The Problem of God and Robots in Raised by Wolves and Battlestar Galactica

Comments

1

And those who believe in Zod are from the planet Houston.

/obscure?

2

I'm really on the fence about this one. Like all of Scott's work it's beautiful, but so far ultimately empty. (And his emails are conspicuous by what he misses like they have perfect android replicas that can fly and do 'splodey eye stuff but not drones, tractors or even basic tools?)

And the theme... I swear, Ridley Scott is a broken god damned record. His world building design is amazing but his confused religious propaganda has gone from merely suspiciously obvious, to a bright neon cudgel that loudly thumps its audience over the head every five seconds. Make up your mind, Ridley. Be an Atheist or don't.

3

"And his emails" Jesus. "and his DETAILS" autocorrect mother fucker.

4

Ooooh... would robots be religious?

I don't think they would. Robots are really computers, with attachments. The humanoid body is controlled by a computer brain. How a robot thinks, then, must be entirely mathematical and logical. So, of course a robot wouldn't be religious. Religion is completely illogical, and is based on faith in some unknown entity that can't be seen or proven.

But computers are programed. So the only reason a robot would be religious, is if the human that programed it, programmed in a religious belief. In which case, it isn't really the robot that is religious, but the programmer.

5

@4 But we are supposing that this Ridley Scott future has emergent consciousness and intelligence in machines.

And who is to say Humans were not likewise programmed to be superstitious by evolution. We were programed with fallible pattern recognition, after all.

6

@4:

I suspect intelligent, autonomous robots or any conscious beings whose awareness of self is based on a purely logical foundation would find the idea of belief in a deity or supreme being irrational. They already KNOW their creators, and although that might potentially lead down a road of "if humans created us, who created humans? And who - or what - created whatever created that?" and so forth, it could only lead to the conclusion that, as the saying goes "it's turtles all the way down", because it presupposes that every creation has a creator, and thus logically there would be no end to the contingent cycle. Furthermore, the notion of an Aristotelian metaphysical "first cause" or "unmoved mover", that is, something which creates but was not itself created would defy that logic.

7

First, let’s be clear the non-humans on Battlestar Galactica are Cylons, not androids. (Or “toasters, if you wish to be pejorative about it.)

The Cylons’ search for the One True God may be thought of as their search for love, which is something they can only learn from humans. In essence, it is part of their search for their own kind of humanity, however much the thought might disgust them.

While the humans initially scoff at the Cylons’ monotheism — the humans in BSG worship Zeus and the full pantheon — their commitment to God does influence a couple humans deeply — Kara Thrace (“Starbuck”), who has some kind of angelic destiny that awes the Cylons, and Gaius Baltar, the cynical narcissist, who ultimately discovers God’s love, and human love, by falling for the Cylon known as Caprica 6.

Also, the Cylon model Cavill, often referred to as Brother Cavill for the disguise he adopted among the humans, is an atheist. (His adoption of a priest as his human persona is quite the joke.) The Brothers Cavill — there are many copies of the basic Cylon models — who are in effect the leaders of the Cylons, reject not only God, and God’s love, but any desire for a Cylon version of humaness. Cavill enthusiastically embraces his identity as a machine. Eventually, civil war breaks out between Cylon factions, in effect between the agnostic and spiritual models.

Thus, not all androids are created alike.

8

Actually, BSG was about pantheists versus monotheists.

But you'd know that if you watched it.

Think of it as the supposedly "Christian" Romans attacking the multiple gods Britons and Celts.

Try paying attention.

9

"The humans, however, are not very religious, if at all."

To expand on what @7 and @8 wrote, one of the main themes in Moore's version of BSG was the contrast between the active polytheism of the humans, and the monotheism or atheism of the Cylons. Moore explicitly made the humans more religious than his American audience; for the swearing-in of a new Colonial President, a priest must be summoned; no mere secular civil servant would do, not even the highest judge in Colonial government.

"They are committed to science, evolution, an autocatalytic universe."

Moore had also worked on "Star Trek: The Next Generation," whose universe holds the human characters who are most scientifically-committed of all; by contrast, Moore's Colonials were much closer to modern-day Americans in their attitudes towards science.

10

@ Charles, "But a robot who believes in god will always be more interesting than one that does not."

I think this is a rather superficial way of looking at it, and it's like saying a "person" who believes in god will always be more interesting. One could also argue that a religious person isn't that interesting because there are billions of them and it all gets down to the same thing.

What made that aspect of BSG interesting was that it hasn't been explored a lot in sci-fi (that people have seen...)... it went against type. If there were a ton of similar material, it would get a lost less interesting.

Atheists are still fascinated by the most perplexing question of humankind - where did the universe (and by extension, "us") come from (and by extension, was there an intelligent consciousness that created it). Being an aetheist isn't exclusive from exploring our origins or what it means to be human. They just dispense with the "deities" part.

11

dear readers. i have to do this post again, but by way of another path of thought. the last two episodes raised by wolves dated this post quick.