X-Message-Number: 7699
Date: 18 Feb 97 01:23:01 EST
From: Mike Darwin <>
Subject: Mugler on Visser

Mark Mugler writes that he is unhappy at the "gloating" he says he has observed

over Mrs. Visser's troubles with the South African Government.  I'd like to make
these observations:

1) I have spent an entire day watching Mrs. Visser work.  What I saw there was
not science.  Not science in any way, shape, or form.  Any criticism she
received on this forum was mild compared to what could have been leveled.
Further, if the kind of approach I saw was representative of what she was doing
to living human beings she deserves the censure of her government.

2) One of the reasons governments exist is because people behave so badly in
their "natural" state.  More specifically, everybody is vulnerable to force and
fraud.  Even very smart people are easily defrauded in areas they know little
about and have little aptitude or time to learn about; get in car accident and

find yourself in need of intensive care and you'll learn all about vulnerability
to fraud and incompetence...  Government is an attempt to deal with this
vulnerability.  Nation states may not be the ideal ways to deal with these and
other problems people have in dealing with each other.  But, like it or not,

they are the best working solution now in force.  And, unlike libertarian ideals
of government or anarcho-capitalism they are all that exist now.

Further, not all the functions, laws or regulations of states are intrinsically
evil.  Laws against fraud, against violation of human rights, and laws
regulating the use of force are arguably often quite sensible and _just_.  Some
years ago, following the atrocities of the likes of Beppo Mengle and his ilk, a
bunch of nation states met in Nuremberg and proposed some rules for how people
should be treated when they are involved in experiments.  Sometime later, these

proposals were modified and refined and laid out as the Helsinki Accord.  I have
read this document and I think it a fairly good basis for defining how human
experimentation should be conducted.  South Africa is a signatory to the
Helsinki Accord, as are most countries of the world.

The spirit of the Helsinki Accord has motivated me for 15 years in cryonics and
it lead to the development of the "Consent for Cryonic Suspension

(Cryopreservation)" which I largely authored and is now used by Alcor, CryoCare,
and ACS in various forms.  I take the issue of informed consent very seriously
in both medicine and cryonics.  I would not be adverse to the intervention of
the state in enforcing laws aimed at safeguarding human rights as outlined in
the Helsinki Accord anymore than I would be adverse to the prosecution of
rapists or ax murderers by the state in the absence of viable and just

3) As near as I can tell Mrs. Visser and her colleagues did not use the kind of

procedures that are required by any thoughtful and humane person in carrying out
human experimentation.  This is a very serious matter, and, if it is the case,
_should_ be prosecuted by her government.

4) Going to the government for money to do your research is about as libertarian
as working for the government to feed your face.  If you sup with the devil
you'd better bring a _long_ spoon and be prepared for a hot old time. 

5) People like Brian Wowk and Steve Harris(not to mention Bill Seidel) have been
attacked in very nasty ad hominem ways without apparent reason by Mrs. Visser
and are entitled, in my opinion anyway, to vigorously point out the validity of
their earlier criticisms or opinions about Mrs. Visser's work.

6) Mrs. Visser has caused a lot of people a _lot_ of trouble.  Alcor has a $4-5K
Langendorff set up and months of effort spent trying to reduplicate work that
was probably junk science.  We wasted time here pulling DMF off the shelf and
re-evaluating it, and we involved several other laboratories in this effort.  I

would guess that the Visser Method has consumed somewhere in the neighborhood of
$15,00 to $20,000 in cryonics research resources -- maybe much more.  Arguably

this not all money wasted, but just as arguably it is not money optimally spent,

People who run about making wonderful claims about life or death matters without
any respect for the rules of good science (which are quite independent of the
rules of the state) deserve to be severely punished by being publicly
discredited.  If that constitutes "gloating" then cryonics needs a lot more of
this, rather than less of it.

Mike Darwin

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