July 28, 2011

Awaiting scientific resurrection

Fighting death, he founded the cryonics movement, but death claimed Robert Ettinger at 92.

The Washington Post  obituary

He was 92 and had suffered declining health in recent weeks, said his son David, who could not specify a cause. “We’re obviously sad,” said the younger Ettinger. But “we were able to freeze him under optimum conditions, so he’s got another chance.”

Mr. Ettinger is widely considered the father of the cryonics movement, whose adherents believe they can achieve immortality through quick-freezing their bodies at death in anticipation of future resurrection.

Mr. Ettinger’s frozen body is being stored in a vat of liquid nitrogen at a nondescript building outside Detroit, home to more than 100 fellow immortalists — including his mother and two wives — who are awaiting revival.

If all goes as Mr. Ettinger envisioned, he will remain in a period of icy stasis for decades — or perhaps centuries — however long it takes for doctors, armed with technology of the future, to defrost him and restore him to good health.

“Our patients are not truly dead in any fundamental sense,”
he told a New Yorker reporter in 2010.

The London Telegraph, obituary

Robert Ettinger, who died on July 23 aged 92, was the intellectual father of the cryonics movement, whose members have themselves frozen at death pending scientific resurrection.

Ettinger preferred to style himself an "immortalist", since he argued that whole body or head-only freezing ("neurological suspension") was only one means of achieving indefinite life. His rationale for pursuing this goal was contained in his book The Prospect Of Immortality (1964), which revealed him as an unquenchable optimist about mankind's technological future.

Rand Simberg describes how Bob Ettinger would be 'deanimated.'

His body won’t be buried or burned, as most people in his non-metabolizing state are, because those methods of interment would result in a state that even he and they would have recognized as death. Instead, as his bodily functions progressively failed, with a tub of chilled water at bedside, he was declared legally dead so that he could have himself chilled down, his fluids replaced with an anti-freeze solution, ultimately to liquid nitrogen temperatures, to continue a quest on which he had spent most of his life to date: to live indefinitely long.
Posted by Jill Fallon at July 28, 2011 3:47 PM | Permalink