X-Message-Number: 16668
Date: Sun, 24 Jun 2001 14:12:27 -0400 (EDT)
From: Charles Platt <>
Subject: do-it-yourself, continued

> Message #16641
> From: "Trygve Bauge" <>

> or accidentially get burried before their cryonics provider gets notified of
> their death?

If someone has signed up for cryonics, the phrase "signed up" should tell
you that there is a contract. While it is true that the dead have no legal
rights, it is also true that cryonics organizations traditional have tried
very diligently to honor their contracts. If someone signs up and
specifies that he wants to be preserved no matter how minuscule a fraction
of decayed remains exists, the organization should honor his wishes, even
if the only detectable remnant is a fingernail paring. If questioned on
this policy, the organization can rightly say, "We were obeying the
provisions of a contract, drawn up while the person was of sound mind and
judgment. We may or may not agree with his wishes, but we are ethically
bound to carry them out."

The dead person in Australia had not signed up. Thus any cryonics
organization that takes this case is not bound by any contract and can
only say either a) "We dug him up and froze him because we are crazy
enough to believe he still has a chance of future life" or b) "We did it
for the money and we really need a new dewar." Which option do you think
the media will prefer?

> Am I the only one who favours that we then start to systematically dig up
> the dead, take DNA samples, clone and raise the dead, and then give them the
> option of paying back what it cost to raise them, much like people pay back
> a student loan?

And what if they don't want to pay after you wake them up? The
organization says, "Okay, forget it!" and kills them?

> At the existing cryonics providers there seem to be a prevailing attitude,
> that if one can't freeze a person under the most ideal circumstances, then
> one should rather let the person rot.

The purpose of cryonics is to provide some chance of restoring life, with
personality and preferably memories intact;  and if this chance is
generally agreed (even by the most optimistic nanotech enthusiast) to be
zero, the organization has no excuse for taking people's money, and can
rightly be accused of fraud.

> It seems to me, that if the existing cryonics providers won't accept us if
> we inadvertently have been burried,
> then we need to set up another cryonics provider.

Go ahead, but don't call it a "cryonics" provider.

> For years I have hoped that someone in the cryonics movement would buy a
> freezer, set up a laboratory for tissue cultivation and offer to freeze live
> cell samples, for future cloning.

Your wish is granted. "Cells4Life" headed by Fred Chamberlain has this
intention, as I understand it. Note that it is a separate venture from
Alcor and will not be referred to as a "cryonics" organization.

> Once again I call upon the existing cryonics groups to reconsider their
> treatment of Elizabeth Kostadinova.
> She apparently has the money to have her father frozen.
> I call upon CI, Alcor, Trans Time etc. to use this opportunity to get the
> funding for a new 4 person dewar.

If Elizabeth wishes to preserve a cell sample for future cloning, I'm sure
there will be no objection. But that isn't what she's after, is it?

> A few days later the local town board in the small mountain town of
> Nederland Colorado decided to use this opportunity to try to shut down
> my local cryonics facility, by passing a town ordinance that on its
> face value also would have made it illegal to store frozen broccoli.
> They failed to shut down my facility.  Yes there was an uproar in the
> town: by the 70 percent of the population that supported me and my
> facility. The old down board was thrown out and replaced by a new.
> Since then the town board has not attempted to shut me down. The
> storage of my grandfather is kind of grandfathered in, legally
> speaking, if you understand what I mean.  Bo Shaffer has been taking
> care of the facility and adding dry ice on my grandfather for the last
> 5 years or so. We have received and still receive a lot of positive
> media coverage, and one award winning short movie was made about the
> case. Leading to positive media coverage on national TV programs in
> The United States, Brazil and Norway and world wide on the National
> Geographic channel.

Thanks for the upbeat version. Still, I do seem to recall a lot of
publicity that could not be described as positive. Also, I seem to recall
that Nederland still maintains its ban against cryonics, which resulted
from your activities. True?

In addition, my basic point stands: Anyone who does a do-it-yourself
backyard freezing is risking backlash from locals, negative publicity, and
a furor with unknown consequences. I think it is grossly iresponsible to
encourage anyone to take this path. First get the zoning permission;
then make sure your venture is properly capitalized (with sufficient
funds for indefinite patient storage); and THEN do what you want to do.

> Let us clear up a few things:
> Cryonics and its reputation is not the ultimate goal here:
> Individual life-extension is the goal, cryonics is just the means.

If actions by an individual raise the general risk of backlash against
cryonics, the individual is not acting responsibly. All it takes is one
controversial case, to encourage legislators to do what they most enjoy
doing: Creating legislation. A nationwide ban on cryonics could eliminate
the future chances for dozens of current patients at existing facilities.
Any cryonicist who pursues his own vision without always remembering the
vulnerability of those patients is creating a small but significant risk.

> Second: bad publicity is not my experience at all. I have had enormous
> amount of positive publicity for as long as I have been involved in
> cryonics.
> When we first froze my grandfather, we got serious and positive
> coverage by the Colorado media, even a front page article and colour
> picture in The Denver post. And the Colorado and Norwegian media has
> followed up ever since.

Indeed. I invite anyone to go to Google and search for "Trygve Bauge" to
find out how seriously his activities have been received. Here's a review
of the movie that was made of his case:

"I can only say that "Grandpa's In The Tuff Shed" is the funniest movie
I've ever seen. Trygve Bauge, currently deported from Nederland, to his
native Norway, for threatening to hijack an aeroplane (freedom of speech
is in his constituitional rights) is the operator of the "Joyful Life
Extension" program. "Cryonics" facilities consist of a hole in the hill
behind Trygve's castle-like (it has steel beams in the roof) home in
Nederland. The following websites only prove that the internet attracts
every sort of wierdo."

Or try this from a Denver travel site:

"Trygve Bauge, the young Norwegian who used his inheritance to cryonically
freeze his dead grandfather for revival at a later date, is another who's
helping to keep alive Nederland's eccentric reputation. The Scandinavian
hit newspapers when he was deported in 1994 but left the old man on ice --
dry ice -- at Bauge's Nederland home. Two Boulder sisters, who tout
themselves as the distaff Coen brothers of "Fargo" fame, recently made a
film about the episode called "Grandpa's in the Tuff Shed," with a title
song by the same name."

Speaking as someone who was struggled for years to disassociate cryonics
from words such as "weird" and "eccentric," I have to say that anyone who
generates this kind of publicity is undermining my efforts.

> It clearly is.  Most cryonic ventures I know of started out as do it
> yourself procedures. I haven't seen any cryonic venture that so far
> has been initiated by and spun off from any established fortune 500
> company.

As you well know, all modern cryonics organizations operate within local
zoning, health, and other regulations, and are scrupulous (to varying
degrees) about the cases which they accept. Which brings us back to the

> Cryonics is just the means, and I am not going to stop doing what I
> see as right, just because someone is afraid that it might hurt the
> reputation of cryonics.

I don't expect you to change your beliefs or behavior in any way
whatsoever. I just want to inform _other people_ of your past
achievements, and possible future consequences.

Of course, if you are serious about setting up a properly planned and run
cryonics facility in Norway, I wish you the best. But this is not what you
were recommending to your correspondent in Australia.

George Smith asks:

> Charles, why don't you explain here for the benefit of everyone why you
> believe this effort is "bad publicity" for cryonics as a whole?

Because I believe that for cryonics to achieve real growth, it has to lose
its "wacky" status, and must be pursued on some sort of rational basis,
supported by known orthodox science. Moreover I believe that the "wacky"
status actually endangers the field to some extent, since it is an
invitation for regulation. In the past, some attempts to maintain people
in storage on an underfunded, improvised basis, have resulted in
catastrophe. The case in New Jersey where the dewar filled with water that
promptly turned to ice, and the case at Chatsworth, come to mind. The
latter generated a lot of publicity. Obviously the chances of failure are
greater if fewer people are involved.

> At the same time I have a very hard time not feeling supportive for someone
> trying to beat the Grim Reaper and wish them success.

Sure, I agree. But if we read a little cryonics history, we find a lot of
early cases which were screwed up badly, with the best of intentions. Ask
Curtis Henderson some time, about his experience crawling into a dewar to
chip the ice out from around the human body therein. The dewar was in the
back of a truck outside his home in Long Island, at the time. Fortunately
the neighbors didn't notice, or were so horrified, they pretended not to


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