The purpose of the "Cult Education Forum" is reportedly to investigate if cryonics is a cult. But from what I have seen the purported conclusion is really an assumption. A lynch mob is a kind of cult, and much of what is written there seems to be of a lynch-mob mentality. There have been many accusations about me on that forum, which I feel the need to answer in a public place. The anti-cultists have a cult-like tendency to ban those who do not conform to their views so Cold Filter seems like the place for me to respond. People filled with hate against cryonics or me (or anything) readily believe whatever supports that hate. It is another form of "wishful thinking" -- the very frame of mind the anti-cultists claim to oppose.
I was born with the last name Best, it is not an extropian name. Open the white pages of any large metropolitan area and you will find that many people have the last name Best. Type "family name Best" into Google if you want to know more about others having my family name.
Charges have been made that I am not really a pharmacist. It is not surprising if people on that forum did not find me listed as a practicing pharmacist in British Columbia. I have not practiced pharmacy since 1987 and I have not lived in British Columbia since 1987. In 1987 I changed my career to being a computer programmer. I find it ludicrous that the cult of anti-cultism cannot believe that I have a bachelor's degree in pharmacy. What do they make of all the PhDs and MDs on the Scientific Advisory Boards of Alcor and the Cryonics Institute? Do they think Marvin Minsky doesn't have a PhD? People who cannot evaluate scientific arguments on their own terms look to authorities and degrees for answers. People who cannot dispute scientific arguments on their own terms prefer character assassination and challenging credentials.
The so-called anti-cultists have tried to make much of the fact that I had an e-mail exchange with a CI Member who was a married woman, Amanda Blevins, in which we discussed personal, sexual matters.
I enjoyed Amanda's intelligence and enthusiasm, and I thought of her as a personal friend. I had a mistaken belief that boundaries could be drawn that both of us could respect. I believed Amanda when she told me that she was devoted to her husband. I did not try to have sex with her or want to try, although I did make some flattering remarks to her. Amanda and her husband had plans to offer a cryonics standby service at cost that would only provide ice-bath cooling, a project that I hoped would succeed. I introduced Amanda to Shannon Vyff, partly because they both were married cryonicists with family, and I thought that they would make good friends. Both had been calling themselves "cryogirl".
I was not aware of the contents of Amanda's correspondence with the ACS people. When Amanda left her husband, apparently with help from ACS people, her husband wrongly assumed that I was collaborating with the ACS people, but he now knows that I was not. Shannon Blevins tried to bombard cryonicists with private e-mail messages and accompanied those messages with unfounded accusations against me. This has been a painful and unfortunate experience for me, and I have many regrets about it. There was much that I did not know about at the time.
I hate aging and death, and I believe that we are approaching the time when science can stop aging, reverse aging and give us lives of hundreds or thousands of years. I have devoted my life to this work. Because it costs real money to store people in liquid nitrogen indefinitely, the anti-cultists take that as proof that cryonics is a scam. The potential for abuse is not equivalent to proof of abuse. They understand the profit motive, but they do not understand the survival motive. Survival and the possibility of living thousands of years means a lot to me, and I want this for others, as well as for myself. Money is worth nothing to people in the graveyard. "Follow the money" they say, to find the truth. In my case, the truth is that I made $30,050 last year, plus a medical and dental plan, but no pension. I get no commission or bonus for a cryonics patient. I live like a monk. I am devoted to cryonics and life extension. They can call me a "true believer" if they want.
But I do believe in what I am doing. I believe that there are good science-based reasons for thinking cryonics may work. The skeptics cannot believe that future technology will be better than current technology. Future science is not science, but current science is not the last word in science.
-- Ben Best