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Tuesday, December 20, 2005 

When does the soul arrive?

You know how you get bored some times watching a new movie, because you'd already seen certain parts from the trailer, or recognize a scene as leading up to that part?

I was lucky enough to have never heard about The Island (2005) when we rented it the other night. Ewan McGregor, Scarlett Johansson & Steve Buscemi (the creepy looking guy from Fargo) among others make this a good sci fi film. Great premise, great sets! but lots of gratuitous Hollywood style "death" like in True Lies, meaningless dying that isn't supposed to bother you.

I think an interesting discussion with your favorite theist could be had from the movie, especially after you've read this essay. Don't let the title put you off, Mr. Morgan wrote this and others for another purpose, but I find this piece brilliant for thinking about the concept of a soul.

And for sci-fi fans out there, check out this Alonzo Fyfe piece written last summer.

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This is one of the most famous philosophical questions in sci-fi; what makes a person a person? Whether it’s conception, cloning, human-like AI, or even duplicates from a transporter accident, if the subject passes a Turing Test does that mean he’s got a soul (or at least basic human rights)? I wonder if the Pope stays awake at night pondering old Star Trek episodes.
One thing that bothers me about the attitude that procreation itself is the start of human life is taking it to the next logical step. What’s the difference between sex with a condom and no sex at all? Am I guilty of murder by not procreating 24 hours a day?

thanks for your comment, paul. I love sci fi, you remind me why! Here's a recent blog about procreation to you point:

Can't say I really agree with his forecast of doom and gloom. The U.S. has gone through plenty of conservative phases in the past. After a while of encouraging ignorance, jingoism, and cranking up the national debt there's a backlash and things swing around to the liberals who try to fix everything.
Most likely this is because the spawn of religious types aren't necessarily religious themselves. If a single child in a family of eight is bright enough to lump God in with Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny then we’re doing okay.

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About me

  • I'm the freethoughtmom from New England. Welcome!
  • The word rational means having the ability to reason. Reasoning takes time. Giving yourself the space to think is practically a luxury in our society.

    My father is a logical engineer, my mother a caring nurturer. My handwriting with my dominate hand resembles that of my father, the other, my mother. I feel lucky to have both sides to draw from.
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