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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek TV Series > The Next Generation

The Next Generation All Good Things come to an end...but not here.

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Old June 16 2013, 06:35 PM   #46
Charles Phipps
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Re: Does Data have a soul?

Nightdiamond wrote: View Post
One thing the storyline with Data forgot is that whenever you hit his off switch, he's completely off. Switch him back on, he's conscious again, like a computer.

Same thing with the Doctor on VOY and he had much more emotional expression than Data.
Ah, but is that death?

Then again, issues of death become odd since we had humans dead for 200 years revived.
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Old June 16 2013, 06:38 PM   #47
JirinPanthosa
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Re: Does Data have a soul?

If the soul is a literal thing separate from the body given to us at birth: No, Data does not.

If there is no literal soul and we define the soul as our conscious experience of the world that is the result of chemical interactions in our brain, then maybe he does.
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Old June 16 2013, 06:50 PM   #48
GalaxyX
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Re: Does Data have a soul?

Nightdiamond wrote: View Post
One thing the storyline with Data forgot is that whenever you hit his off switch, he's completely off. Switch him back on, he's conscious again, like a computer.

Same thing with the Doctor on VOY and he had much more emotional expression than Data.

It seems like the show takes a materialist view and strongly suggests he doesn't.

And yet on Voy there was an episode with Chakotey where he was out of his body and wandering the ship as neural energy or something.

The shows teeters back and forth on whether there is "something else" out there.
This is because depending on the episode, the story either needed the concept of a soul, or it didn't.

Like the episode where Janeway is being coaxed to go to the "afterlife" with her "father". Obviously something that wasn't her body would have gone.

Yet another episode, like when Neelix dies for 16 hours and is resurrected feels a loss that he didn't end up under that great tree in his "afterlife". That episode heavily implies there is no soul.

And many other examples. Trek seems to pick and choose depending on the story they want to tell.
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Old June 16 2013, 07:23 PM   #49
JirinPanthosa
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Re: Does Data have a soul?

I would say that the series pedals around confirmations or disconfirmations of the soul.

Whenever there is a story that implies existence of the soul the writers are careful to give the viewers a scientific out.

If you believe all that 'space and time and thought' are all one stuff that Roddenberry obviously really wanted to do in first season TNG and make Wesley the emissary too, you could use that to explain telepathy and other apparently godlike powers.
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Old June 16 2013, 10:23 PM   #50
The Old Mixer
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Re: Does Data have a soul?

Does Data have a soul? As many have touched upon, we can't even prove that of ourselves.

Does Data have soul? Absolutely not.
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Old June 17 2013, 01:48 AM   #51
Mojochi
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Re: Does Data have a soul?

In the context of the show, I'd say it's suggested that he does. When Ira Graves possesses him, or the entity from Power Play or even the whatever it was in Masks, Data's personality is suppressed just as if he were any other individual in a similar situation, like O'Brien was, or Troi on a few occasions. What is that which is gone if not the spirit within him?

As far as really defining it.... I wouldn't even know where to begin. I can look at the dog & see something of a soul at work there........ I think
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Old June 17 2013, 02:00 AM   #52
Sran
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Re: Does Data have a soul?

The question is not if we think Data has a soul but if he thinks he does.

--Sran
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Old June 17 2013, 02:13 AM   #53
JirinPanthosa
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Re: Does Data have a soul?

Also I don't see the Bajorans as being portrayed as universally religious fanatics.

Kai Winn in In The Hands Of The Prophets wasn't insisting on religion in education because she believed it, it was because she thought it'd score political points. Which describes pretty much every red state politician there is in the US, they use religion to pander to the cash-shelling hyper-religious minority.

We have seen very religious Bajorans, but we've also met a Bajoran atheist (Ro), and although Bareil was a religious figure he was a secularist.
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Old June 17 2013, 02:19 AM   #54
Sran
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Re: Does Data have a soul?

^Trek often depicts non-human races as being uniform in their behavior, attitudes, and beliefs. It's not due to bad writing so much as it is limited time to adequately present a species. I think most people know there are non-religious Bajorans just as they know there are dishonorable Klingons and trustworthy Romulans.

--Sran
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Old June 17 2013, 03:52 AM   #55
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Re: Does Data have a soul?

Sran wrote: View Post
^Trek often depicts non-human races as being uniform in their behavior, attitudes, and beliefs. It's not due to bad writing so much as it is limited time to adequately present a species. I think most people know there are non-religious Bajorans just as they know there are dishonorable Klingons and trustworthy Romulans.
It's more than just limited time. Aliens in Trek often serve the same purpose as the different peoples that Gulliver encounters in Gulliver's travels. They explore a single socio-political idea that is extracted out of the diversity of humanity, concentrated, and taken to its logical extreme. It therefore acts as a lens where we can see various what-if scenarios, at least how the writer would like us to think of those what-ifs.

If every alien species were as diverse as humanity, it might be more realistic, in a way, but less useful as a storytelling device.
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Old June 17 2013, 03:58 AM   #56
Sran
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Re: Does Data have a soul?

mos6507 wrote: View Post
It's more than just limited time. Aliens in Trek often serve the same purpose as the different peoples that Gulliver encounters in Gulliver's travels. They explore a single socio-political idea that is extracted out of the diversity of humanity, concentrated, and taken to its logical extreme. It therefore acts as a lens where we can see various what-if scenarios, at least how the writer would like us to think of those what-ifs.

If every alien species were as diverse as humanity, it might be more realistic, in a way, but less useful as a storytelling device.
I suppose so. If nothing else, characters the audience finds harder to relate to are useful in terms of introducing conflict into the story. If every character were easy to understand and relate to, there wouldn't be as many chances for conflict.

--Sran
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Old June 17 2013, 06:24 AM   #57
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Re: Does Data have a soul?

I am an atheist!

And though I don't agree with (most of) his ideas, so was the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. And HE believed in a SOUL. A soul is the innermost constitution of your being. Its existence does NOT require the existence of a god or other such fantastical entity. When you say, "That little rascal has SPIRIT" that "spirit" that you refer to... that is what I call a SOUL. So, yes, Data has a spirit, a soul. IMHO.
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Old June 17 2013, 07:42 AM   #58
Charles Phipps
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Re: Does Data have a soul?

Sran wrote: View Post
^Trek often depicts non-human races as being uniform in their behavior, attitudes, and beliefs. It's not due to bad writing so much as it is limited time to adequately present a species. I think most people know there are non-religious Bajorans just as they know there are dishonorable Klingons and trustworthy Romulans.

--Sran
Though, to be fair, monoculturalism might be a result of instant travel and communication of ideas.
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Old June 17 2013, 01:46 PM   #59
Leviathan
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Re: Does Data have a soul?

Not anymore.

Sold it to the highest bidder. 'droids gotta pay for those upgrades to be "fully functional"...
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Old June 17 2013, 02:13 PM   #60
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Re: Does Data have a soul?

In a more serious contribution to the discussion, it's worth noting that even Picard, the poster boy for Roddenberry's latter-day vision of Trek, seemed to believe in a higher power, though one that didn't necessarily conform to a specific religion. He discussed this in "Where Silence Has Lease":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gZocvTsi5Rg
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