X-Message-Number: 14322
Date: Wed, 16 Aug 2000 04:46:42 -0400
From: Paul Wakfer <>
Subject: Re: CryoNet #14282 - Crippling Vitrification (Installment #2)
References: <>

> Message #14282
> From: 
> Date: Wed, 9 Aug 2000 11:02:09 -0400
> Subject: Crippling Vitrification

Continued from CryoNet #14309

> But we have no choice, it's said.  What's the alternative?  Not
> brainless
> blind religious faith in the laughable medieval rubbish calling itself
>  nanotechnolgy , which every right-thinking man of science abhors,
> right?

If Pascal is making some kind of implication that I have ever said any
such thing, he is quite wrong!
As a mathematician, physicist, and engineer, I fully agree that 
nanotechnology will create great things and even revolutionize the
world. I have watched its development with intense interest and joy. I
am on the Foresight mailing list and if I could afford the time and
money, I would be heavily involved in its development.
However, I do not agree that nanotechnology is certain or even highly
likely to be able to restore to life, as they were, those who are
frozen with current or past techniques. And I do not agree that it
will be able to be of help in this area in any near-term approaching
what is possible by means of extensions of current suspension methods.
I am convinced that with a modest research effort the need for
nanotech help for most restorations can be obviated within 10-15 years.
Furthermore, even if nanotech can restore such patients to life as
they were, it will not do so *automatically*. It will require far
more money from cryonicists to accomplish that goal than support for
extension of current methods requires to achieve fully perfected
suspended animation (FPSA).

>  I'm afraid this objection is not a very compelling one.  The (now
> defunct) Prometheus Project may have 'never received a cent', but
> nanotechnology is getting funded to the tune of over $80 billion
> dollars;

Which is almost irrelevant to what will be needed to both restore
cryopreserved patients and to solve the problem of aging.

> one of the Joint Chiefs, nay, Al Gore himself has interviewed Eric
> Drexler for Congress; Bill Clinton this year announced a $497 million
> dollar National Nanotechnology Initiative; literally hundreds of
> organizations around the globe, nations from America to Australia to
> Germany to Japan, universities from Harvard to Yale to Princeton to MIT,
> labs from Laurence Livermore to IBM, companies from Xerox to Zyvex, are
> pumping time, money, and personnel into nanotech.  How much is
> vitrification at INC getting?  Wakfer:  "...at the time Ben made his
> donation of $10,000 INC had $19,200 in its bank account (or very soon
> after - we were waiting for a $12K+ refund check on a piece of
> equipment)."

Pascal is attempting to compare incomparables. To achieve FPSA we need
less than $100 million over 15 years. It is a limited project (though
momentous in terms of the paradigm change in human thinking that it will
Nanotechnology is a much broader set of technologies with applications
to all technology of the future.
Pascal also appears to be ignorant of the fact that the US science
establishment (especially the medical establishment) constantly puts
$zillions into high-tech projects which end up providing benefits for
relatively few people, while ignoring the many low-tech solutions to the
problems which would benefit much larger numbers at much lower cost.
This is because of "the sizzle is what sells" effect.
Hi-tech gets people excited and sells - low-tech does not!

Since the next part of Pascal's post is chasing a red herring which does
not exist, I have snipped it.

> Me, I am contentedly waiting for the Nanotechnology God to save my ass.

This is because Pascal (and many other cryonicists, it seems) do not
understand that nanotechnology, even once developed and creating
energy and wealth for the world, will not automatically provide the
necessary methods to restore patients frozen with present or past
damage. It will then still take enormous and costly additional effort by
cryonicists to accomplish that.

For the same reason life-extensionists, in general, are not sitting on
their hands waiting for nanotechnology to solve the problems of aging
and create and unbounded human lifespan. Much important research is
being done on the biology of aging, not nearly as much as needs to be
done, but more relative to the complexity of the problems to be solved
than for suspended animation research.

> But that does not mean that I think vitrification research is not worth
> supporting or going after.  It most certainly is!  Of course reducing
> damage -- if possible -- is good.  Of course the spectacle of someone
> going into cryostasis and coming back out would be a historic boon to
> the 
> cryonics movement.  The best thing about vitrification, in my view, is
> that (quite apart from cryonics) it will enable the cryopreservation of
> human organs for transplantation, and thereby save hundreds of thousands
> of lives.  Sure, this is a good thing.  And we ought to support it.

Two things here:
1) Once again, I ask that Pascal and others not continue to use the term
"vitrification" to describe perfected suspended animation. Vitrification
is only one part of what is needed. Vitrification per se does not imply
prevention of damage or restorability. As I have described elsewhere, we
knew how to achieve pure vitrification many years ago! The reason why we
did not use it then was concern that the concentrations of CPAs needed
would do more damage than the ice from freezing did. We are only now
contemplating using vitrification because of major advances in CPA
solutions which make them less damaging, not yet sufficiently for
FPSA, but still far less than years ago. 
2) With newer methods of extending the short-term storage time for
organs, reducing the risk of rejection, and growing organ clones or
cross-species transplants, it is not at all clear whether perfected
cryopreservation of organs will be necessary or profitable. While it
is valuable, organ transplantation is a costly measure which only staves
off death temporarily. However, there is nothing on the horizon that
will compete with FPSA for the purpose of indefinitely preventing the
permanent death of terminal patients. Thus, the use of vitrification
for organs is hardly even comparable to its use for suspended animation
in respect of their relative importance for humanity.

> But
> we can do so reasonably.  We don t have to harbor illusions about it.
> Vitrification is not the Holy Grail.

To the extent that it makes death totally avoidable, it *is* a kind of
"holy grail" as much as anything ever has been or can be.

> Its advent -- even its appearance --
> does not mean that cryonics has arrived.

Yes, it does! (for the reasons that I have described in my previous post
 - installment #1).

> It means that someone who goes
> into cryostasis young and healthy (and rich enough to foot the bill, and
> lucky enough to have all the circumstances fall exactly into place)
> comes out young and healthy.  Those suffering ischemia or stroke or
> Altzheimer's or a fatal traffic collision don't come out young and
> healthy.   The poor'   those untermenchen without $120,000+ -- don't go
> in and don t come out at all.  Vitrification is a step forward, and
> steps forward are good; it's just not the step that puts us across the
> finish line.
> But the bottom line is that for most of us it's going to mean nanotech
> or nothing.

This is illogical thinking for the reasons already described in my
previous post.

> By a happy circumstance, Princeton and MITI and Xerox PARC etc.
> etc. etc. are pouring money into just that field, so we have if not
> assurance, then reasonable hopes.

As described above, this means little for cryonicists.

> And while the promise of vitrification
> is an alluring complement, the actuality is that it's bitterly
> underfunded, and understaffed, and undersupported,

It is a "chicken and egg" or "bandwagon" problem.
We have the power to break the logjam.

> and -- worst of all -- handicapped by a virulent rhetoric that
> boomerangs and cripples and isolates it.

Which in my case came only after years and years of having my best
efforts begun with all goodwill be attacked and sabotaged. The crippling
from cryonicist's apathy has been the case for almost the entire past of
cryonics, so I figure that I have little to lose by such actions. Hell,
I might even shake some people out of their apathy.
But I assure you I won't bother again. I am damned if I do and damned if
I don't. I am no longer sure there is any point in trying to speed
things up. Some years ago, I decided that my best bet lay in outliving
the mess within cryonics. I should have stuck with my decision, but I am
a sucker for extremely important and virtually impossible tasks.
> I support research into vitrification and Mr. Wakfer's efforts
> specifically.  I too think that people ought to give.  Admittedly, I
> think perfected vitrification is only 'around the corner' if the corner
> you are talking about is on Mars

It is "around the corner" (10-15 years) given the relatively small
of $100 million (probably less). Saying otherwise demonstrates ignorance
the new facts of the sciences involved.

> -- but we can get to Mars in a few
> years, and I would not be shocked to find out that we've gotten to
> vitrification in a few years too.  I think vitrification's usefulness is
> only going to matter to those people rich enough to afford it, and lucky
> enough to not die before the usual Keystone Kops operation of dragging a
> horde of vets and Linux programmers cross-country manages to arrive.

Again this scenario will not hold once major medical centers are geared
up to do the procedure, which they surely will be after it passes human
clinical trials. Then every ambulance near that medical center will be
set-up to begin meds and cooldown on the way to the hospital as soon as
they get a decision that the patient is not immediately recoverable and
he is signed up for suspension procedures, paid for by his medical
insurer just as is any other major establishment operation.

> Most people are not going to fit into those categories, and they know
> it,

They do not *know* it. They simply have not done the necessary thinking
(as Pascal clearly has not) to realize that things will be very
different than now.

> and so vitrification does not set them on fire.  Myself, I don't see it
> changing in the near future 

This is presumably because Pascal has not looked and thought hard

> -- indeed I see it worsening, as prices shoot through the roof,

Only in the near-term until large volume methods and standard funding
practices take over.

> and complexity makes application become increasingly undeliverable.

Not by the trained forces of the medical establishment.

> Frankly, I think putting research money into more
> incremental improvements in what we can offer now, such as Robert
> Ettinger suggests, is not a bad idea at all by comparison.

I disagree. I think it makes more sense to strive for the *known* result
of FPSA when it is so close, than to mess around with half-way measures
which we do *not* know are of any value at all.

> But
> vitrification -- if it comes to pass -- may very well help some people,
> certainly people needing organs for transplants, and that is good, and
> it will get cryonics generally a tremendous PR boost, which is good too.
> It merits support.  And the problems it faces getting support are by no
> means problems that can't be overcome.

Organ transplants are not comparable to FPSA and will give little if any
PR boost to cryonics. Therefore, I do not think that vitrification
purely for organ transplant purposes merits *any* support from
> But the plain fact is, they aren't even being addressed!  A crazy
> technophilia reigns:  the sense that the only problems we face are
> technical or monetary.  Throw enough money at a problem and poof!
> it vanishes.

That will happen because of the enormity of the paradigm change once
people see FPSA pass clinical trials.

> Social factors courtesy, persuasion, reasonable dialogue,
> mutual support are out the window.  Who need people?  Money!  Give us
> money!  But it's the people who have the money, and if you alienate
> enough of them you end up where vitrification seems to be hovering on
> the verge of non-existence.

This has been addressed before in the first installment of this reply.

> Bad manners are not the exclusive property of any single faction in the
> cryonics movement, alas, but I think it is not completely unfair to say
> that the vitrification wing hasn't exactly shamed the rest of us with
> their jovial cameraderie.

There is no "vitrification wing", but even if there were Pascal should
not heap blame collectively. It is mainly I who am not proficient at
"jovial camaraderie", and, after 9 years of trying to promote cryonics
research, I have a hard time even being civil to some cryonicists.

> There are fine admirable exceptions in that camp Ben Best, Greg Fahy,
> Saul Kent, have always seemed to me at to act like reasonable
> and decent gentlemen.

Perhaps that is because they have not used up as large a proportion of
their life resources, or left themselves with as little remaining as I
have in this effort (which I don't even enjoy per se, but only want the
end result).

> But some of the other comments
> from there well, I don't want to add to them:  I only want to ask a
> simple question:  has that sort of approach *worked*?  Has it helped
> people working for improved cryopreservation achieve their goals?

This is more repetition which has been answered in the previous

> Looking back over the wreckage, I can't help but notice that
> BioPreservation is gone, CryoCare is on ice, the Prometheus Project
> never raised one cent, CryoSpan seems to be on its way out, and INC's
> perpetual underfunding seems to be starving it to death.  Has bashing
> nanotechnology and attacking the leaders of CI and Alcor and engaging in
> name-calling gotten any of those groups, or vitrifaction itself, the
> support and money it needs?  Or has it, on the contrary, *cost* it
> support and funds?

Others need to reply to this, but for myself I will state that no one,
least of all me, *began* by any acts of incivility. When all the
civility and rational argument still gets you nowhere with respect to
things which you are certain are right and you are putting all your
time, effort and money into doing, there is reasonably a tendency to
lose patience, nay to even think that *incivility* may help!

> Is the biggest problem facing vitrification funding?
> Or is the behavior of certain vitrificationists?

The lack of money came first. Any bad behavior came only as a result of
the lack of response on the part of others.

> God knows, cryonics can be a frustrating business, and frustration
> breeds
> anger and aggression.  But anger and aggression don't solve the problem.
> Why not try something that does?  In science you learn as much from
> failure as from success.  Well, BioPreservation and the Prometheus
> Project and CryoCare have failed, and CryoSpan and the funding
> initiatives of INC seem to be failing.

It is incorrect to say things have failed just because they may have
gone out of business or are no longer active. In fact, none of them
have been failures.

1) BPI advanced the art of cryopreservation beyond anything previous
and cryopreserved several people better than had ever been done before.
That is not failure.
2) PP inspired many cryonicists about what might be possible, ultimately
attracted some to donate money to cryopreservation research, and caused
the world's leading organ cryobiologist to join 21CM. That is not
3) CryoCare developed several organizational patterns which other
organizations are still catching up to emulate and they cryopreserved
two patients and continue to be responsible for them. That it not
4) CryoSpan, by advanced the art and engineering of cryonics patient
care, helped "rescue" over 6 patients to be "rescued" from TransTime
where they were being charged exorbitant fees which their funding
could not sustain, and some of these engineering methods or variants
of them were later adopted by Alcor. That is not failure.
5) INC made it possible for Yuri Pichugin to escape the Ukraine and had
made major advances toward reversible damage free cryopreservation of
brain slices. That is not failure.

> The scorched-earth policy has produced a desert.

Only in Pascal's mind because he lack's the knowledge of the details of
what he is talking about.

> Isn't it time to sit down and rethink strategy?
> When something doesn't work, try something else!

There is no idea which has been put forth on CryoNet which has not been
tried in cryonics already. True, it may be time to try some ideas again
because times have changed drastically since they were last tried.
> Like what?  Take an example.  The Cryonics Institute.  I am a very happy
> CI member and one reason is, that it seems to be the only organization
> with even a modicum of toleration.

I disagree.

> As far as INC goes, despite a long
> record of verbal abuse at CI generally and Robert Ettinger personally,

Please read the CryoNet archives to find out how it all began. Then come
back and give me details of why it was all my fault!
Please do not make accusations without specific examples which I may

> CI's electronic newsletter Long Life came out with an appeal for
> donations to INC weeks ago;

Then I thank CI. Since I don't get a copy (I did not even know it
existed), I could not know that.
Normally, when a related organization is mentioned in a publication, the
editor sends a copy to that organization. That is the courteous thing to

> its web site links directly to INC; its
> publication, The Immortalist, not only mentions that appeal in its
> Cryonet Digest section, but (even after an direct attack on the  bastard
> in charge) is willing to run Wakfer's unedited article.  Isn't this a
> rather saner model to emulate than the torch-all-heretics approach we
> seem to be getting elsewhere?  Is it pure coincidence that this
> courteous approach has been accompanied by a doubling of assets and a
> near-doubling in membership, as opposed to the flat collapse of the
> Prometheus Project,
> BioPreservation, CryoCare, and the perennial fiscal starvation of INC?
> Courtesy seems to have worked.  Why not try something that seems to
> *work*, instead of tearing down the house, and vitrification along with
> it?

This at least the *third* time that Pascal has reiterated the same
thing. Frankly, I don't think such verbosity and repetition shows much
consideration for his readers.

Since at this point in time, I do not wish to engage in any more
rational criticism of the Cryonics Institute and its methods and
policies I will only say that I disagree with much of Pascal's praise
for CI, and refrain from commenting further. Anyone who wishes to read
such criticism will find it in the CryoNet archives.

> Is there anything more concrete than courtesy that I might suggest?
> Sure:
> 1.  Why in the world would someone looking for research funding go to
> the one-tenth of one-tenth of one-tenth of one percent of possible
> contributors that make up the Cryonet readership?  Stop trying to get
> money from people long-alienated already.  You want money?  Go to the
> public.

If we cannot even get support from cryonicists who wish to not die and
think that it may be possible, then how can we get support from Joe
Public who doesn't?
The long-term and unusual nature of "investing" in this technology has
been discussed many times including the reason why it is not attractive
to the standard risk capital market. We have tried it and got nowhere.

> An idiot could put together a simple and effective Direct Mail

Now look who is using ad hominems, by, in effect, implying that I am
than "an idiot".

> campaign -- 'Hi, we're INC, we're a non-profit medical research group
> trying to save the lives of men, women, and children.  Won't you help
> with a tax-free donation?'  Corny?  All right, it's corny.  But over
> $195 
> billion -- yes, that's ' 195 billion' -- dollars was spent on charitable
> contributions last year.  Is it really possible that a worthy project
> like vitrification  -- presented less acridly -- could not tap some tiny
> part of it?

Yes, it is not only possible but it has failed miserably.
But, be my guest, I have website space, I invite you to use it to try
this out.

> The fact is, if sending 100 letters returns a ten dollar
> profit, sending 1 million will return a hundred thousand dollar profit.
> That's a lot of stamps to lick, but it beats 'a few hundred dollars of
> support from Roy Yowell'.

More like 1000 letters costing $400 dollars to send (postage + printing)
returning $100 of money, if that!

> 2.  If you want investors, why not try to find some real ones?
> www.businessfinance.com lets you submit your companies vital stats and
> the (free) search engine matches you up with potential investors.
> www.nvca.org (the National Venture Capital Association site) can link
> you
> to virtually every venture capitalist in the business.  What, no  real
> investor would want to put money into organ preservation?  The total
> amount of venture capital applied to biotechnology in 1999 came to
> $1,182
> *billion* dollars   up 14.8% from the year before.  I suspect even INC
> might be able to get some backing if they approached the right people.
> Politely.

INC is a charity. It cannot attract investment funds.
Pascal would do better to submit his ideas to Saul Kent of 21CM who
continually professes to want more money but has yet to bring out any
way for anyone to buy shares in 21CM except himself.

> 3.  Stop bashing nanotechnology.

None of us are bashing nanotechnology per se as I have described above.

> There s $80 billion dollars plus,
> streaming into nanotech.  Which means that if there is *any* faction of
> the cryonics movement that promises to be capable of providing you with
> investors and writing you a check, it's the nanotechnologists.

No, they are too busy doing or dreaming about nanotechnology, and quite
reasonably want all the money they get for their own priority interests.

> And they
> have consciences -- I think they'd be open to the argument that
> vitrification might cryopreserve organs and thus save lives before
> nanotech gets to the point of producing them directly.

So far this has been proven to be quite wrong for most of them.

> So be nice.  Maybe they'll buy you some test tubes.

This sarcasm is ill conceived and unappreciated.
> But most of all, it seems to me that we would all do a lot better simply
> by toning down the rhetoric and accepting the fact that there is no one
> and only, pure, perfect, exclusive, sole approach to cryonics.
> Differences in approach ought to be respected and tolerated, not
> reviled.
> All roads may not lead to Rome, but more than one road may lead to the
> revival of current cryonics members and patients.  Nano may do it; vitro
> may do it; who knows, something out of left field may come down the
> pike.

These are mere platitudes which evade the all important differences of
fact, and probability.

> Why tear alternative approaches and each other down?  Rodney King
> got it right:  can't we all just get along? For the life of me, I cannot
> see one single reason why people in the cryonics movement have to be at
> each other's throats.  We gain nothing by mutual recrimination, and
> everything by mutual support.

Too bad Pascal was not around to say all this when I was attacked and
criticized so roundly about everything I attempted to do since beginning
cryonics activity. I came from a very successful computer business where
I made a fair bit of money by being cooperative with people and treating
them well. I did not begin my term in cryonics by making recriminations
and attacking people, but I soon learned from those within cryonics both
how to do so and the need to do so when they attacked my reasonable
ideas and proposals.
> The fact is, progress is occurring on all fronts in cryonics.  Yuri
> Piguchin seems to be making progress in vitrification despite all the
> harangues.

Here I don't know what Pascal is talking about. No one is haranguing
Yuri. Since the beginning of this year he has been doing a fine job. But
the progress is not his alone, by any means. It is the fully joint
effort of several people.

> Nanotech is awash in research and funding.

None of which is for any application of nanotech to prevent death or
restore cryopreserved patients.

> Membership is
> booming at CI and rising at Alcor as well.  What's wrong with this
> picture?  As near as I can tell --  nothing!  Personally, I have no
> trouble in supporting Paul Wakfer and Eric Drexler, Ralph Merkle and
> Greg Fahy, Charles Platt and Robert Ettinger, and all the others.  The
> success
> of any one of these people and organizations helps all of us, and all of
> those around us.  We re not playing some zero-sum game where one person
> winning means another losing.  There would be nothing better for all of
> us than to see a string of breakthroughs in nanotechnology *and*
> vitrification, there would be nothing better than to see the Cryonics
> Institute *and* Alcor *and* 21CM flourishing, there would be nothing
> better than to see all of us succeeding and progressing.  And that
> actually seems to be what is happening!  So why this endless grousing
> and bile and negativism?

More platitudes which fail to address the all important details and
distinctions needed to make any reasonable refutation or explanation.

> Hurting each other only hurts ourselves.  We'll go a lot farther a lot
> quicker if we help each other instead.

It would be very nice indeed.
How about starting off by actually concretizing your professed offer of
with a $100 donation to INC? 

Paul Wakfer

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