AI, sentience and human life

"Whether or not God could give a sentient machine or a human clone a soul is a different question....The unique description of humans as created in the image of God should lead us to think it highly unlikely that a machine or a clone would receive similar status." - BPNews

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Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

We shouldn't lump "cloned human" together with "AI." The latter is a machine, and can never be more than a machine. The former is still human... which is what makes cloning humans morally wrong. But in the event one is eventually cloned, should we questioning its humanity, questioning whether it has (is) a soul?

dgszweda's picture

Very Interesting.  I see a few things here.  God commanded us to go forth, be fruitful and multiply.  At the same time, He has created us in His image.  We have the same creative characteristics as God does.  We want to explore and create.  It is part of man's very nature.  Just as God had a desire to create, we so do have the same desire.  The problem is that we were not give the same means or power as God has.  In addition His thoughts and ways are higher than our ways.  So we move forward acting on our desire and our nature, but our execution is deeply flawed.  It looks nothing like what God can and has created.

We will be able to clone life, basically within the confines of natures laws, but I do not believe we will be able to create life.  I really believe this is an aspect of the glory of God that he states He does not share.  His creative power is a core part of His nature.  We know it because He is occupied with His creation.  We also know it because He chose this part of His nature as part of His redemptive plan.  The very essence of Christ being raised from the dead is same essence as creating life.  The power to raise the dead is the same power to create life.  

Joeb's picture

Cloning is basically making a twin.  This already occurs.  Twins have separate personalities and are individuals.  Cloning is printing twins in my mind.  Should we make clones no but women taking fertility drugs which leads to triplets or more is essentially making clones.   Correct me if I'm wrong.    

Kevin Miller's picture

Joeb wrote:

Cloning is basically making a twin.  This already occurs.  Twins have separate personalities and are individuals.  Cloning is printing twins in my mind.  Should we make clones no but women taking fertility drugs which leads to triplets or more is essentially making clones.   Correct me if I'm wrong.    

There's a pretty big difference between the formation of a twin and the formation of a clone. A twin has the DNA of the two parents, but at some point in the cell division process, the cells split into two distinct groups and each group becomes a separate person, each having the DNA of the parents. In cloning, the parent's DNA is removed before the cell starts to divide. DNA from a mature cell is then placed in the egg cell, and the egg cell then starts to divide and develop into a person with the DNA of the donor rather than the parents.

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Much of the "would a clone have a soul?" debate hinges on what one believes about how souls are formed. I don't have a good survey of views on hand and haven't thought about it in a good while, but I recall that many believe spiritual life/soul is inherited from the father at conception. Others believe God creates each soul at conception. There are other views. 

... and that relates as well to what one believes a "soul" to be. Just when I think I've settled that question, I encounter an argument that gets me wondering again. It's clear that the Hebrew concept of nephesh is not the same as the Greek/Platonic idea of a soul as a distinct essense that sort of occupies a body like you occupy your car when you're driving it. There is NT language that seems to comport with the Greek view. OT language emphasizes the unity of the entire human person.

I lean toward seeing a "soul" as a body-spirit union... the whole 'you.' But whatever view one takes, it should account for both OT and NT language.

Back to clones...  genetically, they might be the same as twins, but I've been reading lately about some of the stuff that happens chemically during development based on the mother's physiology. Genes aren't everything.

But it's not all that relevant. We don't know for sure how a human becomes a living soul. For that reason, we should not mess with "how humans are made." The challenge, as technology develops, is how to make a persuasive case for that to a highly secularized scientific establishment--and a post-Christian culture.