Saturday, September 18, 2010

Cryonics Quackery vs. Valid Speculation

There's a very well-written definition of QUACKERY, by Stephen Barrett, MD. It suits cryonics, perfectly, especially with this statement: "Most people think of quackery as promoted by charlatans who deliberately exploit their victims. Actually, most promoters are unwitting victims who share misinformation and personal experiences with others."

Alcor, and other companies engaging in cryonics activities, seem to think they can get away with anything, as long as they call it "speculation," or insert some sort of disclaimer in the small print of their advertisements and contracts. Let's compare true medical speculation to quackery:

Hypothetical Situation A: A reputable group of scientific researchers determine that Drug X, delivered at 40 degrees C, (normal human body temp is approximately 37C), for a period of 60 minutes, kills HIV in human tissue in vitro, and in animal testing. They speculate this technique will cure HIV, in human patients. With the proper regulatory approvals, they enlist qualified vascular surgeons and perfusionists, to deliver Drug X to willing test subjects. The drug may, or may not, work, in a living person, but the researchers believe it will. That's SPECULATIVE, but genuine, RESEARCH.

Hypothetical Situation B: A group of scientific researchers believes delivering Drug Z to people, at the time of their legal death, while lowering their temperature to that of liquid nitrogen vapor, will preserve the brains of these people in a condition that may be viable in the future. Instead of enlisting qualified vascular surgeons and perfusionists, to perform the procedures, they allow unskilled laymen to deliver their medications and solutions. That's QUACKERY.

Even if the medical scientists in Hypothetical Situation A had come up with a valid treatment, but enlisted layman to deliver their treatment, that would be QUACKERY and, most likely, every single one of their test subjects would have died during the treatment. Vascular cannulations and perfusion are NOT tasks for golf pros, or metal fabricators, or store clerks, or shoe salesmen...they are tasks for skilled professionals. If they are performed incorrectly, the result is DEATH.

Catherine Baldwin, Manager of Suspended Animation, in Boynton Beach, Florida, dared to refer to herself as the "backup surgeon," in the Curtis Henderson case, (CI-95) but judging by her own reports and other witnesses, Ms. Baldwin and her Suspended Animation team members, kept Mr. Henderson at relatively warm temperatures, for many hours, while she sliced away on him, unable to find his femoral vessels, (some of the largest vessels in the human body). That's QUACKERY.

I happen to think cryonics is some combination of Dr. Barrett's definition of "quackery," coupled with a lot of intentional deceit, on the part of a handful of people who are making a lot of money, working for certain cryonics organizations.

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