Caloric Restriction Does not Slow Ageing in Humans Douglas Skrecky
Treatment With L-Deprenyl Prolongs Life in Elderly Dogs Douglas Skrecky
The Idea of Immortality and the Embalming of Lenin Mikhail Soloviev
Speedup Mike Perry
Growth of Cryonics Stephen Bogner
The Utility of Life Extension Robert Ettinger
Fruit Fly Experiments Douglas Skrecky
The Failure Of The Cryonics Movement Saul Kent
Robert Ettinger writes
Contents are provided for information only, under the right to free speech. Opinions are the authors' own. No professional advice is intended. If you wish others to be legally responsible for your health, life or finances, then please consult a professional regulated according to the laws of your country. Volume 11 no 65. First published May 1998. ISSN 0964-5659.
by Douglas Skrecky <email@example.com>
There has been some speculation that caloric restriction might be able to retard the rate of aging, and extend maximum human life span beyond 120 years of age. (For example see the book The 120 Year Diet by Roy Walford)
Recent evidence indicates that the anti-aging effect of caloric restriction, which has been documented in rodents, is not operative in humans. A low body-mass index does have a positive association with reduced mortality rates in humans.
However recent research indicates that this is due to a negative association between BMI and physical fitness. After physical fitness is accounted for, there exists no further effect of BMI on mortality. See the following table from (International Journal of Obesity 19 Suppl: S41-S44 1995.
|All Cause Death Rates|
|>30 62.1||18.0 (moderate & high together)|
While the above data indicate that the body mass index itself is not a primary driving factor for mortality in humans, the case it makes against caloric restriction exerting an anti-aging effect is not air-tight. What is needed is a false prediction from a postulated anti-aging effect of caloric restriction that could then be used in turn to falsify that hypothesis. I believe there exists one such prediction.
Lower BMI is associated with reduced mortality in young and middle-aged humans. If caloric restriction retards the rate of aging and extends maximum life span in humans one must expect that a lower BMI would be significantly associated with reduced mortality in aged humans. If such an significant association is not found then caloric intake is not operative in modifying the rate of aging in humans and life spans beyond 120 will not be possible by reducing caloric intake.
In humans over 84 years of age BMI has not been found to exert any significant effect on mortality. (New England Journal of Medicine 338: 1-7 1998 & Arch Intern Med 157: 2249-2258 1997) Therefore since no association has been found between BMI and mortality in aged humans, then caloric restriction is not operative in modifying the rate of aging in humans.
The fact that caloric restriction dramatically extends life span in mice, but not apparently in humans requires some explanation. Here is one. In mice caloric restriction is associated with torpor, which can act to reduce tumor growth. In C57BL/6J mice blocking torpor, by increasing housing temperature to 30 C reduced the increase in average life span associated with caloric restriction from 47% to just 4%. Since humans neither experience torpor, nor suffer from cancer to the degree that mice do the effect of caloric restriction in mice can not be generalized to include humans. For example in human centenarians only 4% die from cancer. By comparison cardiovascular disease accounts for 63% of deaths in those aged 95 and over. (Epidemiology 8: 501-504 1997) Thus it is cardiovascular disease and not cancer that is the major longevity limiting factor in humans. It is possible that potassium intake may be a major dietary modulator of human longevity. A high potassium intake has been found to reduce stroke associated mortality to zero. (New England Journal of Medicine 316: 235-240 1987)
by Doug Skrecky <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Summary from Life Sciences 61(11): 1037-1044 1997:
Eighty two beagle dogs ranging in age from 2.8 to 16.4 years and in weight from 6.3 to 15.8 kg were allotted to 41 pairs and administered placebo or 1 mg/kg l-deprenyl orally once daily for 2 years and 10 weeks.
When survivorship for all dogs in the study was analysed there was no significant difference between the l-deprenyl and placebo treated groups, most likely due to the (expected) survival of virtually all young dogs in both groups for the duration of the study.
To assess whether l-deprenyl treatment begun in later life might enhance canine longevity in a fashion similar to that documented in rodents we also examined survival in a fashion similar to that documented in rodents we also examined survival in a subset of elderly dogs who were between the ages of 10 and 15 yrs at the start of tablet administration and who received tablets for at least 6 months. In this subset, dogs in the l-deprenyl group survived longer (p<0.05) than dogs in the placebo group. Twelve of 15 (80%) dogs in the l-deprenyl group survived to the conclusion of the study, in contrast to only 7 of 18 (39%) of the dogs who received placebo (p=0.017). Furthermore, by the time the first l-deprenyl treated dog died on day 427, 5 placebo treated dogs had already succumbed, the first on day 295. Specifically with respect to dogs, the findings reported herein suggest daily oral administration of 1 mg/kg l-deprenyl prolongs life when begun in relatively healthy dogs 10-15 years of age and maintained for the duration of the individual's life, but in any event for no less than six months.
The Idea of Immortality and
the Embalming of Lenin
by Mikhail Soloviev <email@example.com>
The idea of immortality was popular in Russia in the beginning of the 20th century. Mainly because of the works of Ilia Mechnikov (Nobel laureate, founder of gerontology, propagated the idea of life extension through progress in biology and medicine), Porfiry Bakhmetiev (physicist and anabiosis researcher, who thought of the possibility of life extension by suspended animation1), and Nikolai Fedorov (the main idea of his Philosophy of Common Task is to unify mankind in the task of physical resurrection of the dead by scientific methods2.
It is known that immortality ideas was popular among Bolsheviks' leaders. Two of them, Alexander Bogdanov and Leonid Krasin, before the First World War were main rivals of Vladimir Lenin in the struggle for the highest post in the Russian Social Democratic Worker Party. Later, after the Bolsheviks took power in 1917 they hold important positions in the Russian government. Bogdanov was famous for his idea to reach the goal of life extension by the blood transfusion (also he was a great philosopher - in one of his books he described an early version of the theory of systems). He founded the Institute for Blood Transfusion and died in 1926 after blood exchange experiment with his participation. Krasin, an engineer (in chemistry and electricity) and a technocrat, is considered the man who first offered to preserve Lenin's body after his death in 19243, 4. And for him (but not for other Bolsheviks' leader, including Joseph Stalin, who primarily thought of making a kind of communist cult) the main reason for such the procedure was the hope for Lenin's revival in the future. There is the documentary data that the main source influenced Krasin was Fedorov's philosophy5. However it is possible to suppose that Bakhmetiev's anabiosis research could also influenced him - as (1) Krasin (he was the general manager for Russia in German concern Siemens) lived in Moscow exactly in the same time (1912-1913)4 when Bakhmetiev propagated his ideas, and2 indeed Krasin offered to freeze Lenin's body (even the freezing equipment was bought in Germany and its assembling was started in a Kremlin tower) and only later, after many discussions, the idea of frozen storage was replaced by embalming (it was considered more reliable for the Russian conditions in the time)3.
The description of Lenin's death and embalming3 shows that there are chances for his future revival. His brain was removed from his skull within 15 hours (probably earlier) after his death and embalmed. Later it was split and re-embalmed for long-term storage. Now it is stored in the Institute of Brain in Moscow. Thus it can be possible in the future to scan Lenin's brain slices in order to record the information describing his mind and personality and then to recreate him as a living man - by artificial emryogeny6, use of nanoscale devices etc. Moreover there is a lot of Lenin's works and recollections about him - it can help much to restore the information lost because of the decay of neural structures occurred before his brain was embalmed and during the embalming procedure and the storage period. And if the progress in computer science and technology, nanotechnology, biology and medicine will continue I think the revival of Lenin can be realized rather soon - even in the 2nd half of the 21st century.
1. Soloviov M.V. The 'Russian Trace' in the History of Cryonics. Cryonics, Vol. 16, N 4 (1995).
2. Perry R.M. The Fedorov File: Glimpses of an Elusive Immortalist. Cryonics, Vol. 17, N 2 (1996).
3. Lopukhin Yu. M. The illness, death, and embalming of V.I.Lenin: The truth and myths. (1997) [in Russian].
4. O'Connor T. Engineer of Revolution (1992).
5. Tumarkin N. Lenin Lives! (1983).
6. Soloviev M. Reanimation by Artificial Embryogeny. Longevity Report, N 58 (1997).
Mike Perry <MIKE@alcor.org> Thomas Donaldson raised on Cryonet the issue of whether a speedup in our thinking would be desirable.
Certainly it should not be considered a foregone conclusion that "faster is better." With a slowdown, for example, other factors being equal, you'd perhaps view the world like time-lapse photography, and see more happening per subjective second, which could possibly make life more interesting to you. On the other hand, we can imagine some possible advantages of a speedup too: you could get your work done faster (but make sure you are not paid by the hour!) and have a lot more time for leisure activities. If the speedup was really huge, say a factor of a million, the realtime world would mostly look frozen solid, so you might want to arrange for other entertainments, interactions with other speeded-up people, say, along with various VR options. Speeding up would be somewhat related to increasing your intelligence, though not a guarantee of (much of) the latter; the quality of your processing would matter too. But I think that, if speedups become possible, safe, reasonable, etc. many or most would want them simply to keep up with things and not be in the position of requiring special consideration or protection from an "establishment" who might otherwise take advantage of them.
An interesting science fiction novel that deals with the speedup issue is *Nanotime* by Bart Kosko.
Growth of Cryonics
Stephen Bogner <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I would like to see more discussion about the growth rate of cryonics. There ought to be a number of measures that could be extracted from available data (and may already have been, although I have not seen such an analysis). For example, the correlation's between the growth of the cryonet mail list and sign ups or inquiries to cryonics organizations. If there is enough data it might even be possible to measure the positive/negative impact of the various flame wars that break out here from time to time... It might also be interesting to try to correlate the growth rate over the next few years with sales figures from James Halperin's The First Immortal. I have been inspired to a higher and more open level of participation because of this book, and perhaps a measurable number of others will feel the same way.
It would be particularly valuable to understand the demographics at work here. When I first encountered cryonet I was encouraged by the (usually) intellectual and reasoned discourse, but even more so by the participation of people that I knew and respected from other activities and organizations that I had been involved with or encountered over the years. If, as I hope and suspect, the demographics of the cryonics movement show that it is dominated (with spectacular exceptions) by people who are considered to be "well adjusted" "independent thinkers" - perhaps even cultural, social, and technical "leaders" in areas outside of cryonics - then perhaps it will be easier for people to accept the intellectual foundations and cultural legitimacy of the movement. The needs for acceptance (and the fear of ridicule) are extremely powerful "memetic" themes that can generate both motive force and inertia - sometimes with enough power to overwhelm even fundamental imperatives such as self preservation. If one wants to think about a "calculus of motivation", then the influence of demographics on the momentum of the cryonics meme will clearly be a significant term in any relevant equation. By paying close attention to growth rates and demographic trends within the cryonics movement the community ought to be able to discern mechanisms that it can influence that will accelerate the diffusion of the cryonics meme within the broader society. This should feed back into the cryonics organizations in the form of increased participation rates.
The Utility of Life Extension
by Robert Ettinger <Ettinger@aol.com>
Nothing new about the following, but perhaps it deserves renewed attention--and will doubtless get it, at the upcoming Alcor conference, by Marvin Minsky, James Halperin, and Michael Cloud.
Recruitment for immortalism and cryonics would get a big boost if we could elevate the perception of the utility of radical life extension. Most people probably have a good feel for the difference between "value" and "utility"--even if they don't know the jargon. But we'll touch the base with an easy example:
Which would you rather have--a 50% chance to win a million dollars, or a 1% chance to win a billion?
The "expected value" (average take) in the former case is $500,000, in the latter case $10,000,000. The latter has 20 times the value of the former. Yet the average person would choose the former, which for him has the greater "utility" or psychological value. (Bill Gates would choose the latter.)
We can offer the average citizen the chance to participate in wonders and glories -- but that ISN'T what he wants. He doesn't want to live forever or think at electronic speeds or leap tall buildings at a single bound. He just wants better health and longer life and more money and comfort and amusement and autonomy and beauty and justice and love and control, less drudgery and hardship and danger and boredom and impositions and ugliness and viciousness and injustice and helplessness. He wants the improvements to come in understandable increments and at an adaptable pace.
I know, you're different -- you do want to leap tall buildings at a single bound; but you aren't average. However, even exceptional people are usually pretty near average in most respects. Immortalists tend to be well above average in intelligence and education--but equal or superior people, in many times our numbers, still fail to grok it. This includes most of the professional visionaries, such as Arthur C. Clarke. Clarke articulated the "failure of imagination or failure of nerve" diagnosis, yet shows the symptoms himself.
Anomalies abound. Most people would not pay a substantial amount for a tiny chance to win even the largest prize -- if clearly presented that choice, at one shot. Yet enormous numbers "invest" in the state lotteries, often spending $5-$10 per week or $100-$200 per year, although the odds are ridiculous. Charles Platt says he thinks the chance of revival, under optimum conditions, is only around one in 10,000 -- yet he has made a huge investment of time and effort, as well as money. (If I thought the odds were that bad, I would be long gone from cryonics.) Clearly, there are psychological handles available somewhere, if we can locate and grab them.
Look again at the state lottery. One very important thing they have that we lack is success stories -- photos of happy winners and stories of how they spent their money, gave autos to their relatives, etc. But visible success stories are not essential, as witness the successes of religions, political parties, etc.; there are no interviews in Heaven or photos of new wings and haloes.
What is important is a support group for mutual inspiration and encouragement -- and I think the focus should NOT be on the distant future or transhumanity, or on anything remote and threatening. The focus should be on reunion, love, health, comradeship, adventure (but not fantasy), achievement (but not fantasy), pleasure (but not perpetual orgasm), independence (but not anarchy), revolution (but mainly against the tyranny of disease and "natural" death, not against most of the traditional ideals), and justice ("Life isn't fair").
One small way to begin to fill the need, for those inclined to work in that niche, is suggested by Halperin's novel The Truth Machine. Actually, we don't need a machine that infallibly detects lies; we need a system that arrives at truth or evidence, by whatever means. We already have the polygraph, which is not infallible but does contribute to the search. More generally, we need procedures or devices that increase relevant information. A very simple start (which I and no doubt many others suggested many years ago) is to install recording video monitors at public places, including street corners. (This has recently been tried in England, with reported success.)
Video/audio monitoring, with secure remote recording, could also be done in private homes or (soon) on the individual's person or in his vehicle. There will also be panic buttons that will send a signal to the police giving the exact location of the emergency and identity of the sender and recordings of the vicinity. This would make successful crime much more difficult. In the slightly more distant future, air and dust samples will yield DNA-containing particles of dead skin, exhalates, and other byproducts of the presence of particular individuals in any room or vehicle at any relatively recent time. Yes, I know the alleged objections, both as to practicality and ethics/politics; but I don't want to discuss those now. My question is, how do we harness this horse?
Part of the answer may be to use social or commercial tie-ins. For example, in cryonics we still need a relatively cheap, reliable dead-man's switch, that sends an alarm if the pulse falters or some other emergency condition occurs. It has obvious value beyond cryonics, and those buying it for other purposes could be made aware of cryonics in a favourable context.
Yes, this has been hasty and poorly organized; there is much more, but enough for the moment.
Robert Ettinger Cryonics Institute Immortalist Society http://www.cryonics.org
Fruit Fly Experiments
by Douglas Skrecky <email@example.com>
This is the 20'th update on my fly longevity experiments. I made two mistakes with this run, one minor and one major. The minor one is that I apparently forgot to include the non-toxic taurine larvicide in the onion 4X/chitosan 4X, and onion 4X/paprika combination bottles. The breeding that occurred in these bottles, rendered any census impossible, and so these bottles had to be discarded.
The major mistake was adding still boiling water (instead of boilED) to all of the supplement bottles, without first testing to see if this was beneficial. Fortunately I included a normal control using cool water, in addition to a hot control using boiling water, for all of the three breeding bottle fly sources. Thus I am able to learn from my mistake. Using boiling water reduced fly longevity by two mechanisms. One was purely physical. This involved the formation of tight cracks between the fly food and the inside of the bottles. In some supplement bottles these were narrow enough to trap and drown numerous flies in the moist fly food. The onion 4X bottle was a great example of this, with all of its flies being drowned by the day 34 census. Fortunately these cracks tended to widen with time as the fly food slowly dried out, so that after the day 34 census, few flies met their end in this way. The other mechanism reducing longevity can be only speculated about. After all the flies in the three hot control bottles had died, a few still lived on in the corresponding cool water control bottles. This appears to constitute a genuine aging acceleration phenomena. I presume this is due to the boiling water destroying some of the vitamins in the fly food and inducing subclinical nutrient deficiencies, which manifest themselves late in life.
On a positive note two observations stand out in this run. First hawthorn appears to increase life span. Secondly the factors responsible for the longer life span associated with cinnamon or sage supplementation, appear to be lipid soluble, since addition of the fat binding fiber chitosan eliminates this effect.
I am trying something different for my eighth run. All flies used here have been "pre-aged" in holding bottles containing taurine larvicide for 29 days prior to use. About 75% of the flies in these bottles had already died before the eighth run had even been begun. I had anticipated some mortality, and so had used 5 holding bottles. However even with the increased number of fly sources, I found that I did not have enough flies to commence a full sized run. I did the best I could here, with the flies available. Since these aged flies were virtually unable to fly I upended each holding bottle, and dumped the flies into one bottle prior to use.
The advantage here is that the flies from all five holding bottles are homogenized so that five control bottles are not needed to account for variations in average fly age from different bottles.
The main advantage of using pre-aged flies is that the eighth run will be completed quick enough, that I doubt that rotting of the fly food would be much of a factor limiting life spans. It is possible that larger differences in longevity might manifest themselves with this change in procedures.
I would like to thank Robert Ettinger and Andy Zawacki for donating the acetyl-carnosine for the eighth run. I am told that this is from Russian sources.
|Percentage Survival on Day|
|1||hot cntl 1||94||90||70||62||50||28||16||2||0||-||-||-||-||-|
|1||garam masala 4X||100||87||67||27||13||13||13||0||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|1||lemon peel 4X||83||67||42||33||21||17||4||0||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|2||hot cntl 2||69||59||48||38||34||7||3||3||3||0||-||-||-||-|
|2||on 4X/chitosan 4X||96||85||48||44||41||33||19||15||4||4||4||0||-||-|
|2||on 4X/chitosan 8X||(breeding! - discarded)|
|2||on 4X/cr picolinate 4X||84||68||24||16||8||4||0||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|2||on 4X/cr picolinate 8X||77||41||14||9||5||5||5||0||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|2||on 4X/cinnamon/chit 4X||100||38||23||8||8||11||11||0||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|2||on 4X/paprika||(breeding! - discarded)|
|2||on 4X/paprika/chit 4X||79||42||37||26||21||16||11||5||5||5||5||5||5||5|
|2||on 4X/sage 4X||95||77||59||45||41||45||23||18||14||9||9||0||-||-|
|2||on 4X/sage 4X/chit 4X||41||29||18||12||12||6||6||0||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|3||hot cntl 3||83||58||48||40||25||18||8||8||0||-||-||-||-||-|
|3||shark cartilage 4X||85||60||18||5||0||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|acetyl-carnosine 4X:||1/8 tsp|
|aged garlic:||75 mg (Kyolic formula 100)|
|aged garlic:||300 mg|
|cardamon 4X:||1/4 tsp|
|chili 4X:||1/4 tsp|
|coriander 4X:||1/4 tsp|
|echinacea:||31 mg augustifolia & 31 mg purpurea|
|echinacea 4X:||125 mg augustifolia & 125 mg purpurea|
|tomato 4X:||1/4 tsp|
water reduced: used 3 instead of 6 tablespoons of water, with 20 mg Carolina Biological 4-24 fly food
Note: 1 gm taurine added to all bottles to eliminate breeding. Glass milk bottles are used to contain flies. Entire experiment is located on a card table near a window. Fly life spans tend to be longer in runs during the winter, due to the lower temperatures.
The Failure Of The Cryonics Movement
by Saul Kent CEO 21st Century Medicine <SaulKent@compuserve.com>
printed from Cryonet, message #9556 Date: Tue, 28 Apr 1998
In 1964, the cryonics movement was launched by Bob Ettinger's book, The Prospect Of Immortality. I was inspired by Bob's book to become a cryonics activist. To me cryonics was far more than a chance of survival in the face of death. In 1964, I saw death as being far in the future. I was 25 years old and in excellent health. The first patient had yet to be frozen, and I knew that freezing would cause severe damage to the body.
My primary motive in becoming a cryonics activist was to save my life in the future, when I knew it would need saving. I knew that my youth and health were short-lived; that I was programmed to grow old, suffer and die; and that major scientific advances would have to occur to change all that. I saw cryonics as a dynamic, dramatic force to drive the pace of research forward. I saw it as a vehicle for me to play a role in driving the pace of research forward. I assumed that anyone who wanted to improve their chances of survival through cryonics would be strongly interested in research. I realized that few people would have the will or aptitude to become researchers themselves, but I expected that everyone who opted for cryonics could contribute to research in other ways. They could help to fund research themselves. They could urge the government, corporations, and other individuals to fund research. And, if they couldn't afford to fund research in 1964, they could dedicate them- selves to making money for the purpose of funding and promoting research in the future.
In 1964, I was thrilled to learn that there were groups of mainstream scientists conducting organ cryopreservation research. I assumed that cryonicists would be a major force in helping these and other mainstream researchers advance their research, and that, as the cryonics organizations grew, we would begin to conduct research ourselves. As I saw it at the time, the combination of mainstream research, and the fierce dedication of cryonicists in promoting and funding bold, path-breaking new research would lead to perfected suspended animation before the end of the 20th century.
With these assumptions in place, I was highly motivated to help the fledgling cryonics movement grow as rapidly as possible. I saw every minute, hour and day spent in fostering the growth of the movement as a tremendously exciting opportunity for me to save my life, and the lives of my loved ones, and to advance the most powerful and far-reaching revolution in history...a revolution that would lead to physical immortality and the opportunity to explore an incredibly vast universe of unimaginable riches. It was going to be the adventure of a lifetime ... my lifetime!
My assessment today -- 33 years later -- of the cryonics movement that began with such promise and potential is that it has failed, and that there is significant risk of its extinction. At a time when cryonicists continue to debate about the probability of cryonics patients being restored to life in the future, I think it's time to face the unpleasant truth that the cryonics movement is dying, and that, unless it can be revitalized and rejuvenated, our chances of survival may be very small.
I make this assessment as someone who has been an active cryonicist for most of the past 33 years, who has seen and participated in many of the ups and downs of the movement, and who remains, in spite of this overwhelmingly negative assessment of its current state, an optimist about our ability to turn the downward spiral of the movement around in the next 10 years, and, ultimately, to succeed in our quest for physical immortality. However, before I give you my prescription for this turn-around, let's look at the the evidence that the cryonics movement has failed.
The first piece of evidence that the cryonics movement has failed is the fact that we've attracted such a minuscule following in the past 33 years.
When you consider that cryonics offers the most valuable product ever conceived -- the possibility of everlasting life -- that we offer the only product in history that is essential for everyone on the planet, and that the vast majority of Americans (and a great many people abroad) have learned of its availability over the past 33 years, our ability to attract members has been utterly and absolutely abysmal!
I believe cryonics has received more publicity with less results than any idea in history. Over the years, there have been thousands of radio and TV shows and newspaper and magazine stories about cryonics. Although much of this publicity has been negative, many media stories have presented our point of view fairly, and many have been quite positive about cryonics.
Despite this massive publicity for a variety of cryonics organizations for more than three decades, we have a mere 700-800 people worldwide who have made financial and legal preparations to be frozen.
Despite all the publicity, under 100 patients have been frozen since the inception of the movement, in the face of hundreds of millions of people who died during this period, but chose burial or cremation over cryopreservation.
In the last 33 years, billionaires and an untold number of millionaires, who were well aware of the option of cryonics, chose instead the total destruction of death the "old-fashioned" way. The facts speak for themselves. In the context of the intense desire for survival on the part of virtually everyone on Earth, we've failed miserably in attracting people to the cryonics movement. Considering the powerful attachment to life that most people have, the almost total rejection of cryonics by the general public is strong evidence that people just don't think it will work! It's true that it costs money and takes time to sign up for cryonics, but these would not be major barriers to growth, I believe, if people truly believed there is a reasonable chance that cryonics will work.
The evidence also shows that, not only have we failed to attract people to the cryonics movement in general, but more ominously, when it comes to attracting young people, we are rapidly losing ground. This is the evidence for my conclusion that the cryonics movement is dying and moving towards extinction.
According to Mike Darwin, the average age of Alcor members in 1984 (when he was President of Alcor) was 38 years of age. Today, half of CryoCare's members are 50 or older, 80 percent are 40 or older, and only two members are under 30 (One of them is an infant, the child of a member in his 40s). The largest group of CryoCare members is in the 40-to-60 age range. They represent about 20 percent of the total age range, but more than 60 percent of the membership.
Actually, the aging of the cryonics movement is far more serious than these figures show. When you look at cryonics activists, the figures are even more alarming. Today, the vast majority of cryonics activists are over 40, many of them are over 60, a fair number of them are over 70, and a significant number of them have already died, including such stalwarts as Jerry Leaf, Paul Genteman, Jerry White, Dick Marsh, Walter Runkel, Jack Erfurt and Andrea Foote. A significant number of others are likely to die within the next 5 years or so.
These people are not being replaced by any stretch of the imagination. The cryonics movement is not attracting young activists in anywhere near the numbers we need to keep the movement alive and vital. It is clearly a dying movement.
The reasons young activists aren't being attracted to the cryonics movement aren't hard to see. When I was a young activist in the 1960s, I saw great hope and promise in a movement that I was confident would, eventually, bring me wealth, fame and physical immortality. I knew that it would be quite a while before these goals would be achieved, but I was young and vigorous, I was working with other young and vigorous people, and we were shooting for the stars!
In 1971, I realized that things were moving much slower than I had hoped, that I was 32 years of age without any money, a viable career, or any prospects for either if I remained a cryonics activist. So I dropped out of activism to make my mark in the "real world" and didn't drop back in until the mid 1980s, when I could afford to do so.
In the mid 1980s, the cryonics movement was already aging fast, but the major activists were still young and ambitious enough to be optimistic, and hardly any of them had died yet. Moreover, as a result of our activism, we were beginning to attract young activists, such as Ralph Whelan, Tanya Jones and Derek Ryan.
However, this "youth movement" proved short-lived. Ralph, Tanya and Derek found, after a number of years of toil and trouble, that there was still no future in cryonics. They managed to escape from the movement while they were still young enough to build a viable career in the real world.
Today, as the cryonics movement grows older and older, its attraction to young people grows weaker and weaker. Today, the cryonics movement has nothing to offer young people except hard work with little or no pay; apathy, ridicule or hostility from the outside world; internal fighting with aging cryonicists, many of whom have never learned how to work and play well with others; a level of emotional stress from dealing with cryonics cases that is comparable to that found in emergency care medicine, without any of the benefits of being a health care professional; and the fear that you'll end up an institutional cryonicist with little or no hope of success in the outside world. Further evidence that the cryonics movement has failed has been our inability to persuade mainstream scientists of the value of cryonics. I am not aware of a single mainstream scientist whose negative opinion of cryonics has been changed by anything we've said, written or done in the past 33 years. On the contrary, the position of establishment scientists over the years has hardened into perpetual, and sometimes ridiculing negativism and condescension.
The overwhelming negativity of established scientists for cryonics was not preordained or inevitable. In fact, in the early years of the movement, a number of scientists, including prominent cryobiologists, were quite friendly towards cryonics. Renowned biologist Jean Rostand, for example, wrote the preface to The Prospect of Immortality. Armand Karow, Jr., an established cryobiologist at the Medical College of Georgia wrote a series of columns for Cryonics Reports, the newsletter of the Cryonics Society of New York. A.P. Rinfret of the Linde Division of Union Carbide, which sold cryogenic equipment in the 60s, was friendly towards cryonics. Jerome K. Sherman, a cryobiologist at the University of Arkansas sought financial help from the cryonics movement. In the 1960s, I was able to put together a Scientific Advisory Board to the Cryonics Societies, which included a number of eminent mainstream surgeons and cryobiologists.
When I was about to go to New York University Hospital to participate in the freezing of Ann DeBlasio in 1969, I called cryobiologist Arthur Rowe (who was then working at the New York Blood Bank) for advice, which he gave me willingly and openly. This is the same Arthur Rowe who has since been quoted over and over in newspaper and magazine articles saying that the belief that cryonics will work is like believing you can turn "hamburger back into a cow!"
It's no mystery why mainstream cryobiologists were friendly towards cryonics in the early days of the movement. They thought cryonicists were a potential source of funds for their research. They thought that anyone who wanted to beat death by being frozen would want the best possible chance of success. That even a small cryonics movement would do everything within its power to help fund cryobiological research.
They soon found out they were wrong. Cryonicists didn't fund their research. Cryonicists didn't try to raise funds for their research. Cryonicists didn't even seem interested in their research. Instead, cryonicists spent a great deal of time trying to persuade cryobiologists, and the rest of the world, that people frozen after legal death by the extremely crude and damaging methods of the 60s, had a chance of revival, perhaps even a good chance of revival, in the future.
And so the cryobiologists withdrew all support for the cryonics movement. As the years went by with little or no evidence that cryonicists were interested in research, they turned more and more against the movement. When their government and corporate funding sources began to dry up in the 1970s, some cryobiologists began to worry that the cryonics movement was, in part, responsible for their loss of funding. As a result, they became bitterly opposed to a movement in which they saw no redeeming value. In their eyes, the vast publicity that cryonics was attracting was a direct slap in the face of the only people (the scientists) on Earth who could ever achieve the goal the cryonicists were supposed to be seeking. In their eyes, the constant focus of the media on cryonics rather than cryobiology was a sad, cruel joke played upon them by a group (the cryonicists) driven primarily by vanity and narcissism, who preferred sensationalism to science.
As the cryobiologists hardened their stance against the cryonics movement, cryonicists reacted by attacking the cryobiologists for *their* attacks on the practice of cryonics. What could have become a highly productive partnership driving us to perfected suspended animation became instead a cold war between two hostile camps who were hurting each other's chances for success.
My thesis that the cryonics movement has failed and is moving towards extinction is so strongly supported by the evidence that it is truly remarkable that cryonicists have failed to discuss it. I contend, in fact, that the failure of these issues to be raised and taken seriously by cryonicists is indicative of an escape from reality that is at the root of our failure, and is a significant threat to our survival. Before we can deal effectively with the threat of the movement's extinction, we must first accept the fact that we have failed.
I believe that, unless we face the truth about the failure of our movement and its possible extinction squarely and unflinchingly, we will be doomed to the very thing we have been trying so desperately trying to avoid ... permanent and irreversible death!
A major symptom of our escape from reality has been our widespread denial of the importance of the massive damage caused by the primitive freezing methods we employ. We've not only failed to fund and promote the research needed to improve cryonics methods, but we've actively resisted finding out and admitting to the world (and to ourselves) how much damage we were (and are) inflicting upon our patients.
The result has been the failure to confront and effectively deal with the fact that our failure to sell cryonics has been due, almost entirely, to the poor quality of our product. Outsiders don't have to think twice to come to that conclusion. It's self evident to almost everyone....except to cryonicists!
For the past 33 years, we've been bending over backwards to evade the truth about our movement. We've twisted ourselves into proverbial pretzels in our efforts to pretend that we have a good product, when all the evidence screams at us that our product is terrible!
In the process of evading reality, we've side- stepped, twisted and distorted the truth so badly that we've lost our way in a tangled jumble of wrong ideas, false notions, and misleading myths.
Instead of facing up to the crudity of our freezing methods and the importance of the massive damage caused by these methods, we've focussed more and more on the possibility of future repair of this damage. This has been easy to do because of the growth of the nanotechnology movement, which has lent credibility (in some quarters) to the concept of future repair of very severe injury caused by aging, disease, ischemic injury, and freezing damage.
When cryobiologists contend we are damaging our patients too much to permit future reanimation, we criticize them for failing to take into account the potential of future repair methods. In doing so, we fail to appreciate that we are, similarly, failing to take into account the severity of the damage our methods cause. Until we have solid evidence that we can preserve the brain well enough to retain enough information to maintain our identities, it is inappropriate, I believe, for us to criticize cryobiologists over their opinion that future repair of today's frozen patients will be impossible. Without the evidence that we can effectively preserve ourselves, the cryobiologists are not only entitled to their negative opinions about cryonics, but we don't have the slightest chance of changing their minds!
Whenever we refuse to admit that the "miracle" of nanotechnology might not ever be able to repair the most severe damage to today's patients, we are seen as irrational, wild-eyed dreamers, and our movement as more a cult or religion than a scientific endeavor. In our denial of the truth and our evasion of reality, we go on and on about irrelevant or imaginary things. Among the myths cryonicists have developed are the following:
I say this as someone who has been responsible for putting more money into cryonics than anyone in the history of the movement, and who has been accused frequently of being a wild-eyed dreamer myself. Well, the truth is that I *have* been a wild-eyed dreamer at times, and *have* wasted some of the money I've put into cryonics. But, for the most part, I've put my money on horses who had produced evidence that they had a shot at reaching the finish line. Moreover, now that I am older, wiser and more desperate, I am becoming more and more realistic about where I put my money and what I expect to get from it!
2 Another myth that has permeated cryonics from the beginning is that there has never been a really good effort to promote cryonics by a professional promoter/publicist/sales person, and that if we had the right promoter and enough money to do the job right, there would be rapid, accelerating growth in the movement.
I contend that this is the exact opposite of the truth. While it's true that there has never been a multi-million dollar campaign to sell cryonics, there's never been enough evidence to support the investment of that kind of money in the promotion of cryonics.
On the other hand, there is a long history of competent promoters, entrepreneurs and sales people comitting themselves to the growth of cryonics, with little or no success.
First, there is Bob Ettinger himself, whose book The Prospect of Immortality persuaded a number of people (including me) to become cryonics activists. In the 1960s, Bob appeared on many local and national radio and TV shows, including several appearances on the highly popular Johnny Carson show.
On one of these appearances, Bob held up a colour rendering of a beautiful cryonics facility designed by a company called CryoLife in Kansas City, Missouri. Bob said that he had been told that CryoLife expected to see 30 of these facilities built across the country over the next few years. In October 1966, while on a cross-country cryonics trip with Curtis Henderson, we met with the man behind CryoLife, a successful funeral director, who was the slickest, most persuasive promoter I've ever met. However, CryoLife never got off the ground. (Editorial note - Cryolife Inc is a successful public company that is developing the cryopreservation of organs for transplants. As far as I am aware it has no links with the CryoLife mentioned by Mr Kent.)
A couple of years earlier, two fast-talking promoters with good track records in other fields -- Leonard Gold and Steve Milgram -- put considerable time and money into developing a cryonics company (Juno, Inc.). Gold purchased a bankrupt business (the Patton Machine Works) in Springfield, Ohio; raised substantial capital from local businessmen; persuaded a cryogenic equipment manufacturer in Columbus, Ohio (Cryovac) to build the first cryonics storage capsule free of charge; persuaded the local Springfield newspaper to give his company free publicity through regular news stories; and gathered a stack of letters from funeral directors around the country stating their desire to work with Juno.
In May 1965, Juno was involved in the near-miss freezing of a woman in a hospital in Springfield that generated a tremendous amount of worldwide publicity. When Curtis Henderson and I met with Gold near the Whitestone bridge in late 1965, shortly after starting the Cryonics Society of New York, we asked him what he thought we should do: "Nothing!", he replied, " I've taken care of it all. The first person will be frozen in a few months on international TV with the Pope and other celebrities in attendance. After that, Juno expects to be freezing thousands of people a year, with the company going public right after we freeze a Nobel-prize winning scientist." Suffice it to say, none of this happened.
Among the other people who tried to promote cryonics in the early years were banker and oil speculator Harlan Lane, real estate speculator and politician Don Yarborough (who came within a few votes of becoming Governor of Texas), businessman Forrest Walters (who formed ContinueLife); business- man and biophysicist John Flynn (who formed the first incarnation of BioPreservation), and businessman and real estate speculator E. Francis Hope (who formed the first incarnation of CryoCare). All these people were successful in other ventures; none were successful in cryonics.
The most impressive team I met with in those days was a group of well capitalized businessmen and scientists from Cleveland, headed by the Vice-President of a major cryogenic equipment manufacturer. This group had developed specialized equipment, including a multiple-body storage device that had been patented, and included a Prof. of Biophysics from Case Western Reserve University whose research team had frozen pigs at Case Western. Despite all this, they went nowhere with cryonics.
In later years, a number of other competent people, with track records of success in other business ventures, tried their best to promote cryonics. These included, Irving Rand, a crack insurance salesman, who spent a great deal of time and money attempting to sell cryonics, without success.
Then there is what I consider the best and longest standing campaign to promote cryonics ... the efforts at Alcor in the 80s and early 90s, which led to a growth rate of 30% a year for a number of years until Jerry Leaf's sudden and untimely death, which destabilized Alcor and led to its breakup, resulting in the formation of CryoCare in 1993. I'll get back to what Ralph Merkle has deemed "The Golden Era of Cryonics" later, but first I want to discuss another of the myths that has plagued the cryonics movement for years.
3 This myth is that the biggest thing holding back growth in cryonics has been the continuous and persistent attacks on us by cryobiologists ... in newspaper and magazine stories and on radio and TV shows.
I don't deny that a less hostile attitude towards cryonics on the part of the cryobiologists would have helped the movement, but I completely disagree with the notion that the hostility of cryobiologists has been a major reason for the failure of the cryonics movement to grow.
I say this because history shows that it is possible to achieve major growth in an industry in spite of hostility from the authorities in the field.
A good example is the growth of the vitamin supplement industry. In the 1950s, virtually every medical doctor and nutritionist in the United States contended that "supplemental vitamins are worthless" and didn't hesitate to voice this opinion to their patients and to the media. At that time, the relatively small number of people who took vitamins were considered "health nuts".
However, in the 1960s and 70s, the use of vitamins grew rapidly in spite of continued opposition from the medical profession and little scientific evidence to support it. By the 80s and 90s, the growth of the vitamin industry had accelerated dramatically, in large part because of an avalanche of scientific studies in favor of taking vitamins.
Another example is the practice of birth control in the United States among Catholics in spite of continuing opposition to the practice by the Pope and the upper echelon of the Catholic Church. Surveys have shown that just as high a percentage of Catholics practice birth control in the U.S. as non-catholics.
The common thread in these two examples is that it has been possible to generate tremendous growth in two industries despite the opposition (and hostility) of the authorities for one critically important reason: the products work!
In the case of vitamins this became apparent to regular vitamin takers long before scientific studies confirmed the health benefits of vitamins. It didn't take rocket science for vitamin takers to discover that they felt better and got sick less often when they took vitamins.
Similarly, Catholics defied their Church by using birth control because it stopped women from becoming pregnant far more effectively than the rhythm method advocated by the Church.
I'm very confident that many people who believe in the religious concept of an afterlife will opt for cryonics as soon as they believe it will work better than the notion of getting to heaven, which brings me to the final cryonics myth I want to discuss:
4 That the failure of the cryonics movement to grow is some kind of mystery. The only mystery I find difficult to fathom is why -- after 33 years of failure -- anyone in the movement remains puzzled in any way about why cryonics has failed to grow.
To put it in a nutshell: cryonics hasn't grown because nobody thinks it will work! After 33 years of failing to convince people that cryonics can work, you'd think we'd all agree that, except for a handful of people, it's difficult or impossible to sell cryonics, and that "a handful of people" cannot be translated into significant growth.
But all I hear about is other reasons for our failure to grow: that signing up is too hard; that religious beliefs stop people from signing up; that people find it hard to confront their own mortality; that people don't want to confront the opposition to cryonics of family members and friends; that young people don't think they'll need to be signed up for years....etc., etc.
I'm well aware of all these reasons and more and there's some validity to all of them, but the truth is that all of them together don't compare to the simple fact that we've got a terrible product that virtually no one wants!
Now it's time to get back to Ralph Merkle's "golden era of cryonics" when Alcor's growth rate was 30% a year.
First, I want to say that the growth rate in Alcor at the time was the result of a tremendous amount of effort and energy on the part of a number of dedicated people, which began to dissipate after one of these people --Jerry Leaf--died suddenly.
Second, I want to say that, although there were strong promotional efforts carried out during those years to increase membership growth, the critical heart of Alcor's program that, I believe, was most reponsible for its growth was the research program carried out by Jerry Leaf, Mike Darwin, Hugh Hixon and others, which led to advances in the methods by which we freeze our patients.
This research effort was the core activity around which everything else revolved. It was the major source of energy that lent vitality and excitement to all Alcor activities. Anyone who doubts this should understand that if it hadn't been for Alcor's research program, the "golden era of cryonics" would undoubtedly have been known as the "dark ages of cryonics" and the movement would be even closer to extinction today.
I say this because I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that four of the key people in Alcor at that time would not have been activists if it hadn't been for the Alcor/Cryovita research program.
They are Jerry Leaf, who brought professional research and cryonics services into the movement, who played a major stabilizing political role in Alcor, who funded virtually all of the initial research through his company Cryovita Laboratories, and whose presence at Alcor attracted a wide variety of competent people.
Jerry's primary interest was research. He agreed to head Alcor's cryonic suspension team reluctantly, and thought it unlikely that current methods of cryonics were preserving enough of the brain to permit future reanimation. His dream was to achieve suspended animation, and he would never have considered becoming involved in Alcor without being involved in research.
One of the people that Jerry attracted to Alcor was Mike Darwin. Mike was living and conducting research in Indianapolis, Indiana when Jerry Leaf started Cryovita. It was Jerry's experience in conducting research at UCLA Medical Center, his desire to conduct research at Cryovita, and his willingness to invest substantially in that research that caused Mike to move to Southern California. Shortly after Mike moved to SoCal he became President of Alcor and the "golden era of cryonics" began.
Another person who came to Alcor because of Jerry was Brenda Peters. Brenda interviewed Jerry about his interest in suspended animation around the time that Jerry was beginning to get involved in Alcor. Brenda then became involved herself, eventually becoming a member of the Alcor Board of Directors. She participated in and played a significant role in Alcor's research, and played a major role in recruiting members to Alcor and in raising funds for research. The fourth person who played a significant role in Alcor's growth, but would not have done so if not for Alcor's research program was me. When I stopped being a cryonics activist in 1971, a major reason for doing so was that, after 6 years of intensive efforts, the cryonics movement had failed to fund or promote any significant research. I vowed never to become an activist again unless the organization I was part of had a significant commitment to research. In the 1980s, I donated significant funds to Alcor, wrote and developed promotional brochures and other mailing pieces, organized and directed conferences, and helped promote the research program.
Without the active participation of Jerry Leaf, Mike Darwin, Brenda Peters and myself, Alcor would have remained a tiny backwater cryonics organization or would have disappeared into the night. Certainly, Alcor would never have made the research, legal, medical, public relations and administrative strides it made in the 80s and early 90s. In fact, I think it's highly unlikely that Ralph Merkle and hundreds of others would have joined Alcor if Jerry, Mike, Brenda and myself had not become activists.
Throughout most of the 33-year-old cryonics movement, I was almost as guilty as others in denying the truth about cryonics. I, too, put less money and time into research than I could have. I, too, pursued tactics aimed at cryonics growth rather than the improvement of cryopreservation methods. I, too, became involved in internal political conflicts within the movement. I, too, castigated the cryo- biologists for their attacks on cryonics.
But, in comparison with most other cryonicists, I was enlightened. Despite my myopia over certain issues, I have been investing money and promoting research since the 1960s.
At the time of Jerry Leaf's death, he and Greg Fahy were well into the planning stages of a brain cryopreservation research project, which I had already raised some money for. We had also planned to continue the full-body washout hypothermia research we had conducted for a number years, and had other research plans as well.
When all this was derailed by Jerry's death and subsequent events at Alcor, I made up my mind to work harder than ever to make enough money to support a research program that would not be so dependent on one person (such as Jerry Leaf). For a number of years, I (and Bill Faloon) were not able to make enough money to achieve this goal because of a long-standing legal and political struggle with the FDA.
Fortunately, Paul Wakfer, who had come to SoCal in large part to help out with the research program, began to put in substantial amounts of his money, time and effort to help Mike Darwin put together a research facility in Colton, California, which was the precursor to the 21st Century Medicine facility in Rancho Cucamonga, which Paul also played a major role in creating.
Finally, in February 1996, Bill and I were able to win our war with the FDA and, as a result, were soon able to increase our funding for research dramatically. Today, we are investing about $1 million dollars a year in 21CM research, as well as hundreds of thousands of dollars more per year for anti-aging research, while Paul Wakfer continues to raise money for brain cryopreservation research through the Institute For Neural Cryobiology (INC), which has taken over what was formerly known as The Prometheus Project.
Over the last few years, I've come to the conclusion that major research advances leading to better and more credible cryonics services is the only hope we have of salvaging the failed cryonics movement and preventing its extinction. I think it would be a huge mistake for us to keep on trying to sell an inferior product that almost nobody wants to buy. That's what we've tried to do for the past 33 years. Our failure can be seen in a rapidly aging move- ment whose principals are dying off without being replaced. I believe that the *only* way we can attract young people to our movement is to provide them with irrefutable evidence that we are improving cryonics methods and moving towards suspended animation. Research will not only attract scientists who can contribute to it, but will also attract young people from all disciplines, who will see cryonics as a vital, growing, dynamic movement that's going to change the world!
Research is also the only means of improving the credibility of the movement. It will not be possible for us to win over mainstream scientists, physicians, media leaders, politicians, attorneys, businessmen and professionals of all kinds in any way other than through research.
We now have an unprecedented opportunity to make major progress in cerebral resuscitation, organ cryopreservation, and human vitrification, which will lead to great improvements in cryonics services, greater credibility for cryonics, the ability to raise = capital to develop even better services, major profits which can be reinvested into research, and the transformation of cryonics from a tiny, dying oddball movement into an integral part of mainstream 21st century medicine
What we need to acquire legitimacy for cryonics from young and old alike, is hard, published evidence that major organs such as the kidney and heart can be cryopreserved effectively; that the information in the brain can be cryopreserved effectively; that apparently "dead" people can be restored to life, health and vigour, that we can convert laboratory breakthroughs into advanced human cryopreservation services, and that we can deliver these advanced services to consumers at affordable prices. Once we develop a product that people really want, they'll be "breaking down our doors" to get it, and we'll have more growth than we can imagine..
However, if we do not conduct the research to develop cryonics and gain credibility in mainstream science and medicine, the movement will grow weaker and weaker, and will likely, in my opinion, become extinct within the next 20-to-30 years!
The choice is ours! Unless we invest our money and time in research, I believe we are doomed to oblivion ... both individually and collectively!
Anyone who wishes to donate money to research can do so through the non-profit Institute For Neural Cryobiology. INC is funding a hippocampal brain slice cryopreservation project at a mainstream medical centre that is an important step towards suspended animation. You can find out more about this project on INC's web site: http://neurocryo.org. You can donate to the project at http://neurocryo.org/funding.html
21st Century Medicine (21CM) is a for-profit company that occupies two buildings in Southern California. One building is devoted to cerebral resuscitation research, the other to cryopreservation research. 21CM has an ambitious research program that features kidney, heart, brain and whole-body vitrification. Later in the year, 21CM will be offering stock in the company to investors. Anyone who wishes to be put on a waiting list to receive a 21CM Prospectus should send their name, phone number and postal address to: Joan O'Farrell, Chief Financial Officer, 21st Century Medicine, 10743 Civic Center Drive, Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730; or call her at: 909-987-3883 or contact her via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
I've written this essay to provide evidence for my contention that--at this time in history--we should devote most of our attention, time and money to suspended animation research. I invite comment, criticism and discussion of the ideas in this piece. [Readers of Longevity Report are invited to write in - even if you have never written before - with their comments.] email email@example.com
Robert Ettinger writes Cryonet Message #9562 From: Ettinger <Ettinger@aol.com> Date: Wed, 29 Apr 1998 Cryonics Institute Immortalist Society http://www.cryonics.org
I am responding to Saul Kent's article, in no particular order, and will try hard to keep it brief.
Small results may well continue for decades. There were several points in the history of cryobiology where "breakthroughs" raised optimism, such as Rostand's original work with frog sperm, Suda's cat brains, blood cryobanking, a few successes with mammalian small organs and tissues, etc. In each case, the follow-through proved much harder than expected. That this will happen again is not foregone by any means, and we should try to achieve a better outcome -- but those chickens may take a long time to hatch, and many of us don't have a long time, as Saul notes for himself.
4. Aging cryonicists? Of our nine directors, only three are over 60, including Mae and myself. We don't have many people in their twenties or thirties, true. Alcor once had quite a few, but some of those probably had unrealistic expectations of careers in cryonics, and others didn't want to keep paying dues. The energy of youth is fine, but the older people are the ones who have the money and who are in more danger, and retired people can better afford to give their time.
5. While acknowledging that there are many contributing reasons for the tiny numbers in cryonics, Saul says the major reason is a product not proven to work. Well, there are much more clearly unproven products (even clearly fraudulent ones) that have been much more successful -- the various fads and cults, astrology, Dianetics, etc. So there is plenty of room there for study and improvement.
6. Saul points to various people as successful in other enterprises but unsuccessful in cryonics, citing this as evidence that promotional skill and funding etc. cannot make the difference. I think that, if you look at the details, this analysis is faulty. For example, Milgrim was never especially successful at anything; he was basically just a brassiere salesman; and Gold, as I recall, had only had minor success in manipulating corporate restructuring. Milgrim thought he could impress me by buying me a steak! Shrewd salesman! And those pig freezers were totally incompetent. (They just wanted to dunk the whole pig into a vat of something, as I recall.) The funeral guy may have been a good salesman, but he was initially under the misapprehension that it would be an easy sell to venture capitalists, and when he found out differently he was long gone. Enough.
7. Saul speaks of the "intense desire for survival on the part of virtually everyone on earth," and our "failure" in spite of this. I have often pointed out that the so-called "survival instinct" is reliable only in clear and present danger -- and even then only if the individual is still relatively healthy and vigorous. If the danger is indirect, or remote in time, or if the person is weak or depressed -- or even if required action would violate established habits -- forget the "survival instinct." It isn't that simple.
8. Saul discounts the negative press and the opposition of the establishment. He is wrong to do so. Many prospective members have cited such opposition as dissuading them. And we are justified, both from a scientific and public relations point of view, in nailing the lies of such as Rowe, the immoral arrogance of trying to use a spurious "expertise" to suggest that the probability of success is near zero, without ever displaying a calculation of probability and without ever acknowledging the favourable evidence. But time here is on our side; the constant advance in all kinds of technology steadily erodes the lingering feeling that future advances will be only minor ones, not the major ones needed to reverse current freezing damage.
9. Saul says, "Whenever we refuse to admit that nanotechnology might not ever be able to repair today's patients, we are seen as wild-eyed dreamers" I don't know anybody who refuses to admit this. I don't know anybody who guarantees success. If Saul is equating "refusal to admit" with arguments tending to support the likelihood of success, this is wrong.
10 Saul suggests that rich people abstain from cryonics, or from heavier involvement in cryonics, because they are too smart to invest in something unproven. Nonsense. They refrain for the same reasons others do, and additionally because they are busier than others, with more demands on their time and attention than others, with more appeals for funds than others, with more "protective" advisers around them than others, with more greedy relatives than others, and with more to lose psychologically.
Naturally, I understand Saul's motivation. He thinks he needs to paint in these dark colours in order to raise money. Maybe that will work with some people. It will also turn off some prospective members from cryonics and perhaps lose their lives and their potential support. To counter that tendency a bit is my only reason for responding.
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