Debate Rounds (3)
CaraKamski forfeited this round.
More than one hundred people have been cryopreserved since University of California psychologist professor James Bedford became the first case in 1967 (1). More than one thousand people have made legal and financial arrangements for cryonics with one of several organizations, usually by means of affordable life insurance.
Cryonics is justified by three facts that are not well known:
1 - Life can be stopped and restarted if its basic structure is preserved.
Human embryos are routinely preserved for years at temperatures that completely stop the chemistry of life. Adult humans have survived cooling to temperatures that stop the heart, brain, and all other organs from functioning for up to an hour. These and many other lessons of biology teach us that life is a particular structure of matter. Life can be stopped and restarted if cell structure and chemistry are preserved sufficiently well.
2 - Vitrification (not freezing) can preserve biological structure very well.
Adding high concentrations of chemicals called cryoprotectants to cells permits tissue to be cooled to very low temperatures with little or no ice formation. The state of no ice formation at temperatures below -120"C is called vitrification. It is now possible to physically vitrify organs as large as the human brain, achieving excellent structural preservation without freezing (2).
3 - Methods for repairing structure at the molecular level can now be foreseen.
The emerging science of nanotechnology will eventually lead to devices capable of extensive tissue repair and regeneration, including repair of individual cells one molecule at a time. This future nanomedicine could theoretically recover any preserved person in which the basic brain structures encoding memory and personality remain intact.
So if survival of structure means survival of the person, if cold can preserve essential structure with sufficient fidelity, and if foreseeable technology can repair injuries of the preservation process, then cryonics should work, even though it cannot be demonstrated to work today. That is the scientific justification for cryonics. It is a justification that grows stronger with every new advance in preservation technology.
As far as the moral implications, defining death in morally absolute terms is technologically, if not scientifically, impossible at this time. Attempts to use rigid, binary, black or white, all or none approaches will only serve to recreate the bitter futility of similarly barren arguments that have characterized the debate over when life begins (and the attendant social and medical issue of abortion). In the real world, death is a continuum, and it should be dealt with as such. That means thoughtful judgment on the part of patients, physicians and lawmakers as to where to draw lines in that shifting sand. If the informed consent of the patient is the foremost value, there will be little moral risk in deciding just how dark it must be before night has fallen (3).
I await your response.
CaraKamski forfeited this round.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by lannan13 2 years ago
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