Free Will, Loving God, and the Problem of Evil

As I’ve been reading student papers about the problem of evil, several have offered the free will defense, arguing that free will is necessary for there to be love. That seems to me to be correct, but it has some corollaries that should not be missed. If creating free beings who can love you freely [Read More…]

Would You Vote for a Machine for President?

Sometimes my class on Religion and Science Fiction seems to be incredibly practical, despite the impression the title might give. Yesterday we talked about whether it would be a good idea to ask an artificial intelligence whether God exists. The conversations we had were great, and included a contribution from Siri which led to one student [Read More…]

Rewatching The Black Hole

I just rewatched the science fiction movie The Black Hole, to introduce my son to it. I was particularly eager to see what I myself thought of the ending, and indeed whether it meant what I had interpreted it to mean when I watched it in my youth. And I wondered what my son would [Read More…]

Religion and Tampering with Nature

IO9 just posted a piece about transhumanism and fear of “tampering with nature” in the form of gene editing, brain chips, and other such technologies. What I found most interesting, not surprisingly, was the information about how more devout religious people’s views tend to differ from those of others. Here are the statistics: I suspect [Read More…]

Do Unto Others

A lot of people have been sharing the image of robot trials undertaken at Boston Dynamics, often mashed up with scenes of Sarah Connor from Terminator. While what we’re witnessing are tests to see how robots cope with challenges, the time may come when we have to ask serious questions about the ethical treatment of them. In the [Read More…]

Robot Ethics CFP

Via the Religion Call for Papers Tumblr I learned about this volume, which I should perhaps consider submitting an abstract for, since I have published on the topic in the past. But I have other projects I am committed to completing before the end of the year, and so am still unsure if I will. But I [Read More…]

Chappie

I recently watched the movie Chappie. It poignantly conveys a point that I also sought to get across in my chapter on “Robots, Rights, and Religion” in Religion and Science Fiction: that what is most scary about artificial intelligences is that they will resemble us in all our shortcomings. But it also makes other crucial [Read More…]

Would Discovering Extraterrestrial Life Make us – and them – Platonists, Mormons, or Atheists?

The Week featured an article a while back which suggested that the discovery of alien life would turn us all into atheists or Mormons. Matthew Ferguson recently mentioned a number of issues which would, at the very least, raise issues for traditional Christian theology. In an article which quoted me (even if it gets my name and [Read More…]

Christian Robots

The above segment from the Daily Show looks like it could have been inspired by my book chapter, “Robots, Rights, and Religion” in Religion and Science Fiction. The video came to my attention via Atheist Rev. See also the website of Christopher Benek, who is featured in the video. [Read more…]

Doctor Who: The Robots of Death

The Doctor Who episode The Robots of Death explores a perennial theme in science fiction: the great potential for robots to make our lives easier and safer, the potential for them to do us great harm if they are misused, and the fear that any safeguards we put in place to avoid the second possibility may not [Read More…]