Does the thought of paying to cool your dead body with liquid nitrogen and then storing it in a big trash can in a room full of other cold dead bodies in trash cans have you wondering…is cryonics a scam? If so then you found the right post because I’m gonna try to answer that question today!
There aren’t very many cryonics organizations in the world. There also aren’t very many cryonicists. To me it’s kind of strange since cryonic preservation is one of the only shots you have at beating death. Since the grim reaper currently has a 100% success rate at his job, you’d think more people might want a second chance in the event they die before they’re ready.
But that’s not the case. Instead, a lot of people think the idea of cryonics is crazy. They can’t imagine preserving their dead body (although they can imagine burying their dead body next to a bunch of other dead bodies in not-so-deep holes that may or may not be near public water supplies!).
Is Cryonics a Scam?
To answer the question we have to look at two factors. The first factor involves the intentions of a given cryonics organization. The second factor involves the individual and their values.
So if you wanted to determine more objectively whether or not cryonics is a scam, then you would have to consider each of these variables.
Outside of these variables, your opinion might be formed on speculation and generalizations (which isn’t a very good way to form valid opinions).
Cryonics Organization Motivations
Like I said earlier, there are only a handful of cryonics organizations throughout the world. There’s Cryonics Institute in Clinton Township, Michigan; Alcor Life Extension Foundation in Scottsdale, Arizona; KrioRus in Russia, and a few other smaller organizations.
Some of these organizations are not-for-profit entities (like Cryonics Institute). Others, such as Alcor, are for-profit businesses.
The nature of an organization’s structure does not determine its motivations. I bring this up because some people base their belief that cryonics is a scam on the idea that the companies only want to profit from people’s fears. This is nothing more than a generalization, and cannot be applied across organizations.
To determine an individual cryonics organization’s motivations, you’d have to get to know the company a bit. That would involve investigation, meaning, you’d have to be in contact with the organization in ways that would allow you to form a valid opinion about their motivations.
Is Alcor a Scam?
As a cryonicist, I’ve had limited interactions with Alcor, so my opinion of their company isn’t very informed. That said, I have met their founder, and know quite a few individuals who are funded members through Alcor and I’ve never heard any complaints.
That isn’t to say there aren’t people who have issues with Alcor, but I do not personally know anyone with any issues with them.
Also, although there are speculative stories in the media about wrongdoings by Alcor, I would not hesitate to become a member of Alcor (and I still might at some point) should the need arise. In my opinion, Alcor is not a scam and does not have ill-intentions despite their profit model or unfounded media “horror” stories.
Is Cryonics Institute a Scam?
As mentioned earlier, Cryonics Institute is a not-for-profit organization. That doesn’t negate the possibility for ill-intention, but I think it speaks volumes about their underlying motivations. Cryonics Institute is small and minimally staffed, using volunteers for some tasks. They hold annual elections and general meetings and are very professional in their dealings.
Cryonics Institute is my preferred cryonics provider. I’ve met most of their team on several occasions and I get the sense that they really care about ALL of their patients (living or deanimated). I’ve been a member of Cryonics Institute for more than a decade and I’ve never had a complaint during that time.
In my opinion, Cryonics Institute is not a scam and operates very professionally. They are member-funded and they take care to upgrade their facilities and work hard to keep their members informed.
Obviously, I am probably biased toward CI since I signed up with them, but I’ve never had any reason to doubt their intentions and I intend to continue being a CI member well into the future. In fact, just a few days ago I purchased their lifetime membership option for $1,250.
The other part of determining if cryonics is a scam is based on individual perspectives. Cryonics is NOT proven to work. There are no guarantees. It says this right in the contract every member signs (at least with CI).
But does that make cryonics a scam? No. It doesn’t. Cryonic preservation is a service provided by teams of qualified individuals who started legitimate businesses with the intent to give people an alternative to burial or cremation in the hopes that they might one day be revived.
Yes, the business model is based on hope. But that doesn’t make it a scam. Individual perspective does play a role however. If you, as an individual, signed up for cryonics based on the belief that you will be revived some day, then it would be a scam for you.
But it’s stated right in the contract that there is no guarantee. The organization will do what it can to preserve your body for as long as feasibly possible based on their best judgment. That doesn’t mean it’s a scam, it’s just the best that can be offered right now.
What I’m getting at is that you should probably read the contract and make sure you agree with it before you sign on the dotted line. Make sense? 🙂
So is Cryonics a Scam?
No, cryonics is not a scam. Cryonics is an alternative post-mortem service for dealing with your remains; however, most cryonicists would say that cryonics is more like an extended stay hotel for your body during deanimation.
None of this is to say that a cryonics organization won’t scam someone at some future point in time. It’s always a possibility when you have dealings between people and businesses.
But the fact remains that cryonic preservation is both a service and a process, not a tangible product. As long as you go into it knowing that you are purchasing a hope-based service with no guarantees to work, and as long as you make sure to sign up with a reputable cryonics organization, then you will avoid being scammed.
Lex DeVille is a psychology grad student survivalist transhumanist cryonicist immortalist who believes that everyone has the right to live as long as they want to no matter how long that may be.