X-Message-Number: 832
Date: 19 May 92 00:24:54 EDT
From: Bob Smart <>
Subject: CRYONET: Dirty linen

Much as I'd hate to say this in a public forum like sci.med, I have to admit
one of the criticisms I've seen there recently has more merit than I'd like.
Specifically, someone indicated that the Alcor introductory materials seemed
pretty "slick," and I think the actual description was something akin to
"just a lawyer's whisker short of misleading."
Now, personally, I think that's too strong.  But I also think that some of
the Alcor introductory materials ARE a bit too breathless and upbeat, and if
nothing else that leaves us open to just this kind of criticism from people
who are all to ready to dismiss everyone and everything in cryonics as a
bunch of whackos and crackpots.  I don't know what to do about it, exactly,
but I wish I had access to introductory-level material that was closer in
tone to a scientific journal than to an advertisement.  When you're
preaching to the choir, it probably doesn't matter much; by the time you get
through the sign-up process, you'll know what is and is not being promised.
But when people who are predisposed to be suspicious of cryonics to begin
with send for this literature, it's not surprising to see it thrown back in
our faces, and I don't think that serves anyone's best interests.
Am I the only one who feels this way?  Perhaps we can get a discussion going
here about changes in introductory (note: not "promotional!") literature
that would not expose us to that type of attack?  Much of the resistance
we're seeing right now on sci.med should be old-hat, and we ought to have
sober, well-documented, honest discussions of those issues IN the
introductory materials, so that nobody could turn around and accuse us of
trying to softpedal or obscure any negative aspects of cryonics.
In particular, I think it needs to be VERY clear and explicit from the
get-go what IS, and IS NOT, being promised! We're being pilloried right now
for implicitly promising people that we'll certainly be able to revive them
someday, despite the fact that nobody is actually promising any such thing.
I can see how a reader might get that impression, though, particularly if
the materials only got a quick glance. With some folks, a quick glance is
all we're going to get...and it may not be in our best interest to write
those people off simply because they don't study us carefully before forming
their opinions. Like it or not, THEIR opinions will carry weight, and we
don't want to be constantly on the defensive any more than necessary.  We're
on the fringe, so it's up to us to convince others that we're worth taking
I can't imagine this is the first time this topic has come up; how did it
work out last time, and why?  Does anyone else think this is worth pursuing?

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