Originally posted by PhoeniXof_Hades
- What is a life? What defines life? What characteristics does a thing need to possess in order to be classified as being 'living' or 'alive'? What differentiate a stone from a human, a humanoid robot from a bacteria?
An organism that shows self sustaining biological process it is life. A stone is a compound of elements. It is not biologically sustainable, it does not exhibit functions like photosynthesis or metabolism. Hence a stone is not life. Bacteria are tiny. Humans are big. Humanoid robots are big too. Humans have genuine biological belly buttons where the umbilical cord was cut. Humanoids do not have those.
- Does life automatically proof consciousness/sentience? Does a bacteria have as much as consciousness as a human being has? Does a humanoid robot has any less consciousness than a bird?
There is no actual proven correlation between life and sentience. A human being can be in a vegetated state and still be considered life. The level of sentience in non mammalian beings is not yet fully discovered. Some hypothesize that there is no sentience in the micro-organic level, but there is no hard and fast proof. Sentience in a bird, animal or human comes naturally from their neurological activity. Sentience in humanoid robots comes from third party programming of such sentience.
Now that brings us to the question - Are the transformers natural life forms or are they robots. If instead of humans creating robots, robotic beings naturally existed in the universe - what would be the difference?
- What is death? Can a life be brought back from death? If a bacteria had been 'set to work' after years later, can it be said that the bacteria had been given or generated with a life? Or was it not dead to begin with?
When the biological processes of self sustainment end permanently it is death. Many microorganisms have the ability to hibernate. That is at certain temperatures they go dormant. The life processes are not stopped but they experience a pause, until they can be restored. Theoretically, cryogenic freezing can create such dormancy in all forms of life. Biological life forms also experience near death where the functions appear to have temporarily stopped to mimic death, but its more like a stalled car - it kicks up again randomly. Based on these known theories life can potentially be brought back after death if the functions can be replicated to resume as once before. Practically, it is not known if it can be done.
That brings us to wonder about Darth Vader - where does the conscience reside. Anakin Skywalker was literally burned in the volcano at Mustafar. The Emperor Palpatine reconstructed him with cybernetic limbs, and body sustaining suit. In a sense he was half man half machine brought to life from near certain death. Where did his conscience come from? His brain and neurological system were damaged in the volcano, and were artificially sustained - where do the feelings he has for his children Luke & Leia come from.
Does conscience reside in the force rather than the being?
- Is taking/ending a life intentionally morally wrong? Or is it only applicable for some particular form of life, and not others? Is taking the life of a goat any different from taking the life of a human being? Is taking the life of a virus any different from taking the life of a cow? (Please refrain from making any religious-oriented comment, for this point at least - let's discuss it from purely ethical perspective). Is hunting morally wrong?
There is no hard and fast rule that works for life and interaction of life in the earth and the universe. The earth is large biosphere, a sustainable ecosystem. This sustainable ecosystem consists of varied beings in different levels of the food chain. Sometimes taking a life is part of sustaining the ecosystem. I do not think humans or animals know exactly when it is detrimental to the ecosystem. However, taking life in good faith for utilitarian reasons of the ecosystem cannot be wrong.
However, taking life without caring for the adverse effects it may have on the ecosystem can be wrong as it creates an imbalance that risks the entire system. Humans have been known to make this mistake a lot. A carnivorous animal hunts only when it is hungry. It hunts and eats to sustain itself. A carnivorous animal will not hunt because its fun. A carnivorous animal does not hunt to display the creatures it can kill. A carnivorous animal does not hunt because it will look pretty in fur or make great accessories. A carnivorous animal will not kill other carnivores to eliminate competition. They act only as nature intended. Humans on the other hand hunt for all the wrong reasons. Hunting in itself is not morally wrong. Many primitive human tribes still hunt for sustainment. Average human meat consumption is natural, but as they say gluttony is a sin and excessive consumption of anything is wrong.
If a person was extremely hungry, he may hunt a goat, a tiger or a human if he may to feed himself. I am not morally against cannibalism. The only reason we frown upon cannibalism is because mother nature equips most species with species preservation except under dire circumstances. We do not turn on our own kind. Simple as that. So hopefully, a hungry person can find a goat to hunt and kill. I find hunting of animals and humans to make pretty displays and accessories pretty equally wrong. But again species sustainment. If you have to wear boots make them alligator boots rather than go all Ed Gein and decorate your house with human leather. Killing humans out of jealousy, anger, rage or fun of it is wrong. So if someone killed a goat because you were jealous or angry at it - then its wrong too. But seriously - why were you jealous of the goat? What did it do.
- Is eating meat, fish, etc wrong as a life had to be slaughtered or killed down (unless, of course, one is feeding on a dead animal's remains)?
No. See above.
- Do plants/trees have consciousness? We do know they have life, what we do not know is if their consciousness is on the same level as animals'? Do they feel the equal amount of pain when they are cut off, or a part of them had been torn off? Is eating fruits and vegetables wrong?
No its not wrong absolutely. See my explanation on ecosystems and sustainment.
Plants are conscious, but the existence of conscience is debated. Many people claim that talking to their flowers/vegetables make them grow better. Some people raise their insectivorous plants like animal pets. Trees also communicate like animals. When there is an infestation of a fungus or tree boring insect beginning, the trees secrete chemicals to warn the forest and the remaining trees build up chemicals to fight the infestations.
That brings us to The Happening. Maybe humans will not go crazy suicidal, but it is not impossible that the trees decide to go all cuckoo on us and secrete toxic chemicals. Within plants is the most complex chemical factories that humans can only dream of imitating. They produce many natural insecticides, herbicides, healing compounds. They have been observed to develop new compounds to counter new threats. Its not far fetched that they combat humans some day. The ents will go to war.
- Do microbes have consciousness, too? Are we not murdering millions of microbes every time we breathe in?
Status of their conscience is unknown. They lack a neurological system, so I doubt that they have one. Plants have neurological systems so they may have conscience.
If we are concerned of harm of that level. We might as well as stop breathing and kill ourselves.
- Is using insecticides wrong? When a mosquito sits on your arm, should you just 'shoo!' it away; will slapping and killing it be wrong? Is putting poisons used for killing rats, cockroaches, etc wrong as well? Should we walk one step and look below after every alternative seconds to see if any ant had been killed by being stepped on our foot?
Its all about sustainability. See when I walk I might avoid a tadpole or an earthworm. My dog simply walks and squishes all beings. I doubt if giraffes and elephants look that far down to prevent squish damage. Even the benign cow kills a few flies and mosquitoes with the tail. So I think its natural for some creatures to be squished. Collateral damage.
Even with rodents and insects some death is natural. I'm terrified of insects and cannot kill spiders and such. My cats kill spiders and bugs that enter all the time. I don't complain. But I get angry with my cat Lucky and stop talking to her when she kills the field mice. We live close to corn fields, and in open country field rodents are common. They are such adorable puny little things that if one comes in the house we capture them and release them in the fields. But try telling my cat that. She is such a b**ch to them. So I guess even if we don't use repellents and killers - its but natural.