Technology is not neutral. Even equations and computer algorithms, which may initially appear cold and neutral, reflect the values and assumptions of the people and organizations that construct them.
Whatever our final conclusions about the death penalty may be, this sort of sloppy reasoning, which blurs standard categories like private and public, innocence and guilt, needs to be interrogated.
The path to sex robots may seem far-fetched, but it will begin with simple things that gradually normalize the notion of social robots in other areas of our lives. The goal of robotics should not be to mimic humans or to create human substitutes but to automate useful tasks that promote human and environmental flourishing.
There is a perception among some today that science is necessarily equated with progress because it is dedicated to advancing knowledge; but ethics is mostly about applying abstract ideals to questions whose answers should be clear to most people, and mostly just results leads to red tape and process-driven institutional review boards. If anything, for people who hold this view, the real purpose of “ethics” seems to be to impede science, progress and human flourishing.
I had believed that most people in positions of leadership, once they were well-informed scientifically, would work to make appropriate decisions for living rightly on Earth. If the science of life and the biosphere were understood, good decisions would be made. But I was wrong.
While issues such as slavery and racial difference have certainly been debated among Christians and their opponents, and even among themselves, nevertheless our basic humanity has always been a given. A given, that is, until now.