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The Sky Is Falling! Copy of CryoNet post, FYI, IMO, LSMFT

February 22 2008 at 2:46 AM
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Response to let's all work together on this, please

The Sky Is Falling! Does Alcor need Dictatorial Protection?

After extensive thought and research, I am finally getting down to addressing a couple of Keith Henson's posts. He seems to think that a particular incident in Alcor's past was of such magnitude and importance that the ordinary Alcor member could not be trusted to elect who is on the board. That of course carries with it the assumption that only those who were on the board at that time were of sufficient capacity (measured in what we are not sure) to make proper decisions regarding the future outcome of said incident. In historical perspective, it seems that the issue was whether they were on Mike Darwin's side, or not.

Henson was uncertain about how public the information is regarding that incident. It is in fact entirely public, and was discussed extensively on Cold Filter nearly 3 years ago. See the following and its subsequent posts:


I copied the text of the article I had saved from a year before, into that post, because I could not find it online any longer. Recently someone reminded me that it is now online at:


Now I never had put the whole incident together, in my head, with the "election of board members" issue which was popular at that time, as Keith Henson appears to do. In Cryonet #30465 he says "...Alcor's main responsibility is to the patients. Alcor isn't the only provider, the living can go elsewhere if they are dissatisfied. The frozen cannot." Well, maybe it relates, and maybe it doesn't.

Regardless of its importance to Alcor and its patients, it sure sounds to me to be a lame excuse for maintaining a dictatorial board of directors, unelected by anyone except themselves. As we go along, I'm finding that I am far from alone in this perspective.

The "sky is falling" issue Henson refers to, is truly important, but there is no reason at all to think that a board that has self-perpetuated for 15 years hence, has been safer to Alcor and its patients than one that would have been elected by informed members, responsible to them, and therefore better-tuned-in to what other matters are important to Alcor today. In fact, we have seen many indications that the reverse would have been true, and that neither structure of the board would have been any better or worse for Alcor as regards its patient who may have been given a little extra help down the path to preservation.

Henson continues "Is there anything specific that you
think has to be done for the long term survival of the patients that
the board has rejected? If there is and it makes sense I might help."

One thing might be moving them to a climate more hospitable to patients that depend on things being very cold, for their ultimate viability. We have discussed this extensively on Cold Filter; I am not in a hurry to do so also here. Besides, it is beside the point of the hour - while the patients are the most important thing, they are not the only important thing. As long as they are being adequately protected and cared for, there is no reason Alcor can't grow significantly in its ability to service new customers/members/future patients. It can improve its procedures and the bar can be set higher on its expectations. Right now this type of forward movement is being retarded by the current sit-on-their-butts board. The welfare of the patients can only be enhanced by strengthening Alcor in all areas. Making the board accountable to all the members can only improve on that. Alcor does not need dictators to keep itself protected from every bad turn of events that the universe can present.

Now back to the issue of whether the board at that time were the only people who could decide properly regarding any outcomes from that incident. Let's assume that is true, just for sake of argument. Here is who was on the board at the beginning of 1992, from issues of Alcor's magazine on their website:

Carlos Mondragon, President
Paul Genteman, Vice President
David Pizer, Treasurer
Keith Henson
Hugh Hixon
Bill Jameson
Brenda Peters
Glenn Tupler
Ralph Whelan

Here is who was on the board at the end of 1992:

Carlos Mondragon, President
Ralph Whelan, Vice President
David Pizer, Treasurer
Keith Henson
Hugh Hixon
Brenda Peters
Steve Bridge
Mark Voelker
Allen Lopp

And here is who is on Alcor's board NOW:

Ravin Jain, M.D.
Saul Kent
Ralph Merkle, Ph.D.
Carlos Mondragon
Michael Riskin, Ph.D., CPA, Chairman
Michael Seidl, Ph.D., J.D.
Stephen Van Sickle
Brian Wowk, Ph.D.

What?? They are all different people, except for Carlos Mondragon, who was off the board most of the time between then and now. The point here is that the board members present during the "incident" are not mostly the same people we have on the board now, and the current ones, while they may have handed down to them some insights as to that "incident" (which poses little or not current threat, BTW), are no better equipped than a member-elected board would be, to handle any problems.


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