X-Message-Number: 16366
Date: Mon, 28 May 2001 02:08:13 -0400
Subject: A Prolix Reply

Charles Platt, in truly insensate disregard of my inevitable just rebuke,

>>Re David Pascal--welcome back, I have indeed missed your bile, although
your tendency to be prolix is really quite tiresome.<<

If you think reading my posts is tiresome, you should try writing the
damn stuff.  My God, I could be watching Spice Girls videos instead! 
Believe me, Charles, if you'd stop writing lame critiques of CI, I'd stop
writing brilliant defenses at once.  

(However, I appreciate the welcome.  And I've missed your occasional
incisive comment too - though not the bile.  As you may or may not know,
Reader, Charles and I are writers by profession - he, the heroic sire of
some 30-40 SF novels, and I but a lowly copywriter.  But we both share a
liking for a good sentence, I think.  Thus it's often a pleasure for me
to read Charles' posts, awful as the content generally is.  Where he and
I differ is that, years ago, I was sent to a Catholic elementary school
for my education, where nuns, the thumbscrew, and the rack, impressed
upon me the priority of logic and rhetoric over mere stylistics.  Thus I
was made aware at an early age that a dramatic sentence is not
necessarily a true or substantive one.  Charles, nice fellow though he is
in other respects, often misses this distinction when it comes to
decrying things cryonic.  Case in point:  Charles wrote: )

>>By my estimation, Eugene's contribution to cryonics-related research
has been greater than anything that anyone in CI has done in its entire
history. Just for the record.<<

Sounds pretty durn definitive, eh?  But equally for the record:  had Saul
Kent not heard Robert Ettinger on the radio back in, what, '64, and Seen
The Light, would there be a 21CM at all for Eugene to sport about in? 
Perhaps not.  Is Eugene grateful?  Definitely not.  You know, *Lenin*, of
all people, was glycerolized!   Glycerol, perfusion, and liquid nitrogen
was available nearly a century ago, but it wasn't 'cryonics' till Robert
Ettinger put it all together and got the ball rolling.  Do we thank Bob? 
No, we praise Eugene, as he compares Bob to Josef Mengele.  Impressive
contribution, all right.

>>In the past, as you well know (but prefer to forget), I already stated
at great length my concerns about CI procedures (such as the slow initial
cooldown which is virtually guaranteed to maximize the risk of
autolysis); therefore your statement that I have offered "zero proof" for
my opinions is without merit and should be ignored.<<

I say Charles has not offered proof for his opinions, and Charles says my
statement is without merit because he has 'in the past' (the Swingin'
Sixties? the Cro-Magnon Era?) stated his concerns.  Charles:  'concerns'
are not 'proof'.  I am 'concerned' about AIDS; that does not mean that I
have provided 'proof' that any particularly remedy being applied works or
doesn't.  You write of the 'slow initial cooldown which is virtually
guaranteed to maximize the risk of autolysis'.   I'm sure the lack of
specifics with which that was put has set the readership all a-tremble,
but let's look at your sentence closely, shall we?  'Slow' cooldown (no
specifics as to time) is 'virtually' guaranteed (ie may or may not,
depending on unstated factors) to 'maximize the risk of autolysis' (ie to
make a unenviable situation more likely - but not inevitable.  Autolysis
is not something so cut and dried that an unspecified 'slow cooldown' is
its instant invariable fatal recipe.) This isn't a 'concern':  it's a

'Here's a test on the brains of two large mammals, and a licensed
professional's estimate of the results, which show clearly that cooling
to temperature x in in one day has better results than cooling in three':
 Now that's hard evidence, not extrapolation from theory, and that nails
it.  That is what CI is trying to get, and that is what Charles just
plain never cites.  We get brooding, dark, cryptic implications of
malfeasance.  But proof?  Nay, a single simple *useful* suggestion? 
Forget it.

Now apparently Charles wants CI to cool more rapidly.  And indeed perhaps
it should and will.  To be a bit more precise (not every reader being
aware of it), the main thing in rapid cooling is to get to minus forty;
the progression past that to dry ice and liquid nitrogen can proceed more
slowly.  So it's the curve rather than overall length that may be most
relevant.  CI has looked into it and sought professional advice on the
subject, and there does seem to be some evidence for cooling more quickly
in the initial stages; which is why tests are scheduled.  It currently
takes a week for CI patients to cool to dry ice temperature, and I
suspect it may stay that length overall; but I personally suspect that
there probably will be more rapid cooling in the first stage, to the
minus forty mark, anyway.  I believe Alcor currently takes about a day to
get there, CI three.  But what Charles seems to be suggesting is that
because there is some evidence in the literature (uncited), we should
just impose it immediately, at once, no tests, nothing.  CI's position
has always been, no:  we don't apply treatments to patients unless we
test them ourselves.  

Is this wrong?  I do not think it is.  I think one has to compare it to
vitrification.  With vitrification, some very good results seem to have
been gotten with brain slices, and with some rabbit kidneys taken to
around dry ice temperature, and so - bang! - vitrification was applied to
human beings straight out of the box, who then went down to liquid
nitrogen temps over 100 degrees beyond.  In the real world of medical
development, that would never have happened.  The procedure would have
been tested on animal subjects from mice, hamsters, dogs, and chimps, and
only once the results were crystal-clear in practice, only then would
people have been allowed to treat other people with it.

Well, I am not bashing Alcor for their decision.  I understand it.  If
you've got something you genuinely think may help people, it is very
tempting to use it and very hard to sit there and wait for rounds of
expensive exhaustive test results to come in.  And who knows - using it
may turn out to have been the right thing to do.  But, to wait for rounds
of test results to come in first is not necessarily an error either. 
When you've got the well-being of patients in your hands, you don't want
to say, using Charles' barrage of qualifiers, 'Well, this
*probably/possibly/almost certainly* ought to work'.   You want to know. 
What does Charles want?  He wants us to drop stodgy old things like
verification and proof and apply other folks' current best-guesses
instantly.  I don't say that those who do so are making a mistake -- like
Charles, I 'can't prove it', and unlike Charles I'm willing to allow that
others' positions may turn out to be sound.  But I do think it is
possible to say that both positions are honorable and understandable
ones.  As far as cooling goes, CI is running tests to see if a quicker
initial cooling time (and which one) would get the best results; if the
evidence shows that that's the case, we'll implement it. 

>> In addition I made it clear that I was expressing opinions, rather
than statements of proven fact, since, as you well know, the fundamental
problem in cryonics is that nothing can be proven conclusively. <<

Charles, I cannot 'prove' that you didn't shoot Kennedy, assassinate
Sadat, and molest JonBenet Vincent.  But if I were to post that 'in my
opinion' you 'possibly' did, and do so day after day, for years, I -
well, I wouldn't be hurting you, anymore than your own rants have been
hurting CI, but I'd be making myself look awful silly.  When Eugene Leitl
writes posts with 'shit', 'crap', and 'fuck' in them, does he add to his
reputation as a serious scientist?  I think not.  Your posts consist of
any number of serious accusations - dare I follow in Eugene's footsteps
and chant 'actionable' too? - yet every one of them is couched with some
coy qualifying phrase - 'possibly', 'probably', 'virtually'.  Granted,
with this little trick, one can eat one's cake and have it too, but it is
not particularly edifying.  Or effective.  One can say, politely, 'I
think Alcor's protocols are the leading method,' without talking about
'the potential loss of twelve lives' when people cross over from Alcor to
CI.  What you're doing is just rhetorical overkill.  I know it 'feels'
good:  dramatic posturing often does.  But it don't work.

The fundamental problem in cryonics is that there is no fundamental
problem:  there are a host of problems.  Some are technical, but the
majority are social - legal, cultural, monetary, and so on.  Not a few
are personal:  rudeness,  assertion without proof,  emotionalism rather
than reason.  We can make advances on personal fronts as well as
technical ones, and we ought to try.

>>This lack of proof is indeed the great flaw in this field, which CI has
turned to its advantage. In cryonics, if one organization uses a cut-rate
bargain-basement approach while claiming that its results may be as good
as those achieved by a more rigorous protocol, no one can _conclusively_
disprove this affront to commonsense. Thus has CI prospered.<<

Well, I can disprove the affront to common sense in that particular
sentence straight up.  A 'more rigorous protocol' is always better than a
'cut-rate bargain-basement' approach, eh?  (Golly, no slanted language
usage there.)  But it isn't!  To use the example from my previous post: 
an aspirin can cure a headache, and neurosurgery can cure a headache. 
Which is better?  The one that's 'rigorous' as opposed to cut-rate - and
that can turn you into a vegetable with a slip of the scalpel?  Or the
simple, inexpensive one that works?  I can ride a tricycle to the corner
store, but I can't take the Space Shuttle Enterprise.  It's too big, too
bulky, and too damned expensive -- where would you land it, how could you
park it?  Is it technically superior to my tricycle?  In every respect. 
But it just doesn't get that particular job done.  In medicine as in
philosophy, Occam's razor applies:  one should not multiply entities
without cause.  But technophilia afflicts people in cryonics - that
peculiarly American knack of attributing magic powers to money,
technology, complexity, sheer size.  The more the better, always and
everywhere!     And sometimes it is better.  But not always.  Less can be

And a word about 'bargain-basement'.   I believe I saw a while ago a post
by Linda Chamberlain discussing suspension costs.  It transpired that the
base cost of an Alcor  suspension, once you cut out money put away for
investment purposes and so on, came to not $120,000 but rather to about
$33,000.  Is that radically different from CI's own $28,000 - $35,000 for
a suspension?  CI prices are not low because we cool patients by blowing
on them; they're low because we want to make cryonic suspension available
to as wide a spectrum of people as we can, and not just the super-rich in
and around Phoenix.  So CI deliberately offers suspensions at a price in
which the profit margin is minimal to near-nonexistent -- CI's income
comes from membership fees, donations, sound investment policy, and
through cost-saving, ie, no salaries for our Directors.  Again: less can
be more.

>> If CI were successfully sued, obviously this would set a precedent
that would endanger other organizations where patients probably have a
better chance of resuscitation than those at CI. This is precisely why I
have refrained from writing an expose of cryonics which, I believe, could
kill a large part of the field. I certainly have more than enough
material, but there is no way to damage one part of this field without
damaging it all,<<

Charles, what nonsense!  This is why you've 'refrained from writing'? 
Good grief, you write all time!  You've been posting the same cheesy
accusations on Cryonet almost daily the past two weeks!  And for how many
*years* before that?  Your 'expose' -- a decade's worth of CI-bashing --
is all over the Cryonet archives, on Dejanews' sci.cryonics archives, on
the web - is there anyone in the cryonics world who doesn't wince seeing
you gird your loins to pan CI for the n-th time?  The only question is
whether or not your crusade *has* caused damage and killed a large part
of 'the field' - ie readers too green to see through the logical
loopholes of your commentary.  Judging by CI's growth numbers, I'm happy
to say the answer seems to be a resounding no.

CI is not going to be successfully sued and you know it.  What judge in
the world would make a media laughing stock out of himself by awarding
damages for injuring the health of people legally declared dead?  I
suspect that CI -- over a third of whose Directors are lawyers, I believe
-- would not mind a law suit at all, since the immediate counter-suit
would bankrupt the fools reckless enough to make it, and swell our
coffers accordingly.  And I for one would not mind seeing such an
*objective* evaluation of CI methods at all.  Alas, CI currently has to
pay qualified third-party university researchers out of its own pocket
for it.  Unlike any other organization.  But are we held up as a model
for this 'more rigorous protocol'?  No, no, no...

>> I think Eugene Leitl is a good scientist who is outraged by bad
science, and is so offended by what he perceives as fraud, he allowed his
emotions to influence his text.<<

I would modify that sentence to say:  what he misperceives.  Not that I
blame him.  I think Eugene had the misfortune of falling into a
particular milieu in which acrid contempt for CI is the norm, and
countervailing opinion or evidence is just not presented.  It's like
being a member of an all-white golf club - the 'lesser races', ugh!  If I
had to base my knowledge of CI on things like Charles' posts, I'd be
outraged myself.  Perhaps I am.  

>> and your comparison of him to a Nazi in the Third Reich is of course
utterly despicable.<<

*Sigh*.  After accusing CI of criminal negligence, screwing up patients,
etc., etc., Eugene Leitl was good enough to compare Robert Ettinger to
Josef Mengele.  I thought that comparison just a trifle biased.  So,
wishing to illustrate the point that a biased person is perhaps not the
best choice for an sober evaluation, I said that Goebbels might not be a
good pick to write a guide book on Israel.  I did not, obviously, say
that Eugene espouses Nazi ideology, and everyone who can read knows it. 
If you wish me to vary the metaphor, I will:  Ariel Sharon is not the
best pick to write about human rights in Gaza; Gandhi is not the number
one choice to do the history of the British Occupation.  OK?

But if my comparison is despicable, may I ask why it is that you find
*my* comparison despicable, and yet not a word is said about Mr. Leitl's
comparison?  Why does the one spur you to explicit public moral outrage,
whereas the other spurs you to total silence?  Is any rock is good, so
long as it's tossed at Robert Ettinger?   

Eugene's comments, like your own, have the zero effect that they do
because of their transparent lack of even-handedness.  Eugene feels
obligated to 'warn' the world about CI.  Does he feel obligated to warn
them about ACS?  About Alcor?  About Trans Time?  About Kryos?  About
even permafrost interment?  Hell no.  None of them are preferable to
burial, in his opinion, but only one deserves getting mashed to a pulp
publicly.  This isn't an intellectual position, it's a facial tic.  Alcor
cuts back on European services, and CI bends over backwards to help? 
Beat up CI!  CryoCare crashes to the point where it offers no storage and
no services and CI re-writes its rules to allow dual membership and shore
it up?  Beat up CI!  Good grief, we can't be doing *everything* wrong
*all the time*!  Even Mengele took a siesta now and then...

>> It is made even more offensive by your subsequent suggestion that
other people (not yourself) are the source of personal disparaging
remarks here. <<

I haven't written a post for months, and wouldn't be writing this one if
you and Gene could moderate your language.   You think Alcor is
preferable, and yet you both prefer to risk cremation.  Fine.  Say:  'I
think Alcor is preferable, though I prefer cremation'.  Don't hand us
this Seventh Day Adventist / Josef Mengele stuff.  You say I am the
source of disparaging personal remarks.  Nonsense.  Read me more
carefully.  I do not disparage people personally in the least:  I
disparage bad *ideas*, slipshod reasoning, poor rhetoric.  There isn't a
line in my post that says you or Eugene Leitl are bad guys.  I expect
that the both of you are pretty good guys, actually; just stuck in the
past with some bad presuppositions. 

>>> > Case in point.  Charles.  Charles, like Eugene, goes around saying
>>> > CI patients (don t ACS or Alcor have any patients?) have no chance
>>> > revival whatsoever

>> Don't paraphrase me. I never said that, and you know it. I would never
make such a statement <<

You say of CI signees, and I quote, "Personally I feel that they might
just as well join the Seventh Day Adventists."  The Adventists' chance of
(secular) revival is 'no chance whatsoever', and you say that CI is no
better than the Adventists.  That is not a statement if the reader has
the cortex of a kumquat, but if the reader is capable of adding one plus
one, I think it is a statement.  An overstatement.

>> It has been almost impossible to persuade CI to write anything about
CI's procedures, because you have found that you can attract a steady
flow of members while telling them virtually nothing about the details.
Moreover, since your data gathering is so rudimentary, in many cases
(such as core temperatures during cooling, or edema observed via burr
hole) you don't even have the data. You certainly can't report
details that don't exist. <<

As you know, CI has ten tons of material on its web site going into no
end of detail on no end of subjects.  Indeed here on Cryonet, the last
slasher in the ongoing assault on CI threw every conceivable question in
the book at us and got them answered.   Use common sense, Charles: 
people don't join because we tell them nothing.  As for observing edema
through burr holes - ie drilling holes in patients' heads to see whether
their brains are swelling - CI doesn't drill holes in patients' heads
since (a) it's not good for patients' heads, (b) it's time-consuming, (c)
edema can be observed other ways, through facial swelling, for instance,
(d) there can be unenviable side effects -- I believe I recall reading a
BPI Tech brief detailing the curious problem of perfusate leaking out of
the holes, and (e) my understanding is that CI sheep head tests and
patient cases exhibit shrinkage rather than swelling.  

Here, though, we reach kind of a reductio ad absurdum.  What's wrong with
CI suspension procedures?  They need to be written down more while being
performed.  Doesn't extensive monitoring and data gathering take time and
personnel away from actually treating the patient, and lengthen perfusion
time?  Well, maybe, but we sure look more scientific later, seeing it
down on black-and-white like that.  CI does gather what it considers to
be relevant information, of course; but gathering information, as such,
is not a medical treatment.  Is a patient really *helped* by recording
that he or she was at 17 degrees at 0911 hours and 15 degrees at 0902
hours, say?  Or are they helped by being cooled and perfused?  Data is
nice to have, but the purpose of cryonic suspension is not to gather
data, but to treat a patient.  It's a judgement call as to how much and
what sort of data should be recorded in each situation, particularly if
it's an emergency situation; and it's to be expected that different
organizations will have different guidelines and priorities in these

>>> > change.  In Charles' last strafing run on this list, he blithely
>>> > us that all CI patients were dead meat since CI ramped in one-pass

>> Again, this is a complete and deliberate misquote. I never said

Actually it is not a quote, mis- or otherwise, since it ain' got those
funny little  "  marks.  It is a summary.  Readers who wish to find out
if it's an accurate one (and who want to bathe in the sunlight of more of
my golden prose) should truck on down to Cryonet Message #15290 for the
full-lengthy version.   I am sure that Charles is right:  any such
sentence of Charles' would go, 'In my personal opinion', they're
'probably/possibly/arguably/conceivably/likely to be' dead meat, 'though
who knows...'.

>>CI began its version of ramped perfusion early this year, after about a
decade in which it had claimed the procedure was unnecessary, despite
endless well-documented cryobiological evidence to the contrary. CI was
in the habit, probably for more than ten years, of using highly
concentrated glycerol without any ramping, which almost certainly caused
osmotic shock while failing to penetrate deeper tissues sufficiently
during the very short perfusion time that was used. CI was warned
repeatedly (by myself and others) that its procedures were a) probably
poisoning the cells that were reached by the highly toxic solution while
b) probably leaving other cells completely unprotected, so that they
would be decimated by freezing damage. <<

Ah, how I wish Sister Butch was here today to make mincemeat of such
phrases.  "Notice the mealy-mouthed use of qualifying phrases, class! 
'Probably' more than ten years, 'almost certainly' caused shock', failing
to penetrate 'sufficiently', 'probably' poisoning, 'probably' leaving -
is there even one *definite* statement in all this, class?  Or is it only
what is seems to be - a lengthy exercise in avoiding defintite
statements?  Notice the literally impossible exaggeration of the
opponent's case:  'endless' well-documented cryobiological evidence to
the contrary.  What, is the evidence really 'endless'?  Do the stacks of
documents really stretch to the moon and Pluto and beyond?  Does the
writer in fact even cite so much as *one* actual paper?  And those cells
'decimated' by freezing damage, students.  Does freezing really
'decimate' cells - reduce them to ash, dust, pure non-being?  -- Yes,
David?"  "Gosh, but the alliteration and the melodic quality of the lines
is so thrilling, Sister Butch!"  "Indeed it is, David, but this Logic
101, not Music 101.  Thirty lashes."

I note that an *actual* document, reviewing not 'endless' unspecified
evidence, but the CI protocol mentioned specifically, was sent from a
Canadian lab and researcher doing a professional review and analysis. 
The report is made available by ever-secretive CI at
http://www.cryonics.org/research_sgc.html .   Decimated obliteration
versus 100% viability?  I'm afraid not.  See below.

>> Pascal responded to this suggestion with his usual mixture of contempt
for critics and breezy confidence. <<

Confident I am.  I am only breezy if I eat too many beans.  But the
charge of contempt for critics is completely unfounded.  On the contrary.
 I count one of the great intellectual moments of my life to be the day
that I first read Sir Karl Popper, the twentieth-century philosopher of
science par excellence.   Popper made a statement I never forgot:  he
said that if you want to get to the truth, what you needed to do was
*not* to go looking for evidence to support your conjecture, but to look
for evidence that can falsify it.  If you want to prove that all swans
are white, for instance, you don't look for a white swan and go 'I'm
proven correct!'  You look for a black swan.  Charles and Eugene and
their ilk are forever looking for white swans:  'evidence' that supports
their theory.  "CI is bad because it uses one-pass!"  "No it doesn't." 
"CI is bad because it *used* to use one-pass!"  "Didn't Alcor, at some
point?"  "CI is bad because it doesn't have a traveling team."  "Yes it
does."  "CI is bad because -- ."  And so it goes.

I like criticism.  You learn from criticism; you don't learn from empty
praise.  But there is such a thing as empty criticism too.  Such-and-such
a paper suggests that such-and-such a procedure may be worth testing: 
that's good criticism:  polite, practical, objective, calm.  Comparing
Robert Ettinger to Mengele?  It's rude, but what's really tedious about
it, as criticism, is that it's useless.

>> He now presents CI's belated decision to ramp concentration as a
selling point, conveniently omitting CI's intractable resistance to this
procedure in the past. <<

Our 'intractable resistance' -- to a procedure we use.  It's like
upbraiding Tiger Woods for his adamant refusal to hit golf balls.  For
God's sake, Charles - you think ramping is great, wonderful, the bee's
knees -- and, glory hallelujah, CI is ramping!  Would that eternal scowl
on your face crack if you said, 'good'?  Would the world end if you said,
'CI is doing at least one thing right'?  You can't bash us for it
anymore, so instead you've got to hit us over the head for what we *used*
to be doing?  

The problem with stepped versus one-pass was the question of time. 
One-pass was quick, and stepped took (and takes) hours.  Now it is
axiomatic that the longer you keep a patient at temperatures above zero,
the more damage there is.  So the question was a trade-off.  Did the time
saved with one-pass get better results overall than the time lost with
stepped?  CI did not extrapolate a best-guess answer from theory and
impose it on patients.  It ran a test and got an objective evaluation. 
The scientist doing the evaluation gave stepped a slight, 'subjective'
edge.  Which ain't a lot.  But it is something and so CI adopted it. 
What should we have done instead?  Slap treatments onto patients without
checking to see what it does?  You call that 'patient care'?

>> As for the fate of CI patients who, for a decade or more, were
subjected to a bizarre punishment in which some cells were almost
certainly poisoned by toxicity while other probably received no
protection at all, one can only speculate. <<

And some do speculate.  Ad nauseam.   But those who prefer scientific
evaluations to purple prose passages like 'bizarre punishment' need only
look, again, at the report at http://www.cryonics.org/research_sgc.html,
in which the scientist in charge of evaluating an *actual test* of
stepped versus one-pass stated, and I quote, "My impression of [stepped]
and [one pass] is that the middle regions of the brain look the same. I
think I could argue that [stepped] is subjectively slightly better on the
inner-most and outer-most brain regions."  

'Subjectively slightly better'.  Not a very great recommendation, is it? 
Indeed the PhD checking it out would seem to say that the results were
very nearly the same.  Charles of course presents it as black-white,
life-death:  'endless documented cryobiological evidence' for stepped, as
opposed to the 'bizarre punishment' of one-pass.  And what did an actual
test show?  That the difference was minimal, and that stepped was
'subjectively slightly better'.  Well, CI wants to give its patients
every edge, however small.  It went to stepped.  But the idea that
patients who received one-pass were 'poisoned' and got 'no protection' in
a 'bizarre punishment' is just plain rot, purple prose run amuck.  

The problem with Charles' positions is that they lack any sense of
*degree*.  It's never 'this approach is slightly superior to that one,
though both have merit', or 'both approaches have pluses and minuses, but
this one perhaps has an edge, although that one has its good points'. 
No.  It's 'endless' evidence for one, 'decimation' for the other, the
favored approach is cryomedicine incarnate, the targeted one 'bizarre
punishment'.  This is not objectivity:  it's dramaturgy, Lear bellowing
on the blasted heath.

>> It's certainly fortunate for your conscience that you have such
uncritical faith in nanotechnology.<<

It's fortunate for your conscience that you have such uncritical doubt. 
But it is not as fortunate for your thinking.

>> To take indirect credit for Ben Best's funding of research is
despicable and hypocritical. (How much money has CI put into the
hippocampal slice project? Doesn't anyone remember Ettinger's endless
posts campaigning for people to give money to Olga Visser, rather than
the Prometheus Project--which fathered the hippocampal slice project?) <<

And what fathered the Prometheus Project?  People in the cryonics
movement.  And what fathered the cryonics movement?  Robert Ettinger. 
And do we give him any credit?  Not a bit .

And Olga Visser!  My my, how this man likes to beat dead horses.  I
suppose I should be glad that  there's so little for Charles to shrive in
CI's current practices that he feels obligated to set the Time Machine in
reverse, what, the fourth time in one post now, and bash us for earlier
sins.  But how, pray, have we sinned here?   A woman with academic
qualifications came and said to have developed a way to cool rat hearts
to liquid nitrogen temperature and revive them.  I guess Charles feels we
should have booted her out the door, instead of trying to get some tests
done to see whether her procedures worked.  Who needs tests, when we know
the Revealed Truth already?  And do you gather from Charles' account,
Reader, that only backwards CI was gullible enough to be taken in?  In
fact, Alcor and CI both bought rights from the Vissers.  Indeed I believe
that after their first demonstration, all of the people present at the
occasion except for Robert Ettinger were Alcor people. Not that I am
criticizing them for it.  On the contrary.  When a potential breakthrough
may be in the offing, it's entirely appropriate to look into it.  But
when it fizzles it is not appropriate to (repeatedly) bash only one of
the organizations that (appropriately) did so.

>> Ben did not join CI because he was entirely satisfied with its
procedures. This much I think is public information. <<

Anyone in any cryonics organization who is entirely satisfied with its
procedures is a fool.  That is why we work to make them better.  CI is
far from perfect.  There are many many ways in which I too would like to
see it improved, and hope to see it improved.  But overall, all things
considered, I really do believe it is the best organization around, the
one most likely to help patients here and now, and to best lead the way
into the future for the cryonics movement as a whole.  If I didn't
believe that, I wouldn't be a member.

But -- speaking of bests -- as far as Ben Best goes, I just can't praise
him enough.  Three cheers for Ben Best, ladies and gentlemen!  Where
other people simply walked out of cryonics altogether after the collapse
of CryoCare, Ben not only joined an organization, and worked hard to try
to improve it -- he has.  Ben's supplied CI with sound counsel, good
advice, relevant cryomedical articles and information, and has repeatedly
put across his viewpoints to good effect in CI's publication, The
Immortalist.  As if this weren't enough, he funded the HCSP personally to
the tune of several thousands of dollars, took over the Presidency in a
moment of crisis, and successfully raised the funds to bring it to
fruition.  Bravo!  This man is an absolute model for what a cryonics
activist ought to be -- informed, serious, committed, and effective; and
CI is very happy and very proud to have him.  If I inadvertently gave the
impression that CI deserves the credit for Ben's contributions, I
apologize:  all the credit deservedly goes to Ben.  

>> As has been pointed out, CI has made a habit of offering only its own
rather odd ideas for evaluation. One hopes that this practice may change.
 But so far, CI has merely asked its lab, "Which works better: CI process
(a) or CI process (b)?" I have not seen CI express any interest in
comparing its procedures with other people's procedures. It remains an
island of idiosyncracy.<<

Could this possibly be because other people's procedures are secret?  We
don't happen to know what Alcor's procedures are, except in vague general
terms, or what its various mystery goops are.  Does Charles blame Alcor
for not being open?  Nope.  Does he blame CI for not comparing procedures
they don't give us access to?  Yup.  An island of idiosyncracy, that man.
 (Wait -- no man is an island.  'A peninsula of idiosyncracy, that man.')
 As for 'CI processes' - come on.  Since when is stepped a 'CI process'? 
 This is the same slanted perspective as before.  "CI doesn't use
stepped."  "Yes it does."  "What?  Well - well then it's a 'CI process'. 
Kill it!"

>> You can suspect anything you want, but the fact is, future Alcor
applicants in the UK were told to shop elsewhere because Alcor felt
unable to verify their insurance arrangements in an emergency. Alcor has
made no guarantee, that I am aware of, to apply vitrification to every
future patient. Nor can it do so, since some cases (where the patient is
not reached promptly, for instance) may be unsuitable for vitrification.
suggest that Alcor refused future UK members solely because vitrification
procedures cannot be applied in the UK is misleading, inaccurate, and
uninformed. <<

Since I never used the word 'solely', I think rather that it is your
comment that is misleading, inaccurate, and uninformed.  - But come,
Charles.  Put down the mace and battle ax and be serious for once.  You
know very well that Alcor is not doing vitrification in the field, and
that for vitrification to work properly it needs to be applied as quickly
as possible - within the hour, I believe, if you want optimal results. 
How is it possible to do that if the patient is in Swaziland or Melbourne
or even Alaska?  You just can't get them to Phoenix that fast.   

>>(skipping the remainder of the invective)<<

How convenient.

Well, let me slip off the gloves and get out of the ring too.  But one
last word.

I think that if Charles Platt and company were scrupulously fair and
honest, they would be saying something like this:  "I believe that
Alcor's current protocols, when performed under optimal conditions, may
cause a lesser degree of damage than CI's; however, the amount of that
degree is unknown, unproven, and currently unverifiable; in addition,
optimal conditions will not apply in the great majority of cases; and the
degree of damage may in any event be repairable."  

And a really scrupulous account would also add: "However, the
demonstrated  willingness of CI to subject its procedures to independent
qualified assessment and make the results public, its proven capacity to
upgrade procedures in that light, and its decision to appoint qualified
cryobiolical personnel to lead its research efforts are unique in the
cryonics community, and ought to be imitated and encouraged."

And if after saying this once, Charles & Co. were thereafter to merely
say in their screeds when the topic arose, "I rather think that under
optimal conditions Alcor protocols are preferable to CI's, but I feel
that people wanting to know more should go and read www.alcor.org and
www.cryonics.org," then love and peace would reign on Cryonet
forevermore.  Wouldn't that be nice?
Now me, I rather think that under real-life conditions, CI protocols are
preferable to Alcor's; but I feel that people wanting to know more should
go and read www.alcor.org and www.cryonics.org.  (Especially the latter.)
 So whyn't you go read it, huh?

Love And Peace,

David Pascal

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