Does Data have a soul?

Discussion in 'The Next Generation' started by eskyliz, Jun 16, 2013.

  1. Dale Sams

    Dale Sams Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    And yes...it's hilarious that the very first thing to come into my mind is Patrick Stewart's voice, "I don't know. Do you! Do YOU?!"
     
  2. GalaxyX

    GalaxyX Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    You are correct that the Greek word for soul is actually better translated as "life-force".

    Ancient Greeks believed in the afterlife, so they believed your essence survived death. They just weren't sure what that essence was.

    I tend to agree with those that say we don't have souls. Therefore I don't believe Data has a "mystical" soul either.
     
  3. Dale Sams

    Dale Sams Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Obviously the Klingons and Bajorans believe in a soul. And I think our 'so-called more enlightened Feds' do as well. After all some of them ran off with Worf to help Jadzia get in Stovokor. Without even bothering to ask "Why would a Trill go to Klingon heaven?" And they did NOT appear to be doing to support their ignorant superstitious friend.

    The smartest person TODAY is the one who says he doesn't have all the answers. In the future? In the STAR TREK universe with all they've seen??? I wouldn't want to have lunch with someone so smug and closed minded.*

    *Then. In the Star Trek universe mind you. I would have lunch with anyone on this board.
     
  4. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Captain Captain

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    Well, Lxanna Troi seems to think that thought and life are interconnected. The Travelers believe that thought, space, and reality are the same. If you want to treat the hokey New Age spirituality seriously versus Orthodox religion - basically, "A soul exists because a person thinks for itself." Whether said person is metal, steel, plastic, crystal, or an ugly bag of mostly water doesn't matter.

    Of course, taking this philosophy to its natural conclusion means that the universe of Star Trek is essentially the Matrix.

    (I actually use Star Trek in my religious studies group as it has some nice ideas for examining the nature of theology)
     
  5. Captain Clark Terrell

    Captain Clark Terrell Commodore Commodore

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    How 'bout Worf?

    --Sran
     
  6. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Captain Captain

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    Also, the TNG issue is a bit more complicated. Picard objects violently to the idea that HE is personally worshiped as a god. However, he's also offended that Q claims to be a God in a manner which might state that he views the concept of God with some reverence.

    Likewise, Kirk has (in part due to Bill Shatner) been pretty much identified as a Deist of some stripe. Uhura also seems to be of this kind of person. Religion seems to be a more personal thing in the future but, given they're all government employees, that simply may be Starfleet policy.
     
  7. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    "Our gods are dead. Ancient Klingon warriors slew them a millennia ago. They were more trouble than they were worth." -Worf
     
  8. Chemahkuu

    Chemahkuu Admiral Admiral

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    The alien cultures that believe in afterlives and souls are often shown to be more primitive and backward in several other ways.

    Klingons may have warp drive, but they've barely mastered hygiene and walking upright otherwise.

    Bajorans have been shown to be incredibly stubborn and heavily indoctrinated, their religious class more or less ruling the masses and running their schools as current advocates of "intelligent design" would drool at the thought of being able to.

    When someone even demonstrates the soul exists, we can wait for Data to be built, then debate whether that "life form" has one. But if such a thing exists, we should be able to just measure it and see anyway.

    Hell, I can claim I have magic purple tentacles in place of a soul, but just as invisible and made of the same "stuff", prove I don't.
     
  9. Dale Sams

    Dale Sams Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    RACIST!!!

    So Vulcans are primitive and backward? And you would think more than any other race they would be atheists.

    /endthread
     
  10. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Really? Playing the race card on a fictional race? That's amusing in a small way.

    But hey, Vulcan temples make great spy outposts since most people don't like blowing up churches.
     
  11. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Captain Captain

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    Except, ironically, we have no evidence the Federation's worlds don't believe in these.
    Klingons are jerkasses, that doesn't mean they're wrong about everything.
    Bajorans are kind of the odd man out for discussing religion, despite existing primarily to discuss questions of faith. Their gods are literally real. It's not "science versus religion" when you can scientifically measure Heaven's presence less than a light year away.
    The soul, in this respect, is Data's sapience. We can measure our sapience since Descartes.

    And as Asimov said (and quoted by SF debris),
    "There is no right to deny freedom to any object with a mind advanced enough to grasp the concept and desire the state." But science is all about dealing with unknowns and observing the effects of things on people. Strict materialism is an odd stance since, increasingly, science is about understanding the material is a reflection of a larger more energy-based universe.

    (Which has nothing to do with religion other than to state we're in a ****y position to observe all of the universe's mysteries)

    The Flying Spaghetti Monster is a useful rebuttal to religious claims. However, it's not related to what the episode is about.
     
  12. Chemahkuu

    Chemahkuu Admiral Admiral

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    "Speciest", racism would imply picking on a particular subset or race of a larger species, this is a remark about the entire species. But then, that would require reading comprehension from you so...

    And the Vulcans do cling to older, more conservative ways of life, formality and so on, there's an antiquity to a lot of their ways.

    The religious groups in Star Trek have been, intentionally or not, shown to cling to older ways of life and spirituality over those who appear more advanced on a social level as well as technological.
     
  13. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Captain Captain

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    This is true but in Star Trek, we've also noted that while progressiveness is usually the order of the day, DS9 is the odd man out as we have the religious conversion of a man who calls the Prophets "Wormhole Aliens" only to formally embrace religion and the past entirely. Bellana Torres, eventually, adopts religious practices as well.

    You're right, of course, that a "new religion" might be an interesting subject for Star Trek.

    Q-cults or something.
     
  14. Dale Sams

    Dale Sams Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Your pithy "mmmmmm....thut's amusing in a smull way" tells me you couldn't tell, even with the all-caps and multiple exclamation points, that I was joking in 'playing the race card'.
    Wow, you guys really woke up looking for a fight this morning didn't you?

    IT WAS A JOKE PEOPLE. About a fic-tion-al people FIC-TION.
     
  15. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Captain Captain

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    Do Vulcans believe in afterlives and gods or simply have a religion?

    This is something Western readers occasionally have difficulty with but there's plenty of RL religions without afterlives and/or deities. Which, for me, was difficult to wrap my head around but their adherents would object to if you called them philosophies.

    But yes, pause a second, Star Trek is a setting with psychic powers and katras. It's not "hard science" by any stretch of the imagination.
     
  16. Chemahkuu

    Chemahkuu Admiral Admiral

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    Actually, I don't seem to remeber any specific mention of a Vulcan religion. I know they have a vague spirituality, but that might be based around the Katra principle, or their unique way of having their mind downloadable (as we've seen a few times, Spock's Brain unfortunately being the first).

    An out-of-body based meditation system based very loosely on Bhuddism. But there's actually something that happens based on their unique brains, not a soul just in some way, a conciousness that can be scooped up and moved out of it's container in an actual, physical (rather icky) way.

    Which I don't think counts.
     
  17. Dale Sams

    Dale Sams Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I'm only speaking of souls. The Klingons, Bajorans, Ferengi, and Vulcans all seem to believe in them. That's just off the top of my head. I don't know if any other major species seem too.

    As Orwellian/Stalinist as the Cardassians are, I wouldn't be surprised in the slightest were a future episode to have them shown to have wiped out religion in an 'enlightened way'.

    edit: Back to Vulcans. That's something I never understood about ST:III. Was there some 'Well of Souls' they wanted to bring Spock to so he could reincarnate? Something they could put him in so they could communicate with him? Sarek seemed to think it was a pretty big ****ing deal.
     
  18. GalaxyX

    GalaxyX Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The Prophets are some of the weakest gods ever portrayed on TV. Q is more worthy of being called a god, since he is actually far more omnipotent than the pitiful wormhole aliens.
     
  19. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Captain Captain

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    Q is kind of funny because when you think about it, "an omniscient omnipotent timeless entity who has an interest in testing mankind" is pretty much the textbook definition of a god.
     
  20. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Well seems I wasn't the only one who "didn't get" your joke... and honestly... as often as caps and exclamation points are used on the internet... short of reading minds, it's not exactly reasonable to expect others to tell when you're joking or not in regards to their use.

    Oh and if your recent use of caps is another joke... it's not funny. :p
     

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