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Is cryonics worthwhile?

Cryonics is the preservation of an animal by cooling with the hope that future medical advances can revive that animal. Modern cryonics make use of cryopreservatives to minimize cellular damage caused by freezing, particularly to the brain. Advocates of the procedure typically believe that so long as the critical structure of the brain is preserved, a person could one day be brought back to life.

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Experts and Influencers

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Agree
Experts In Cryonics


Ben Best    CEO of Cryonics Institute
Agree
The scientific justification for the practice of cryonics is based on several key concepts: 1. Low temperature can slow metabolism [virtually stopping] chemical changes for centuries. 2. Ice formation can be reduced or even eliminated by the use of vitrification mixtures. 3. Legally dead does not mean "irreversibly dead". ... 4. Damage associated with low temperature preservation and clinical death [is] theoretically reversible in the future.
11 Apr 2008    Source


Alcor Life Extension Foundation    Cryonics Company
Agree
For 25 years cryonicists and cryobiologists have been doing battle in the public eye. Some might scoff and call it hyperbole to dignify the verbal exchanges and skirmishes between cryonicists and cryobiologists as "war." But war it is; for as in any war the cost has been the loss of lives, reputations, and fortunes. And as in war, the driving forces are envy, hatred, and a deeply-held belief that each side threatens the others' survival. ...
01 Jun 1991    Source


Experts In Science


Eliezer Yudkowsky    Artificial Intelligence Researcher
Agree
[If you go through the logic], you should actually be able to see intuitively that successful cryonics preserves anything about you that is preserved by going to sleep at night and waking up the next morning.
12 Dec 2008    Source


Robin Hanson    Economics Professor
Agree
More likely than not, most folks who die today didn't have to die! ... Since most folks who die today have an intact brain until the rest of their body fails them, more likely than not most death victims today could live on as (one or more) future [brain emulations on a computer]. And if future folks learn to repair freezing damage plus whatever was killing victims, victims might live on as ordinary humans.
12 Dec 2008    Source

Sub-Arguments Of This Expert:
Is living forever or having a greatly extended lifespan desirable?
   Mostly Agree

Disagree
Experts In Science


Cryogenic Society of America    Non Profit Organization
Disagree
We wish to clarify that cryogenics, which deals with extremely low temperatures, has no connection with cryonics, the belief that a person’s body or body parts can be frozen at death, stored in a cryogenic vessel, and later brought back to life. We do NOT endorse this belief, and indeed find it untenable.
27 Sep 2006    Source


Experts In Economics


Bryan Caplan    Economics Professor
Mostly Disagree
Personally, I'd really like to live forever - in the normal English sense of the phrase "live forever." I wish cryonics could realistically offer me that [instead of for example, brain emulations]. Unfortunately, the sophistry of its advocates leaves me pessimistic. If they had a ghost of a chance of giving me what I want, they wouldn't need to twist the English language.
29 Nov 2009    Source


Experts In Politics


Andrew Stark    Politics Professor
Disagree
But how desirable would cryonics or immortality in tiny steps be, even if they were possible? ... A human being of our vintage who finds himself digitized might no longer experience migraines or back pain, but he would encounter the kind of ache that comes from longing unfulfilled. This is quite a different scenario from religious resurrection, which promises a freedom from desire -- one of the essential components, sources say, of eternal bliss.
11 Jul 2008    Source


Miscellaneous Experts


Invisible Flan    Blogger
Disagree
In conclusion, cryonics is a fruitless effort [to] evade certain death. But the argument over cryonics goes deeper than simply a desire ... it permeates the minds of thousands of individuals to the point where their fixation on it advances into the grounds of financial, philosophical, and scientific realms of argument. However, until reanimation has been achieved–if, indeed, the seemingly futile goal ever is achieved–cryonics will forever be regarded as a pseudoscience.
02 Jun 2006    Source



Comments

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0 Points      MTC      23 Feb 2013      Stance on Question: Agree
The advocates of cryonics seem to have better arguments on their side than the detractors, and no alternative method so far exists for surviving legal death, therefore cryonics is worthwhile.


1 Point      Keller Scholl      27 May 2011      Stance on Question: Agree
Math works like this. Given an ever expanding life expectancy, and an upcoming singularity, immortality (or something that includes living for millions of years), even at a very low probability, is worth it compared to the relatively small cost you pay. You will probably never return, but the chance times the benefit outweighs the cost, making cryonics a wonderful thing even if we don't have it working yet. Science is always going forwards, and what is on the edges today will be boring in fifty years.


0 Points      the27th      18 Jun 2010      Stance on Question: Mostly Disagree
I wouldn't do it...
partly because I want one successful demonstration of a technology before I'll spend a cent on actually purchasing it.


0 Points      JGWeissman      06 Mar 2010      Stance on Question: Agree
The upside is huge, and paying for it with life insurance is cheap.