I'm almost done with the book.
I have a couple of questions I want to raise:
Why are animals held so sacred (as made evident by the use of dead animals in the empathy tests)? Is it because of Mercer or because of their rarity?
It seems to me that the personal animals everyone seems to have (on earth), is a status symbol more than anything.
The greater the disconnect between two living things the greater the lack of empathy. Hence, we really can't relate to plants -- it's why you don't see people crying when they mow the law.
Which brings me to my next point; androids, how can they be expected to empathize with anything living? They aren't even in the same biological kingdom. The disconnect is great, even greater than between humans and plants.
The morality of this entire thing: Taking care of an electric sheep is going to (if not known to be electric) is going to provide you with the exact same "sense of empathy" that a real sheep would.
What's more immoral: if I were to genetically engineer a being to be void of freewill, subservient, and not feel pain or build a similar being from the ground the up with electrical parts (keeping in mind they would think function and look the exact same way)?
Would androids feel empathy towards other electric things?
In a way we're programmed to feel upset (biochemically). The same could be said about the androids.
Also -- Empathy VS Logic. Androids wanted to escape mars for a reason. There's a great deal of importance in that. Is empathy truly what would save the human race (according to Mercer) or is it rational logic?