X-Message-Number: 12497
Date: Sat, 2 Oct 1999 23:47:10 -0400
From: Mike Darwin <>
Subject: Copy of: clamoring for anything better

---------- Forwarded Message ----------

From:   Mike Darwin, 75120,575
TO:     Tim Freeman, INTERNET:
DATE:   10/1/99 3:03 AM

RE:     Copy of: clamoring for anything better


From: Mike Darwin <>
>As the behavior of the cryonis community clearly indicates,
>they are not clamoring for anything better and don't really want to deal
>with bad news of any kind.

>If you want to say this, and you want to do anything about it, then
>you should have details about the better things in your pocket, ready
>to hand out when individuals clamor for them.  Alcor is a charitable
>organization and, to some extent, what they do is determined by what
>the donors are willing to pay for.  So it's important for the
>potential donors to hear your better ideas, with price information

Tim Freeman       
Web-centered Java, Perl, and C++ programming in Silicon Valley or offsite

Each cryonics organiztion has its own agenda driven by its own
micro-environment of tempraments and world-views. There is nothing unusual
in this. This happens in every business or organization. Normally these
agendas are corrected by brutal market forces if they are not conducive to
the institution's survival. Most institutions have CUSTOMERS who provide
this feedback. (You can call them clients, members or whatever, but the
principle is the same.)

In the normal course of affairs the feedback loop is short, and the
bandwidth of consumer information expands or contracts with the degree of
concern or confidence about the quality of the goods or services being
received (If you were a Ford Mustang owner (or whatever model it was) you
probably didn't pay much attention to the mechanics of gasoline tank
placement until you started reading about people getting incinerated as a
result of minor rear-end collisions.) Even then, it can be tough call to
sort out what's the truth and then decide what to do: if you play the stock
market at all you surely understand this :-).

Finally, the size and sophistication of the market generally provide
built-in corrective or feedback generating mechanisms. 

Cryonics lacks all these things. Merkle argues cryonics is an experiment
with "controls" and "experimentals" and asks rhetorically "which group do
you want to be in?" But this is wrong, very wrong. For as any competent
scientist knows the FIRST thing you do when set out to do science is to
come up with an experimental *design* which lays out the core parameters of
how you will proceed, how you will generate and validate your feedback, and
so on. This is called a *protocol* and I am required by Federal law to have
one (usually about 100 pages long) including statistics, contingency plans,
and criteria for modification before I can experiment on any *animal.*

In theory, IF cryonics were really being practiced as experimental science
then that's what you would do, at a minimum. You'd not be able to specify
in advance every procedure to be used for patients as the technology
evolved (just you can't in a real-time experiment), but you would be able
to set standards and guidelines for evaluating changes to the initial
(starting) technology and you would generate a system of internal quality
controls based on your fundamental hypothesis. In cryonics this fundamental
hypothesis and simple experimental design might go something like this:

"Human mentation and identity are structurally/physically based. Any
preservation technology which allows for inference of the operational
(healthy alive) state of the patient should, in theory, allow for repair
and recovery. Procedures should be optimized to preserve structure and
function (which is a marker for currently unresolveable structure). Quality
control should be present in a number of forms and an integral and evolving
part of the program to provide feedback on how well current treatments meet
their *predefined* criteria, as well as how any modifications act to
improve or degrade structure and function. Considerations such as cost
versus benefit of any given intervention must also be made, and these will
be especially difficult within limited cost constraints. Mechanisms for
resolving these issues should be put in place as early as possible in the
experimental program."

The above is VERY weak, but it provides some kind of floor for quality.
EM's should be done on every patient, and data collected, archived, and
made available to any potential experimental subject (customer) or others
who desire to evaluate the state of the art. I could think of many very
simple things that would tell a lot about how well or poorly a cryonics
society is performing: 

What % of your patients experience what interval of ischemia before
cardiopulmonary support is started?
What is you mean time to blood washout, CPA perfusion, cooling to storage

And on and on.

As it is, this kind of approach was abandoned. Now, it is impossible for
the leaders of the organizations themselves to have any frame of reference
but their own biases and concerns. There is no PROTOCOL, no BIBLE, nothing
to guide them. And they are under intense pressure to keep costs low and
services affordable to as many people as possible because "lives are at

In medicine, quality clinical trials are RUTHLESS, they have inclusion and
exclusion criteria (in some places money is one of them!) and they are
adhered to. Otherwise you just get junk for data. 

The leaders of ALL cryonics societies have been offered cost projections,
detailed disclosure of the technology, and every other tool imagineable to
allow them to make a decision. Alcor's response was that their first
priority was to get people trained-up and facilities geared-up to the point
where they could do cryopreservations at the level they were being done
when Jerry Leaf and I were in tactical command. 

To me, this is like saying we're going to prepare for World War III by
first learning how to use World II tactics. 

As it is, Saul has invested $50,000 in BioTransport. He is pushing very
hard to convince the BioTransport people to train properly and to rapidly
implement better cryopreservation protocols. I hope he succeeds. But I have
grave doubts. To buy into to cryonics in the first place you have to
believe (for most people) on some gut level that it will work for you. You
count on progress, but you don't think much about where it will come from.
You imagine the best scenario for yourself. Mosly you're just glad to have
"dealt with the death problem," however inadequately, and just want to be a
customer, trust your cryonics organization to do the VERY BEST for you, and
get on with your life.  Perfectly reasonable.

Except it doesn't work.

Life at the top of a cryonics organization is bitterly hard and stressful.
Like Alice, you are often running as fast as you can just to stay in the
same place. It takes some extraordinary cohones to go after yet a HIGHER
level of technology AND risk losing some of your badly needed (and very
tiny) customer base.

That's how I see it with ACS and Alcor. Good intentions, but basically
decisions are made for "the average member." Socialism. 

In the absence of PREDETERMINED standards there will be no way for anyone
to evaluate what is the best course of action to take. Thus, they will take
the easiest course. It's just that simple.

I've gone on for far too long. Suffice it to say short of FORCING IT DOWN
THEIR THROATS everybody in a position of responsibility and the capability
to offer it (this excludes CryoCare since they have no service provider at
the moment) has been given the oppportunity for access to this technology.
However, they must be willing to implement it properly and responsibly.
Maybe that, in the final analysis, is the one cost that is simply

Mike Darwin

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