X-Message-Number: 2543
Date: 11 Jan 94 23:45:06 EST
From: Mike Darwin <>
Subject: CRYONICS Re: The problem of cryonics

I think David and I may be saying the same thing on some important points
and missing each other in the night over semantic issues.  We are
certainly agreed that organizational stability is a major problem both
perceived and real.  

However, the issue of doing "organization research" or research on how to
create stable or successful organizations doesn't seem to make sense to
me.  Such research goes on all the time and it is called CORPORATE
EVOLUTION.  Certainly, there are some good general rules any successful
business must follow (be it religious, profit, nonprofit, etc.).  Beyond
that we find out what works by TRYING it.  I know of no other way.

I will READILY agree that cryonics could turn into something Scientology-
sized and I have spent a fair amount of time speculating on a) the impact
of this, and b) how to achieve it.  However, even Scientology has its
problems and cryonics, unlike Scientology, slams smack dab into the whole
structure of the existing medicolegal system.  As Thomas Donaldson has
indirectly pointed out THAT is the system that has to ultimately change. 
For example, it has to reform its notion about what to do with
(apparently) dead people and adopt an attitude of intense CONSERVATISM
about when to give up.  Until that happens, cryonics is on a ghastly
collision course with the powers that be.  That that collision will occur
is inevitable unless the state-of-the-art improves.  (Here I differ with
Thomas.)  Although I probably would be willing to concede that an
operation run like the Cryonics Institute that deals only with SAFELY
dead people, uses only morticians, and does not use any pharmaceuticals
or other "medical" things which could get them accused of ACTUALLY BEING
medicine could continue to exist "indefinitely" without such a collision.
However, there are problems with such an approach not the least of which
is that that which constitutes SAFELY dead will get steadily worse (more
hopeless) as medicine progresses.  There are, of course, many other
problems with this approach which I've neither the time nor inclination
to go into here.

As to the issue of political research: David is mistaken here.  When
Riverside was selected as the location for Alcor, the absolute shoe-in
for coroner was a pleasant and approachable man named Carl Smith.  In a
complete, last-minute shake-up Mr. Smith didn't get elected (instead he
got indicted) because he plead guilty to perjury.  He STILL got the
majority of the VOTES!!!  Enter Mr. Carillo who NO ONE had heard of.  As
it turned out Carl Smith and Alcor had a productive relationship since
Mr. Smith entered the PI business and was retained by Alcor, to some
considerable benefit, to snoop and advise for Alcor (a task which he
was uniquely suited to doing).

When Mr. Carillo came up for re-election Alcor management met with the
opposing candidate and was responsible for others contributing substantial
sums to his campaign. Alcor's man won.

The message here is that politics like nature is unpredictable.  My
initial meeting with the acting coroner was pleasant and positive.  How
was I to know the turn of events, and more to the point what was to be
done after buying the building and being committed? Also keep in mind our
first meetings with Mr. Carillo were not merely positive they were
enthusiastic (he thought cryonics was just great until he realized what
he could with it).  Nor was it all Mr. Carillo's fault.  Much blame lies
with Rene Modglin the physician who performed the autopsy.  When he saw
barbiturates in Dora Kent's urine he came to the inevitable (but wrong)
conclusion that she was given these premortem.  I do not believe Carillo
would have dared proceed with Dr. Modglin backing him up.

We live, after all, in the real world.  And frankly, it is my CONSIDERED
opinion that we were LUCKY to have had Mr. Carillo as Riverside County
Coroner.  The Dora Kent affair could quite possibly (I'll even say
PROBABLY) occured anyway. The difference here was that our opposition was
subliterate and morally bankrupt.  If you can't pick your friends it at
least helps to be able to pick your enemies.  I only wish I could take
the credit in this case!

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