X-Message-Number: 6711
Date: Thu, 8 Aug 1996 00:21:39 -0400
Subject: SCI. CRYONICS objectivity

Mae says I am wasting my valuable time, and maybe she is right, but
I'll take some more precious moments to try for a bit more

1. Brian Wowk says allocation of financial resources "within the
cryonics community" should be 70% research and 30% operations, and
that Prometheus will achieve this, whereas the present pitiful
research allocation is only 5%.

I don't know about the "community," and I don't think anyone does;
but I do know something about the present possibilities within
cryonics organizations, including potential donations based on
experience. (Prometheus experience scarcely counts, since no one
has put up a nickel of cash yet.) If any of the organizations
providing physical services were now to allocate 70% of revenues to
research, it would be bankrupt in jig time.

As for CryoCare, I have never seen a financial statement, but as
far as I know it is just a paperwork organization, with no physical
plant and minimal overhead. That is an entirely different story.

And again, it is NOT obvious that putting most available money into
research is the best possible allocation. And this is NOT a
peripheral issue, as Paul Wakfer says. And saying this does NOT
make me an enemy of research or a saboteur.

2. Brian apparently roughed up Mrs. Visser through misguided
loyalty to someone else, allowing his objectivity to lapse. His
remarks were focused on side issues--her making claims in advance
of publication, and her problems in arranging for publication. He
took his eye off the ball. The IMPORTANT thing was simply that she
claimed recovering fully functional rat hearts from liquid
nitrogen--a major break-through, the biggest in fifty years,
putting her at the FOREFRONT of cryobiological research, excepting
no one. 

Brian says he didn't realize it might be applicable to larger
organs, because he thought it required flash freezing. But he
knows, first, that you can't "flash" freeze anything as large as a
rat heart; and second, even if fast freezing was involved, he had
no way of concluding that ONLY fast freezing would work. The
crucial factor is the new cryoprotective agent. Cryonicists must
keep cool, even if they are hot-blooded.

3. Paul Wakfer says that "Bob sees cryonics as it exists today as
both necessary AND sufficient." This has NO basis in fact
whatsoever. Possibly Paul is half-remembering that, in times past,
I have said that POSSIBLY a full-fledged nanotech may be necessary
and sufficient for the rescue of patients frozen by any of the
current methods. That is still true, but obviously it does not
detract from the advisability of using the best methods (other
things equal) and of devising better methods.

Again, the allocation of resources is NOT irrelevant to the
Prometheus project. Our resources of money and energy (and of
psychic resources or enthusiasm or hope, as Steve Bridge mentioned)
are limited, and must be husbanded; we have seen lots of burn-outs. 
The patients' chances depend on the quality of suspension, but also
on the reliability of storage; if we can't keep them stored, then
the manner of suspension will matter not at all. 

The patient's chances also depend on the availability of timely
treatment. Cryonics Institute is developing a network of
cooperating funeral directors, using our (developing) methods, to
do washout and perfusion QUICKLY (which our research
suggests is more important than the details of procedure). Alcor
uses a traveling team and local branches. These efforts also
require resources, and are not of negligible importance.

4. Neither do all honest people believe that Prometheus, as
presently conceived and administered, is necessarily our one best
chance, nor is its success odds-on. Paul signs off his messages by
saying "Reversible brain cryopreservation CAN be achieved in 10
years!!!!!" Of course, that is just standard advertising hype and
hope; but if Paul wants readers to take what he says seriously and
literally, and not as poetic license, the line between slogans and
promises should not be blurred. And while "rally 'round the flag"
is sometimes useful, in the long run it doesn't pay to say or imply
that those who disagree must suffer either from stupidity or moral

Of course, at the end of 1997, the time Paul sees the actual
implementation of Prometheus through formation of a corporation and
sale of stock, things may look very different. There are bound to
be interminable discussions on the details of the research plan and
the business plan. Currently Prometheus is PAUL'S project, he being
the only arbiter of suggestions; later the company will be run by
a board of directors elected by shareholders, and Paul may or may
not be CEO. The whole project may even be outdated by other
developments. We'll just have to see. 

Cryonics divided itself into several organizations, and cryonics
research will no doubt also branch out in several directions. That
might or might not be the best outcome, but as long as there are
different views and no clear, agreed proof of the superiority of
any of them, that is what we can expect. 

Robert Ettinger
Cryonics Institute
Immortalist Society

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