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Monday, December 12, 2016

Cryonics: hype, hope or hell?

Neera Bhatia & Julian Savulescu
The Conversation
Originally posted November 22, 2016

Here is an excerpt:

Is cryonics ethical?

There are some arguments in favour of cryonics, the simplest of which is one of free will and choice. As long as people are informed of the very small chance of success of future re-animation, and they are not being coerced, then their choice is an expression of their autonomy about how they wish to direct the disposal of their bodies and resources after death.

In this light, choosing cryonics can be seen as no different to choosing cremation or burial, albeit a much more expensive option.

However, this case raises several other ethical and problematic concerns. There is the issue of potentially exploiting vulnerable people. Some might argue vulnerable people are trading hype for hope.

But if we were to replace the science of cryonics with the promises of religious or spiritual healers made at the bedside of the dying – of earlier access to “eternal life” in return for large payments known as indulgences – would this be so different?

Serious regulatory problems ahead

Legal and ethical issues aside, there are other serious issues to consider.

How can dying people have confidence in the ability of a company to keep their remains intact? If the cryonic company were to cease operating because of financial difficulties, what would happen to the frozen body?

The article is here.
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