X-Message-Number: 2842
Date: 01 Jul 94 01:29:33 EDT
From: Mike Darwin <>
Subject: CRYONICS Cosenza's question

Dave is quite right to express surprise at my remarks.  I am happy to share my
sources.  About a year after Jerry was cryopreserved his wife (Kathy) asked to
meet with me.  We spent a number of hours talking about many things related to
Jerry and this was one of her assertions.  I expressed surprise: she backed it
up wih letters and other material which were in her posession.  Basically,
judging from that material, Jerry did not feel that cryonics, whole body or
otherwise, was very likely to work for GIVEN patients; what I found surprising
was that he included (as I understood it) most or all or the people frozen
today.  Kathy told me quite specifically that Jerry had told her on many
occcassions that if he (Jerry) were frozen using today's techniques he did "not
think he would be coming back."  Kathy and I talked for quite some time about
this and the related issues of Jerry's motivation.  My remark in my recent
posting was too brief (and probably shouldn't have been made) because this is a
very complex issue. (about which I will  offer the following *opinions*:

1) Jerry was a far more complicated man than certainly I (and probably a lot of
others) thought.
2) Pursuant to #1 Jerry, like everybody else who is complicated, probably said

things in different ways to different people which were then interpreted in ways
unique to these individuals.  This is not dishonesty, just tailoring
communication to different people's needs.  
3) Notwithstanding #2 above there are clearly VERY different, even conflicting
accounts of conversations Jerry had and of positions he took via a vis both
issues and people.  And further, these conflicts are reported by people

generally given high marks for integrity and with no axes to grind.  Again, this

doesn't mean we're dealing with lies or untruths, but just with the range of how
people express themselves and how others react to it.  
4) As to how Jerry felt about cryonics, I too had conversations with him over

the whole course of our relationship (which relationship ran the gamut from good
to bad) and I repeatedly tried to "pin him down" on how he felt about revival
odds.  He was always very evasive with me and always answered my questions in
terms of the right of people to choose, of the morality of a choice for life,
and of the importance of cryopreservations as they contributed to research and
growth of understanding which would lead to perfected techniques.  If Jerry was

more forthright with you, that's nice to hear.  However, I have to weigh what he
said to his wife, what he said to me, and what he said to others close to him
who were not cryonicists (some of whom I have also talked to regarding this

5) Even if Jerry felt cryonics wasn't likely to work personally (I hold the same
position in that I think the the OVERALL chances for success are only 2-3%) he
was not obligated to foist his opinions on others and he above all respected
other peoples' rights to make their own judgments and further, he respected
those judgments most of the time.  What I am saying here is that it is possible
to MORALLY participate in helping people achieve an end which they feel both
worthwhile and potentially practical without necessarily sharing their belief.
Many people would say if there is only a 2-3% chance of cryonics working it is
not worth the trouble and that it would be wrong to pursue it.  In fact, I have
had patients (who I have cryopreserved) tell me that if they thought the odds
were as low as I did they wouldn't bother.  So what?, to each his own.
6) Most to the point,  Jerry is not around to clarify his position so we are
left with "conflicting" statements.  Again, no big deal.  I wouldn't for a

minute try to persuade you to hold any position on this issue other than the one
you do -- after all you say Jerry TOLD you PERSONALLY how he felt!)  However,
one statement I would question you on: Jerry's "advocating" cryonics.  There is
a difference between advocacy and stating that something is a reasonable thing
to do.  In my over 10 years of association with him I don't think I EVER heard
Jerry advocate cryonics to any one at any time.  I could be wrong and perhaps
others will put their 2 cents worth in.

Finally, it needs to be said that Jerry Leaf made tremendous contributions to
cryonics and tremendous contributions to my own growth and knowledge.  I loved
and admired him and still do.  Frankly, I don't give a damn what his motivation
was (beyond simple curiosity) but I would not at all be surprised to discover

that it was to gain knowledge for the discipline and help people whom he thought
were well informed, thoughtful, and decent  exercise their own good judgment
about what was right for them personally.  In fact, if I am sure of anything it
is AT LEAST that those things regarding Jerry's motivation are true.  What
better motivations could you ask for?  Hopefully, with a lot of luck and hard
work Jerry will be able to settle this issue PERSONALLY.  In the meantime we'll
just have to form our opinions.

Mike Darwin

Rate This Message: http://www.cryonet.org/cgi-bin/rate.cgi?msg=2842