X-Message-Number: 2518
From:  (Thomas Donaldson)
Subject: CRYONICS:more.on.science
Date: Fri, 7 Jan 1994 09:12:45 -0800 (PST)

Hi again!

Among the various messages I read last night on Cryonet was one deploring
(a mild description) Mike Darwin's statement that the publishers of cryonics
newsletters should censor some contributors: to be specific, Mr. Skrecky.

As another strong proponent of science and scientific research in cryonics,
I feel I should put in my own opinion. Furthermore, I too commented on 
Mr. Skrecky's piece about sucrose, though by no means as much as did Mike.

Fundamentally, ideas such as those of Mr. Skrecky to use sucrose as a cryo-
protectant suffer from an essential problem. It's called the Real World. You
can SAY all you want, but saying it does not make it come close to being
correct. The real test isn't whether or not you can publish an idea, but
whether 1. you actually try to IMPLEMENT IT and 2. when you do, IT WORKS.
Not all your tears or rhetoric will change that fact. No bill of rights can
change it either.

It happens to be true that cryobiologists have already tried sucrose. They
found that it DID NOT WORK. No more really needs to be said. Mr. Skrecky can
find the references for himself; once he reads them, then he has two choices:
1. retract his proposal 2. devise (somehow) a modification of it which 
escapes the problems revealed by the first experimental trials. Anyone 
who wonders why he may find it hard to publish his OLD proposashould 
understand that scientific periodicals do NOT publish OLD ideas. They try to
publish NEW ideas. And what makes an idea new is not that you have already
heard of it, but that the Editors of that publication can point to places
where it was already tried, years before, and did not work.

There is, however, an issue of education. It is in fact a good way to learn
about cryobiology to have such ideas and investigate them. Furthermore, 
scientists in general, I think, have an obligation not just to do research
but to help members of the public understand what research has been done and
what has not, and why, and just what they think about various scientific
issues. If they do not do this, scientists may become alienated from their
real sources of financial support. 

At the same time, anyone involved in cryonics should understand that the
number of people involved in doing real scientific work to advance cryonics
is VERY SMALL. It can be counted on the fingers of one badly injured hand. 
So their frustration in having to, once more, explain what is wrong with
with a proposal by someone who simply hasn't done their homework should 
be understood. And perhaps the cryonics community should be a bit more 
forgiving of that than would happen in the community at large.

Actual censorship, however, becomes much harder. As Editor of PERIASTRON,
I am happy to print anything, but those who submit material should also 
understand that I may criticise it strongly even when I print it. But what
Mike was saying was not that NEW ideas should be forbidden. He was saying
that Skrecky's idea is an OLD idea, and even more, has been shown not to
work (that's what the issue of whether or not sucrose got inside cells is
about). Genuinely new ideas are hard to have. They don't come easy even
to the best of us. Skrecky really deserves criticism for not having done
his homework and discovered these things for himself. 

Next time, I do hope that he looks more carefully into what's been done,
and so doesn't come out with something the cryobiological community has
abandoned long ago.
			Best and long long life,
				Thomas Donaldson

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