On June 9th, The Daily Mail published an article by Tom Leonard with the title, "Three senior Oxford University academics will pay to be deep frozen when they die so they could one day be 'brought back to life'". This article was also published on Iol.
Thanks go to John de Rivaz for passing on these links via the Yahoo! newsgroup for Cryonics Europe.
The Daily Mail article attracted 300+ comments, many of which were negative dismissals of the potential of cryonics. As expected, many of these comments were based on inaccurate beliefs, such as cryo-patients being frozen in ice, or of cryonics being a money-making scam.
The Cryonics Institute is a non-profit making organisation. It's annual finances are published for all to view. Its directors are elected by the institute's own members.
Patients are subjected first to a profusion then a vitrification process, which greatly reduces tissue damage from ice crystals, before being stored in liquid nitrogen that would take around a week to defrost sufficiently to cause any tissue degeneration. This gives plenty of time to fix any problems with the generator! The CI's website offers full technical details and a FAQ section.
Cryonicists believe that they are giving themselves the possibility of reanimation in the future, when they hope to be restored to full health with the use of nanomedicines and nanotechnologies which are currently being developed. We are well aware that this may not work, just as the people who agreed to be the first to undergo heart transplants or brain surgery knew that these procedures may not have worked. On the other hand, cryonics just might work - time will tell. Having recognised this possibility, where's the alleged scam? This is an eyes-wide-open agreement.
I would encourage anyone interested in giving themselves a similar possible chance to look beyond knee-jerk dismissals, based mostly on misconceptions. Accurate information about cryonics can readily be found if you read through the websites for Alcor or the Cryonics Institute.
Other Cryonics Websites Worldwide can provide more localised information and support groups.
One of the questions I'm often asked is how I might feel if, when reanimated at some point in the future, I find all my friends are long dead. I simply point out that I know quite a number of cryonicists already and that I anticipated enjoying their company again.
Another typical question focusses on the obstacles faced when waking in a world whose technology and social structure has vastly moved on. I fully anticipate having to undergo re-education - but surely that's not so onerous a probability that a person would opt for oblivion instead!
Then there is the issue of the global population vs. limited resources. The answer to that one is to go outside at night and look up. I fully anticipate the expansion of the human species into off-Earth living.
Money is another issue - namely, who's going to keep paying the bills for the cryostats, and who's going to pay for the medical bills of those who are reanimated and restored to full health and youth with the use of nanotechnologies. Who else, if not fellow cryonicists, some of whom are eminent scientists? The cryo-preservation contracts of each cryo-patient includes financial provisions. Also, this question assumes that our monetary system will always be with us in its current state, which might not be true - but we'll have to wait and see how things turn out. Certainly I think that there will be some issues that can't be answered until we get to them, as the situations underlying them are subject to change.
Morality is another frequently asked question, mixed in with religious beliefs about souls and reincarnation, or images of mindless zombies who've been reanimated but the "real" person is long-dead. Religious morality has been hotly debated since the dawn of known history so all I'll say to that one is that you're totally free to believe whatever you please, just don't attempt to inflict your beliefs on me! Ideas about how the human mind works and what forms our sense of being an individual, and exactly how the mind works through the brain, and the exact nature of mind as opposed to the organ it functions through (the brain) are important aspects of any cryonics discussion. Amongst cryonicists, there are as many varying philosophical points of view as there are among any other group of people.
I became a lifetime member of the Cryonics Institute in 2008, when I also set up my cryo-preservation contract. I even have DNA archives of my pets - some of whom have already died of old age. Cryonics might not work. Then again, it might - and isn't that easily worth taking a chance on?
If you would like to add your vote to a poll about cryonics, then visit my Hubpage here.