Arguments Against Cryonics

Scientific Arguments

Many arguments against cryonics can be placed in the category of scientific (and often semi-scientific) arguments. These refer mostly to cryonics’ current technical and medical limitations.

Revival will never work

Very often we hear people saying that cryonics will never work because science might not advance enough to ever permit revival.

We won’t be able to revive patients with the current cryopreservation procedure

What if revival will eventually work, but the way we are cryopreserving patients today is not the right one? This could be seen as a more valid argument, compared to the previous one. Let’s then have a look at the current state of cryopreservation.

  • We don’t know yet what exactly revival technology will need to be able to revive the patient. It may be that in the future we will be able to recreate a whole person from just one string of DNA. However, since we don’t know yet, we store everything at the very best of our capabilities.
  • It is very likely that revival will be easier and faster when medical technology will not have to rebuild an entire body from scratch (as it would be in case of neuro cryopreservation).

Revival may work — but we will not bring back the “real you”

What is the “real you’’? Are you the sum of all the little electrical impulses between your neurons? Or of memories and life experiences that you’ve had? Or maybe there is a “soul”, an “inner flame” or something else that we haven’t discovered yet that makes you who you actually are?

Economical and Societal Arguments

These arguments against cryonics focus on its costs for society and for the environment. Are the resources we need to invest in this science worth the results and knowledge we may obtain out of it?

It’s too expensive

This argument could be divided into two:

  1. It’s too expensive — so only very rich people can do it
  2. It’s too expensive — society should invest in other fields

It’s bad for the environment

Biostasis companies have been trying to debunk this myth for decades. Despite this, people still believe that you need electricity for long term storage. If this were true, the environmental costs would indeed be high. But cryopreserved patients are stored in cryogenic storage dewars containing liquid nitrogen. No electricity is needed to keep the dewars working. To produce liquid nitrogen, however, some electricity is needed — still less than the amount needed for mechanical cooling. So, at the current state, liquid nitrogen, produced through renewable resources, is the best and cleanest way to store cryopreserved patients. Furthermore, we do CO2 offsets for everything. Sustainability is in fact an important aspect for people who want to live a “second life” in a greater future.

Future society will not revive you

Some people wonder: “Why would future societies ever want to revive cryopreserved patients?”. One answer could be: “Why wouldn’t they?”.

Ethical Arguments

Finally, there are ethical arguments. Ethics is very complex, shaped by cultural background, religion and personal beliefs. Something that is considered as unethical today may be completely normal in tomorrow’s world. So how do we deal with arguments that are relative to the time and society we live in?

It disrupts the natural life-death order

Death is a natural process. It’s part of life. According to some, it is what gives life a meaning. Without death, they say, we wouldn’t appreciate life.

  • Throughout history, we have come up with different ways to extend our lifespan. We have invented antibiotics and created vaccines. We have transplanted organs from one person to another, in order to allow the recipient to live some years longer. These procedures were considered unnatural at the beginning. Yet, looking at how many lives they saved, we have finally embraced them. Biostasis is based on the same idea, simply more long-term.
  • Death is a natural part of life as we perceive it today. In the future, the way we live may be different. Immortality may be achieved by medical technology even without the use of cryonics. Imagine a day in which we will actually win over death. Will society after that day be against nature or will our perception of what is natural simply switch?
  • One of the main reasons why people join the Biostasis community is because they love life. They love it so much that they are willing to invest in an experimental technology that may give them the chance to live longer. Will a “second life” in the future have the effect of making people who love life become bored of being alive? Or maybe the love for life that many of us feel is not linked to our mortality?

You won’t be able to adapt to the future

Many people don’t want to be cryopreserved because they are scared of the future. In fact, the future will be different from what we are used to and we don’t know how much different it will be. The economy will very likely be different. Will currencies still exist? And language as well, since it develops constantly. Relationships between humans could change as well.

It’s a selfish choice

Finally, one of the most debated arguments against cryonics. Is the desire to live longer truly selfish? Sure, if by living longer we would take someone else’s living space, then we would have to face an ethical issue. But reviving patients will very likely not take anything away from other people’s lives.

Conclusion

There are several arguments against cryonics. Even more than the ones we listed here. Many times, behind these arguments there are people who haven’t researched the topic properly and therefore have a wrong understanding. Or people that may be scared of the possible effects of revival for our society.

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