2010 May be a Big Year for Cryonics...

2010 May be a Big Year for Cryonics...

Joined: April 30th, 2006, 1:38 am

January 2nd, 2010, 4:19 pm #1

...one way, or another. I think a lot of people are in denial of what the fallout from the Johnson/Baldyga book may be. So far, the only thing Alcor has accomplished has been to prevent Johnson from talking about things, which are not in the book, (a rather hollow victory, if you ask me). Scott Baldyga indicates the goal has always been regulation, so I think the outcome of the legal case may not even be relevant, in the long run.

"What the book is intended to achieve, Baldyga said, is a need for supervision of the cryonics industry...it needs to be regulated, Baldyga said."
(From the article TWrelated recently linked to,http://www.masslive.com/hampfrank/repub ... 1#continue)

In the court documents, one of the few people working in cryonics, in which I had any faith remaining, (Brian Wowk), recently submitted, what I consider to be, a rather nebulous affidavit about privacy and trade secrets, which Johnson may, or may not, have had access to, more than six years ago. In my opinion, Alcor's whole "trade secret" approach is just another smoke screen. Personally, I don't believe Alcor had any trade secrets worth protecting, six years ago, and I tend to doubt if they have any worth protecting, even now. In my opinion, their greatest fear is, and always has been, having the public witness how inept their patient care providers have been, and how very little progress they've made. (Mark Plus wrote about a "Decade of Improgression," but I think it's probably been longer than that.)

In the affidavit, Wowk referred to some of Alcor's activities as "state of the art," which is absurd, when applied to vascular surgery and perfusion, the fundamental surgical procedures, in cryonics. Let's face it, the Ted Williams case notes read like something from a comedy along the lines of "Young Frankenstein." There wasn't anything even remotely professional about it, much less "state of the art," and I don't believe there has been much improvement, since then. This is, and always has been a leadership issue, and should have been resolved a long time ago. The people with the financial strings can't really have believed that having a bunch of laymen running around, pretending to be capable of futuristic medical science, would fool the general public, indefinitely. In playing "devil's advocate," I don't see how cryonicists fail to recognize that most of the activities of Alcor resemble nothing more than a scam, not only to critics, but also to impartial observers. Unless something drastically changes, very soon, I firmly believe cryonics will soon be (perhaps, stringently) regulated. People like FD can blame "rats" like Johnson, or me, but the truth is, the blame lies with the people who allow certain activities to happen, not with those who report them.
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Joined: October 2nd, 2004, 8:27 pm

January 3rd, 2010, 6:25 am #2

I still think the real agenda of all of this is to destroy cryonics on ethical issues. I did not post the below here before, that I received in email over 2 years ago, because I thought it better just to wait it out and see what would surface, as well as my suspicion that it was probably merely FUD. All we saw surface so far is Melody Maxim, Larry Johnson (doesn't deign to post to CF under his own name), and George. Here is the email I received:
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On 9/15/07, Mr. Joshua wrote:

Hello Mr. Finance Department,

I am Mr. Joshua. I frequently monitor "Cold Filter". This is how I came upon your email address. It appears that you have been a member of "Cold Filter" for quite some time and one of the more intelligent. Last week I was cruising through "Cold Filter" when I came upon a post by Mark Plus regarding a certain member's only blog called "The Coalition against the Unethical Practice of Cryonics". I can assure you that this is a legitimate organization of 47 individuals (about a third with PhD's) who are poised to discredit the illegitimate science of cryonics. I know this because I am one of the founding members. We have prepared several documents that will be going to our contacts in Washington DC shortly. Let's just say, by the time we are finished, the laws that restrict cryonics in the UK will not hold a candle to what will be passed in the US. Tell your "Cold Filter" friends to hold on. 2008 is the year that cryonics will suffer huge damages politically.

Mr. Joshua
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Joined: April 30th, 2006, 1:38 am

January 3rd, 2010, 4:56 pm #3

If, by "ethical issues," FD means the idea that cryonics endeavors are inherently "wrong," I would never be involved in such a thing. I think each and every person has the right to choose what he/she wants, at the time of his/her legal death, so objecting to cryonics on some sort of moral issue, would never cross my mind. I think the theory of cryonics has a solid foundation in proven hypothermic medical procedures, primarily performed in open-heart surgery, and I would like to see cryonics theories tested, by people capable of putting forth a genuine effort. In the way of medical procedures, I would like to see "the best ANYONE can do," not the best a bunch of unqualified laymen can do. As for the mysterious "R&D" work that goes on, personally, I think the big secret is that not much is being accomplished. For seven years, SA has claimed to be a "research facility," and nothing could be further from the truth. As for CCR and 21CM, exactly what has come out of those organizations, (or the organizations they were derived from), over the last three decades? Seriously, just what, if anything, have they accomplished, for all the funding they have received from LEF and others? It's disappointing that, with all the time and funding that has been available to them, cryonics organizations have failed to match, much less build on, existing technology, for the most part.

However, if, by "ethical issues," FD means cryonics organizations misrepresenting their capabilities, pretending they are practicing some sort of futuristic medical science, sending "relatively unqualified persons" to attempt to perform well-established medical procedures that should be performed by qualified personnel, and charging people $60K - $150K for what amounts to not much more than a bunch of laymen playing doctor, I agree those things should be stopped. There have been times I thought the foolishness that goes on was mostly based on ignorance, but at this point, I have come to believe some cryonics efforts have been perpetuated for the purposes of a scam that never fully developed. People write about the lack of progress and the failure to market cryonics, without seeming to realize that, when such a group's "talent" consists mostly of people who don't have any sort of medical, or scientific, background, they are not going to fool much of the public into believing they can make medical/scientific history. Seriously, how many people do the leaders of Alcor, or people like Kent and Faloon, think can be convinced a bunch of mostly-uneducated, unskilled laymen, (many who have behaved very unprofessionally, and unethically), are capable of performing surgery and preserving brains in such a manner that the owner will wake up in the future? How many people do they will pay six figures for such a mockery of science and medicine, especially when delivered by same people who have brought the cryonics community nothing much more than embarrassment, for the last three decades? How many "Mothermelters" and "Frozens" will it take, to make them see how stupid and corrupt they look? People laugh at cryonics efforts with good reason and, in my opinion, it's sadly been at the courtesy of people who were well-funded enough to make a REAL effort to provide quality care, but failed to do so, for reasons that are mostly unknown to me. I came here, thinking people, (even people like Kent and Faloon), didn't really know what was going on, within one of the organizations, and later came to believe the activities at other organizations were similar. Perhaps, the more valid thought is that the people funding cryonics efforts don't know what SHOULD be going on, or COULD be going on, at organizations like SA and Alcor, and they've misplaced a lot of trust in some very clever opportunists.

In regard to "Mr. Joshua," I think FD's initial assessment was probably correct. I think it was "FUD," probably distributed by someone working in cryonics, designed to evoke fear and anger toward people who criticize the organizations. I have, thus far, not been a member of any group whose purpose is to regulate cryonics, though I would probably consider joining one, at this point. I don't really understand why cryonicists fear regulation. In more than 30 years of existence, Alcor has, basically, accomplished nothing, other than to make themselves look like a bunch of kooks, incompetents, scam artists and/or criminals, in my opinion.
Last edited by melmax on January 3rd, 2010, 11:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: October 2nd, 2004, 8:27 pm

January 4th, 2010, 4:26 am #4

I did get some other emails from "Mr. Joshua" long ago, and even from some other folks. One more recent one said that I could get onto that group if I were willing to reveal the identity I customarily use in legal society. Well. Of course I am not about to do that. Perhaps, though, some other interested people who actually use their Real ID on the Internet, would be interested in joining in on that group. Perhaps someone who knows the entry point for doing so would be willing to post here? I think I had it once but cannot seem to locate it, sorry.

As to your assessment that everything ever done in cryonics is a "scam", I strongly disagree. People do with that they have to do with. Alcor's personnel issues have been perennial. Saul Kent's ways of approaching just about everything have been truly questionable, and he has gotten his fingers into Alcor, and indirectly CI via SA. He thinks he is accountable to no one, and that does appear to be true, and the problem is that the cryonics community accepts it because he is the cash cow. (I might have a different opinion of him if he were to come here and talk, but he doesn't do that anywhere anymore, ball games apparently being more important.)

And I don't really think he is intentionally trying to screw up cryonics. Else why does he keep pouring more money into it, which he seems to think is the answer? This is not an example of an intended scam. It appears to me to be only an example of misplaced priorities and focus. Besides, by all reports, he hopes cryonics will extend his life. Lest why the Reanimation Foundation?

It is time for Alcor's Board to address the basic issue of whether it will be accountable to its members. It is time for those who think that money alone will make cryonics happen, to come to grips with the "people" issue. It is time for those who claim to be on cryonics' side but think that all past efforts should be thrown out (no mention of "baby" or "bathwater" this time, so forget the flames, the Forum Owner said they will be deleted), to just let progress take its slow and easy flow, and to stop giving cryonics burdensome issues that it has neither the time, personnel, nor budgeted money to deal with.

If it looks like it is hopeless, it might be, but I choose to think that eventually members of cryo orgs will make it change, even by voting with their feet if necessary. Meanwhile, give it a chance, and stop making the primitive state cryonics still is in, look like a circus to the public. They should have their own brains to decide if it is for them or not - we do not need ethicists, regulators, or other people with even worse motives to be trying to tell John and Jane Q. Public what they are supposed to think and do.

Promote positive change from within cryonics, not dirty laundry and overlords.

Soapbox over for now,

FD
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Joined: December 6th, 2009, 5:20 am

January 4th, 2010, 1:02 pm #5

I am interested in this 'Mr. Joshua' (an alias if I ever heard one) and his so-called coalition. I could not find anything about this individual or his 'legitimate organization' on google (which suggests that it does not exist in a meaningful way). Anyone know anything more about these people? Also, requiring people to disclose their real identities seems pretty shady... do they really think anyone with more than two brain cells would fall for that?

Maxim shouldn't have to defend her intentions. She does more than obliged to by deigning to spend her time on this. And as for FD's notion of 'strengthening cryonics from within', it's a nice thought, but I have never heard of any corrupt organizations cleaning themselves up internally without a change in leadership and/or a complete purge. Smells too much like Leninist democratic centralism.
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Joined: April 30th, 2006, 1:38 am

January 4th, 2010, 3:56 pm #6

I did get some other emails from "Mr. Joshua" long ago, and even from some other folks. One more recent one said that I could get onto that group if I were willing to reveal the identity I customarily use in legal society. Well. Of course I am not about to do that. Perhaps, though, some other interested people who actually use their Real ID on the Internet, would be interested in joining in on that group. Perhaps someone who knows the entry point for doing so would be willing to post here? I think I had it once but cannot seem to locate it, sorry.

As to your assessment that everything ever done in cryonics is a "scam", I strongly disagree. People do with that they have to do with. Alcor's personnel issues have been perennial. Saul Kent's ways of approaching just about everything have been truly questionable, and he has gotten his fingers into Alcor, and indirectly CI via SA. He thinks he is accountable to no one, and that does appear to be true, and the problem is that the cryonics community accepts it because he is the cash cow. (I might have a different opinion of him if he were to come here and talk, but he doesn't do that anywhere anymore, ball games apparently being more important.)

And I don't really think he is intentionally trying to screw up cryonics. Else why does he keep pouring more money into it, which he seems to think is the answer? This is not an example of an intended scam. It appears to me to be only an example of misplaced priorities and focus. Besides, by all reports, he hopes cryonics will extend his life. Lest why the Reanimation Foundation?

It is time for Alcor's Board to address the basic issue of whether it will be accountable to its members. It is time for those who think that money alone will make cryonics happen, to come to grips with the "people" issue. It is time for those who claim to be on cryonics' side but think that all past efforts should be thrown out (no mention of "baby" or "bathwater" this time, so forget the flames, the Forum Owner said they will be deleted), to just let progress take its slow and easy flow, and to stop giving cryonics burdensome issues that it has neither the time, personnel, nor budgeted money to deal with.

If it looks like it is hopeless, it might be, but I choose to think that eventually members of cryo orgs will make it change, even by voting with their feet if necessary. Meanwhile, give it a chance, and stop making the primitive state cryonics still is in, look like a circus to the public. They should have their own brains to decide if it is for them or not - we do not need ethicists, regulators, or other people with even worse motives to be trying to tell John and Jane Q. Public what they are supposed to think and do.

Promote positive change from within cryonics, not dirty laundry and overlords.

Soapbox over for now,

FD
I was looking for references to a certain individual, (someone I only heard of, recently, not Kent), and I came across an old issue of "Cryonics," from October 1981. I thought FD might find this segment of interest:

"4. Prospective members will not have to be told that the "cost" of
cryonic suspension is $50,000 or $75,000 -- only that they have to pay a
yearly, quarterly, or monthly fee."
(Written by Saul Kent. Emphasis added.)
http://www.alcor.org/cryonics/cryonics8110.txt

What else did the cryo-powers that be think prospective members, (or even active members), did "not have to be told," back in 1981? What about now? My theory is, Mr. Kent and his friends, (the people who, in my opinion, have funded and directed a vast amount of incompetence, over several decades), STILL think there is no need for prospective members, active members, or anyone else, to know the details of what goes on, in the operation of the cryonics organizations they fund. I'm quite sure they think they have it all under control. Apparently, they like having control, even if the outcome is, consistently, a miserable failure.

FD: "As to your assessment that everything ever done in cryonics is a "scam", I strongly disagree."
Did I write that "EVERYTHING ever done in cryonics (has been) a scam"? No. I wrote "I have come to believe SOME cryonics efforts have been perpetuated for the purposes of a scam that never fully developed."

FD: "People do with that they have to do with."
I'm so tired of hearing that lame, mind-washing crock of BS, from people who have plenty "to do with." Between Alcor, SA, CCR and 21CM, there must be greater than $5M of LEF funding, per year, (I'm not in the mood to look for the financial reports, right now), and again I ask, on what? Personally, I think the Kent clan suffers from the delusion that cryonics will be a billion-dollar baby, but I doubt that will happen in their lifetimes, or under their leadership.

FD: "Lest why the Reanimation Foundation?"
Not as an accusation toward Mr. Kent, or anyone else...If I were a con artist, I think having wealthy people put all their money into a trust fund before they die, thinking they are going to wake up again and that their money will still be there when they do, seems like a damn good scam. If I were a wealthy cryonicist, I would leave my money to LEGITIMATE scientific efforts that might result in my waking up again. (Of course, that may be hard to find, given that the people running the most well-funded cryonics organizations have given cryonics such a bad reputation, most legitimate scientists may be reluctant to engage in such research. The moral issues were a big enough stumbling block, even before certain people made cryonics look like quackery and fraud.)

FD: "...just let progress take its slow and easy flow, and to stop giving cryonics burdensome issues that it has neither the time, personnel, nor budgeted money to deal with."

They have had three decades of time, and they have more than enough money to deal with most of the current issues. What FD's apathy is going to get is more of the same. Alcor's perennial personnel issues, which FD mentioned, are a reflection of the decisions of the people who have always been in control of that organization, and most of the funding for cryonics, not just Alcor's "bad luck." Personally, I think medical professionals willing to work in cryonics can still be found. If it's a little more difficult than it should have been to find them, whose fault is that? (The people who have made cryonics look like a circus side show, instead of a valid science, and who have made it clear that their activities may result in legal woes, from time-to-time.)

FD: "Meanwhile, give it a chance, and stop making the primitive state cryonics still is in, look like a circus to the public."
What is FD doing, here? Endorsing the "paradigm of secrecy" he complains about, so often? He wants me to stop "telling it like it is," so organizations, such as Alcor and SA, won't look like what they are??? No offense to FD, but I don't understand that kind of thinking. It is what it is, and I don't feel the need to cover up for what I consider to be an unusual version of medical malpractice, and mostly a rip-off.

FD: "They should have their own brains to decide if it is for them or not - we do not need ethicists, regulators, or other people with even worse motives to be trying to tell John and Jane Q. Public what they are supposed to think and do."
They (the public) can't use their own brains to decide if it (cryonics) is for them or not, when some of the organizations are misrepresenting the quality of their services.

FD: "Promote positive change from within cryonics, not dirty laundry and overlords."
Based on my own observations, and according to a growing number of people, there is no changing Alcor and/or the LEF-funded organizations, from within. It is my understanding, there were three people with strong objections to Kent et. al.'s money (increased influence) coming into Alcor, and I believe they all left the building, (one way, or another), at about the same time everyone who didn't object got a raise. The only person remaining, who had a history of speaking out against the "R&D" efforts of one of Kent's right hands, left not long after that. The only things likely to change, from within, are the personnel who dare to say, "I think we could do this better, a different way."

FD would understand just how foolish it is to expect any improvement, if he had stood beside me watching femoral cannulations and perfusion, when I entered perfusion school, in 1989, (procedures that were virtually perfected long before even then), and then witnessed SA's attempts at these procedures, in 2009. The total lack of progress and unprofessionalism at the well-funded organizations is a joke, and I see very little hope for change, considering the perpetual state of cronyism that prevails, within Alcor and the LEF-funded organizations. (And, no, I'm not over-looking the remarks FD made about Kent having his hands in CI, to some degree; that is of concern to me, but I hope a few people with good intentions, good sense, and the ability to see through the nonsense have that under control, as indicated by their recent efforts to modify CI's representation of SA.)
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Joined: July 1st, 2007, 8:16 am

January 4th, 2010, 6:50 pm #7

Well, I have discussed cryonics with many people and I think that the prevailing view of general public is that cryonics is a scam. Apparently, even that fella Johnson came to that conclusion. Why otherwise he would quit a cushy, highly paying job, with lifetime job security and with very little workload?

Some possible questions that John Q. Public might have:

Q: OK I give them my $150,000, how do I know what they do with it?

A: No one knows what they do with the money. They have no oversight and no government audit like other health organizations have. But you can trust them. Once their accountant employee stole money, but he promised to repay it when he will wins the lottery. So don’t worry about it.

Q; OK. I gave them my money, but the contract they gave me says that for that money they take my body and will use it for medical research.

A: Don’t worry about it. It is not true. They just put it in your contract to fool the government. They even would not know how to chop you up. Once they tried it with a hammer and a chisel and it did turn out too good. So do not worry about what the contract says.

Q: They recommend that after I die I should give my money to my cryo organization.

A: Of course, that way you will have a better chance that they will ever wake you up. Why you would want to give your money to your greedy relatives anyway?

Q: I see that they are in the health care business. They have certified paramedics. They have a real doctor. They even have a perfusionist. Are they accredited, as any other health care institutions are?

A: Do not worry about it. They do not want to be regulated. That way they can give you the best service. You do not want any bureucrat doctor employed by the FDA to watch what they are doing with your body. They know best what is good for you.

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Joined: October 2nd, 2004, 8:27 pm

January 5th, 2010, 6:08 am #8

I can see the humor in much of that, though I doubt many folks who have devoted their lives to trying to develop cryonics into being a legitimate science, would. All it is to them is a slap in the face.

"Cryonics is a scam" huh? Now we know where you stand, George, and please don't let any of the other people who have been posting under your account and pretending to be more friendly to cryonics, try to dissuade us from what you just said. Heck, even Melody backed off from that position.

FD
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Joined: July 1st, 2007, 8:16 am

January 5th, 2010, 9:43 am #9

"Now we know where you stand"

I never said that is my position. I said many people think so. That is a big difference. After all, I did put my money into it. Have you?
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Joined: October 2nd, 2004, 8:27 pm

January 5th, 2010, 5:19 pm #10

I did assume that since you were presenting all those statements about how people think cryonics is a scam etc. that you must believe them yourself. If I assumed incorrectly, I apologize.

Cryonics though is only a scam to the extent that people make it so, by not looking closely at what is presented by the various orgs. It is all there in writing. For example, Alcor's contract clearly stipulates that bodies are donated for research, no guarantees are made about resuscitation or anything else, best efforts only on quality of standby and stabilization, etc. If people don't read the contract, it's their fault they have self-scammed, by buying into something they did not closely examine to see if it meets their expectations. And I'm sure the "state" under certain philosophies of politics will be glad to do these people's thinking for them and "protect" them from bad decisions by imposing regulations that may or may not indeed be the best way for cryonics to be done.

Have a great day,

FD
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