This is all purely an aside - not my attempt to weigh in on the discussion. Just pointing out that either your understanding of these criteria for "what constitutes life" is flawed, or the criteria themselves are flawed (as we'd have to exclude unicellular life and plant life). I say it has no bearing since you only need disprove one, and the fact that Data has no need for nutrition is sufficient to rule out the others.
Though in-universe, it merely means that the definition of 'life' is too narrow - a principle in the Star Trek universe since TOS.
Though it is an aside, I must respond. You make some valid points (and some invalid ones, too.)
Just to nitpick, respiration doesn't mean breathing. Respiration is the exchange of waste products for nutrients. Or the exchange of nutrients for energy. Bottom-line: If your organism is capable of energy-in:waste-out, that's respiration. I emphasize this, because at a cellular level we refer to cells as "respiring" even though the idea that they're breathing is ludicrous.
And unless Data violates thermodynamics, I'm pretty sure he respires. Wasn't there a line at some point about his energy cells continually renewing themselves?
I didn't mean to imply that breathing = respiration, I was pointing out that he imitates breathing in the context of debunking Data being 'virtually identical in all ways to a human'.
You somewhat oversimplify by saying that respiration is nutrients/energy in- waste out. That would be like metabolism, or the combination of nutrition, respiration and excretion. Though they do all go hand in hand.
Even at the cellular level, respiration is a function of chemical exchange- one which Soong androids apparently do not perform (evidenced by Lore staying in the vacuum of space for over 2 years).
Data does violate the laws of thermodynamics! The line you refer to is the very same perpetual motion handwave I already mentioned.
It came from Insurrection.
My energy cells continuously recharge themselves.
Take special note he said recharge, not renew. That would imply perpetual motion, not respiration.
Also, sensitivity surely means "sensorium" rather than "pain-sensation", yes? Otherwise amoeba and other one-celled organisms would have a hard time qualifying.
My bad. It actually means 'response to stimuli', which qualifies Data and the amoebas (who contract when touched). I got carried away with context- Data not feeling pain still makes him rather decidely un-humanlike. But at least he now scores 3 out of 7.
Also, isn't one of the key points about plants that they *AREN'T* motile? Now I know that plants are alive.
A lot of the movement of plants is incorporated in their growth, but not all of it. Plants turn their leaves and flowers to face the sun throughout the day. Remember, these rules are thought of by biologists, who've put some time into the idea.
Also, Data is pretty explicit that he used actual parts of himself when building Lal, near as I recall. And that later (after her systems failure) he re-incorporated parts into himself. That's growing and reproducing. Granted, not in the way we usually think of them; but for a 100% robotic organism, what could be more "growth" than taking raw materials, turning them into chips, and adding them to yourself? Like the emotion chip.
He did not use physical parts of himself. He copied sections of his neural net (which is the programming structure within his positronic brain) into Lal, and after her cascade failure he copied her memories into himself. That is data transfer, not growth. I can copy information from one hard drive to another, it doesn't mean it has grown. In the case of Lal/Data, it could be viewed as learning (which I would call different to growth). I have already granted reproduction as a met criteria, though it could be debated.
As for the emotion chip, it was a P&P modular component upgrade! Dr. Soong built it, and Data already had a socket in his brain for it. I can put an extra stick of RAM onto my motherboard, it hasn't grown in any way that would convince me it is alive.
Besides my blunder on 'response to stimuli'
, my understanding of the criteria would seem to be sound- I already knew how plants me the requirements, you seemed to miss that one.
As for the criteria themselves being flawed, I am willing to make exceptions in the case of extremely unusual life forms (particularly energy-beings). I already do make such an exception for viruses. But Data is an android, and I do not file robots under 'life'.
Now to deal with a more pressing concern...
As Sela pointed out, your definition of "life" is far too narrow to accomodate the way we commonly use it. AFAIK, this is not a biology discussion; we're not arguing on the basis of the technical biological definition of "life." At least, I wasn't. I apologize if this was a misunderstanding.
Don't try to hide behind Sela's statement which I have just addressed. I used my definition of life to highlight the stupidity of your claim that Data is (excepting composite material) identical in every way to a human.
He doesn't eat. He doesn't shit. He doesn't breathe.
Identical to a human?
He doesn't sleep. He doesn't feel pain. He doesn't age (he simulates the visual effect of aging, but like his breathing, this is an imitation of a human characteristic)
Still just like a human in every way? Your statement was downright blatantly fucking idiotic.
I'm gonna go with "self-motivated movement" as a simple and intuitive definition of "life."
I'm sorry, weren't you agreeing with Sela? He contended that plants don't move, and thus aren't life by my definition. I've addressed that in this post, but I hadn't when you posted this. Please outline how your definition includes plants and unicellular life. Ameobas react on instinct, which (according to you) is not self-motivated but a result of evolution. Where do you draw the line? Because this vague description could even be taken to exclude non-sentient animals.
Data, for all of his humanity and want to be considered equal, was merely a slave to his core programming. Part of his expression of that was to not want to be treated like a 'slave'.
So what? Are you making an argument from some magical free will? Human beings also have a core programming, so this is not helpful to the discussion.
Would you elaborate? A typical robot/computer in sci-fi has its personality purposely designed by its creator to be whatever he wants it to be. Since you appear to be a staunch materialist, you obviously do not think the same is true for human beings. Or can parents hardwire some "laws of robotics" into a child before it is born?
What? I was talking about instincts and other biases hardwired in the human brain by evolution. I thought that was obvious, but I guess I should have stated so.
You seem to be saying that humans are not in fact sentient at all, but simply follow hardwired pre-determined instructions. Instict is OEM, biases and opinions are not (hint: people can change their opinions!). Again, your point on instinct actually weakens your definition of life. What is 'self-motivated' meant to mean?
You are willfully misrepresenting my position, which is dishonest. I have never stated my feelings as axiomatic truths. I have stated my instincts as being evidence, since in this case we are talking about something that is instinctual at its foundation (morality and ethics), so it is perfectly valid evidence. They can be verified or refuted by others, since as human beings we all share the same instincts. The scientific evidence on evolution and human nature backs my views on this.
No it doesn't. The fact that we have diametrically opposed views on the issue disproves what you're saying, as Purple pointed out. The fact that my views on other matters are different to Purple's disproves your point even further. Morality and ethics are not instinctual. They are matters of thought.
Obviously, to answer your question personally would first require us to accept the same standards of ethics. I do not know if this is the case, but if you seriously don't see why slavery is ethically wrong, then this is probably not the case (and you may be a time traveler from the 18th century, or a troll, with the latter being slightly more probable). This is 2011, that debate is done with.
Once again I remind you, this is not a debate on the 18th century issue of human slavery. This is about the unpaid labour of sentient robots which (last time I checked) haven't been invented yet.
And here you are saying what exactly? That if someone does not abide by your idea of right or wrong he must be a troll? Well at this point you are the one who is a troll. With that kind of attitude you won't last here for long. So either get a real argument or get the hell out.
I don't even think he's saying that. He's just trying to avoid giving a logical answer to the question, because he doesn't have one