Theology, Ethics and Fully Functional Androids

Today was the day this semester for the students in my religion and science class to engage in speculation about the future of technology. They are asked to discuss in small groups whether a husband who has a “fully functional” female android hidden away in his closet can sue for divorce on grounds of adultery. I address this topic in a forthcoming chapter entitled “Robots, Rights and Religion”, which I circulated to them prior to class. What do you think?

One student rightly pointed out that, if the android can’t get pregnant, then it isn’t fully functional. The Cylons on the new Battlestar Galactica series seem much more fully functional in this regard. The Daily Galaxy recently featured a post on the theology of Battlestar Galactica, and SF Gospel offers a helpful further reflection on the subject. While such situations are far off, science fiction slowly but surely is turning into science fact, as evidenced by a recent article on how monkey brains have been able to be connected to robot legs.

Also in the realm of science fiction meets science fact, astronomers have found the largest ever ‘hole’ in the universe, a huge void that some physicists think could be evidence of the existence of another, parallel universe. Loop quantum gravity, one area of cutting-edge research in physics, predicts that black holes will issue out into another universe (as some early researchers on the phenomenon in fact speculated).

There is now a blog devoted to Doctor Who, entitled A Journal Of Impossible Things.

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