Thursday, December 30, 2010

Ben Best's Lame Excuses

Yesterday, I posted an entry that, for the most part, was something I wrote and saved, months ago. I posted it because I've heard others are attempting to convince CI to sever ties with ACS, and I wanted them to know I support their efforts. I think there are a few more things these people should know, about the "Cryogirl" situation.

Back in October, I publicly complained that Cryonics Institute's president, Ben Best, had done nothing to isolate CI from the American Cryonics Society (ACS), though he had been aware of the impending "Cryogirl Scandal," since February.

In an email, Ben responded that CI had 19 ACS patients in storage and he would not leave these patients “out in the warm.” I responded that no one was asking him to do any such thing, and told him his excuse for not taking action was "ridiculous." Ben responded with, "But that would be the consequence of CI severing all ties with ACS.” Ben, and I both know that neither he, nor anyone else at CI or ACS, can remove cryo-suspended persons from the cryostats.

CI is regulated as a cemetery, and it would take an act of Congress, (or, at least, a State of Michigan court order), to remove someone from the cryostats, at CI. Anyone aware of that situation, (as, certainly, Ben Best is), should have been able to figure that out. Personally, I think Ben Best was pretending to be altruistic, and making lame excuses; he was probably afraid that if heads started rolling, his would be one of them, since he was personally involved in the "Cryogirl" scandal. (Note: I don't think Ben did anything that should result in his dismissal, in regard to his part in the Cryogirl debacle. However, his reluctance to do everything possible, to protect CI, coupled with his recent efforts to conceal information about the Styles/TOV situation, from Andy Zawacki and the rest of the CI board, clearly indicate he cannot be trusted to act in the best interest of CI.)

I believe Ben Best attempted to apply some very subversive, psychological manipulations, on the cryonics community, when he wrote this, on the Cold Filter forum:

"The enemies of cryonics claim that I have conspired with vampires against the CI Board on the basis of the conversation I had with David in April. David's description of the conversation is a misrepresentation in this regard. There is a bright side to this allegation, however. To claim that I tried to hide David's affiliations from the CI Board is to admit that the CI Board has no connection with vampirism or satanism. Much as our enemies would like to smear CI as being satanist or vampirist, they cannot make this claim while at the same time claiming that the Board is an innocent victim of concealment attempts by me. They can't have it both ways."

I think Ben Best was, clearly, attempting to "rally the troops" against HIS critics, by painting any such persons as "enemies of cryonics." People who want the leadership figures of cryonics organizations to avoid allowing their organizations to be tied to scandalous activities, are NOT "enemies of cryonics." Cryonics is a process; no one can be an "enemy" of it. Ben was clearly trying to persuade the audience that I, and others, who objected to his unprofessional behaviors were THEIR "enemies." He tried to make two distinctly opposing sides, in the situation, using the term "our enemies," and "they," when discussing HIS critics. I am one person, who accused Ben of exposing CI to serious scandal, when he attempted to hide the truth about Styles, from CI's Board of Directors. I am not a part of any "they" comprised of "enemies of cryonics," and I do not want to "have it both ways." I have NOT accused CI's board of being connected to vampirism, or satanism. I'm just one person, tremendously disappointed in Ben Best.

Ben Best claims to have a background that includes advanced-level physics, chemistry, and pharmacology, yet he consistently makes simple errors, related to these fields. For many years, CI recorded "patient pressures" of approximately 100mmHg, until I pointed out that most of that pressure could be attributed to the small lumens of the cannulae being used by CI. (When I made that observation, I was unaware of Ben's educational background, or I probably would not have been very understanding of that mistake. For a layman to overlook such a mistake is understandable, but for someone claiming a background in advanced physics, it's inexcusable.) It's a very simple concept: If you restrict the outlet diameter of a hose, the pressure in the hose increases.

After my last visit to CI, Andy Zawacki called me, quite exasperated, because he and Ben were having a disagreement, over how to zero the pressure sensor/alarms, on the perfusion circuit. He said Ben was insisting they set the pressure sensor to zero, while fluid was flowing through the pressure line, something that made no sense to him (Andy). He said Ben insisted I told him that was the way perfusionists zero the pressure line. I told Andy to check the documentation I had left, which clearly indicated there should be no flow through the line, and the line should be open to air, before the sensor is set to zero. Again, an elementary concept...obviously, the sensor should be set to zero, when the pressure is KNOWN to be zero! Simple physics. Andy recognized that, but Ben did not. (Ben was recalling my instructions for flushing the line, not zero-ing it.) Again, this is something that should have been instantly obvious, to someone with a background in physics.

Then, there is the matter, of Ben writing, in the CI-95 case report, (in the same sentence, I believe), that "solids formed in solution, but there were no precipitates," when "precipitates" ARE solids that form as the result of a chemical reaction, certainly something any pharmacist should know. This event occurred, when Ben made the decision to modify the vitrification solutions, DURING the cryopreservation of Mr. Curtis Henderson. Was that something a pharmacist, or a chemist, would do? With his pharmacological background, shouldn't Ben have known the mixture would precipitate? Isn't it simply common sense, to avoid modifying the solutions, in the middle of a case, if one is not familiar with the outcome of including any given additive?

"Precipitation is the formation of a solid in a solution or inside another solid during a chemical reaction or by diffusion in a solid. When the reaction occurs in a liquid, the solid formed is called the precipitate..." (Emphasis added.)

As for Ben's extensive scientific writings, I have to agree with !Jill, who says, "It looks like Ben Best, and others in cryonics, write with their textbooks open." I think many of the scientific articles used to sell cryonics, are simply the regurgitation of information that has already been published in textbooks. How many of the insiders can actually contribute to the scientific advancement, of cryonics? Are they really accomplishing anything, or are they simply good academics, capable of impressing an audience comprised mostly of laymen? Are they impressing anyone, other than themselves, and each other, and people who don't have much of a scientific background?

Finally, there's the matter of Ben trying to defend himself, by referring to his income and his self-imposed "monkhood." How many people reading this blog entry get paid $30,000 a year, plus free room and board, and had all-expenses-paid trips to the UK, Japan, Germany, Arizona, Florida, and Oregon, (and maybe more), over the past couple of years? And, did anyone ask Ben Best to give up his social life, or his sex life, in exchange for the presidency of CI? I'm not buying into Ben's martyrdom, and neither should anyone else. There are a lot of, what my teenagers would call "posers," in cryonics, and I think Ben Best is one of them.

Many times I've heard the excuse that "no one else wants to be the president of CI," but I doubt that's true. Even if CI does not have the funds to attract a great scientific mind, having someone of integrity would be preferable to having someone who is "carrying more secrets than the Titanic," but feels he can "handle one more," (allegedly comments made by Ben Best, to David Styles), especially when it comes to withholding information from CI's Board of Directors.

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