102 Responses

  1. Oregele says:

    I think I’d probably do it, depending on the initial costs that is. How does the fee work, is it a one time deal or do they continuously bill your family’s estate?

    Also when do they start freezing you? Do they just barge into the ER as soon as you flatline and just start sawing off your head? I am curious as to how much further damage can happen in the transition between actual TOD and freezing…

    • The Happy Cynic says:

      Yes. You and all your future generations will have to keep paying and paying and paying to support the company. You should sign up right away and offer immediate freezing. Why wait? Can you bring you poodle with you too?

  2. Guest says:

    I think I’d prefer just dying with grace and dignity.

  3. Alaskadiane says:

    You can go to to find information about setting up your cryopreservation.  If you can start cool down right away, putting water ice around your head, it can extend the amount of time you need to get your body to Alcor.  Most members use life insurance to fund their arrangments.  It costs $80,000 for a Neurocryopreservation (head only) and $200,000 for Whole Body cryopreservation. 

    • The Happy Cynic says:

      really!? 200K? …”there’s a sucker born every minute”…

      • Pavlos says:

        “The world is flat. Flat, I tell you, flat! I don’t care about your science, and reasoning, and logic, and facts, the world is flat. What’s that you say? You want to spend money to factually determine the shape of the world? You want to spend a lot of money? Wow, there’s a sucker born every minute.”

        It’s a good thing you flat-earthers are not born with the same frequency as suckers or we’d all be afraid to travel past our tinny hut village for fear of falling of the edge of the earth.

  4. John says:

    Google to find other organisations before you make your choice.

  5. advancedatheist says:

    >Why would they want to revive you anyway? After all, if we continue down the path of global abuse we’ve been on since the Industrial Revolution, there won’t be many resources available in the future. Future humans won’t want to revive you because you’ll be competition.

    A group of billionaires didn’t get trapped in that mine in Chile last year who could offer a reward for their own rescue. A bunch of poor blue collar guys did who could never pay for their rescue with their lifetime earnings. Yet people on the surface went to extraordinary efforts to rescue these miners any way; even NASA got involved, which made aspects of the rescue project sound nearly science-fictional. If they deserved an extraordinary rescue effort, then why wouldn’t cryonauts, given the greater resources and technologies of a future society? 

    Moreover, people in future societies might want to attempt to revive cryonauts because they have higher levels of empathy built into them as their birthright, if psychologist Simon Baron-Cohen has his way.  

    • The Happy Cynic says:

      those blue collar workers got rescued because they’re valuable contributors to their community… being frozen after death because your self important delusions have convinced you that the world couldn’t go on without you is just sad…and funny…think i’ll buy stocks in this Alcor scam before it’s exposed…grin

      • Pavlos says:

        You have such absurd misconceptions about the people who would choose cryonics that you might want to stop declaring and start asking instead. A few nutcases aside, nobody who wants to be “frozen” and later “reanimated” wants it because they think the world cannot continue without them. It’s that they want to continue for a little longer (or eternally) despite the world (i.e. sickness, hardships, cruelty, or whatever else the reason may be).

  6. Luke Parrish says:

    I’m not clear on why you gave it a -1 for scamminess because they target young people who can pay their dues slowly over the course of a lifetime. You seem to be mistaking profitability for fraud. The fact is that Alcor (despite being a non-profit) has to be able to remain financially stable to keep its promise to cryonics patients. If it was dependent entirely on windfalls from desperate millionaire elderly people to stay in business every year it would be a much more worrying situation, because at some point there would randomly not be enough dying desperate people to keep it going. The current model makes far more long-term sense, as they can steadily add to their patient care trust fund over time. Having younger people involved makes it possible that they can still be around hundreds, perhaps thousands of years from now.

  7. advancedatheist says:

    After reading this essay further, I can see that it reflects several misconceptions about cryonics. To state my credentials, I’ve had cryonics arrangements with the Alcor Life Extension Foundation since 1990, and I’ve read and thought about cryonics and the prospect of superlongevity since my teens when I read Robert Ettinger’s book Man Into Superman in the summer of 1974. I’ve lived with these ideas for nearly 40 years, in other words. 

    First of all, the title, “Heaven for Atheists,” misses the point that cryonics involves experimental medicine. If you receive a medical treatment which happens to improve your disability or extend your life in good shape, you don’t say you went to “heaven.” You say you got better; preferably you even had your health restored.

    Two, the current goal of cryonics, the preservation of the human brain in a potentially viable state, falls into the realm of scientific empiricism, not science fiction:

    Three, not all cryonicists rationalize cryonics through speculations about “nanobots” and a “singularity.” I certainly don’t. As I tell other cryonicists, hey, look at the date on the calendar. “The future” we used to talk about has become our past or our present, and it doesn’t much resemble the prospectuses about it we read in science fiction and futurology decades ago. The technologies of revival remain an open question, which I prefer to leave for the future to solve over some cryonicists’ fondness for hand waving.

    Four, what if you face conditions upon revival which you find suboptimal? Haven’t you read about the hardships our immigrant ancestors faced? Plenty of people have lost their families and everything they had through wars, natural disasters or abusive governments, then migrated to parts of the world with better living conditions where they had to learn new languages, take crappy jobs at first, acquire new skills and establish new social connections which often lead to marriages and the creation of new families. In fact we tend to admire such people because their perseverance makes us feel good about the potentials of human life. Revived cryonauts by contrast probably won’t face such a worst-case scenario because the people in the receiving society could conceivably display better emotional health and empathy than we do today, and they would set aside resources to help cryonauts reintegrate into their society. 

    • David St John says:

      “Revived cryonauts by contrast probably won’t face such a worst-case
      scenario because the people in the receiving society could conceivably
      display better emotional health and empathy than we do today, and they
      would set aside resources to help cryonauts reintegrate into their

      Fat Chance!  How’d you like to wake up as a disembodied head and suffer a hundred thousand lifetimes of torture?  Ever read A Clockwork Orange?  1984?   Human nature is for the strong to put their boot in the face of the weak, simply because they can. The people in the receiving society could be heartless and sadistic, with no more regard for an ‘outsider’ than for an animal or a bug…like in every other human society that’s ever existed on this planet.

      • jeff davis says:

        Whoa, baby!  Talk about your glass half empty.  Glad you’re not signing up.  Hope whatever makes your attitude so crappy passes, and things brighten up for you.

      • Codeblitz says:

        No one will reanimate us just to torture us. That is truely stupid.

      • The Happy Cynic says:

        when you get revived you’ll be working for Kronos….

      • advancedatheist says:

        Humanists who bring this up as an objection to cryonics apparently consider the humanist project futile, a brief historical flash ending in failure and followed by yet more ages of darkness and violence. It makes you wonder why they even bother to publish their books and magazines and hold conferences. If you really believe that, you should mock humanist speakers like Steven Pinker until they leave the stage in shame.

    • The Happy Cynic says:

      this is just too funny..i’m in tears…i still can’t believe people actually pay for this absurd chance…you’ll probably be revived to work the mines since your mind will be mush….grin

  8. symmetric says:

    It’s funny how most people say they don’t want to live forever, and on the other hand most people are religious and want to go to heaven.  Cryonics was a simple decision for me (I’m signed up with Alcor): I look at it as a slim chance of having an extended life, without it the chance is zero.  The insurance policy to pay for it doesn’t cost that much a year, so why not?  As for the yuk factor, compared to what?  Rotting in the ground, or being roasted in an oven is pretty gross too, if I have to pick one, I’ll pick getting frozen.  I’ll also 2nd Luke’s comment: why the -1 for young people?  Would you also argue young people shouldn’t get medical insurance?

    • advancedatheist says:

      >I look at it as a slim chance of having an extended life,

      The “chance” depends a great deal on the kinds of choices we have some control over. Thomas Donaldson compared cryonics’ “chances” to your ability to take bets on whether you do your laundry tomorrow, then deciding what to with your laundry based on which course of action wins you the money. For example, we can do a lot now to improve brain cryopreservation, which falls into the realm of scientific empiricism, not science fiction. In fact I think we could set up a series of highly cost-effective contests similar to the X Prizes to get some technological acceleration in this area.

      • symmetric says:

        I don’t understand the laundry thing, but I’m all for research incentives in this area.  To be clear, I think the chances of cryonics being possible technologically are very high, but the chances of it working for me personally are slim.  There’s lots of non-technical things that could cause cryonics to fail:  the way you die, legal or cultural issues, etc.  It wouldn’t surprise me at all if some republican politician gets cryonics banned and shuts down companies like Alcor.

    • Pavlos says:


  9. advancedatheist says:

    >“Cryonics Is Motivated by an Irrational Fear of Death.” 
    I could say the same thing about modern medicine in general, much of which doesn’t really work despite our culture’s mythology to the contrary. The mythology has also contributed to bad public policy debates about giving everyone access to health care, despite the fact that above a certain level of health care consumption, the harmful effects of health care start to cancel out its benefits, and result in a waste of money and unnecessary suffering. 

    I don’t know why we even bother to pretend that we can “treat” most forms of cancer, for example. Skeptical Inquirer ran an article a couple years back about the failure of the “war on cancer, ” which goes to show that we need some radical new thinking to make progress against this class of diseases. 

    By contrast, modern medicine has gotten a lot to show for its efforts to control the risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. Chemotherapy as a “treatment” for cancer usually amounts to a cruel exercise in magical thinking; while the modern prescription drugs for treating elevated blood pressure and LDL cholesterol generally work, with few side effects. Do you take your angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor pills and statin pills based on your physician’s advice because an “irrational fear of death” motivates you?

    Basically the “irrationality” of a course of action to try to stay alive and healthy exists on a continuum. We try a lot of things, and we decide to call the things which seem to work more often than not “rational” and put them in the “medicine” box, despite the problematic area of cancer “therapies.”  The “irrationality” of cryonics currently falls into an unknown area. It that turns out to work for at least some cryonauts, people in a future society will decide to classify cryonics as a rational, if extreme, application of medicine.

  10. Yup, atheists are delusional.

    • Pavlos says:

      Yup, you’re right. Accepting facts in place of beliefs that are constantly being disproved is delusional. Just like those silly people who claim the world is round . . . how delusional of them.

  11. Avery Andrews says:

    Another – is that the people of the future might not like us very much, but be very clever at coming up with interesting experiments to do on an ethically unencumbered head.

  12. Osip7315 says:

    good way to take money from schizophrenic’s ! i bet they have already had instances when the liquid nitrogen has boiled off, they simply refilled and didn’t tell anyone !

    even before death the brain gets irreversibly damaged !

    try reading stanislaw lem’s “futurological congress” which actually deals with some of the issues !










    fantasy !

  13. Atholandy says:

    There is an inherent paradox here: Who would want to be brought back to a world where they are prepared to revive the sort of dickheads who have chosen to be so preserved any?  

    • advancedatheist says:

      You might want to get to know some cryonicists before you stereotype us as “dickheads.”

    • Kennita says:

      I have a cryonics contract with Alcor, to be paid off by a life insurance policy with New York Life.  I like to think of myself as a pretty nice person (though I sometimes forget to say “Thank you” as often as I should).  Who is this “they” you are thinking would be “prepared to revive” me?  When it becomes viable. Alcor will revive me because I paid them to, independent of who else thinks it’s a good idea (or thinks I’m a dickhead :-p ).  Once I’m revived, I don’t expect to live forever; I just expect to have a much longer life span.  Presumably if I ever got tired of living, I could stop (there are always volcanoes), but I expect to want to be around for a good long time; life is a good thing, and I want to see what happens in the future!

      • The Happy Cynic says:

        “Once i’m revived?..haha actually paid some firm to freeze you for revival?…just haha… bet you have 18 different scam insurance policy’s too, believe in santa, don’t eat meat, are single, and like role-playing games and futurama is obviously you’re favourite show where you got the idea for freezing your head…lol

        • advancedatheist says:

          I’ve met Kennita. Not many African-American women like her have shown interest in cryonics, so I don’t know what that does to your stereotype.

          BTW, mainstream science has started to approach to what cryonicists have advocated for decades. Google:

          Organ Cryopreservation X PRIZE


          The Brain Preservation Technology Prize 

          Apparently neuroscientist Sebastian Seung’s book,
          Connectome: How the Brain’s Wiring Makes Us Who We Are
          , also discusses cryonics. I have the ebook on order from Amazon.

        • Pavlos says:

          One would think that people reading (understanding) this article would be smart enough to not be so dully self-contradictory such as you with that statement. The entire point of cryonics stems from a non-belief in primitive, supernatural fairy tales such as Santa, the Tooth Fairy, or God (of any name or variation). I find it most interesting that the people who are so opposed to this practice are so full of vitriol and spite for something that need not affect them in any form . . . yet “we” are the “dickheads” who should not be revived.

          Btw, none of your assumptions apply to me. No silly Santa-worshiping for me, not a single scam insurance policy, I love eating meat, I’ve never played a role-playing game, I’m happily married and have children, and the closest I’ve ever come to watching Futurama is having seen the ads . . . but your knowledge of the show seems in-depth enough to attack others by saying they got their ideas from that show.

          Need I point out the irony in all of this?

    • Codeblitz says:

      Not sure where this anger is coming from, but I would honestly like to know. Why consider someone like myself (Alcor member) a dickhead. What have I done that makes you feel this way? Is it the desire to live longer? I don’t desire heaven, like others do. An athiest knows there is no heaven. So for use we can only hope to live happy and healthy as long as possible. Simply accepting death is not possible. However, I just don’t understand how that can anger you.

      People from India believe in reincarnation. They beleive that death results in rebirth with the karma of thier actions affecting thier future lives. How, is this much different from Alcor. We may be revived with significant memory loss. All of use will need to work in the future like anyone else, no heaven is waiting at the end of all this.

      • The Happy Cynic says:

        I agree on the point of no heaven or hell but like everyone else on the planet I do not know for sure and neither do you or anyone else (including atheists or those dogma sheep). I do not believe that our essence is obliterated upon death though.  But like i said i do not know it is simply an opinion (another word for fact…)

      • jeff_davis says:

        The reason for the hostility is rather straightforward, and once you understand the cause, you can more easily avoid any tendency to get defensive or take it personally.

        Humans are social animals.  Fish form schools, birds flocks, grazing animals herds, and so forth.  Humans inherit this pattern of life in social groups from their primate ancestors.  For humans we use the term “tribal” to indicate this pattern of “belonging”. 

        Each human social group has its own identity markers –territory (ie geographical location), language, religion, style of dress, style of food, etc — and these markers certify your membership in your home “tribe”.  Your home tribe protects and welcomes you.  Stranger tribes are viewed as “the other”, and as potentially challenging, potentially hostile.

        These are primitive in-built responses, still with us despite modernity.  The stranger — the other — is viewed with suspicion.

        Here is the source of the antagonism toward cryonics.  The radical nature of the cryonics “belief system” challenges both conventional scientific “beliefs” and conventional religious beliefs.  The challenge to these “identity markers” provokes a cognitive dissidence which in turn provokes a rejection reflex.  It’s all very primitive,…and very simple.

        Cryonics constitutes a belief system too strange, too foreign for others
        to deal with, so they react with suspicion and hostility.  It’s a time-worn pattern: new ideas challenge the old and the old ideas push back.  But eventually the old ideas give way to the new, if only because the old idea carriers — the older generation — die off and and are replaced by a younger generation who bring with them either an openness to new ideas or the new ideas themselves.

    • CryoMan says:

      We are good people with a noble cause and we don’t appreciate being referred to as having male genitalia for heads, so stop being arrogant. It get you nowhere.

    • Pavlos says:

      There’s an even more intriguing paradox here: what “God” would create such a miserable dickhead (the kind that insults others without any provocation whatsoever) to live among the rest of us?

  14. rameshraghuvanshi says:

    These all idea arises to overcome the fear of death. From ancient time idea of immorality  fascinating to mankind.Different way people were build this idea in religion,myth,stories.No one want to die. Really speaking only death-is giving meaning to our life.If death is not there how can we  live the life? There is no intention to life.No meaning to evolution.

  15. Manzerjnu308 says:

    it is the bullshit. nothing more. it is a fraud par excellence

  16. Flopglopple says:

    For all those who think people want to ‘die with grace and dignity,’ try saying so with conviction when someone from your family is dying, your child has an incurable, degenerative genetic disease or when you’re lying on your death bed. At such times, people wish for death only because there is no available option which gives fresh youth, dignity and many more healthy years. You promise me a “better than zero” chance of doing this, I’ll spend every last cent on the hope. Call me a ‘delusional atheist’ or a ‘well-preserved dickhead”, I’ve got the courage and self awareness to realize that I’m shit-scared of disappearing without leaving enough of a trace.

  17. TBear (Sydney) says:

    Nice piece of writing. Particularly liked `… to pay to become a popsicle.’ Hell, I’d give ot a go. Why not?

  18. Michael Gisiger says:

    As Epicurus said,

    ὁ θάνατος οὐδὲν πρὸς ἡμᾶς· τὸ γὰρ διαλυθὲν ἀναισθητεῖ, τὸ δʼἀναισθητοῦν οὐδὲν πρὸς ἡμᾶς.
    (Death is nothing to us; for what has disintegrated lacks awareness, and what lacks awareness is nothing to us.)

    • advancedatheist says:

      We don’t have to put up with the limits to medicine Epicurus had to live with. Cryonicists want to turn death from a permanent off-state into a temporary off-state.

  19. John de Rivaz says:

    re >cyronics (sic) is poor and incredibly misguided fantasy! Because cryonics requires part of the process to be performed in the future, anyone suggesting it is misguided etc would need sure and certain knowledge of the future. It may be reasonable to say “it probably won’t work” and quite a few cryonics people would agree. However there is no alternative that would “probably” work any better.  Remember that all the religions that preach some sort of natural history involving life after death for their adherents also preach something to the effect that God helps those who help themselves. Anyone who believes that they can sit down and do nothing and God will provide will simply starve on account of putting food and water in the mouth. If a devoutly religious person closed his eyes and walked across a busy road in the belief that God would get him safely to the other side he would be considered insane even if by pure chance he survived to the other side. Any religion that preached complete and total inaction because God will provide will quickly die out. It has been suggested on the BBC that a limited lifespan forces people to do things rather than put them off. I say that people should chose what to do through reasoned choice rather than by being forced. someone wrote on another list>>> … about 30 minutes in. The lady speaker makes an interesting point just before the end, when she asks whether a finite life span is a good thing in that it forces us to do things that we might otherwise keep putting off.<<<

  20. Guest says:

    Why do these people assume they will die intact? Ever hear of accidents where the head is crushed (falls, car accidents, etc.)? What about cases where the body is not recoverable such as drowning or fire? What about diseases where the brain is destroyed or gunshots to the head? Everyone who signs onto this assumes they will die intact of natural causes. What if you die of Alzemeirs where the brain cells are already destroyed?

  21. Wkkbooks says:

    Who can read this ridiculous prattle. The author is incapable of thought, or thinks she is addressing others who are so. So difficult a feat as distinguishing between the words cryonic and cryogenics requires an inept joke to make the effort palatable. When an article supposed to be informative begins with reference to adolescent necking, sunscreen obsession and bar hopping with a boyfriend named Larkin, I retch. All atheists do not approach the topic of cryonics with skepticism, as is obvious from the article. As for her profundities about death . . . give us a break: hardwired for banality, I think.

  22. Ken_Pidcock says:

    Excellent essay. Myself, I’m thoroughly dustafarian (a great term coined by David Rakoff). We should aspire to accept our deaths as essential to future others’ enjoyment of being human. When we see a baby, we should silently promise that we will eventually get out of the way. I had a friend whose obituary opened with Having thoroughly enjoyed his time here among us… That’s the attitude I wish to cultivate.

    • advancedatheist says:

      I get the impression that humanists have some cognitive dissonance about teleology. On the one hand they tend to argue that the trend towards humanist ways of thinking signals “progress,” despite the contrary theory held by many religionists which holds that an external intelligence called a “god” has established the conditions of human life, and that we puny mortals can’t change that. Yet on the other hand, humanists still accept this teleological way of thinking when they say “death gives life meaning” and that we have to submit to destruction for the convenience of babies. 

      Apparently they can’t quite connect the synapses to consider that we could change those aspects of human life as well. 

  23. B says:

    May I recommend a most enlightening series of lectures on “Death”, by Shelly Kagan of Yale; readily available online, free.

  24. Spiromilhous says:

    A good essay I say, I liked her style of writing, as well as the theme. Keep it up Barbs!

  25. Erik H says:

    It’s hilarious (and infinitely sad) that modern atheism has become the kind of movement that is (via indoctrination and peer pressure) taken on faith.  It is no longer a culturally daring move, rather it is expected by most secular liberals. Which means of course that, like anything taken on faith, it is incredibly vulnerable to exploitation, because this position of atheism isn’t a well thought System of the World, but rather just excepted as status quo. Your boyfriend, Larkin, is an idiot in this (maybe he’s a great engineer or boyfriend or something, but he’s no genius), as are most “educated” americans. Let me guess – he (and you) have never read any Sartre, any de Chardin, hell, any Dan Dennett (why uploaded minds AREN’T you). All this really is the rapture for nerds – as in a thing believed in blindly for no reason (no reason in neuroscience, computer science, philosophy, etc etc). It’s sad because it removes the fundamentally important aspect of atheism – that the position is found through a reliance on the dialectic in determining philosophical (and thus theological) positions. This is the religiousity of the unreligious. How terrifying.

    • Tony says:

      So if atheism is just a faith, like Christianity is just a faith and Islam is just a faith (things apparently too lacking in evidence for your standards), then who’s right?

      • Erik H says:

        Simplification: (not a lossless compression)
        – atheism becomes a religion when it is merely accepted at a youngish age as the default secular position (and believe me it is). People are atheists now not because they have read widely, from Kierkegaard to Gilbert Ryle, but because they once saw a pretty convincing YouTube video about a spaghetti monster. It becomes a religion as it becomes a blind belief system – the certainty that there is no god – and now, through scientism, the ridiculous idea of an “afterlife” were we are all uploaded into a digital heaven.

        And once there, we can be very sure it’s heaven, not hell.

        • Ujji says:

          You may be right, as faith is necessary for ever human being for it provides a sort of psychological comfort. But atheism has evolved in last few decades, now it is being called new atheism which brings god and religion under the purview of science and all religious claims are posited as hypothesis which will be proved or disproved by latest development of sciences.

          Hence atheism is just another system of faith derived out of scientific facts than blind beliefs.

          But its an irony that disproving an older system of belief still requires a strong belief.  

        • Punipunii says:

          Erik, obviously atheism should be the default secular position. People who believe in in god or gods or demons or the Loch Ness monster should have to provide at least some evidence that any of these things exist. I’m not an atheist because I saw a Youtube video, I’m an atheist because I’ve never seen even the slightest hint of proof that any gods exist.

        • advancedatheist says:

          “The mind is its own place, and in it self
          Can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.”

          I don’t find the mind uploading idea particularly persuasive, BTW, and I don’t share some cryonicists’ obsession with it.

          As for your complaint about how today’s youngsters come by their atheism easily, without all the romantic struggles attributed to the process by certain European philosophers, I don’t see why you have a problem with that. I wish I could have grown up as an atheist myself instead of having to live in Tulsa’s “rapture ready” religious environment in the 1970’s. Children should grow up as atheists for the same reason they should receive modern health care, good nutrition, instruction in life skills and basic education; our society has worked by creating new physical and cognitive capital (the latter includes learning from mistakes like the christian doomsday cult), adding it to the pile we’ve inherited, and passing the balance along to the next generation. Do you think every American generation should have to fight a war for independence against England and reinvent the Constitution, for example? The Constitution as an idea keeps it value even if we inherited it without needing to shed a drop of blood for it.

    • Paul Crowley says:

      Dan Dennett (why uploaded minds AREN’T you)
      – where does Dennett say this?

    • advancedatheist says:

      Sounds like someone has overdosed on 20th Century intellectual fads. How do you know anyone will bother to read Sartre or de Chardin in another few centuries? The educated people in the 22nd Century might make a fundamentally different assessment of the 20th Century’s most important intellectual figures, so that Sartre in the 22nd Century will become as obscure as, say, Maine de Biran has gotten in our century (even though Aldous Huxley’s character Mustapha Mond reads from de Biran’s writings in Chapter 17 of Brave New World). 
      I’ve also tried to express a similar point with my post about the prospect that humanists in the 22nd Century will have a radically different view of death if the technology for rejuvenation and radical healthy life extension becomes available and people can see that nothing scary happens in a society which uses it. Humanists have made it a point of advocacy that people can function just fine without supernatural beliefs, in defiance of centuries of prejudice which held the exact opposite. Cryonicists just extend this line of thinking further: Gee, do you think people can handle living a really, really long time in good physical and cognitive shape when the technology allows us to do so, despite the prejudice humanists shared with many religionists against this idea in the early 21st Century?

    • advancedatheist says:

      The fantasy atheists as imagined by European philosophers have dramatic lives where they struggle with The Abyss, Existential Angst, Nihilism, etc. Empirical atheists, by contrast, have ordinary and usually benevolent lives. Refer to Phil Zuckerman’s research about the latter.

    • The Happy Cynic says:

      here here! Rapture for the Nerds! brilliant.

  26. Jthomson says:

    Yes utterly ridiculous prattle. Wikipedia is widely regarded as extremely untrustworthy, not a trustworthy source of anything. Give us all a break and go and study something real and stop writing about your boyfriend, your stream of consciousness and your random thoughts.
    incredible that this found its way onto Arts & Letters Daily – and a travesty. Poor old Denis Dutton would be rolling in his grave.

  27. Stekal47 says:

    Surely they’ve vitrified mice or such, and tried bringing them back? So…what happened?

  28. Skeptic says:

    I think you didn’t bring out the true costs here. The costs of cryonics are quite high even if you have to pay only a little each week. By saving a little each week, you can go on a 10 year world holiday for the cost of freezing yourself when you die or climb mount Everest or whatever. The benefits are the small probability of waking up in the future and the smaller probability still of living an enjoyable existence when you do. I know the article is really a broader meditation on death. But still, the costs of cryonics are real.   

    • advancedatheist says:

      We have an “unknown” probability of revival, not a “small” one. Cryonics doesn’t resemble a game of fixed outcomes like playing the lottery. 

  29. Vonberger says:

    My Number One Homeboy is G.K. Chesterton, who once uttered “Never tear down a fence, until you really understand why it was put up…”. I think we are meant to decline and reach a point of needing other people to care for us. The thought of it should help make us more humane to those around us, and encourage us to have children to care for us.

    Although, unlike the author, I am a religious person, I very much enjoyed the article, especially her style of writing.

    • advancedatheist says:

      Some of us don’t believe in external “meaners to decline.” We view aging and death as accidents of evolution, and we intend to treat them as currently unsolved engineering problems. 

    • The Happy Cynic says: truly is scary when someone admits they are religious..i tear down a fence because it’s rotting or i bought the property next door and no longer require a divide…grin..why it was put up is obvious and irrelevant. I think most everybody would like to be immortal or at least very long lived.  We just got to figure out how to keep regenerating our cells like we already do but just for a couple hundred years more.  Freezing is not the answer i would surmise…ever have a previously frozen piece of meat? and “meant to decline”? who? you?  I find religious people really have no intelligent argument for anything.  You could factually prove to them that the fruit orange is actually orange in color. No it isn’t!, they would respond, it’s an apple and it’s red!..because their faith told them so and therefore must be true…weak minds have been following cult of personality faiths since the primordial swamp…lol

  30. nik_the_heratik says:

    Is anyone else reading this article and thinking about the ancient Egyptian tombs and pyramids? I’m sure if they’d had the technology they’d have replaced the sarcophagus with a liquid nitrogen thermos. Not that it’s an argument for or against Cryo-freezing yourself.

    • advancedatheist says:

      Absolutely no comparison. The Egyptians didn’t understand what the brain does,so they just pureed it in the skull with tools shoved through the nasal cavity and then drained the liquified mess out of the skull.

  31. Vand says:


  32. advancedatheist says:

    I imagine that the humanists in the 22nd Century will take a radically different view of things. “Wait a minute. Humanists a century ago said, ‘Death gives life meaning’? Seriously? How could anyone believe such nonsense?”

  33. John says:

    Google  Robert Ettinger to get articles about the founder of cryonics who died recently and received an excellent cryopreservation by his Cryonics Institute. 

  34. advancedatheist says:

    It surprises me how many humanists still hold implicitly mystical beliefs. They apparently believe that a spooky theological event happens at “death” which resists technological intervention, whereas cryonicists view “death” as a medical emergency where you can stabilize the patient through low temperatures and can transport him or her to a time with much more capable health care, in effect engaging in “medical time travel.”

  35. jeff davis says:

    Absolutely the best article I have ever encountered, written by a lay person — ie neither an advocate nor an opponent — about cryonics.  Strikingly intelligent, insightful, fair and unhysterical.  Congratulations, my hat is off to you.

    Notable is that after realizing you didn’t know about the subject, you acquired the necessary information and avoided the usual reflexive rejection, despite the impulse.  Absolutely delightful intellectual independence/courage.

    If you ever care for additional info, please make me the person you call, as I would very much like to beguile you into my circle of fiends.

    Best, Jeff Davis email:

          “Everything’s hard till you know how to do it.”
                                       Ray Charles

  36. jeff davis says:

    “Cryonics Is Motivated by an Irrational Fear of Death.”

    Why do people focus on darkness and negativity: fear, death, irrationality?  Ouch!

    Why not “Cryonics is motivated by an exuberant love of life.  A perhaps cockeyed optimism about what is possible. An unapologetic embrace of “Life is grand.  More is better.  Bring it on!  Yee hah!!”

    Fear?  What’s that?

    • advancedatheist says:

      According to Terror Management Theory in psychology, the knowledge of our mortality traumatizes the human mind, and as a result we spend our lives suffering from a kind of traumatic stress disorder.

      Cryonicists seek technological solutions to the problem of mortality to alleviate the suffering the prospect of mortality causes in all of us. We have powerful utilitarian considerations in our favor.

    • The Happy Cynic says:

      now this is a real response. No excuses, no atheist or other religious dogma prattle, no panties in a bunch pseudo scientific reasoning just “Cool. I’ll do it. You never know. How much? I can afford to lose that. And if it doesn’t work?? Doesn’t matter. It looks super interesting in my will…estate funds will be kept for revival purposes.  Gotta live after I’m unfrozen you know”….lol

      • advancedatheist says:

        You could also say that an irrational fear of death motivates the practice of mainstream medicine, especially considering that the RAND Health Insurance Experiment back in the 1970’s discovered that a lot of the healthcare we consume doesn’t make any difference in health outcomes, while also wasting resources which could go towards more productive uses. I don’t know why we even pretend that modern medicine can “treat” many forms of cancer, for example.

        • Jim Kujawa says:

          I say bravo to wanting to return in the future.I am a CCU RN and have been bringing people back from death for 25 yrs.I’ve been an atheist for 50+ yrs.I hope Mars is thawed and colonies are thriving.I hope you are living Star Trek,not watching it on TV.I hope the word GOD is finally accepted as just a nickname for the Human race,and that all humans are disease free and fed(and treated) with  equality and respect.This is not even a delusional dream,this is how the world should be.We will realize that cancer is from ultraviolet radiation from our sun,and is just a natural phenomenon of our solar placement.Here’s a little ditty for the masses.
          Your world is as big as you make it,
          Your mind goes as far as you take it,
          Your heart’s not that strong,so don’t break it,
          The Universe is yours,just take it.
          P.S. I don’t have the knowledge to bring back every human that ever existed but I have the love and respect for human life that if someone asked me my reason for my life,that would be my answer. We can and will find the “cure” for death.The Universe does have a purpose,it’s our  f##kin’ back yard,and the biggest theme park I’ve ever seen.

  37. Codeblitz says:

    I am an Alcor member since 2005. As difficult as this article may seem to us, we have grappled with the same questions and concerns over many sleepless nights. By no means, do I believe we have a good chance of reanimation. Honestly, several unexpect things would have to occur in order for anyone frozen to be revived. That said, some folks spend thier entire lives praying to a statue and abstaining from sex just for the chance to live forever in heaven.

    A few thousand dollars gives me the only hope I could imagine, since I am too intelligent to suscribe to the fantasy of heaven. I know my chances are near zero, but being put six feet under, is zero. The fear of death may be irractional and therefore anything we do to stop it must be equally irrational. Seems I have no rational arguements for why I am an Alcor member. So be it.

    • The Happy Cynic says:

      hehe..seems quite easy to get pseudo scientist’s panties in a bunch…of course you don’t have any rational arguments…that makes you a sucker and con artists have dollar signs in their eyes when they see your like coming… also buy life insurance where you pay interest on your own money too if you “borrow” some…i really expected more from this site…

      • advancedatheist says:

        Skeptics can evaluate cryonics in two ways.

        He can say, “Cryonics can’t or won’t work,” given scientific reasons A, B, C, etc. Then he loses interest and goes off to criticize global warming denialists or something.

        Or a skeptic could say, “Hmm, cryonics can’t or won’t work if you do it that way.” Then if he thinks like an inventive problem solver and knows some biology, he might evaluate the problem by changing some of its assumptions. For example, he might employ a common creative thinking technique where he imagines the end result – revival of a human brain from cryonic suspension with its connectome intact – then works backwards to see what that implies about its starting conditions. The exercise could suggest new ways to perform suspensions.

        Cryonics in its currently underdeveloped & neglected state provides opportunities for the latter sort of skeptics who want to work hard and accomplish great things. College-aged guys with aspirations of becoming the next Steve Jobs, Sergey Brin or Mark Zuckerberg should give cryonics a look.

  38. N__8 says:

    I would prefer to put the money to a charity that helped people who were still living and could really be helped, not throwing it at a last ditch effort to attempt to selfishly preserve myself when I’ve already lived my life.

    • symmetric says:

      Seriously?  So, exactly how old will you be when you’re done living your life?  Just think how much money we could give to charity if we just killed all those selfish old people.  We weren’t meant to live past 50 years anyway, or was that 40, or 30?!

    • advancedatheist says:

      Some of us don’t feel guilty for existing and acting out of self-interest. And we can extend our minds to embrace the idea that in a society with sufficiently advanced medicine which allows healthy, radical life extension, people would adjust their beliefs accordingly about how long they should live. Indeed, the people who grow up accepting an indefinite life expectancy as normal might react in horror when they learn about the before-times. “Aging and death happened to people?!”

      • N__8 says:

        This is not about life extension…

        This is about a company requiring you to put them as the the beneficiary with costs in excess of $80,000 ( for the hopes that some day you may have eternal life.  
        This sounds no different than a church asking for tithes in order for the hopes that some day you may have eternal life.

        It is my opinion that the money could be put to better use, in both cases.

  39. advancedatheist says:

    Christopher Hitchens’s accounts of his cancer ordeal got me to thinking:

    The skeptic/atheist/humanist community which treats Hitchens as a celebrity has had the opportunity for decades now to embrace cryonics and the conquest of aging as its main priorities. Despite its own propaganda about its progressive, visionary, scientific thinking, it still displays the most hidebound traditionalism about the urgent need for prophylaxis against death, even though its periodicals like Skeptic, Free Inquiry and, of course, The Humanist publish an occasional article about so-called transhumanist ideas. (Free Inquiry even published an essay by Max More in the mid 1990’s, years before he became Alcor’s current CEO. You can find it, titled “On Becoming Posthuman,” on Max’s personal webiste, maxmore dot com.) I suspect that secular activists will need a generational turnover or two before its younger members feel free to display openness to what cryonicists have advocated for nearly 50 years. But they need more than a willingness to play with these ideas; they need to take practical steps to make the things based on these ideas happen.

    In the meantime I’ve coined the word “retrohumanism” to describe the current humanists’ inadequate world view.

  40. advancedatheist says:

    The X Prize Foundation has endorsed human cryopreservation as a legitimate medical procedure. Google its “Organ Cryopreservation X PRIZE,” which says:

    }”For example, this includes the reversible cryopreservation of humans and animals that can no longer be sustained by contemporary medicine, with the hope that healing and resuscitation may be possible in the future.”

  41. Scottaberth says:

    Who cares if it works or not? The people on here defending their right to revival are exactly the types the world doesn’t need to revive – self-absorbed, self-serving, selfish. Yes, that’s a stereotype – well, diddums – a bit of kettle black going on with some of these comments – grouping atheists together in their beliefs, for one (there’s no handbook for atheism – that’s the point, you disingenuous sophists).

    Give some time and money to making the world a better place now, instead of thinking that the world will thank you for blessing it with your narcissistic undeserved second presence. And, no, saving some trapped miners is not the same as cryonics – get off your keyboard, go out into the real world, meet some real people, and – cryonics forbid – engage with them, because otherwise it’s a sure bet that you’ll just be using your pathetic second life planning for a third one.

    Get some perspective. 

    • symmetric says:

      Yeah, you’re right, And those people who want to be cured of cancer should go ahead and die already too.  Who cares if *any* disease cure works or not? The people who defend their right to cures are exactly the types the world doesn’t need to help – self-absorbed, self-serving, selfish.  They should make way for healthy people instead of thinking that the world will thank them for blessing it with their narcissistic undeserved second chance. They should just die when they’re supposed to, because otherwise it’s a sure bet that they’ll just be using their pathetic second chance planning for a third one.

      • advancedatheist says:

        I suspect these ironically named “humanists” won’t embrace cryonics until the high status ones among them think they’ve invented it. No telling how many humanists have to die needlessly first before the survivors wise up. Neuroscientist Sebastian Seung considers cryonics a defensible medical experiment, and one in need of improvements, so his example might push the scientific community in a direction favorable to us cryonicists. 

    • advancedatheist says:

      I come from a long line of poor white Southerners. My mother grew up living like the Joads in The Grapes of Wrath, in fact. So don’t lecture me about “meeting some real people,” because I belong to the tribe of lower-class Southern whites you probably despise like the liberal snobs who read Thomas Frank’s books.

  42. Jerry T. Searcy says:

    Atholandy: Dickheads such as…??