X-Message-Number: 9487
Date: Tue, 14 Apr 1998 17:07:31 -0400 (EDT)
From: Charles Platt <>
Subject: Motives

Some posts here suggest a fundamental misunderstanding of motives. I'm
concerned especially by the automatic assumption, expressed by several
people, that "attacks" have taken place. I believe this is incorrect. 

First, I don't believe that any cryonics organization wants to see any
other cryonics organization suffer financially or lose members. I assumed
that this was obvious--but maybe I was wrong to make that assumption. 

Presumably, we all want the same thing: to protect life. I feel this very
intensely, because I abhor death. I have lost two parents and many
friends, all irrevocably. The destruction of their memories, intelligence,
personalities, and skills is unforgivable. This is why I donate my time to

For years it bothered me that, so far as I could see, simple precautions
might enhance protection of some cryonics patients and make a difference
between their renewed life or permanent death. For whatever reason
(embarrassment, politeness, feelings of futility) I said nothing about
this publicly. 

If cryonics were like any other professional discipline, ranging from
medicine to construction work, we would have a code of standards and
practices administered by some independent body. But there's no time or
money to establish such a system. Therefore, if any group claims that
their methods produce good results--and since the basic nature of cryonics
prohibits conclusive feedback--there's no easy way to dispute such claims;
and if a claim *is* challenged, there's an immediate prospect of irritable
inconclusive debate which nontechnical observers will be ill-equipped to
judge and may even find offensive. 

So there is a powerful incentive, in cryonics, not to be a whistle-blower.
But--what if a really well established body of scientific knowledge
conflicts with the methods used by an organization? What if this body of
knowledge suggests that patients are experiencing avoidable harm? What if
the damage might conceivably make the difference between renewed life or
permanent death? If someone feels 100-percent certain about these beliefs,
what should he do? 

The first step, of course, is private notification and discussion. But if 
this has been tried several times by more than one person, over a period 
of years, with no result--then, surely, a public forum is the only option 
left, no matter how unsatisfactory it may be.

Here on CryoNet and on sci.cryonics I phrased my initial comments about CI
mostly as questions, because this seemed the least confrontational
approach and also allowed for the possibility that _I might be wrong._
Also, in accordance with standard journalistic practice, I telephoned CI
and spoke to someone who sounded as if he knew what he was talking about;
and I verified all the points that seemed key. (I note, incidentally, that
this kind of fact checking is highly unusual--maybe even unprecedented--in 
most online debates. No one has ever called CryoCare to check any facts.)

To me, this does not sound like an "attack." It was a conscience-driven
attempt to air issues that I find very ethically difficult. Maybe the
attempt was poorly executed. The subsequent exchanges became personal, for
which I share some of the blame; but the initial intent was simply to save
lives, in a field where no commonly agreed standards exist.

I am glad that Bob is willing to accept some donated equipment from others
who, I believe, share my feelings precisely. 

Thank you.

--Charles Platt

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