Atheism and cryonics

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The adherents of cryonics put the deceased person in cryonic suspension via cooling and perfusing the corpse with cryoprotective solutions.[1][2]

Cryonics is a pseudoscience that tries to extend life or achieve immortality in a non-theistic way after a person is legally dead (Cryonic procedures are performed shortly after a person's death).[3][4] See also: Atheism and death

Robert Ettinger was an atheist and American academic who some consider to be "the father of cryonics" because of the impact of his 1962 book The Prospect of Immortality.[5][6] Evan Cooper was also a founding father of the cryonics movement.[7] Cooper was a very private man and there may be no record of his worldview as far as whether he was an atheist, agnostic or theist.[8] Evan Cooper abandoned the cryonics movement after he felt that the extension of life through cryonics would not be achievable in his lifetime.[9]

According to The Cryonics Society:

Ettinger's reflections on the work of Rostand and other scientists led him to collect his ideas on cryonics into a book. Doubleday, the publishers, sent a review copy to Mensan Isaac Asimov, who gave it a clean scientific bill of health. The book appeared in nine languages, four editions, and became the bible of the cryonics movement. Ettinger found himself appearing on Time and Newsweek and nationwide TV.[10]

Isaac Asimov was a popular American science fiction writer and a professor of biochemistry at Boston University. He was also an atheist.[11] According to The Cryonics Society, Asimov said of cryonics, "Though no one can quantify the probability of cryonics working, I estimate it is at least 90%..."[12]

Atheist and cognitive scientist Marvin Minsky endorsed cryonics

The atheist and American cognitive scientist Marvin Minsky was one of 63 scientists who signed an open letter endorsing the concept of cryonics.[13][14]

Larry King and cryonics

Larry King is an atheist.[15][16] In 2011, The Telegraph in an article entitled On Larry King and an atheist's fear of death reported about the atheist Larry King, "Larry King, the former CNN broadcaster, made the news this morning after saying he wants to be frozen after his death, so that he can be revived when medical technology improves.[17]

Michael Shermer and other atheist/agnostic critics of cryonics

Today, the atheist/agnostic community is largely skeptical of the cryonics movement. For example, in 2001, the atheist/agnostic Michael Shermer said of cryonics, "Is it? That depends on how much time, effort and money ($120,000 for a full-body freeze or $50,000 for just the head) you are willing to invest for odds of success only slightly higher than zero... I want to believe the cryonicists. Really I do. I gave up on religion in college, but I often slip back into my former evangelical fervor, now directed toward the wonders of science and nature."[18]

Mind uploading

See also: Atheism and irrationality and Atheism and transhumanism

The atheist worldview cannot explain the existence of consciousness either and the theistic worldview can offer a reasonable explanation (see also: Atheism and irrationality).[19]

Advocates of mind uploading (Mind uploading is the notion that someday mankind may be able to scan and upload their minds to computer storage mediums) are generally strong advocates of cryonics as well.[20] Mind uploading is not a feasible hypothesis.[21]

See also: Atheism and transhumanism

See also


  1. Cryonic Suspension Protocol
  2. Cryogenesis: A Review, Dartmouth Undergraduate Journal of Science, In Winter 2012/ March 11, 2012
  3. Cryogenesis: A Review, Dartmouth Undergraduate Journal of Science, In Winter 2012/ March 11, 2012
  4. Heaven for atheists -
  5. "Robert Ettinger". The Telegraph. July 24, 2011. Retrieved May 1, 2013. "Despite his Jewish roots, he grew up a determined atheist."
  6. Klein, Bruce (August 13, 2004). "The Father of Cryonics, Robert C. W. Ettinger, Interview with Bruce Klein". Immortality Institute. Retrieved May 24, 2009.
  7. Evan Cooper and the cryonics movement
  8. Evan Cooper and the cryonics movement
  9. Evan Cooper and the cryonics movement
  10. A Brain Is A Terrible Thing To Waste Mensans, Cryonics, and The Fight To Extend Human Life by David Pascal, Published in the November/December 2005 issue of Mensa Bulletin
  11. Isaac Asimov quote
  12. Cryonics and critics, The Cryonics Society
  13. Source that says he is an atheist: Leon M. Lederman, Judith A. Scheppler (2001). "Marvin Minsky: Mind Maker". Portraits of Great American Scientists. Prometheus Books. p. 74. ISBN 9781573929325. "Another area where he "goes against the flow" is in his spiritual beliefs. As far as religion is concerned, he's a confirmed atheist. "I think it [religion] is a contagious mental disease. . . . The brain has a need to believe it knows a reason for things."
  14. "Scientists Open Letter on Cryonics"
  15. Norm Macdonald & Larry King - Norm Macdonald Live - Video Podcast Network. YouTube (April 30, 2013).
  16. Howard Stern and Larry King on Atheism and Homosexuality by Michael Shoesmith, Wednesday, May 7, 2014
  17. On Larry King and an atheist's fear of death
  18. Nano Nonsense & Cryonics, Michael Shermer, published September 2001
  19. The Argument from Consciousness for the Existence of God by John Piippo, 3/20/2012
  20. Mind uploading - Thought experiments as knowledge