X-Message-Number: 9467
Date: Sun, 12 Apr 1998 13:49:24 -0700
From: Peter Merel <>
Subject: Re: Confusion

Dan Brown writes,

>Now I a very much underinformed prospective cyronics client, am
>confused.  It seems there is a debate on whether or not Alcor or
>Cryonics Institute is doing the right job of preservation.  How does
>someone like myself make a choice?  One costs a great deal and the other
>less but I don't hear if one is more viable than another.  Maybe I just
>become a specimen in  a frozen jar for future scientists to laugh at.
>Help me out here cause I am confused.

How to make a choice? As Darwin's recent messages should make clear, 
most of what goes on in cryonics is of highly questionable worth. The mantra 
is "well, yeah, but it still gives you a better chance than burning 
or burying" - the logic being that so long as there is some structure
left in a frozen brain, a future nanotechnology will be able to fix it.
It's plain that this mantra is wearing thinnest for the folk who are 
closest to the actual problem domain, and that's led to the most recent

Like many of the previous flaps here, if you can read through the noise, 
this one signals a sea change in the structure of the cryonics community. 
If I read it right, the CC group of companies (including 21CM and BPI) 
are effectively getting out of the cryo-org business in favour of doing 
the real work required to achieve real vitrification technology. That is,
they're working on techniques that would freeze you as a glass rather than
making you crystallize, so that the freezing itself wouldn't damage you at

There's an obvious logic in this: if vitrification becomes feasible, 
then there will be no more need fo cryo-orgs of the traditional sort 
(Darwin's "stacking frozen corpses", plus the support and legal defence
networks that go along with that) because working vitrification would 
be immediately accepted as a legit technique and massive business 
opportunity in mainstream medicine. So many and such large businesses 
would spring up around this that the existence or lack of the existing
orgs would be quite irrelevant.

Where does that leave we "early adopters"? I don't know where it leaves
you, but here's my picture:

The options available are still CC, CI, Alcor and the ACS. The technical 
merits of CI techniques being most in question, I discount them. You may 
choose to do otherwise. The CC business structures still seem to make sense 
to me, but I wonder whether they intend just to get out of the freezing 
and storage part of things or whether they'll be shutting down the business
part too. Whichever, they seem to be directing new business towards Alcor,
the largest org, which I get the impression will be licensing whatever
technology comes out of the 21CM research. ACS may be licensing this too -
I'm not sure how they see their direction at the moment.

The best time to make a decision is always tomorrow. One of the best things
about the ... um, fiesty ... nature of cryonet is that time tends to elicit
details where they're needed. It didn't take the folk here more than a few
months, for example, to reach a consensus on the worth of the Visser
techniques when they were first mooted. But the best way is to pay your
money and take your chances - you can always change orgs when that seems
appropriate. Confusion won't kill you, but hesitation certainly will.

Peter Merel.

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