I am watching the remake of Battlestar Galactica, which I love. For me it has something important to say to Dawkins. In the series, man has created a race called the Cylons, who have now evolved from a ‘robot’ model to one that looks human. Indeed, they appear human, feeling pain, having children, dreaming and believing in Gods. That they can reincarnate and that they conform to a set of identical types is a peculiarity that marks them out, as does their biological signature. However, their genesis makes the question of what defines a human rather interesting.

If we are no more than an evolved coincidence of cells, are not the Cylons better than us, having been expertly designed? Do they not represent the flowering of humanity, being able to achieve immortality and accumulative wisdom through their regeneration process? Are we not being embarrassingly romantic to assume a soul and some sort of ‘special’ status? If there is no God then humans have no special status. We should then use our skills to improve the species, perhaps by rendering it extinct and replacing it with Cylons – albeit with the religion malfunction rectified. At least that would be a sort of immortality, if we are to be denied any other by Dawkins.

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  • […] renders media hysteria over what Wired calls robopocalypse rather puzzling. As I have been arguing since 2007, if Richard Dawkins is right, and we are just a supremely well-designed and dogged set of cells, we […]

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