light under a bushel and regarded his 
own words as having questionable value.

>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

Of course it washes. Wakfer's hair-splittings do not change the fact that 
Pichugin was brought over in conjunction with 21CM-related work, and with the 
approval of 21CM's chief cryobiologist. Or did Greg Fahy oppose bringing 
Pichugin, or didn't he know about it? Baloney.

>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.

The only things I have ever said that might be distorted into "denigrating" 
21CM work is that (1) research is not the ONLY reasonable place to put our 
resources, and (2) an individual might not necessarily decide that the 
marginal utility of his own resources would be best served by supporting 21CM 
rather than his own cryonics organization(especially in view of the fact that 
21 CM is for-profit and stock is not now available for sale).

>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.

I don't doubt that mistakes were made. Everybody makes mistakes, and as I 
often say, I personally make on average about six every day--before 
breakfast. But I can't think of any important ones that we could have 
foreseen or avoided in dealing with the cryobiologists. Wakfer wasn't there. 
Saul Kent was there, and he, as much as I or perhaps more so, was responsible 
in the '60s for assembling the Scientific Advisory Council, which included a 
few cryobiologists for a while. The very limited success we had in getting 
sympathy from cryobiologists was undoubtedly owing to their hope for funding, 
and our slow growth disillusioned them. 

>I think your 'pretending' [characterizing Rowe's initial  friendliness] 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.

As to Rowe, the letters and subsequent events speak for themselves.

As to Wakfer's analyzing my character, I'll return the favor. Paul, you are a 
whiner who thinks he is always right and that all his failures are somebody 
else's fault. Your attacks are largely attempted revenge against those who 
didn't support your Prometheus Project, or didn't support it enough. Now, 
would you enjoy more exchanges at this level, or do you think it would be 

>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!

Factually wrong. For example, I have a letter from Harold Meryman--the 
biggest name in cryobiology at the time, and still an influential elder 
statesman and active in the field--saying he HOPED cryonics would NOT work, 
that he was AGAINST major life extension.

>Paragraphs of pseudo-scientific mumbo jumbo and dozens of links to
>garbage [on the CI web site]are still garbage!

I'll bypass the offensive tone again and just note that Wakfer hasn't spelled 
out what "garbage" he is talking about. 

>No, I mean [that "evidence" consists of] positive end results which are 
shown to >hold by placebo controlled experiments (double blinded if possible).

Right. Under that definition of "evidence" we have to do Merkle's 
experiment--wait 100 years and see if the patients are revived. I'd rather be 
in the experimental group than in the control group.

>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.

This kind of speciousness or intellectual dishonesty is unbelievable. If 
appropriate "evidence" for cryonics and life extension means we have to 
produce someone (preferably someone famous, no doubt) who has died and been 
frozen and been revived and lived forever and for several days thereafter, 
then the evidence isn't there. But (how tiresome!) that is NOT THE ISSUE. The 
issue is whether--based on everything we know--there is a reasonable chance 
that cryonics patients will be revived.

If Wakfer insists not, then he is at odds (for example) with Greg Fahy, chief 
cryobiologist at 21CM and a recognized world leader in his field of research. 
I have not heard any very recent pronouncements from Greg on this precise 
topic, but on the CI web site we have posted long excerpts from his 1988 
Declaration to the Court in the Dora Kent case, a public document. We also 
have available the full Appendix of Declarations, including supporting 
statements by several other scientists. 

>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.

A ridiculous non sequitur. First, as noted ad nauseam, it is commonplace for 
people to respond or fail to respond for the wrong reasons. Second, those 
with serious health problems are less likely to have the financial resources 
or the psychic energy to make the choice. (Wakfer actually expects "highly 
depressed" people to be good prospects!) Third, everyone is currently leading 
a dismal life, compared with what could be. And finally, we nevertheless do 
indeed have somewhat more than proportionate representation among handicapped 
people--the blind, for example. 

>the evidence has changed (for the negative) while I have been
>involved with cryonics (since 1986).

No, it is Wakfer who has become more negative, not the evidence. 

>Second, I accumulated capital and got more heavily involved to try to
>make the evidence stronger and the chances of restoration higher. 

And this made him more negative. It doesn't quite compute.

>if you are fully rationally convinced of what you say, then you are even 
stupider than >I thought :-) 

By not responding to Laughing Boy on this one, I prove I am nearly superhuman 

Robert Ettinger
Cryonics Institute
Immortalist Society

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