Scientist Declarations on Cryonics

The following are just a few of the supportive scientist declarations provided to Alcor in 1988 and 1989 in connection with legal proceedings brought against the Riverside County Coroner’s Office and California Department of Health Services. Note that these opinions predate the use of vitrification in cryonics, and are based on the more crude freezing methods used by Alcor during that time.

Arthur C. Clarke:

Arthur C. Clarke declaration on cryonics

Sir Arthur C. Clarke is a famous author and futurist. In 1945 he proposed the network of geosynchronous space satellites (Clarke Belt) that world communications now depend on. He had no stated personal interest in cryonics.

Ralph C. Merkle, PhD:

“I believe — based purely on technical considerations — that a cryonically suspended patient has a reasonable chance of being restored to health at some time in the future. I think it might be decades or centuries before the needed technology is developed, but this is a matter of small consequence to a patient suspended at liquid nitrogen temperature…. I base my optimism on the assumption that radically new and powerful technologies will be developed to manipulate atomic structures.”

Dr. Ralph Merkle is a computer scientist, co-inventor of public key cryptography, and and expert on molecular nanotechnology. He has testified before the United States Congress on the subject of nanotechnology.

Hans P. Moravec, PhD:

“Cryonic suspension is the preservation, at extremely low temperatures, of a deceased person in the expectation that future scientific advances will eventually allow the repair of the conditions that caused death, as well as damage incurred in the preservation process, and thus permit the person to be restored to life.

“The speculative scientific literature contains a number of suggestions for how this repair might be effected. These include extensions of conventional medicine and microsurgery, enhancements of existing human cell repair mechanisms, the cloning of new body parts from single cells, introduction of micro-organisms genetically engineered to do microscopic repairs at the cell level, the use of ultra-miniature robots in a similar fashion, and methods for reading out the essential contents of a brain into a working computer model, creating, in effect, an artificial brain, analogous to an artificial heart….

“This is an age of unprecedentedly rapid progress in all scientific fields, and each year things become possible that were inconceivable in past ages. It requires only a moderately liberal extrapolation of present technical trends to admit the future possibility of reversing the effects of a particular disease, or aging, and of death, as currently defined.”

Dr. Hans Moravec, Research Scientist at the Robotics Institute and Computer Science Dept.of Carnegie-Mellon University, is a world-renowned robotics and future technology expert. He has no stated personal interest in cryonics.

James B. Lewis, PhD:

“Cryobiologists are currently hostile to the basic premise of cryonics because they correctly point out that current freezing techniques introduce such substantial damage to brain tissue that retrieval of function upon thawing is impossible. I have no reason to disagree on this point. However, if technology becomes capable of massive manipulation of complex structures on the atomic level, it will be possible to repair freezing-induced damage, and thus to rebuild and then reanimate. The manipulation of individual atoms to make complex structures at the atomic level is not forbidden according to our current understanding of the laws of physics and chemistry…. Cryonics is thus a rational gamble that rational individuals may decide on a personal basis to take or not to take.”

Dr. James Lewis is a molecular biologist and nanotechnology expert.