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Should Cryogenic Freezing be Humanism's ideological answer to death?

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Post Voting Period
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after 2 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/24/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 7,027 times Debate No: 59494
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (19)
Votes (2)




Above are my arguments laid out in video form.

The Humanist ideology needs to adapt and develop. There needs to be a shift from the question of who has the burden of proof of what happens when you die? Whether or not it should be the responsibility of humanists or those with religious beliefs. A more positive question should be, "What is science's current answer to death?". The answer is clear, the solution even clearer. Cryogenic Freezing may sound like science fiction but I have found more than 20 companies that offer the product.

One of the most powerful and for some emotional arguments directed at the Atheist/Humanist is what is our answer to death? For the current moment, our position is simply that we are lucky to live this life and we only have one life to live so enjoy it while it lasts. Cryogenic freezing is a tried and tested science that has existed since the 1960's and has only improved since then. Cryogenic Freezing for me is the alternative to that view 'lucky to be alive' argument and it's one I would like to see us adopt.

Another argument to adopt cryogenic freezing as the answer to death in the humanist ideology is that we would be taking away one of religion's most powerful and defining arguments away and replacing it with something more concrete. While there are a few people with stringent religious beliefs, that won't leave the faith as they see atheism as a gamble and our vision of 'eternal nothingness' after death is not something that they find appealing, so while death scares them this can at least make it less of a risk in there minds to consider atheism/humanism as a less scary alternative.

Below is a link of an article of a girl that was frozen due to an unforgivable illness that struck her down in her early youth. Life can be cruel so let's not shun solutions when we see them.


Cryonics vs Cryogenics

Cryonics and Cryogenics is often confused for each other. As somebody who has spent a lot of time studying cryonic preservation it's deeply annoying. Cryonics refers to the process of freezing somebody after death in hopes of reviving them at some future point.

Cryogenics is the study of low temperatures. Now that you know the difference, please don't confuse them.

There Can Only Be One

My opponent mentions 20 programs for cryonic preservation. The reality is that there really are only 2 worth mentioning. 1 is in the UK. The other cryonic's service is known as Alcor and located in Arizona. I'll just discuss Alcor here, because I live in America and it's enough to point out what's wrong with cryonic preservation.

The reason Alcor is your only real option is because they are the only Cryonics institute that is full service as well as have a team ready for remote stand by so they can freeze you as close to death as possible. It's highly reccomended that you live close to Scottsdale Arizona as possible so your body doesn't have to be on the road for too long and suffer even more unnecessary damage.

So realistically if you want to maximize your chances or even have a realistic chance of being brought back in the future, you must move to Arizona. How feasible is it for everyone to move to Arizona?

Jack Nicholson

So you turn your life upside down and decide to move to Scottsdale. Against my advice, you decide to pursue this ambulance ride to the future. Then what?

Do you want the truth? Well do you?

*screaming* You can't handle the truth!

"Your damnn straight I ordered the code red" (or however those lines go)

When your body is frozen the first thing that happens is every cell in your body expands and starts exploding. Imagine a bunch of tiny explosions going on at a microscopic level.

It's likely that science will never find a way to reverse that. As the cells explode you'll notice another phenomenon that takes place. The brain as it freezes will start to have cracks form.

These cracks are referred to as fractures.

These are just a few of the things working against getting a person revived. Lets look at a few others.

Welcome To The Thunder Dome

Let's say that against all odds the world has found a way to revive you. Alcor has stayed afloat financially. Who's going to revive you. That stuff costs money. The money you spend to stay frozen isn't going to help you become unfrozen. Everyone that ever loved you is dead. Of all the orphaned bodies left frozen you're not being picked to revive, if they decide to only revive 1 person. Ted Williams maybe, but not you and certainly not me.

Even if they can revive you there might be more important crap to take care of. Alcor is run entirely on donations. The world could have faced economic collapse, famine, widespread pandemic. You could be waking up to a post apocalyptic thunder dome type world. This world could revive you, but it would be pointless for them and given the fact you're a little outdated it could be an extremely short life for you.

Better Alternatives

There are better alternatives to being revived than cryopreservation.


This preserves you down to the cellular level unlike cryopreservation. It's basically your brain being put in some amber and preserved that way. Some other advantages it has is that if society goes to hell in a hand basket for a short bit than your brain will likely still be preserved, where as if a cryopreservation center goes under for a short bit you're screwed.

I think it's far more likely you'll be revived through some sort of scanning technology and after human level artificial intelligence has been perfected.

Another alternative might be to send somebody to space who is I'll. have them travel the universe and return in 10 years. According to the laws of relativity. They may return in what feels like 10 years to them, but is actually 50 years to us. Advances in technology could save their life withouth them needing to pull a "Jesus".


Cryonics is very unlikely to work and better alternatives exist. It's at best a waste of money and at worst something that distracts from better methods of preservation such as Plastination.
Debate Round No. 1


Dictionary definitions and The Media support the correct definition of Cryogenic freezing

It is a highly regrettable feeling that my opponent is still confused on this matter. The Oxford dictionary website describes Cryonics and Cryogenics as synonyms and states that Cryogenics is just, “another term for cryonics”.
The Oxford dictionary offers Cryogenics in a sentencing structure. The quote goes as follows ‘I was surprised to hear of Brando's strange obsession with living forever, even studying gene therapy and cryogenics in an effort to prolong his life.’
The Daily Mail used the term Cryogenic Frozen in an article referring to a legal case about Ted Williams. The telegraph asks a question about the rumour of Walt Disney being Cryogenically Preserved. The Guardian supports the definition of Cryogenic freezing in reporting on a legal ruling in France.
This Article below explores the relationship of Cryogenic Freezing to the law.
The cryogenic Industry creates jobs and is economically sustainable
The companies below hire staff which pays wages and puts money back into the economy that goes towards schools and small businesses.
Cryogenic Industries
Rhine Engineering
Cyro Industries

The Bright vision of the future

Imagine when you inevitably will leave this world and enter the sleep of suspended animation. You wake up into a world of peace, harmony and the perfect world you have always dreamed of. This world will be free of racism, free of war, famine and disease. A technological heaven with service to deal with your every whim.
Isn’t that a world you want to see? A world free of pain and suffering? You can be a part of that world to live a life of happiness and cryogenic freezing is simply the journey to get there.
Even if the worst case scenario does happen and we see famine in the world, wars, a great economic depression, volcanos, hurricanes and earthquakes. Does all that sound quite familiar? That’s because it’s the world we live in today, these events occur every single day and has done since humanity learnt to use the wheel and yet the world keeps turning. We still read our papers in the morning, watch TV, have our breakfast and go on with our daily lives.
Below is 7 best future scenarios for the future of mankind.

Is there a risk to me when revived? No

There have been many scientists who have brought up this point. They’re very reasonable and understandable caution on cryonic is misguided and unfounded. The CEO of Alcor have made a very convincing video on how they will address these baseless, unproven and speculative fears.
The video below is CEO of Alcor responding to Media personality Michio Kaku’s criticisms of Cryonics.

Plastination vs Cryonics

Plastination is still a new technology and has not matured. The plastination technological development is still uncertain and as to where the technology will lead relies on vast amounts of future funding and research. The technology does not currently exist to be given as a solid competitive commercial market options such as the big four cryonic companies as Alcor, Cryonics institute, KrioRus and Trans Time.
Cryonics has been practiced for forty years, its techniques have improved
To quote my opponents source, from Perry’s article about chemical fixation, “cryonics itself… Some encouragement is provided by the high level of detail seen in preserved brain samples using, for example, formaldehyde fixation.” Meaning basically that great favourable confidence is given by perry to the future of cryonics technology.
To quote my opponents source on his uninspiring alternative “He (perry) is not so sanguine about plastination”. ”A possible drawback of this approach, from the standpoint of preserving the fine structures that are especially important… is the relatively harsh regimen needed to produce the finished product.”


In conclusion Cryogenic freezing extends life, moderately affordable, adds jobs to the economy and is the best current life extension alternative to Cremation, Burial or Plastination. Cryogenic Freezing is the best answer to death from a humanist standpoint that provides a very real possibility of life after death.



I don't know why my opponent brings up definitions again. It's not really relevant to the debate. Anybody who is curious about the difference between the terms is welcome to do their own research. Cryonics refers to freezing the human body while cryogenics is the study of cold temperatures. It would be fair to call Alcor a cryogenic or cryonics institute, but there is no such thing as cryogenic preservation it would be cryonic preservation. It's not really relevant to the debate. So I won't respond to anymore of pro's semantics arguments.


I don't know who coined the term "rapture of the nerds". I just know It's been used to poke fun of transhumanists hoping for a singularity or the effects of medicine being an information technology and subject to what's known as Moore's law, to bring us an indefinite lifespan.

My opponent cites some speculation as to what the future will look like should a "Nerd Rapture" occur. Most of this speculation is a result of Mr. Ray Kurzweil's highly speculative books making predictions about the future.

His speculation and I'm not BS'ing here is all centered around Moore's Law continuing and being applicable to fields such as AI, health, biology and pretty much anything else you can imagine.

Moore's Law

Moore's law seems to predict pretty accurately that the rate of computer power will double every 2 years. This is based on the shrinking and extra cost effectiveness of what's known as semi conductors.

The law has been pretty accurate in predicting he rate of computer power increases, since 1965. A good deal of the reason why is because it offers a target for people in the semiconductor industry to meet and gives them the push they need.

This law can persist only as long as the laws of physics allow it to. There is an upper limit and speculation is that we're nearing the end of Moore's law, which will bring a kind of technological dark age.

The creator of Moore's law Gordon Moore in addition to not believing a singularity will happen also believes Moore's law is about done being useful as a tool for predicting advances in computer power.

Moore's law is not applicable for use in predicting advances in medicine or biotechnology, even if those things have now become an information technology.

These overly optimistic predictions about the future is just extremely weak speculation. The predictions also don't address other factors likely to play a role in what the future looks like, such as economic and political forces.

Stephen Hawking

Even if these advances do come scientists such as Stephen Hawking predict it may be the end of mankind. So basically people who opt for Cryo-preservation are hoping that technology grows to the point where it can revive them, but are unaware that the same level of technological advancement could actually end mankind.

The Fermi paradox explains how mankind should have experienced alien contact of some kind by now. Fermi asked the question "Where are the aliens?". One reasonable answer is that once they reach a level of advancement just beyond ours, their society fails.

It's possible we could become more visible for alien civilizations that are hostile, and they could kill us. As Stephen Hawking speculates.

Advancement in technology could also lead to what is commonly referred to as an unfriendly artificial intelligence. Any artificial intelligence of sufficient advancement is a threat to the human race.

So by now I hope it's clear that these pie in the sky theories speculating an Earthly paradise have almost no merit.


This is why it's somewhat important to be aware of the differences, between the word cryonic and the word cryogenic. Out of every Cryogenic company my opponent mentioned not a single one provides equipment for the cryonics industry. The companies listed actually specialize in providing equipment for certain companies that transport and store gasses that need to remain at a low temperature.

Alcor is a nonprofit company that employs mainly volunteers to do it's work. This industry does nothing for the economy. The money would be better used investing in literature to stay on top of the most recent medical advances and eating right or maybe a gym membership. You don't cheat death by getting frozen, you do it by taking care of your health and maybe taking a few calculated risks to extend natural lifespan.


Everybody please watch my opponents video in his section of a similar name. It has the president of Alcor talking and funny enough, immediately in the video he addresses the difference between the word cryogenic and cryonic. After seeing Mr. More distinguish between the 2 words, you'll no doubt agree with the definition, I've provided.

My opponent suggests that his video debunks all risks of revival. This is simply not true. For one it's lazy debating to just point to a youtube video and claim it trumps what your opponent said and for another thing Mr. More debunks kaku not Wylted.

Mr. More didn't address my points about fracturing that occurs with-in the brain. Mr. More discusses that freezing doesn't damage sperm or other tissue so it should be fine. However sperm is frozen at -197 degrees Fahrenheit.

At Alcor people are frozen at -255 degrees Fahrenheit.

That's almost 60 degrees difference and can't be just shrugged off without further explanation like Mr. More attempts to do.


Pro doesn't really show how plastination is worse than Cryonics. He pointed out some criticisms of it, but the criticisms aren't even specific enough for me to offer a rebuttal for and just are some guys opinions on the problems with plastination. It does.t even have the guy arguing that cryonis is superior. It's just him mentioning in a very general way some issues with plastination. I'd say that cryonics and plastination both have their problems, but plastination has a better chance of preserving you if a plastination company goes under or some hell in a hand basket scenario pops up for a short bit. Plastination also doesn't have problems with the exploding cells and brain fracturing that cryonics does, either.


My opponent hasn't responded to my criticisms at all. He has attempted to pawn them off on youtube videos and expert commentary not relevant to the criticisms, I've brought up. My opponent has also failed to address my concerns about whether anybody would even want to revive him should the technology become available to do so. Vote Con.
Debate Round No. 2


Introduction and intervention

For this round to keep the debate on track I shall not delve into Cryogenic vs Cryonics beyond the introduction and recommend my opponent do the same but that is simply up to him. My opponent is right that it has no relevance to this debate. The simple definitions are explained as follows, the definition of ‘cryogenic freezing’ is generally supported by the media and the public. The oxford dictionary sees both terms cryonics and cryogenics as synonyms. The second definition is supported by my opponent’s introductionary statement.

The second action I will take is during the rest of this third round I will not use one source due to rather unfair and disruptive accusation made by my opponent of ‘lazy debating’. In this third round of debating I will only use points, counter points, explanations and quotes to construct the rest of the debate.

Thirdly I will put it to my opponent that if two people ask the same question whether it be Kaku or Wylted and one answer is given to clarify the misconceptions of both of those same questions then isn’t that indeed debunking both questions.

Forthly I will also respond to my opponent and put it to him that if one clarifies a position and a point through an already made filmed piece isn’t that far more simpler for the subject to view and comprehend than waste’s the subjects time with re-highlighting, repeating and re-quoting the said aforementioned piece.

Fifthly I find the point over cryonics vs cryogenics definition rather trivial and diverting from the main subject. I find it rather duplicitous that even though my opponent didn’t wish to respond “to anymore of Pro’s semantics arguments”, he goes on to mention cryonics vs cryogenics three more times.

Predictions in the future

The future is entirely uncertain and where future technology will be in 10, 20 or 100 years from now is entirely speculative. The only way we can truly gain confidence in the future is to look back at where humanities greatest achievements have come from Cars to the internet and where humanity is likely to advance in the next generation and beyond.

Hooke’s law is certainly a clever argument to make but the economic argument of supply and demand will always be the main driving force of innovation and progression when it comes to technological development and though the idea of a constant and consistent progression that is proportionate to time is valued one it takes out of the equation variables such as those in a particular industry who speed up the transformation in the evolution of advancement, for example Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison during their lifetimes.

Ignoring the realities of death

The reality of death is something which we all have to face sooner or later and it’s not a subject many of us will give much thought to. Death to most is a distant idea that will never happen to us while some choose to believe that the status quo will always carry on forever blissfully unaware that it’s only a matter of time before life reaches its ground halting end.

Cryogenic freezing is the only current scientific solution to an end of which we will all face whether we choose to or not. Cryogenic freezing does indeed offer a lifeline to escape death, no sane person truly wishes to die but we all eventually accept that it will indeed occur. The bottom line argument is that cryogenic freezing is a way of halting our final demise until developments in nanotechnology and stem cell reaches a point of which we can revive to our former states.

Your head will not explode when revived from Cryogenic freezing

Nanotechnology will be the main insurance that your head will be revived. Nanotechnology will be at a developed stage within the next 100 years that will be able to stabilise and restore your body at a cellular level. The smallest microscopic detail of your body will be replenished and restructured to bring you to the maximum potential your body can be in getting rid of all illnesses and restoring your age to your youth.

There are no alternatives to cryogenic freezing

Plastination is an underdeveloped science that cannot currently offer the option of being to humans who which to use this technology to escape death. Once again the future development of Plastination currently relies on heavy investment and progress in its field of science for its future advancement. Plastination is no alternative to cryonics as it does not offer the competitive commercial industry which cryonics has proudly developed to ensure consumer choice.

In round two my opponent mentioned that I had not addressed all his points so I will try and answer his point on the alternative of sending someone into space which was mentioned in round one. The problem with sending someone into space for 10 years is that you would need a willing volunteer with Astronaut level training to leave everything he knows on earth and go to space to succumb to muscle Atrophy, spaceflight osteopenia and weakening of the immune system as well as the current speed one would need to go in order to keep age at bay is not nearly advanced enough to be a current viable alternative to cryonics.

Realising that this will be my opponent’s last response in the 3 rounds I would challenge him to name one company which currently offers Plastination on the market for the public?

What about Eating healthy and exercise as an alternative? Even though this is indeed a good way of living your life and all the medical advice and evidence will happily and conclusively support that a balanced healthy diet and a consistent exercise regime will help you lose weight, gain muscle and reduce your risk of natural diseases and surely extend your natural lifespan, this is simply a matter of delaying the inevitable, not stopping or reversing the effects of natural progression in aging.

My opponent in this debate.

While i have been impressed by some of the intelligent points my opponent has brought up, i have been very dissapointed in the general way he has debated.

My opponent simply knows how to argue in speculation, rhetoric, negative hypothetical futures, misinformation, nonsensical irrelevancies, distracting misconceptions, miss-quotations and fear mongering, instead of debating in statistics and sources. My opponent simply understands that an emotional appealing point is better than a rational one. My opponent has the same debating skills as a Christian apologist that would make the likes of William lane Craig envious.

Also if Con’s best argument is ‘the rapture of the nerds’ and convincing the reader he is ‘not BS’ing’ then I think Con is in trouble.

In conclusion

In conclusion Cryogenic freezing is the best solution for humanism and the general public at large due to not only cryogenic freezing being the only legitimate scientific solution to death at your disposal. Cryogenic Freezing is a fast developing science with some of the best minds in the world creating a realistic solution that is offered right now to anyone who is willing to take the next step to the future.

Never again will you have to lose a loved one or close family friend and never again will you have to feel grief knowing that even humanities greatest enemy death can be stopped.

Vote for Pro

Vote Pro for common sense, a positive vision for the future and Humanism.




I want to thank my opponent for offering up this challenge. This type of thing is probably my favorite thing to debate about. I think once you take a step back and look at the evidence offered by both sides, you'll see that investing in cryonic preservation is really not that much different than flushing your money down the toilet. The answer to death is accepting the inevitable, and enjoying life to it's fullest.

"The future is entirely uncertain and where future technology will be in 10, 20 or 100 years from now is entirely speculative. The only way we can truly gain confidence in the future is to look back at where humanities greatest achievements have come from Cars to the internet and where humanity is likely to advance in the next generation and beyond."

This is simply untrue. The past is no indicator of the future. People have become somewhat spoiled by the technological advances that have taken place in the last 50-100 years and more. They assume that because technological advancement has been so speedy in the recent past it will continue that way indefinitely.

As I've shown and the inventor of Moore's law agrees with is that Moore's law is close to it's end. Technological advancement is about to come to a crawl, because the laws of physics won't allow it to continue indefinitely.

It's assumed that whatever technological advancement comes will be able to revive humans in a cryonic state. I've stated the problems with this. I pointed out how cells explode at the extremely low temperatures, they're subjected to and the preservation is only on a superficial level. I've shown that the brain experiences what Alcor's own website calls fracturing.

Being able to recover the information stored in your brain is a long shot, and not worth the price. Yet, this isn't the only problem with cryopreservation. If that was the only problem my opponent may be able to win, but many more problems exist. Who would care about reviving these people? What if the economy goes to crap and Alcor is put out of business? What if the world goes to hell in a hand basket and people just have better things to do than attempt to revive dead bodies from a 100 years ago?

"Nanotechnology will be the main insurance that your head will be revived. Nanotechnology will be at a developed stage within the next 100 years that will be able to stabilise and restore your body at a cellular level. The smallest microscopic detail of your body will be replenished and restructured to bring you to the maximum potential your body can be in getting rid of all illnesses and restoring your age to your youth."

This is speculation. No evidence has been given that this is even a remote possibility. This is why it's called the rapture of the nerds. Transhumanism is being used as a replacement for religion. This resurrection into an eternal paradise my opponent keeps bringing up is just a silly pipe dream.

People scared of death need to try and survive until a Kurzweilian merger takes place, because it is very unlikely they'll ever be revived. A Kurzweilian merger isn't likely either, but atleast pursuing that you make a sound investment in your health and well being.

More on Kerzweilian merger:

"Realising that this will be my opponent"s last response in the 3 rounds I would challenge him to name one company which currently offers Plastination on the market for the public?"

Okay no problem.

It's actually free. You just will your body to them. It's a risk free alternative, with in my opinion an even higher chance of being revived.


Once again, I'd like to thank my opponent for creating this topic. It's my opinion he failed to meet his BOP. He hasn't responded to how science will ever be able to reverse the danger done by cryonic preservation. He's merely given some visions of the future, he has failed to substantiate.

He hasn't addressed other negative scenarios I mentioned. In the real world crap happens and it will continue to be that way. Alcor is completely unprepared for worst case scenarios and I can't blame them. The cost would be impossible to deal with them all. Bad economy, going broke, hell in a hand basket, natural disasters, war etc..... I'd ask the voters how likely is it that not a single disaster will happen to compromise the cryopreservation or chances for revival?

Also my opponent has failed to adequately respond to my argument that Moore's law is at it's end. This is a very important topic, since he is depending on Moore's law to continue for a while in order for his and everyone else's revival.

Vote Con
Debate Round No. 3
19 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Wylted 7 years ago
Thanks, most people just think the chances of revival are extremely small. I don't care, I'll take those chances. In your position, I would of argued something similar to Pascal's wager.
Posted by thehumanistpreacher 7 years ago
You did a brilliant job arguing for the opposing side. This is a debate that hasn't really been had to much degree before in wider society even at an advanced level to my knowledge.
Posted by Wylted 7 years ago
Thank you. You wanna know a secret? I was playing Devil's advocate. I just love these topics. That's why I accepted it.
Posted by thehumanistpreacher 7 years ago
Well done Wylted. You did a fantastic job debating.
Posted by Wylted 7 years ago
Your point?
Posted by burtonelsley 7 years ago
Penicillin allowed many people to prolong their lives. Cryogenic/Cryonic freezing does the same thing, potentially to a much greater degree. However, even lifespans of thousands of years are mortal. But what of the distant future, when we potentially outgrow our biological bodies, upload our consciousness into machines? Is that immortality? Merely another delay -- at some point, one has to contend with the heat death of the universe, if nothing else. Hence the need for a pure-information state of consciousness, which is likely impossible. Death is infinitely patient; it's a losing battle.
Posted by Wylted 7 years ago
I've been studying cryonics on and off for years. I'd hope they're thorough and in depth.
Posted by thehumanistpreacher 7 years ago
Any contribution to the debate is greatly appreciated. I'll look forward to hearing your well though out, in depth points of difference.
Posted by Wylted 7 years ago
I have several legit points of difference. Please stick around for the whole debate.
Posted by thehumanistpreacher 7 years ago
I still fully stand by the way I have phrased my question Wylted. I took into consideration when phrasing the question, the oxford dictionary as a source of reference as well as 4 articles and three leading minds in the industry.

I do appreciate the points you have brought up. I should of took into consideration the misunderstandings that could be brought up by contenders. Maybe a less confusing word such as 'cryopreservation'.

Regardless of the terminology, do you have any quarrels with any of the points I have raised in my original comment or are you rather indifferent to the cause?
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by daley 7 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro accused Con of misquoting; I see no evidence of that so conduct goes to Con. Both parties were speculating that future technology would support the alternatives to simply accepting death they proposed, so assuming both were correct (as we can't know for sure), Con's argument about what if Alco shuts down still went unanswered. A company shutdown would kill he bodies that are in cryo-stasis, whereas in amber they would still survive. Pro argued the past is a good predictor of the future, yet argued the future would be bliss despite all the war, famine, and economic crisis in history. This was a serious contradiction. Con's arguments were more realistic.
Vote Placed by 9spaceking 7 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Con showed doubt in future technology as well as possible side-effects of unfreezing. Pro showed limited information that only suggested by scientists that cryogenic freezing might not be dangerous, but the risk is far too dangerous as implied by Wylted.

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