Cryonic or cryogenic preservation has been around for the past 60 years, but the world still does not want to believe that such a thing actually exists and this is only something that can be found within science fiction movies. The photo above may also seem from a science fiction movie, but it is as real as it gets, these pods that preserve bodies that have been frozen in the past 60 years have been built to resist for thousands of years to come.
For those who may be a bit confused, this talks about the science of freezing the bodies of those who have recently passed away in order to preserve their bodies for the future in the hope that they will one day be resurrected.
In one of my previous articles (linked below), I have spoken about the first person to have ever been cryonically-preserved for the future, in the same article I explain the difference between cryonics and cryogenics as they are sometimes confused as the same term, but they have different meanings. I felt that the whole idea about preserving bodies for the future is quite interesting to discuss and this is why I wanted to use a separate article for this. In order to get a better idea please read the article linked here.
The history behind Cryonics and Alcor
As mentioned in the article above, the first few cases since 1967 have been done by some private scientific organizations that only wanted to prove their theories above cryonic preservation. In 1972 a couple named Fred and Linda Chamberlain had fallen in love with the idea of preserving for the future, so much so that they have founded the first company to offer this service, named Alcor Incorporated. In the beginning, they were only storing the bodies that scientists were preserving, either human or animal.
Their inspiration, just like James Hiram Bedford’s to be cryopreserved came from the book “The Prospect of Immortality” published in 1964 by Robert Ettinger. It wasn’t until 1976 that the company performed its first cryopreservation on a human. Since then more and more scientists around the world have wanted to be part of this company, people that had a similar vision and believed in the idea that cryopreservation brings.
The process itself was and still is quite expensive, but not as expensive as it used to be and it always had success within Alcor. The only problem is that the idea is sort of selling a belief, just like religion in a way.
On their website when promoting the service they say “possible revival” meaning that nothing is assured and not that this is something wrong, but definitely, something that needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. I presume that most people who have agreed to this service were told that this is only a possibility and there is no assurance that they will ever be resurrected. I mean what sort of legal paperwork can you come up with? The company may not even be around by the time you are hopefully resurrected.
It wasn’t until 1986 that Alcor actually got another person to use their cryopreservation service and since then the phone started ringing more often. On their website, there is an interesting report about the cryopreservation of a man named Roy Schavello in 1990. The report starts explaining the whole process since Schaevello agreed to the process, to his death and the cryopreservation process.
In 1994 Alcor relocated to Scottsdale Arizona because of the good ground to preserve the bodies, the same place. Since then and until the present, Alcor had been focusing on research to improve the process of cryopreservation and on attracting more and more people to use this service. Yes, there are other companies doing the same thing, but Alcor had been officially the first and is now considered the world leader in cryonics.
There have been some discussions about the ethics behind the procedure, the legality of the whole thing, and of course the possibility of a human body resisting preservation for thousands of years.
- From an ethical perspective, we can see that some people do not see it right as a dead body should be either cremated or buried, but I believe that anyone can do whatever they want with their bodies once they have passed away.
- Legally there are no implications as the procedure isn’t done on someone that is alive and as long as they have the signature of the person that wants to undertake the procedure before they pass away there is no way to sue them. I believe that the contract does specify that there is a possibility that they will never be resurrected.
- When it comes to preserving the human body for such a long time, as long the cells are frozen below -196 degrees celsius, there are many debates of how the human tissue is affected. Shannon Tessier, a cryobiologist with Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital says that at that temperature the tissue is completely destroyed.
What are the chances of these bodies being resurrected?
It is said that there are two things in this world that make us human. One is the ability to follow rules and be civilized and the other is our awareness of our own mortality. Death is a natural part of life and no one gets away from death. Our knowledge cannot yet comprehend at a scientific level the possibility of resurrecting a dead person as we don’t yet understand how our souls comprise life within these meat boxes that we call bodies.
For thousands of years, various civilizations had their own idea of resurrection and how this could be possible with the power of Gods. Yet none of them are very specific within the process, this is something that may be actually impossible, even for science.
Before we imply an impossible process, we need to take into consideration the ability of the human body to last for thousands of years, even if placed in a special man-made environment as the preservation pods. It is true that some animals such as the Canadian wood frog and micro animals such as the Artemia Salina can survive being frozen, but this is because they have biologically evolved to survive in such an environment.
The human body was never made to stay frozen, it was never made to survive over a period of 200 years, despite stories from biblical times where people may have survived for hundreds of years.
For the sake of argument let’s assume that the human tissue is not affected and it can function if in some way it is resurrected. Let’s assume that the pods will be discovered in 3000 years' time by some advanced civilization that has reached the perfect way of living, no war, all peace, and equality. Somehow this civilization is also able to resurrect the dead and even those people found within the cryopreserved pods.
You manage to bring the organism back to life at 100% function, including all the organs, but how do you bring back its soul? Technology may reach a point in time to revitalize and repair all the destroyed tissue, but what technology is able to play God and bring back a soul that is resting in heaven?
Only one person in history tried scientifically prove the existence of souls, but his way and pretty much the only way humans can measure the existence of souls was not accepted. Therefore I presume that the experts from Alcor and other scientists working on cryopreservation believe that humans have no soul and it is something else that provides our consciousness.
I know that science and religion do not mix together very well as science focuses on precision whilst religion has an extensive focus on probability, however in this case science is only offering a possibility that cannot be assured by any sort of theory or piece of technology in our present time.
On the other hand, there is nothing to lose apart from the initial investment for the procedure. This may be a topic above us all, but I am really curious to hear what you think, so please let me know in the comment section down below.
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