Saturday, October 9, 2010

Impersonating a Physician


"WARNING: Federal Law prohibits any person from:

•Impersonating a physician
•Falsely representing themselves as a physician
•Falsely claiming to represent a physician
•Falsifying physician information or
•Any other fraudulent activities related to physician identification and/or information"

I don't know about everyone else, but I believe referring to one's self, as a "surgeon," (ala Catherine Baldwin and others working in cryonics), is the same as "impersonating a physician," or "falsely representing themselves as a physician," since one cannot be a surgeon without first being a physician. (ALL surgeons are physicians, hence calling one's self a "surgeon" is equivalent to calling one's self a "physician.")

In addition to federal laws, there are state laws against mispresenting one's self as a physician.

Friday, October 8, 2010

More Cryonics Forum Foolishness

In response to my pondering whether it is legal for Alcor to refer to the residents of the Dewars as "patients," some anonymous soul, on CF responded:

"The U.S. Constitution says:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; _or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press_"

Of course it is legal for Alcor to say whatever they like. If you don't like it, it is also legal for you to disagree, using your own printing press, as you are doing.

First Amendment protection does not allow individuals, or entitites, to "say whatever they like," and if "Fundie" wants proof of that, he should consult with Charles Platt, or maybe with Mr. Platt's attorney, who specializes in law related to First Amendment protection.

In addition to the obvious restriction of laws related to libel and slander, there are also laws that prohibit people from impersonating physicians and other medical professionals. In calling their clients "patients," I believe organizations such as Alcor and Suspended Animation are implying the existence of qualified medical personnel. In addition to that, they often refer to their personnel as "surgeons," or other medical professionals, when the people they are referring to often have absolutely no medical training, and are not physicians, much less surgeons. This seems to be a fraudulent public representation of their personnel, and I think it should be against the law...if it's not, already.

Cryonics Comic Relief - Uploading

Robert Ettinger has been attempting to make a point-by-point argument, (on Cold Filter and Cryonet), against the probability of uploading being successful. I happen to agree with Mr. Ettinger, that copies can never be the original, but that doesn't seem to matter to many cryonicists / transhumanists. For many years, I thought the goal of uploading was for an individual to live on, but it only recently dawned on me that I've been mistaken. It seems the majority of the transhumanists would be happy if a mere copy of themselves "lived" on, after they were dead. Personally, I think, with extremely rare exceptions, future generations would find copies of the thinking patterns of dead people, programmed into computers unnecessary, and the associated narcissism laughable.

This morning, Mr. Ettinger writes:
"Reason 3. Time intervals in the computer and in life...

Now, assume the original lives on, while his simulation is being run on the computer. The simulation "lives" like a film with frames at non-zero intervals. The original lives in some fashion not presently understood--possibly in a continuous fashion with no gaps, or possibly jumping each time to an appreciably different state with nothing in between. Even in the latter case, however, it is exceedingly unlikely that the intervals between successive states would be the same for the original and for the simulation. Hence, it seems to me, the simulation cannot be faithful to the original. Again, we can't know yet how important the differences may be, but there will surely be differences."

Suspended Animation's Mathew Sullivan, responds with:
"At a basic level, the "simulation" is nothing more than a tool...
My car does not function exactly as me and it does not even have legs, but it can get me to work more efficiently than I can by jogging."

Huh? How is that supposed to be an argument for uploading? The simulation is a "tool" for what? I don't get it.

Luke Parrish responds to one of Mr. Ettinger's arguments with:
"Ultimately, saying that the paper with a complete programmatic description (combined, presumably at some point with a turing machine which simulates it) is not a hydrogen atom is simply begging the question. How do you know it is not a hydrogen atom? What property is essential to our definition of hydrogen atoms which this lacks?"

Huh? again. It lacks being a real hydrogen item, that's what it lacks. A description, or simulation of a hydrogen atom, written in code in a computer, is exactly that...a description or simulation, not the original, or even a hydrogen atom, at all. Later on, in the discussion, Luke admits the computerized simulation of the hydrogen atom is a hydrogen atom "in abstract form," but still calls it "the atom," something Mr. Ettinger seems to find as puzzling as I.

To sum up my thinking about these exchanges, my question is:
If Luke programs a perfect copy of a bear and its environment, into his computer, and his virtual bear takes a virtual crap in the virtual woods, does Luke smell it?

As I've always said, if nothing else, the cryonics forums are good for cheap entertainment. (Not referring to Mr. Ettinger's remarks, but to the responses to those remarks.)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Destroying Cryonics

On occasion, someone will ask me why I "want to destroy cryonics." My answer is, "cryonics" is not something I, or anyone else, can destroy. Cryonics is a hypothesis, an idea, not any one of the existing cryonics organizations, or even the sum total of those organizations. The experiment of cryonics is, (or should be), based on existing proven medical procedures, in which patients are cooled to a state of "death," for operations, which require the cessation of blood flow to the patient's brain.

I don't think it's irrational to wonder how far the limits of existing hypothermic medical science/procedures can be pushed, but it definitely IS irrational to think a group of laymen, who have made little-to-no progress over the last forty years, should be looked upon as "experts" capable of carrying out the experiment of cryonics. People incapable of competently delivering well-established procedures, after so many decades of trying, aren't likely to ever be capable of delivering something more advanced.

Cryonics experiments should be centered around attempting to perfect medications and solutions, and cooling and storage protocols, that will permit a body to be taken to extremely low temperatures, and held there for years, without tremendous structural damage. The procedures and equipment needed to safely, and effectively, deliver medications and solutions to the human body, via perfusion technology, were virtually-perfected, decades ago. Yet, organizations such as Alcor and some of the LEF-funded organizations have spent decades, and many, MANY millions of dollars, trying to do the layman's version of these procedures. Much of their "research" has been spent on ridiculous DIY versions of existing medical equipment, and trying to train laymen, (who will have no proper instruction, and no opportunity for significant clinical practice), to perform existing medical procedures. (In other words, instead of taking existing technology and building on it, they've been trying to replicate medical procedures that have been around for many decades, and failing to deliver those procedures with any significant degree of competency.)

I watched Saul Kent/Life Extension Foundation fund MANY thousands of dollars, over a protracted period of time, for a layman's attempts to build a perfusion level detector, when an FDA-approved version could be bought off the shelf, for less than $400, and that is only one example of the extensive foolishness carried out by organizations such as Suspended Animation and Alcor. On top of the decades worth of DIY projects, carried out by people who most often don't have a proper grasp of the medical procedures for which the equipment is needed, there is report, after report, after report, of laymen bungling well-established medical procedures, and a growing list of Alcor's Chief Medical Advisor's glaring mistakes, in regard to conducting these procedures.

What really bothers me is my belief that organizations, such as Alcor and SA, attempt to deceive an unsuspecting public into believing they are organizations comprised of competent medical professionals. The last SA case report was laced with clumsily-used and incorrect medical terminology, clearly intended to deceive the reader. Alcor, repeatedly, refers to the dead as "patients" and laymen as "surgeons," in their case reports and other propaganda. I don't care what is in the fine print of their contracts; the public representations of these companies is what I consider to be fraudulent, to an extreme degree.

If I were a laymen, reading Alcor's and/or Suspended Animation's reports, (which are filled with medical terminology, and describe "surgeons" performing operations), I would think these people were legitimate medical organizations. THEY ARE NOT. In my opinion, some cryonics organizations appear to be attempting to swindle people out of tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands, hefty bequests, or even their entire estates, if they can. What do they promise to deliver, in exchange for that money? NOTHING, but I think it's probably difficult for most laymen to come to that realization, given all the public references to "patients" and "surgeons," and the medical jargon.

It's time someone stepped in and put a stop to this charade. Playing on the fear of death, and taking six figures, or the entire life's savings, of individuals who are led to believe they may have an opportunity to be resurrected in the future, by a bunch of quacks, is entirely unacceptable. It's time for the medical community, regulatory agencies related to issues involving the treatment of people at the time of legal death, and agencies interested in protecting the people from being swindled out of their lifelong savings, by organizations misrepresenting the qualifications of their staff members and misrepresenting their ability to competently perform clinical experiments related to the medical sciences.