X-Message-Number: 9461
From: Ettinger <>
Date: Sun, 12 Apr 1998 00:48:00 EDT
Subject: 'Fess up, Charles

Re: Platt 4/11/98 21:21 EDT (Sci.Cry.):


This is tiresome and repetitious, but I guess duty is duty. Mae watches the
political talk shows, and the clear lesson there is that tireless repetition
and many-sided approaches are required in order to make a point (and have the
point stay made). Those who find it redundant or uninteresting of course can
skip it. 

1. Charles says, "If [Pichugin] did not ramp the solution of glycerol in all
his trials, certainly I will admit I am wrong on this point."

That was your MAIN point, Charles--that the relatively good results with the
Ukrainian sheep heads were obtained only because they did not use the CI
procedure, but instead ramped up the glycerine concentration. And "will admit"
doesn't cut it. You are ALREADY wrong, by your own admission. You repeatedly
claimed as FACT what you now admit was only a vague recollection. How about
acknowledging that, for starters?

Charles says the damage done by CI procedures was "vastly" greater than that
done by BP procedures. He does not deny either that (a) the CI damage was
vastly less than the damage in uncontrolled freezing, or (b) the BP damage was
still very severe. Quantitative assessment of relative damage is pretty
tricky, and depends heavily on selection of samples, not to mention whose ox
is gored. In any case, the only claims I make are that the CI procedure was
MUCH less damaging than unprotected freezing, and that we avoided the previous
problem of cracking.

No one now knows for sure what kind and degree of damage will some day be
amenable to nanotech repair or the equivalent. Therefore those who can afford
it should buy what they believe to be the best available procedure. Those
(more numerous) who do not have the price of the most expensive, or who will
not accept the hardship of paying for it, will have to settle for less
expensive procedures or none. Nor will it be a one-decision scenario--the
options and prices will be constantly changing. If it turns out that a full-
fledged nanotech or equivalent will be both necessary and sufficient to rescue
any of the patients, then less money spent on preparation could mean more
money available for reserves and revival.

If you want to settle on one organization now, you need some confidence in its
long term viability and in the judgment of its directors. Of those who have
investigated all the organizations most carefully, some have chosen one and
some another. CI has gained more members from other organizations than it has
lost to other organizations, especially in recent years. That is at least

2. This I-said-he-said is dreary, but let's continue. Charles quotes one of my
previous posts: "Another of Charles' misrepresentations is that I have claimed
the CI method gives better results than e.g. later methods at BP." 

In response, he says I claimed that promptness of preparation could be more
important than the details of preparation, so that prompt attention with CI
methods might give better results than delayed attention with BP methods. This
is not on point, as he must know if he wasn't very sleepy at the time. But it
is correct: prompt attention with CI methods will certainly give better
results than delayed attention with other methods, depending of course on the
length of the delay and other factors. EVERYBODY acknowledges that. In fact,
BP for example will not even TRY to apply their maximum protocol to badly
delayed cases. 

3. Charles says he has "no idea" what I referred to in saying "his own
organizations have always warned everyone not to follow the recommendations of
others without trying it oneself." What I referred to was the repeated good
advice of Jerry Leaf and Mike Darwin to other organizations not to try to
adopt published Alcor methods without verifying results for themselves, under
their own conditions.

4. Charles quotes me: "A thousand alleged experts may say one thing, but we
believe what we see in our own lab." He then says, "But Bob, you don't HAVE a
lab, do you"--and goes on to dare me to dispute conclusions of a paper by
Mazur, citing "fundamental principles of cryobiology."

He knows perfectly well we have a lab, and did a series of sheep head
experiments, among other things--that is the basis of this whole exchange. Our
lab doesn't have $million of equipment, or anything close, but we manipulate
variables and make observations all the same, and we respect facts.

Do we also respect the reports and opinions of "authorities?" Certainly--to a
degree. But "facts" are only facts in context. In this case, the crucial issue
is the effect of a high initial concentration of glycerine. Mazur says 75% is
bad. This totally neglects the DETAILS. Bad for what, where, when? Bad if you
throw a few cells in a bath of 75% glycerine, sure--but that is not what

Our sheep brains were NOT exposed to 75% except possibly for tiny samples; the
actual concentration finally permeating various brain tissues was anywhere
from 15% to maybe 45%. In some specimens the average was around 26%. Charles,
you are bright enough, and dogged, but an armchair is still an armchair, and a
library is no substitute for a lab. 

And again: Yes, osmotic stress should be avoided if possible, and when we can
do that without worse trade-offs, we will do it.

5. Slow freezing vs. faster--similar remarks. We do what we found works best.
We continue to study the work of others, and have many projects planned for
possible improvement, but we operate within our constraints. 

And back to the beginning of this post: Don't you think, Charles, that you
would look better if you just admitted, right now, that you made an
inadmissible stretch in claiming as "fact" something that you merely thought
you remembered? Something on which NOW you are trying to do some fact

Robert Ettinger
Cryonics Institute
Immortalist Society

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