We All End Up in the Same Place

David Hayward draws the truth: Ultimately, we all just end up in the same place.

The different is that atheists are honest about what happens when we all die. We don’t make up stories about the afterlife. We don’t claim to have knowledge about something no one has ever experienced. We accept that death is the end of the line and hopefully we’ve left behind wonderful memories and a positive legacy for those around us.

Side note #1: One of the commenters on David’s site alludes to this, but does it make sense for an atheist to have “Rest In Peace” written on the tombstone? There’s obviously no need to worry about that.

Side note #2: Tombstone? What a waste of space. Atheists ought to be giving their bodies to science or being cremated. (Sure, they’re not around to make that decision, but they can let others know of their wishes beforehand.) Are others with me on this?

Side note #3: You’re all organ donors, right?

  • http://twitter.com/the_kerouac_cat Gabriel G.

    I’m an organ donor, I’m not greedy about my organs.

    When I die, I want to be cremated (of course, after my organs have been donated) and my ashes to be mixed in with the ink that would be used to print the anniversary edition of one of my books.

    Why? I dunno, just thought it sounded cool. Of course I won’t be around to witness it (unless human cloning is perfected before I die, in which case I kind of will be there), but then my children will literally have the story of my life in their hands (get it?).

  • Lost Left Coaster

    Atheists ought to be giving their bodies to science or being cremated.

    I file that under “personal decision.” I really don’t see that there’s an “ought to” in this case for atheists. People of any religion should have their remains dealt with as they’d like.

  • Philbert

    Graves and ceremonial burial are for the benefit of the living, not the dead.

    And yes, I’m an organ donor.

  • NewEnglandBob

    I am an organ donor and I have instructions to harvest whatever is needed from my remains and then cremate the rest. I don’t care what happens to the ashes, that is for family to decide, but even flushing them is fine by me.

    I request no funeral, no casket, no ceremony. Just have a good lunch or dinner and move on.

  • Alan E.

    When I die, I want my body to be a part of that traveling Bodies exhibit (or any exhibition like that). They can take my organs for someone else to use. It would be even cooler (but not cool if I have to endure it in life) if there was something crazy going on that people can ogle over or study to help other people in need.

    Option 2: I want my ashes spread at the mouth of the creek (at least as far up people can safely go) in Zion National Park. It’s Utah, but I think the proximity to Las Vegas balances that out. My grandma’s ashes were spread there, and that’s as close as I’ll be able to be after I die, and I will be contributing some (minimal) resources to the flora and fauna of the area.

    Is it possible to state specifics about who should receive it? I don’t want people thanking a god for the organ. I want them to thank the generous anonymous donor for not being so greedy about after-life affairs.

    I’ve never liked the idea of putting my remains in a place that family and friends will slowly (quickly?) stop visiting over time. It’s a waste of space. My family does know to not have a religious ceremony though.

  • Steve Kurzban

    Easily agree with #1 and #2 but as for #3…

    Whereas theists object to our “playing god,” I object to our interference with evolution, especially our own! I realize most “right-thinking” people will flame me for this but I don’t agree that short-term benefits to the individual over long term benefits to the race are “morally” correct choices. Therefore I disagree with medical care that affect one’s ability to procreate through extended survival or fertility treatments etc. I can appreciate our interest in making ourselves and even others comfortable through pain management etc. but you don’t need my organs for that so… meh!

  • stephanie

    I’m a donor. I plan on being cremated and would like to be mixed in with fireworks. I’ve always loved them, and also find it amusing since I’m afraid of heights- now. But hey, after I’m gone, I’m gone.
    I also like the idea of leaving something pretty for people to remember instead of a sad service.

  • http://3harpiesltd.org/ocb Judith Bandsma

    I was an organ donor…until everything started going haywire and the only thing left that could be usable is my skin. Of course, there’s enough of that to make up for the lack of anything else.

  • Aj

    Atheism doesn’t motivate you to help others or to do anything else, morality does. People have a right to have their remains dealt with how they would like to, but that doesn’t mean it’s not morally significant to give your body to a worthy cause. If you have absolutely no use for something, and giving it would save lives or advance science, then you ought to help out. That it’s a personal decision doesn’t change anything.

  • Potco

    Organ donor but I am thinking of signing up to donate it to medical research. If there is anything left my family has instructions to either throw it away or shoot me out of a cannon into a shark feeding frenzy to be devoured.

  • http://arkonbey.blogspot.com arkonbey

    I should be a donor. I really don’t know why I’m not. I should rectify that.

    When I go, I want to be buried, un-embalmed, on our land. In college, as part of a course entitled “Envisioning a Sustainable Society” we visited the very rural home of a woman whose husband died of cancer years earlier. She buried him the the woods around their home without a marker.

    Like Poi Dog Pondering said:”Put away your tongues and roll up your sleeves. Pick up that shovel and bury me deep”

  • Trace

    “What a waste of space.”

    If waste is a concern, soylent green is the way to go.

  • WetMogwai

    I’m not an organ donor. I intend to donate my body for research. If the recipients want to donate my organs, that is up to them. I want to help the largest number of people possible. I think training a doctor or helping medical science learn something new is more helpful than helping a few people get better from their illness.

    I think cremation and burial are wasteful. You are sequestering or destroying useful resources in the form of both chemical resources and knowledge resources. I’d rather be left on the ground in the forest to feed the wildlife and nourish the soil than be buried in a concrete sarcophagus or sent up a smokestack.

  • Delphine

    I’m sort of an organ donor. I donated my body to “the best medical or research use”, so if organs are more important, then harvest organs. If they’re interested in slicing it up for research, go right ahead.

    I don’t care if the rest are cremated or not. I’d go for being in a biodegradable sack and dumped in a landfill of some sort too.

    I do think RIP is fitting for atheists. After all, our dead bodies are definitely “in peace”. There’s no fear of our bodies “moving” or being “restless” after we die.

    P.S. It is a personal choice. Many Chinese want to die whole so they can reincarnate into humans next life. Many “atheist Chinese”, although they don’t believe in reincarnation, will still want to “die whole” for their families or just in case. Eunuchs’ worst fear were often having their penis tossed away or eaten by animals. If they can’t be buried with their penis then they have no chance of being a man in their next life. Ah, the horrors of being born a woman.

  • Miko

    Hemant: Tombstone? What a waste of space. Atheists ought to be giving their bodies to science or being cremated.

    The tombstone is for the living, not for the dead. There are some good modifications along this line, however. “Green” burial practice suggests using a cardboard coffin (they can be made to look nicer than the image conjured by the name) that will bio-degrade faster and marking the spot by planting a tree instead of a tombstone.

    Cremation isn’t the most environmentally-friendly practice, especially since most crematoriums don’t use the heat to produce energy (some used to use it to heat the building, but as far as I know all have stopped in response to misguided criticisms of the practice).

    Alan E.: Is it possible to state specifics about who should receive it? I don’t want people thanking a god for the organ.

    I’ve heard of one program where members specify that their organs can go only to other members of the program, so I’m guessing yes. I wouldn’t recommend it though. For one thing, segregating organ donations based on religion isn’t going to be great propaganda for atheism. For another, this would inspire more theists to demand that their organs go to coreligionists than there will be atheists doing the same, so we’d lose out, speaking pragmatically. I’m perfectly content with my organs going where they’re needed most with no thought given to the religion, politics, etc. of the person getting them.

  • Miko

    @Trace: Waste is always a concern, seeing that we live in a world of finite resources. How much of a concern, of course, depends on how much of those resources we have.

    Also, Soylent Green is an issue of food, not of space. Comparing food prices to rent*, our shortage of space seems to be more serious than our shortage of food**.

    * It should also be noted that we have a relatively free market for food grown inside the US (but not food grown outside the US) and an insanely unfree market in housing, so the differential between food and housing costs could also be an artifact of government intervention in the market.

    ** Actually, we don’t have a shortage of food at all; just a poor food distribution network.

  • Gary

    I’m going to have my body parts sold. My heirs should feel free to charge an arm and a leg.

  • KG

    If you live long, your organs will be of no use for donation. Only relatively young and healthy organs can be re-used (this is why the ideal donor has a car accident at 40…)!
    Also, organs have to be harvested immediately, so it’s no use to write this in your testament – you have to carry your donor’s statement in your wallet.

    Tombstones and burials are for the living, so if your friends and relations need one, let them have one. But don’ let them put on it anything disrespectful of you…

  • http://aboutkitty.blogspot.com/ Cat’s Staff

    WetMogwai:

    You are sequestering or destroying useful resources in the form of both chemical resources and knowledge resources.

    I have heard that idea lately…that unless space is a concern (in densely populated areas) it would be better for the environment to be buried in a biodegradable coffin and return naturally to the environment. There are a few cemeteries that allow for this kind of burial.

  • jason

    “The different is that atheists are honest about what happens when we all die.”

    if there be no God, that statement is true. however, what i find in an overwhelming majority of atheists i speak with is that they are not intellectually honest as to what that implies about the value of human life.

  • http://ajourneyman.wordpress.com/ Quester

    Where I live, you have to choose between being an organ donor and donating your body for science; you can’t do both. And either way, there remain some remains for your family to legally dispose of- via cremation or burial. Whichever of those latter two are chosen, a tombstone could be put up as a marker.

  • http://backwardsbuddhist.com Backwards Buddhist

    To be perfectly honest, one dies not really knowing what lies beyond death, whether a theist, non-theist or undecided. Personally, I hope fervently that life ends when I cease breathing but I can’t prove it to be true ahead of time, can I? Getting on with life seems to be a reasonable goal for whatever ritual is required by those who remain. My needs have been met by that time and my wishes are for the living to be well. Cremation and scattering of ashes are my stated testamentary preference. Death is a pretty personal issue – the last I will address.

  • seashell

    there is also the Green Burial option: no chemicals, no concrete, no headstone, just a biodegradable casket or shroud. There are only a few places around the country but hopefully there will be more.

  • Aaron

    Organ Donor. Check (Don’t know who would want my damaged goods. Maybe Dr. Horrible)

    Tombstone. If it would make my wife happy. That stuff is for the living.

    Cremation. Check. I do not want to saddle my wife with useless funeral costs. Whatever makes it easier for her is my wish. I won’t be there to enjoy it.

  • Aaron

    Regarding Backwards Buddhists comments:
    You are correct. Nobody knows what happens after death.

    However, one can form hypotheses (untestable) based on what is experienced in conditions somewhat similar to death that happen while living. Various causes of unconciousness, mostly from oxygen deprivation or trauma (I do martial arts, I am talking about blood chokes and KO punches) suggest that this experience is one without any memories or sensations.
    When you are out, it is like you do not exist. No memories, no sensation, just nothing. It is a “lost time” experience. I hypothesize death is somewhat like that.

    When it happens to me, I will let y’all know, ok?

  • Killer_Bee

    Side note #2: Tombstone? What a waste of space. Atheists ought to be giving their bodies to science or being cremated.

    Ought? I don’t ought to do anything. My lack of belief in a god isn’t a sign that I’m open to taking marching orders from overdeveloped primates.
    I may or may not decide to be buried or cremated with organs included or cryogenically frozen.
    Don’t like it?
    Tough shit.

  • http://yamipirogoeth.blogspot.com/ Sakura

    Death is something I’ve thought about on multiple occasions. Because of it, I decided a LONG time ago to be an organ donor.

    Personally, I could go without a tombstone as I wouldn’t care if people paid their respects at a later time. As far as the whole ceremonial activities, I plan on putting it in my will that they’d better have a full old world wake rather than being all sad and mourning once I die, otherwise no gets anything. Is it selfish…maybe, but I’d rather see them happy that I no longer have to deal with the crap of this world than be sad I’m gone.

  • http://antitheistalliance.com Dorian

    I hadn’t considered this since leaving the Christian faith. I’m an Atheist now and I think I would like to have my body donated to science. Thanks for the post and the intelligent notes.

  • Carlie

    I’m surprised no one has linked to this yet (don’t forget the mouseover text).

  • Ed

    @ Jason

    “The different is that atheists are honest about what happens when we all die.”

    if there be no God, that statement is true. however, what i find in an overwhelming majority of atheists i speak with is that they are not intellectually honest as to what that implies about the value of human life.

    What does that imply about the value of a human life? To me and to many other atheists, it leads one to the realization that a human life is an incredibly rare and precious gift since we only get one and when it is gone, it is gone for good. That we ought to value and honor the lives we live now as opposed to living for some imagined future. That we ought to concern ourselves with living our lives in a meaningful way rather than worry about the meaning of life.

  • http://gretachristina.typepad.com/ Greta Christina

    I want to go with the “green burial” option. Regular cemeteries are an ecological nightmare, but green cemeteries are essentially nature preserves. And because laws governing the re-development of cemeteries are so strict, it’s a way of preserving open space and preventing overdevelopment.

    And as others have observed, gravesites are for the living, not the dead. Many people take comfort in visiting the gravesites of people they loved… or people they admired. I don’t have anything against people visiting my decomposing body after I’m dead, if it makes them happy.

    But no, I don’t want “R.I.P.” on my gravestone, or anything implying that there’s anything left of me other than my decomposing body… plus whatever memories people have of me and whatever ways that the world is different because I was here.

    And yes, of course I’m an organ donor. Duh.

  • Anonymous

    does it make sense for an atheist to have “Rest In Peace” written on the tombstone?

    We could put what the Romans used:

    I was not [before birth]
    I was [after birth]
    I am not [after death]
    I do not mind [Epicurean solace]

    Cremation isn’t the most environmentally-friendly practice, especially since most crematoriums don’t use the heat to produce energy (some used to use it to heat the building, but as far as I know all have stopped in response to misguided criticisms of the practice).

    One of the benefits of body-burning power plants, in place of coal-burning power plants, is that after death our energy really will go somewhere else :)

  • Fredrik

    If you are an organ donor your tombstone might more appropriately say LIP (living in pieces) or LOIP (living on in pieces).

    @Steve Kurzban – I don’t understand what interfering with our own evolution means. That would imply that there is some pre-defined trajectory that our evolution “ought” to take. How do you determine what that is exactly?

  • Richard P.

    There is now a new environmentally friendly way to be cremated.
    Called the”resomator”.

    After you get over the description of how it works, it seems like a good alternative.

    article exert:

    It’s a greener way to deal with death.

    It’s the “resomator,” a giant metal contraption that uses a patented process known as resomation to reduce a human body to white powder and a goopy coffee-coloured liquid in just three hours.

    http://www.montrealgazette.com/technology/cremation+environmentally+friendly+advocates/2651036/story.html

    So I guess they can take what’s useful and turn the rest into goo….

  • http://pmhewitt.wordpress.com paula

    Organ donor, yes, tombstone, preferably not but don’t care (depends on what the kids want I guess – hopefully I will die before them), cremation v burial whatever is cheapest/best for environment.

    My dad has dontated his body to science – he rang me the other day to say he can’t die before August because the university has all the dead bodies then can handle until then.

  • Mark

    I’m not a donor. I think it’s messed up that everyone gets paid except for the donors estate, even when the parts are used for cosmetic procedures.

    As far as memorials I think they should be something useful with a little plaque. Parks and zoos are full of such things. If the dead guy liked basketball his survivors could build a memorial court. If he liked hiking, a trail. If he liked golf a ball washer. You get the idea. Really expensive things could have multiple corpses memorialised.

  • Jagyr

    I’m an organ donor, whether or not my heirs profit from the deal. Donor means donate, not sell.

    I would also donate my body to science, except I get the impression that science has more cadavers than it can reasonably use right now. So I intend to go with either cremation or “green” burial.

  • elianara

    I’m a organ and tissue donor. As much as possible of me should be used to help other people, either by organ or tissue donations to someone who needs them, or left to science. What is left should be cremated. Those are my instructions. My only other wish is having a secular funeral, the rest is up to those left behind.

  • cathy

    @Frederik, apparantly, Steve K. doesn’t like polio vaccines, antibiotics, or small pox vaccines either. After all, these three probably contribute to some of the greatest differences in human survival rates.

    I am an organ donor, but we should remember that, in the US and Canada, gay men are legally barred from organ donation. People have had relatives die because the law kept them from giving a kidney, even though they were a match.

  • bigjohn756

    I’ll donate my organs so that researchers can find out what effects severe abuse can have on the human body. Use the rest of my body for whatever it’s good for. Maybe chop it up and feed it to the fishes.

  • http://www.patrickoden.com Patrick Oden

    “Side note #2: Tombstone? What a waste of space. Atheists ought to be giving their bodies to science or being cremated. (Sure, they’re not around to make that decision, but they can let others know of their wishes beforehand.) Are others with me on this?”

    Absolutely. Superstitious, ritualistic waste of space.

  • http://base8.lavenderliberal.com/index.html Buffy

    I plan to donate any usable organs and tissues. Whatever is left over I’d like buried in a “natural burial”–no embalming, simple shroud, no vault or coffin, no headstone.

    http://naturalburial.coop/

  • beckster

    I want to be frozen in carbonite like Han Solo, only after I die instead of while alive.

  • muggle

    Hmmm, like that green burial Greta just turned me on to above. Hadn’t heard of them. But bury me whole and keep the vultures from recycling me. I’ll take lily of the valley flowers with just a small plaque with Anonymous’ suggestion above. I rather like that.

    After services are over, my daughter should take the plaque home to place wherever she wants to be comforted by the thought of me nearby in a sense (i.e., her memories). Why should she and the grandson (and hopefully a great grandbaby or two by then) have to trek out to some rural cemetery to “visit” me. Home, close to them is more apt. It’s where my heart lay in life.

    bigjohn does tempt me to rethink that but can you designate something so specific and be sure it’ll be respected? Plus, hell, I’m living the nightmare of that. At 52, my body’s more like 72, mostly from childhood malnutrition and abuse with bad genes tossed in for good measure. Allergies can be caused by poor nutrition in childhood check. Fibromalgia can be caused by abuse and I am planning to be tested for that at the urging of a good friend who suffers with it because I have so damned many of its symptoms.

    I’m even wondering if my arthritis can be and wouldn’t be at all surprised to find out the answer is yes. Frankly, when I got to the walker, my doctor asked when the arthritis started and when I said at 17, he asked did you have some kind of injury, I said no automatically not even considering my child-beating assholes passing themselves off as parents. He seemed very surprised there was no injury involved and I was too embarrassed to say, oh, well, yeah, there was the shoe and the belt.

    Sigh, the older I get the more I realize I was screwed from the get-go by being born to the people who shouldn’t have had one kid let alone eight. There is no god.

  • Richard Wade

    Already arranged. My fellow humans are welcome to any parts that are still usable after all my mileage, once I’m done with them. The rest can go to science, and if it comforts my family or friends to burn the husk and dump it in the sea or a garden, fine. I tell them not to be attached to such things, but people do that anyway.

    Real estate is too valuable to waste on cities of the dead.

  • http://st-eutychus.com Nathan

    The different is that atheists are honest about what happens when we all die. We don’t make up stories about the afterlife. We don’t claim to have knowledge about something no one has ever experienced. We accept that death is the end of the line and hopefully we’ve left behind wonderful memories and a positive legacy for those around us.

    I don’t know if this statement is honest. It sounds a bit too certain. How can you be so certain that nothing happens when you haven’t experienced it? Nor have we talked to anybody who has.

    This sounds like conjecture without evidence to me.

  • Alz

    Nathan, everything that makes up your personality, your memories, and makes you, you, is written in your brain. Once your brain is gone, it is the end of the line. There is no gray area of uncertainty.

  • Michael F

    Nathan you make a good point. It is impossible to for certain say what happens when there is no one to testify to the truth. It is a personal decision that I believe you and your family need to agree on. I am a donor and will be buried as that is what my kids want me too do.

  • http://www.dwasifar.com dwasifar

    I’m a body donor for Bodyworlds, which someone has already mentioned.

    I don’t know whether that makes me an organ donor or not.

  • Aj

    You can’t be certain about anything. A lot of what makes up “you” resides in the brain. The brain can be damaged or changed so that the same person can be radically different. Which one survives death? It seems illogical to me to consider that there’s a “you” outside of your brain. Even though we don’t know, you must realize whatever you’re imagining about it is probably pants-on-head retarded.

  • http://hoverfrog.wordpress.com hoverfrog

    Organ, blood and bone marrow donor. I’ve got a plot to be buried in in woodland so that the land can’t be built on or developed. No tombstone though (a map) and they only get to bury the bits that aren’t recycled first.

  • Autumnal Harvest

    How can you be so certain that nothing happens when you haven’t experienced it?

    I can’t be certain that the world, and all the people in it, doesn’t turn into a ball of tapioca pudding when I go to sleep, either. I haven’t experienced the world while I’m sleeping. However, there’s no evidence that the world turns into tapioca pudding while I’m sleeping, and such an event doesn’t make much sense by the physical laws that I know of, so I don’t believe it happens. Same logic applies to an afterlife.

  • Claudia

    @People favoring medical research vs. organ donation I would encourage you to reconsider. There are a lot more bodies eligible for medical research at death than there are organ-ready ones. Keep in mind that most people who die have their organs in no condition for organ donation, but are certainly useful for research.

    I obviously enough am signed up for organ donation. The rest of me I’d like cremated, mixed in with some good soil, and used to fertilize a bush of red daisies, my favorite flower.

  • Monika

    I’m an organ donor, and I donate blood and I’ve donated bone-marrow, some kid has now a good chance at living on. Please consider getting registered for this, it’s easy and can make a huge difference.

    I don’t care what happens with my body after I’m dead, what can be used should be used, the rest I want cremated and buried in a biodegradable urn at the roots of a tree. Or not, if my relatives want something else. The only thing I really do NOT want is a religious burial.

  • Christophe Thill

    There is actually a hidden difference between the two headstones. The believer’s says “Rest in peace”: it’s a wish. The atheist’s says “Rests in peace” with an “s”: it’s a certainty.

  • http://safkhet.blogspot.com/ Melody

    RE: #2

    I think that one should not confuse religion and culture. While some people may believe in an afterlife, the custom of burying our dead is a cultural one that transcends religious belief. The inscriptions on tombstones do often have a religious connotation, however, the act of burial and marking the grave site itself is present through out the history of man as far back as we have been able to uncover, regardless of the religion of the culture or the lack there of. Cultural observations have a way of providing comfort and connection to the people around us, our ancestors and to our progeny without the need for religion and does not require a connection to a deity or religious institution to exist. Those cultural observances may be good opportunities to provide a common reference points with some of the people that may not feel that they have any way of relating with us, when in fact we have so much in common and really, so little that separates us.

  • Sue

    I was planning on cremation until I discovered the local green burial ground. I like the idea of my remains becoming part of a tree. And with any luck, my skeleton will survive well enough that in 1000 years time someone will dig me up and reconstruct my face on the 31st century equivalent of Time Team.

  • Hitodama

    Hrm. I guess I’m the only one. I want my body to be flushed of all micro-organisms, placed within a special chamber in large and rather fancy space ship, and then I want the ship to be launched into the black.
    Consider it a space-pyramid. XD

  • Robyn

    I’m totally an organ donor, and my Mom, who is very much a believer, is one as well. She’s not bothering with a tombstone, either. Her funeral plans are pretty nice, I think.

  • Greg

    I haven’t made up my mind up on organ donation. Due to past events, I have a rather negative outlook upon some of those in my fellow species, and there are some people I would not like to see my body parts save.

    Call me a cold hearted bastard if you like, but I’ve never been of the opinion that life is sacred (sacred suggests that there are no circumstances where someone should be allowed to die if it can be prevented. Being an advocate of euthanasia (voluntary, obviously), I immediately have to discard that position), and where there is no control over when body parts are allowed to be used, I am uncomfortable with the idea.

    How ironic would it be if you were killed in a fight, and your murderer required one of your organs to live?

    (And no, that is not the only reason I am unsure about it, and yes it is the type of question I agonise over. I guess I’m objecting to the ‘ought’ phrasing. The only thing I ‘ought’ do is consider the question seriously.)

  • Aj

    Greg,

    It would be ironic, it would also be extremely unlikely, given how organ transplants work. I agree with you, criminals don’t deserve equal healthcare, they shouldn’t get transplants over law abiding citizens. Yet, even in the stupid and imperfect systems in place, the likelihood that you’re going to save a criminal is unlikely, it’s much more likely you’ll save someone who is not a criminal. After excluding those that have served their terms, and are not going to reoffend, I don’t think it’s a risk large enough to concern a single person in their decision to donate organs.

  • http://www.twitter.com/hellogreenstar GreenStar

    I am an organ donor and I want to be cremated. I don’t speak to any of my family, so my girlfriend is in charge of it all. She knows my wishes and will see to them.

    Who cares about being buried in the ground? Sprinkle my ashes in a pipe and smoke me. I don’t give a shit to be honest. When I’m dead, I’m dead.

  • http://sundialsaga.blogspot.com Modern Girl

    Like others have said above, I don’t think “being an atheist” should dictate what we should do with our bodies. Believing there is no God doesn’t necessary mean someone doesn’t care about what happens to their body.

    If you can leave in your will what happens to your estate and your personal belongings, why are you not allowed to have a preference for what happens to your body?

    I want mine to decompose the natural way and release natural chemicals back into the earth. I don’t want to be cremated, which will release CO2 and pollution into the environment.

    And as for grave stones – like it was said above, those are to benefit the living who will be around to grieve for me. Even if I don’t believe in an afterlife, there should be a place where people can come to remember me.

  • Greg

    AJ – I didn’t mean it was particularly likely, but it was just a way of making the point. ;)

    I guess the thing I meant about having a negative view of my fellow humans wasn’t meant to be limited to merely criminals though. I know people who are not criminals, but are ‘nasty pieces of work’. But let’s not get into my pessimistic outlook, eh? :)

  • http://www.quietatheist.com Slugsie

    I’m an organ donor, but only because there wasn’t an option for “Freeze me until such time as medical science has cured whatever I had and can wake me up to live forever with my new genetically superior Amazonian girlfriend”. Until such time I’m opting to let any useful bits of me that are left be used by someone else, and any leftover bits of meat can be disposed of in the most environment friendly manner available. An earlier commenter mentioned being fired out of a cannon into a shark feeding frenzy … I kinda like the idea of that. :D

  • http://N./A Keith

    Body donation is the way to go, as your cadaver becomes a) a research tool, to find treatments to diseases and conditions like cancer, arthritis, MS, or cardio-vascular diseases; (b) a recycled resource, with transplantable organs, bones and connective tissue for the living; (c) a medical school cadaver, for training future doctors, dentists, nurses and other health care professionals ; (d) Become a plastinate, either as a gestalt, i.e. “whole body specimen”, or in segmented body parts, to educate professionals and laymen


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