Monday, May 28, 2012

Why I am a Cryonicist

For those who might not know, I am currently signed up with the Alcor Life Extension Foundation to cryopreserve my body after death. To some, this seems like a frivolous waste of money ($200,000 being the current rate for a full-body cryopreservation). To me, though, it's just a safe bet.

Bear in mind that the money is paid through a life insurance policy, so it is not the case that my family will be expected to cut a check for $200K when I die. So the real expenses are a very modest monthly fee for the insurance policy, plus the membership fee, which stands at under $70 a month. So basically, I'm paying around $100 a month for the service, total.

It is very true that no creature, not even an experimental animal and certainly not a human being, has ever been revived from cryopreservation. So I will be the first to admit that the process is not a certainty, but a gamble.

But consider the alternative.

Notwithstanding various religious superstitions that promise bodily resurrection, the odds that one will survive death are precisely zero. Indeed, I place the odds of the accuracy of such religious promises at zero as well, given the accuracy of their other predictions about the universe. The odds that cryopreservation will, at some point in the future, be able to restore one's body to life with one's personality reasonably intact are certainly enormously small, but they are, ultimately, greater than zero.

And that is the gamble. Although the odds are incredibly long, the potential payoff-- effective immortality-- is so equally enormous as to make the gamble a reasonable one, at least to my mind. The odds of success are admittedly small, but the payoff is so large, and the investment so relatively small, that it makes sense to place the bet.

And at least, it's better than the alternative.

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