X-Message-Number: 16346
Date: Sat, 26 May 2001 09:20:06 -0400
From: Thomas Donaldson <>
Subject: a perspective on Alcor and CI

Hi everyone!

Since several people have put in their 2 cents about the Cryonics
Institute, here is my reading of the situation.

First, its members have felt skeptical of Alcor because it's not
obvious that our survival would really be helped by the early
activities of Alcor ... which basically brought in a medical image,
without any complete knowledge of the effects of Alcor's methods.

Later on, it began to look as if research ideas from Greg Fahy and
others might actually produce improved suspensions. Furthermore, 
just like Alcor, the Cryonics Institute had grown. Hence they too
began their research on ways to improve their suspensions. Unfortunately
by this time there had accumulated some bad feelings between the 
different cryonics groups, and they still remain unwilling to 
listen to anyone but themselves (and again, a few nonmembers with
technical abilities). This situation seems to continue now, even 
though the different societies could probably learn a lot from
one another if they were truly prepared to communicate... which,
incidentally, requires that BOTH parties be so prepared.

Alcor has now instituted some extremely foolish policies for future
members, if anything almost forcing foreigners who were not already
members to join the Cryonics Institute. Yes, those already members
haven't been discriminated against so directly, but who wants to be
the only member of Alcor in a country where all other cryonicists
are members of the Cryonics Institute? Such a situation makes your
suspension more difficult than otherwise. (So far they haven't 
really even explained that policy, merely stated it ... not a good
sign for future development of Alcor).

I personally hope that the arrival of Pichugin as an expert in 
a lot in improving both their methods and their ideas. They may well
still follow a different strain of research, but they would do so
with far more sophistication. I would certainly hope so; if they
don't make use of Pichugin's background and ideas, then they are
hopeless. I do not believe that anyone in the Cryonics Institute
is so hopeless.

It's Pichugin, in fact, who makes me hopeful that the Cryonics Institute
will actually end up advancing cryonics, perhaps more than Alcor
has and does. Alcor is not helping things with its new policy 
toward new foreign members. To make the point with a caricature, if
Alcor only ends up with members in Stockdale, AZ, then the Cryonics
Institute will get the rest of the world, with all the ideas and 
support such membership implies. On a more direct note, cryonics
and suspended animation should not be confused ... even if they are
close. The ability to produce complete suspended animation is only
a part of cryonics; cryonics involves preserving ANYONE FOUND ANYWHERE
as well as we can, in the hope that someday we'll know enough to 
revive them. 

The most important thing that has happened in the last few years
is that we've begun to see how preservation might be successful 
in the right circumstances, by an advanced version of vitrification.
But that method will take far more work than simply to work out
how to vitrify someone; as cryonicists we must work out how to 
apply it as widely as we can, and also how to recover those who
may not have been vitrified. If Alcor ends up not pursuing this 
aim, it may succeed well with its narrow goal but give up on 
cryonics. Some authors on Cryonet may see that as a form of success,
and I suspect (but don't know, because I don't know them closely
enough) that the 3 guys who have complained about cryonics would
be happy if we got suspended animation alone (in their lifetime,
of course!). 

And that is the way things look to me ... even if I am now far
away and see things develop from a distance.

		Best wishes and long long life to all,

			Thomas Donaldson

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