The "Yuck Factor" and Cryonics

As pointed out at Depressed Metabolism, people don't like to contemplate most medical procedures in any detail: "In sensationalized accounts of cryonics, explicit descriptions of cryonics procedures, and that of neuropreservation in particular, are used to invoke a negative response in the reader. ... In some [other and undesirable aspects of human activity], such as senseless violence, this is not necessarily an unreasonable approach because it may reflect a preserved instinct against behavior that is harmful to the individual or group. ... Where such an appeal to gut feelings is less fruitful, however, is in the context of medicine and forensics. The daily activities of many medical professionals and morticians consist of activities that would produce a strong negative gut response in most people who would observe them in all their detail. ... The 'yuck factor' that is produced in many people when they read about the details of cryonics procedures is not evidence of pseudo-science or mistreatment. As a matter of fact, the procedures that are routinely performed in cryonics labs are designed to preserve life, not to destroy it. In this sense, the practice of cryonics can claim the moral high ground over prevailing methods of dealing with 'human remains,' where [people presently considered dead and gone in the mainstream view] are buried or burned because contemporary medicine has not yet found a way to treat [or restore] them. If anything, it is this kind of medical myopia that should trigger the yuck factor."



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