How Did Captain America Survive?

Group 17

In a 1940s – style hospital room, after 70 years, Captain America finally woke up with a healthy and alive body. Nowadays, this is not only a suspended animation, cryonics give us a chance to come back to life.

Cryonics is the process of preserving a whole body in the hope that resuscitation and a cure are possible in the distant future.”

Although Cryonics brings us hope in both life and scientific development; it is still in early stage that Cryonics will damage the bodies and cause some further moral and legal issues.

Refills welcome!

The current applications of cryonics could be concluded by these two words – “Wait and hope”. From smallpox to tuberculosis, more and more terminal illnesses have been defeated by human. This convinces those who suffer from incurable diseases that there will be a cure in the future, and cryonics offers them such a chance to “travel” to this future.

All human wisdom is contained in these two words – Wait and Hope” ― Alexandre Dumas, The Count of Monte Cristo

Although the final success of cryonics is not guaranteed, 1821 patients had signed up for cryogenically frozen at the Cryonics Institute by the end of 2017. Their choices are morally supported by the freedom principle as they are acting under their own will using their own money.

“…I think being cryopreserved gives me a chance to be cured and woken up – even in hundreds of years’ time…” – from a dying girl to a High Court judge

In 2016, a 14-year-old girl, who wish to be cryogenically frozen due to a terminal cancer, won a landmark legal fight against her father while her mother supports her. This court case reflects the utility principle which suggests that the girl’s happiness should be the primary concern and the greatest number of family members should be satisfied. Also, the High Court judge’s decision, which bringed the greatest happiness to this family, satisfied the rule utilitarianism.

The Earth is the cradle of humanity, but mankind cannot stay in the cradle forever.” KONSTANTIN TSIOLKOVSKY

For centuries, adventurers have dreamed of the day when travelling to MARS just like in science fiction. However, the biggest difficulty facing astronauts has been how to keep their bodies alive and healthy on the incredibly lengthy journeys through space. (Anthony Blair)

According to Professor Craig Patten, six crews would need 1,500 tons of supplies for travelling to MARS, which means it would take around 60 shuttle launches and result unimaginable cost and technical obstacles.

An alternate feasible solution towards the future is given by Dennis Kowalski, President of Cryonics Institute. Place crew in inactive, low-metabolic Torpor state for mission transfer phases by leveraging evolving medical advances in Therapeutic Hypothermia and Total Parenteral Nutrition (SpaceWorks) to eliminate ancillary crew accommodations and reduce mission consumables and pressurized volume due to inactive crews.

A Cost – Benefit Analysis was implemented by NASA and based on Kant’s Hypothetical (Conditional) Norm; cryonics is the only feasible approach for human exploration to MARS. Atlanta-based Spaceworks Enterprises is using a $500,000 grant from NASA to transfer techniques used on Cryonics to develop “Low Metabolic Stasis” for missions to Mars.Cryogenic Chambers

Furthermore, Kant’s Duty Ethics indicates that governments and scientists have the obligation to explore the plentiful resources in the space to ensure Human’s Long – Term Survival. Hence cryonics provides us a great opportunity to make human space exploration and migration to MARS come true.

Do not disturb!

The definition of Death

In terms of legal death, patients are dead when their heartbeat is stopped or their brain functions are totally lost. Although cryonics patients are considered legally dead, they have the chance to ‘revive’ in the future. The determination of their death after frozen is complex.

For example, their spouses are unable to remarry and their family have to pay for taxes for their assets as patients are classified as alive. On the other hand, if patients are pronounced to be dead, their estates do not belong to them anymore. If they are revived within dozens of years, this will lead to social issues.  In several countries, cryonics is illegal. According to duty ethics, an action is morally right if it agrees with the law. A wish for cryopreservation may be against the law and the duty ethics.


“Nothing is certain but death and taxes.” — Benjamin Franklin

It indicates the equality before human death. As stated in the equality postulate, individuals should be treated with equal concern and respect. When Cryonics is proved to be successful and provides the prospect of avoiding death in the future, an unequal access to Cryonics will lead to a violation of the equality. However, the majority of population is not able to afford the expense of preservation and revival.

Furthermore, if Cryonics can only be provided for a limited number of people, a huge amount of people will be dissatisfied which eventually leads to social conflicts.  utilisation principle suggests that one should choose those actions that result in the greatest happiness for the greatest number. Can the immorality of minority bring the majority of human happiness?

Respect for Autonomy:

As ‘Principles of Biomedical Ethics’ noted, Cryonic preservation have offended a patient’s autonomy. An indispensable part of Autonomy is the right to control the method of dying by himself, yet Cryonics disenfranchise this right. Frozen men cannot choose the time, place and method of reviving in future. Their lives are under the control of the decision-maker. In other words, cryonics patients will be treated as objects. It violates reciprocity principle. it expresses that acts as to treat humanity in every case as an end but never as means only. In addition, earthquake, war and other uncontrollable factors may eradicate their Cryopreservation. Nobody could speak for their autonomy when they are frozen. 


Considering the potential benefits that cryonics may bring to society and humanity including the applications in medical field and in the space travel, further study of cryopreservation should be permitted by the governments. The existing laws and ethical systems are apparently not ready for immortality. Under the foreseeable challenge from Cryonics, they will have to be modified to revolve the possible social issues such as adjusting the definition of death and securing the welfares of revived individuals.


40 thoughts on “How Did Captain America Survive?

  1. It seems like as scientific discoveries make its way into the mainstream of society, society will have to change the law and status quo to adjust to the new technology. In the case of cryogenics, regulations would need to be created to ensure the safety of the patient who had been frozen and the rights of the patient as a cryogenically frozen citizen. Whether that be by creating a new category separate from being alive or dead, or by granting special rights while frozen, these decisions would need to be made.

    1. The creation of regulations is complex and requires a long time, before completing the regulations, does the business activities of cryonics legal?

  2. A fascinating article with good application of ethics to inform the arguments. What I enjoyed about your article is the debate over the legal status of the frozen. Are they dead or in a very deep coma? At the moment, since there isn’t a way to revive them then I think we have to determine their status as dead. (Although, as I write I’m constantly being reminded of the Tukdam state of meditation.)

    Ethically though, this does seem to be something that only the rich can afford. In an increasingly crowded future is it reasonable for the dead to come back to life and add to the population?

    1. Thank you for your comment.
      Yes, currently only the rich can afford cryonics. As @Haobin66 concerns, it is unequal to people who cannot afford it. In my opinion, cryonic may not become a service that everyone can equally enjoy just like not everyone have chance to watch the champions league at front seat. However, it is fair to everyone because its price is same to everyone who which to be frozen.
      As for the population, I totally agree that a series of problems can occur when these ‘dead’ people actually come back to society. What I can imagine is that governments may start to control the rate of awaking ‘dead’ people once these people have significant effect on population. China’s scraped single-child policy is an example and I believe that stopping dead from awake is much easier than stopping life from born.

  3. A very interesting article indeed as I never heard of cryonics before. It does seems like human are able to intervene with life and death, and I personally think this is cheating with death. Personally, I’m against the idea of cryonics as it may caused several issues, especially legal issues as you have mentioned. Giving a 2nd chance of life sounds like a great idea especially for patients with incurable disease, but I have a feeling that this technology will be misused especially by the rich to cheat their death.

  4. Thanks for your reply. Yes, indeed, due to the high tech of this application, currently, it is unaffordable for most of the citizens. However, with the development of the technology, it is supposed to be widely spread to most of people. However, the legal issue must be followed up and clearly state any potential issue while using this technology. However, I think, it is the right for everyone to choose their live and whether they are willing to be frozen.

  5. Interesting article! I heard cryonics years ago and often saw it in the fiction movies which helps the astronauts to travel for long distance. Finally it comes to the trial phase, so the results of that 1821 volunteers will be so important to determine the future of cryonics.
    In my opinion, cryonics is good for science study such as the space travel. However, a lot of ethical issues will appear when it could be applied to everyone. It would be against natural and unequal to the people who can’t afford to it. Strict regulations should be seriously considered.

    1. Thanks for your comment. Basically, yes, cryonics had lots of issue in both ethic and economic fields. As we discussed, it needs lots of support and further investigation, especially in legal issue.

  6. Personally, I think cryogenics a new technology which will be adopted by the society in the future. Giving a second chance of life is unfair for some people. People should fully use their life to achieve impossible.

  7. This is a quite thought-provoking topic. Personally, it is sensitive to apply cryogenics technology into human beings, because it is really hard to define one person’s death or life, which perhaps causes some social problems, such as property distribution problems. And related to the ethical issue, it is difficult to make sure everyone using this technique in the correct way. If some lawless people use this technique to freeze human organs and then earn money by the black market, it will be a big social and ethical problem.
    So for this cryogenics technique, it should be sure to be controlled by the government strictly, not some private hospital.

  8. Very interesting article! As previously mentioned in other comments, the option of cryogenics currently seems like an option only available to the richest in society, and mainly as a method of avoiding the idea of mortality, which as a species, the knowledge of our mortality is something that separates us. While the legal aspects and the nature of someones state in croygenic sleep are interesting points, I feel the most important question is the morality of avoiding mortality.

  9. Interesting article. I found the point about act of nature quite intriguing as the patients would not have complete autonomy over their condition once cryogenically frozen. Also, this procedure makes it difficult for situations when such private companies lose funding and can’t sustain the freezing conditions as was evident in a case near France

    I believe, considering duty ethics is important in this case however the definition of ‘moral act’ would be multi-faceted taking considering a lot of different aspects. The first right now has to be properly being able to prove reviving capabilities of tech which would then determine the right form of cryonic.

  10. A professional and logical article. The topic is attractive, especially the example of Captain American. I agree that technologically cryogenics is a nice process to rescue a body that can not be cured under current medical technology, but the worthness of this process should be carefully considered. Cryogenics would require high investment to development the technology, large space to store the equipments and long time to validate its feasibility. Captain American was accidentally frozen so that he saves more lives, but is it that same for everybody else?

    1. Thanks for your comment. To be honest, Captain American is in scientific fiction and there is no successful waking up in the real world until now. The tech needs to be fully developed and has enough experiments before widely spread to the public.
      Yes the development of this tech requires a large amount of money. However, currently, this tech is highly cost and mainly aims to the rich people. It is their choice to decide whether they want to spend that amount of money. I think, eventually, this tech would be cheaper and opened to most of citizens.

  11. Fantastic! The movie story finally comes true! However, if we use Cryonics, how can we define the person is dead or not? I am with the against side. In my opinion, the person is died after freezing, there is no right for anyone to control them and decide when they should become alive again. Moreover, it is against the natural law! We should follow the nature but not to change the role.

    1. That comes to the legal issue then. The law has to be developed about judging the death. However, everything has it both sides, currently, this cryonics is not illegal and people still have their right to decide whether they want to pay for it and alive in the future

  12. Interesting article. Thinking about the information captured in a cyogneically frozen brain is interesting to consider. A sufficiently advanced civilisation could potentially revive someone as long as enough information is preserved

  13. I used to see cryonics as a chance of gaining a second life but a series of scandals raised my concerns among this controversial technique.
    Johnson, a certified paramedic who claims more than two decades experience in a cryonics company, said that as part of the medical community, said that “It was barbaric … the third suspension that I witnessed, they actually used a hammer and a chisel, I actually witnessed them remove her head with a chisel and a hammer.”
    I do agree with the term that the respect of frozen dead cannot be secured. More attention should be given to this issue to ensure that cryonics revive the patients in the future instead of killing them.

  14. Cryonics could be an outstanding technology in travelling through space. However, there are several issues requiring consideration in the future, not only to overcome the difficulties in technology but also to deal with the expensive cost and wasting materials.

  15. I love this topic and Cryonics!

    Cryonics has been involved in many science fiction novels and movies, mostly for space travel. We can consider the case If this technology becomes commercial. In utilitarianism, actions are judged by the amount of pleasure and pain they bring about. People tend to believe tomorrow will be better, If Cryonics technology is widely used, most rich people will use their money or power to go to a better future while other people will have to build future for them. In which case, most people will feel unhappy, so the utilitarianism is not satisfied.

    Other ethical frameworks can also be applied, such as freedom principle and kant’s theory. Everyone is equal in life and have the equal rights to strive for pleasure, no matter the rich or poor. However, assume the Cryonics can keep the human body alive for long enough. Then with much advanced technology, people may actually have eternal life. Then it would be the most unfair for the other people who did not use the Cryonics technology as they have the same right to have eternal life.

    To sum up, Cryonics should only be used for space exploration and this technology should be strictly controlled.

  16. This article put forward an meaningful argument and also discussed the feasibility of this new technology. Although to a large extent, it may violate some laws of nature, but the future of cryonics should also be substantial.

  17. That is truly an attractive article to read. As mentioned in previous comments, I have also heard cryonics for years. It has been used for many science fiction film, like the recent one ‘Resident Evil six’. Yet the article makes me start to rethink the definition of death and the relevant influence. Anyway, thanks for sharing your article. 😀

  18. An interesting article with a good variety of ethical theories and points discussed. I agree that this technique will bring lots of ethical problems, especially in the judgement of the death. However, it helps the exploring space quite a lot to some extents. I would say time will tell us whether it is right or wrong.

  19. An interesting read as this article shows some good argument points from both parties.

    Personally I would agree with the pro’s side as per my point of view, cryonics are the stepping stones towards the future of mankind, however this technology is still at its early stages and more researches can be conducted to aid bringing humanity to the next level. Space exploration is gaining popularity in the 21st century and I believe that cryogenics may strongly influence the development of space exploration as this solve problems like rations of food or ageing of the space crews as the degeneration of crew health will affect the space mission.

    On the other hand, it was stated in the article that this technology is mainly provided for people who can afford it, I would have to disagree with this point. As the technology progresses, it would soon be made affordable for the general public, take flying for example, back in the early 90’s, only the rich or individuals with social status can enjoy the privileges of aviation, however nowadays, flying has became commercialised and made available to the public.

    In conclusion, Cryonics has its potential to bloom in the future and can strongly influence the development of space exploration.

  20. Definitely an interesting read, which covers a lost of information whilst keeping it short and intriguing. Well written, it tackles most issues with both pros and cons, allowing the reader to make an unbiased opinion. I am certainly excited about new developments in cryonics and hope I’ll still be around when it becomes fully understood.

  21. As a new technology, relevant law and regulations are still incompete. The ethic consideration might be the largest obstruction, thought the rights of patient is restricted after freezing due to the unconsciousness. However, to save a life, should the ethic be consiered if they have conflicted? Throughout history, only requirement is the dominant factor to determine if a technology be used, rather than ethic or moral.

  22. This article gives a good explaination of cryonic. The way Of highlighting main sentences makes it easy to understand. As medical advances , someday cryopreserved people have the chance to revive. However, ethical issues do exist. There is no point in being revived in the far future, if their friends and families are dead.

  23. Very interesting article discussing an ethically debatable concept.
    This has me thinking – if you were frozen at 12 years old for 6 years, could you wake up and be legally allowed to drink alcohol?

    1. Morally, I don’t think so. Since after woke up, the child should be treated as a normal child and continue his life.

      BTW: I think there is no problem for a 12 years old child to drink hahaha

  24. A very attracting article. I am really interested in the boundary between life and death. Because cryonics have to be conducted after the short period of patient’s death which means that majority of customers would experience euthanasia, yet euthanasia is illegal in most countries, this would lead to lots of legal confliction.

  25. Very interesting article. Personally I am against the Cryonics technology, it blurs the thin line between death and live. Once the cryonics patients revive after decades or even centuries, it is extremely difficult to define their identity and social status, therefore a series of both moral and technical problems currently remain unsolved.

  26. It is a fascinating article with excellent description on both sides.
    As stated in the article, although the Earth is the cradle of humanity, but mankind cannot stay in the cradle forever. There are two important factors to achieve space travelling, increase the travelling speed and extend life span. Cryonics is another way of extending life span to achieve space travelling. There are lots of movies have utilised this technology, it worth trying in the future.

  27. A very interesting article.
    Cryonics can be used as a good technique on medical field in the future. Death and new-birth of human are the natural rules on Earth. Cryonics can be treated as a treatment in serious accident but not a death-delay medicine.

  28. A very interesting article is given and personally, I think people has their own right to decide whether they should be preserved and frozen. Although there will be several social and legal issues, we should remain the basic right of human based on freedom principle as long as it meets the law

  29. It is a very interesting article and cryonics technology is attractive in recent years. However, personally, I think development and implement of cryonics is kind of ‘waste’ of social resources. Since currently, there is no successful example of reviving mammals. Spend money on reviving people in the future has worse cost – effective than relocating money and resources to more citizens and save more living people.

    Meanwhile, even if people is successfully revived in future, they may not be able to suit and live in the future world and all their relationships are gone. Therefore, the cryonics should only be implemented after fully developed and certain the possibility of revival.

  30. Personally, I think the legalisation and regulation established by governments should be the key point of implementing cryonics. If it is legal, people should have their own right to be preserved by using cryonics, while use their own money. However, the law must be updated with the development of cryonics in order to solve all the potential issues.

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