X-Message-Number: 15744
Date: Sun, 25 Feb 2001 17:43:15 -0500
From: <>
Subject: What you've done in the past cannot excuse what you do today.

Jeff G wrote in message 15731:
   What you've done in the past cannot excuse what you do today.

The context is available from the message, but is roughly in response
to messages from Ron Have and Olaf Henry (?) which tend to support
Professor Ettinger (and David Pascal and others in the CI effort).  The
ostensibly inexcusable behavior in question is (i believe) excessive
PR, which includes statements overly critical of another cryonics
provider.  The offending statements are that there is no direct
evidence that their current treatment actually vitrifies.  Or maybe
the offending statement is that there's some question about the
toxicity of the treatment.

Anyhow, what Ettinger has done in the past _can_ cover the claims
against him in the present, i think.

What Ettinger has done in the past includes giving 37 refugees from
the 20th century a shot at a future life.  It includes getting the
cryonics movement started perhaps decades before it would have
otherwise.  It includes a lot of thought-provoking ideas both from his
books and his writing here and elsewhere.  And it includes working out
a truly elegant, simple system for preservation of human remains,
taking advantage of existing infrastructure in transporting patients,
and taking advantage of simple physics in cooling them down in a
gradual, gentle way that involves no fancy machinery.

What he has done (with the help of his family and friends)
would excuse a lot of bad behavior.

It would excuse all kinds of irresponsible speech, i think:
It would excuse a lot of heated discussion, it would excuse
lots of name-calling, it would excuse great carelessness.

But i don't think he's done this.

What he has done, which has annoyed several people, is question
whether some procedures performed at another organization are
provably a great improvement.  He hasn't declared, for example,
that these procedures will render any patients unrevivable.
And i believe he hasn't even declared that these procedures
are not a big improvement, only that it hasn't been suggested
by direct evidence.

What if he's wrong?  What if there's solid, direct evidence that
these new procedures are much better?

Well, anybody who is going to spend a 5 (or even 6) figure sum
on a suspension will check out the details with the other
organization, and act appropriately.  We're not exactly in a
tobacco campaign targeting 14-year olds.

(Of course, if he's wrong, especially in his statements
about lack of evidence, the evidence should be forthcoming.)

Now, at this point i want to make it clear that i don't think Jeff is
trying to mislead anybody about Professor Ettinger.  My impression is
still that Jeff is an honest guy who was trying to weigh the evidence
and figure out what was the best thing to do (although we obviously

But i do think that with him, and with me, and with other billions of
people, there are unknown, non-rational processes at work which
interfere with the effort of figuring out the best thing to do.

After all, i knew of cryonics decades before i made a move.  It just
seemed unreal, somehow.  And it pains me that i actually read Engines
of Creation before some of my loved ones died; the whole EOC chapter
on cryonics just didn't click.  (And man am i glad that Ettinger and 
others have set up cryonics orgs so that i could make a move when the
time came.)

Likewise for Jeff: even if Ettinger were the worst guy on the planet,
and CI were run by a kooky, incompetent staff, that doesn't logically
justify giving up on cryonics, only giving up on CI.  Alcor, after
all, still serves the UK.  Rudi Hoffman will write insurance policies
for UK citizens.  All of the theoretical arguments in favor of
cryonics (nanotech, the sweep of history, etc etc etc) still apply.


Rate This Message: http://www.cryonet.org/cgi-bin/rate.cgi?msg=15744