Cryonics Institute

Topics: Cryonics, Cryobiology, Robert Ettinger Pages: 15 (5043 words) Published: June 9, 2011
1. Thesis Statement
Cryonics is the process of preserving dead body, and for its preparation for the future revival. The general idea behind cryonics is that since most diseases and old age that result in death result from damage to the bodies tissues, cells, organs, and cellular components that this damage should be curable in the future as science continues to develop. As such, persons who pay to have their bodies frozen by a cryonics company upon their death do not have any guarantee that the technique will be able to bring them back to life in the future. 2. Introduction

Cryonics (from Greek kryos- meaning icy cold) is the low-temperature preservation of humans and other animals who can no longer be sustained by contemporary medicine, with the hope that healing and resuscitation may be possible in the future. Cryopreservation of people or large animals is not reversible with current technology. The stated rationale for cryonics is that people who are considered dead by current legal or medical definitions may not necessarily be dead according to the more stringent information-theoretic definition of death. It is proposed that cryopreserved people might someday be recovered by using highly advanced future technology. 3.1 Brief History of Cryonics

Benjamin Franklin, in a 1773 letter, expressed regret that he lived "in a century too little advanced, and too near the infancy of science" that he could not be preserved and revived to fulfill his very ardent desire to see and observe the state of America a hundred years hence". In 1922 Alexander Yaroslavsky, member of Russian immortalists-biocosmists movement, wrote "Anabiosys Poem". However, the modern era of cryonics began in 1962 when Michigan college physics teacher Robert Ettinger proposed in a privately published book, The Prospect of Immortality, that freezing people may be a way to reach future medical technology. Even though freezing a person is apparently fatal, Ettinger argued that what appears to be fatal today may be reversible in the future. He applied the same argument to the process of dying itself, saying that the early stages of clinical death may be reversible in the future. Combining these two ideas, he suggested that freezing recently deceased people may be a way to save lives. Slightly before Ettinger’s book was complete, Evan Cooper privately published a book called Immortality: Physically, Scientifically, Now that independently suggested the same idea. Cooper founded the Life Extension Society (LES) in 1964 to promote freezing people. Ettinger came to be credited as the originator of cryonics, perhaps because his book was republished by Doubleday in 1964 on recommendation of Isaac Asimov and Fred Pohl, and received more publicity. Ettinger also stayed with the movement longer. Nevertheless, cryonics historian R. Michael Perry has written “Evan Cooper deserves the principal credit for forming an organized cryonics movement.” Cooper’s Life Extension Society became the seed tree for cryonics societies throughout the country where local cryonics advocates would get together as a result of contact through the LES mailing list. The actual word “cryonics” was invented by Karl Werner, then a student in the studio of William Katavolos at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY, in 1965 in conjunction with the founding of the Cryonics Society of New York (CSNY) by Curtis Henderson and Saul Kent that same year. This was followed by the founding of the Cryonics Society of Michigan (CSM) and Cryonics Society of California (CSC) in 1966, and Bay Area Cryonics Society (BACS) in 1969 (renamed the American Cryonics Society, or ACS, in 1985). Neither CSNY nor CSC are currently in operation. CSM eventually became the Immortalist Society, a non-profit affiliate of the Cryonics Institute (CI), a cryonics service organization founded by Ettinger in 1976. CI now has more current cryonics patients than any other organization. Although there was at least one earlier...
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