Inter-species relationships

When it comes to sci-fi/fantasy, what exactly is the morality involved in having one character fall in love with a character of another species? For instance, the old Sonic the Hedgehog cartoons (and the comic based on it) had as Sonic’s main love interest the ground squirrel Sally. I think this is morally problematic, though I suppose since the idea of such creatures is fiction then the author has the right to make up his own “rules” to some extent. (Worth noting: the Sonic GAMES have never had an actual inter-species romance.)

I originally thought of this question regarding cartoons, video games, etc. featuring anthropomorphic animals, but I think it could also apply to sci-fi that includes not-quite-human aliens (Star Trek being the best example).

On second thought… :confused: Is this maybe a little too esoteric to post here? I’m guessing that a large number of people will not know/care what I’m talking about. :shrug: Oh, well. If you’re not interested, bail out now–I go on like this for another couple paragraphs (Sorry! :blush: ).

I notice that in most of these scenarios, the inter-species couples rarely have children. Nearly anytime you meet someone’s parents, they’re both the same species. On the other hand, when you do see an inter-species couple with kids, sometimes you end up with hybrids (Mr. Spock and a laundry list of Star Trek characters, as well as Donkey and Dragon in the Shrek movies). Other times you get kids that inhert their species from one parent like any other single trait, not unlike hair or eye color (The Sonic Comic for example…again)

The latter case makes me think that in these cases you can lump all anthropomorphs together as one species. More like zoomorphic humans (humans with animal features) than anthropomorphic animals (animals with human features). And while I’ve seen human-alien pairs, I’ve never seen a human-anthro mix.

Do they have rational souls?

This is one of those questions that I’m not going to bother with until the situation actually arises. And I think it was Carl Sagan who said (and I don’t remember the exact wording), “You’d have a better chance mating with a daffodil than with an extraterrestrial.”

I’m a sci-fi fan, and I think you’re on the right track when you say that all anthromorphs can be lumped together as one species. Especially when you’re dealing with cartoon characters. (Though I can’t picture Yogi Bear dating anybody but another bear!)

It gets slightly more problematic when you’re talking about movies & books. People pay serious attention to new ideas from those quarters, for example the Star Trek bridge being used as a model for some real life ship. Science fiction both warns against future trends and accustoms us to new ideas, so you have to be careful what you’re presenting as normal.
Humans and aliens intermarrying are not a problem, since aliens are mostly symbols for “people different from us”. If they ever start presenting humans and dolphins, or apes or whatever, we should sit up and take notice.

That’s probably because not all species are likely to be genetically compatible, which opens up another can of worms with regards to Catholic theology. If two characters of different species know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that they cannot procreate together, would they be forbidden to marry? Or would they be allowed, because God can work miracles/they can consummate, etc?

From what I recall of Star Trek (having watched TOS, TNG, and about a 1/3 of DS9 as of now), this wasn’t ever really touched on. And it appeared that it didn’t occur to writers that there would be a problem…I have a feeling the thought process was "both characters are humanoid, so sure it’ll work!). There’s Spock, that you mentioned, and I remember Klingon/Human and Romulan/Human mixes, and of course Betazoid/Human. Lots of mixes with lesser known species, too, TNG seemed to do it a lot, with a throw away line about how so and so’s father or mother was a certain species.

I don’t see how it would be considered wrong in the Trek universe, where things are very black and white, male and female…you have one of each from sentient species, throw them together, and voila. No problem. I find the “aliens” in Trek to be entirely human in thought process/personality/etc.

On the other hand, in a place like the Farscape universe, I could see it being less clear cut and grey (one of the many reasons why I prefer Farscape :smiley: The aliens have actual alien mind-sets and culture, many do not look humanoid, gender roles are rarely clearly defined (gender itself is sometimes in question), and they made it a point to establish that not all species are compatible - and when they are, sometimes it’s only sexual compatibility (the Nebari and apparently every other species in the galaxy), and not genetic compatiblity (Nebari and Luxans cannot reproduce together, but Humans and Sabaceans can, as well as Sabaceans and Luxans…Delvians were intended to be genetically compatible with most species).

So taking that along with Catholic teaching (and putting aside other immorality issues that were going on) - when Chiana (Nebari) and D’Argo (Luxan) discovered that they were genetically incompatible, should they have broken off their relationship then and there? Were John (human) and Aeryn (Sabacean), totally okay because they were able to produce a child, even though they were of different species, and the Sabaceans are a society with values and a structure earth would find alien and far different from our own?

Like “Planet of the Apes”?

it is probably best if they just agree to be good friends

I always assumed it would be considered beastiality. Burn the xenos scum!

To be Unclean, That is the Mark of the Xenos
To be Impure, That is the Mark of the Xenos
To be Abhorred, That is the Mark of the Xenos
To be Reviled, That is the Mark of the Xenos
To be Hunted, That is the Mark of the Xenos
To be Purged, That is the fate of the Xenos
To be Cleansed, For that is the fate of all Xenos!

An ep in the last season of ST-TNG explained that many of the humanoid-producing planets had been DNA-seeded intentionally by a race of proto-humanoids. So we were all cousins after all.

Actually, this was covered in the original Star Trek. Spock made reference to an alien race that had seeded our galaxy with humans. In the 1950s, there were SF authors who had human alien races and who had nonhuman alien races. From a story-telling point of view, human aliens were easier to work with and for the reader to relate to.

God bless,

I have no doubt such relations would be immoral. Unfortunately that would entice many of our anti-authoritarian brothers and sisters attracted to it. It would be just another lifestyle choice.
I can see them now, walking down the street with their child tethered to a leash and collar. It might become a keeping up with the Jonese’s situation.

England has started interspecies hybridization research. If successful, We may actually see the reality of such unGodly behavior in the future. I would say it would be impossible, but sixty years ago who would have imagined the aimless blade of science would slash the pearly gates with the developement of test tube babies,genetic engineering, and cloning.

It reminds me of the nephilim in the bible. Maybe that’s why so much of humanity is so disordered.

But if both species are sentient humanoids, and have souls, wouldn’t it be more akin to a mixed race relationship, and not bestiality (your collar and leash comment)?

I’ve watched a lot of sci-fi in my life, and I cannot recall any instance of a human character having a relationship with an animal-like species (haven’t seen Planet of the Apes on purpose, but from what I’ve gathered, the Apes have developed into human-like creatures. It’s not man mating with apes as we know them).

I can’t imagine anything more boring than a real or fictitious relationship in which the partners can’t talk to each other, and one is always emptying out the litterbox.

I don’t think the moral issue is really interspecies relationships.

The moral issue is whether or not the offspring of such a couple can be conceived without resorting to whatever future version there might be of invitro fertilization. I seem to recall that Star Trek makes some mention (maybe in NextGen or DS9?) that interracial couples can generally not ‘interbreed’ without help.

I mean, a human might have more in common genetically with a horse than with a Vulcan, a Klingon, a Romulan, or a Betazoid. That part about an alien race seeding all the planets wasn’t very clear as to whether it was just the humanoids affected or if all animal life was affected.

Well, they had to throw that in because of the original ST having Spock with no explanation at all.

How about Larry Niven’s Ringworld? There’s a variety of related humanoid species some of whom can interbreed and some can’t. Sometimes mating with non-compatible species is done deliberately as a form of birth control, i.e., as a way of getting some w/ no consequences.

I’ve made it a personal policy never to have relations with any other species. I just wouldn’t feel right about it. “Catholic guilt” I guess. :smiley:

I would guess that if the creature in question is rational, able to form morals and create children with us, then my opinion is that it would not be a sin to marry such a creature.(sorry can’t use the term human and being sounds too godlike)

What would be interesting is how God revealed himself to each culture. I don’t think that alien races would be ignorant of faith. If such creatures could exist they would all be created by the same God, so they would be under the same natural laws as we humans are.

So, if some young Klingon warrior and I fell madly in love and married, we would not be sinning. Of course, considering that StarTrek the Next Generation has made Klingon sex seem a bit violent, I would probably not survive the honeymoon. But I wouldn’t be guilty of sinning by attempting to have conjugal relations with my new hubby.:blush:

Pretty funny thread if you ask me… You people are talking like you are serious…hehehehe:D

YOu mean I can’t one day learn to make Gagh-a plate of wiggling worms- one day for my Klingon hubby? :stuck_out_tongue:

Actually, you’ve just wandered into a thread manned by nerds. There seems to be a lot of us on this forum.:smiley:

A good point. I have a similar line of reasoning ready to use if I ever run into any anti-miscegenationists: God’s will can be determined at least partially from what happens in nature.

Are matings between dogs and cats (if the cats would ever stand still for such a thing) fruitful? No. Then it must not be God’s will for dogs and cats to breed together.

Are matings between members of two different human groups fruitful? Yes. Are the children normal or defective? Actually, through the process of hybrid vigor the children are usually superior to their parents. Then inter-racial marriage must be included in God’s will.

Would a mating between humans and ETs produce viable offspring? Probably not–see my comment in post #3. But if the answer is yes, and if the two parties could be united in a sacramental marriage, then I don’t think there would be a problem.

Yeah, Pyropam, this is a silly discussion. But sometimes speculation and silly discussions are good for you :stuck_out_tongue:

Yeah. Would you believe I thought this was too esoteric a topic?

Sorry about taking a while to get back; I don’t get online much. Dang dialup:mad: …

This actually brings up a pretty interesting question. Several, in fact.

Suppose there are aliens on other worlds. Does the Genesis fall affect them, too? I’d guess not, since they’re not descendants of Adam and Eve.

Supposing they were somehow fallen, would Christ’s sacrifice (once and for all, accoding to the Bible) affect their salvation, or would He have to visit their worlds too (like Aslan in Narnia)?

Now suppose there were multiple sentient/sapient species on earth. Further assume that you can’t lump them all as one species (or that you can lump together all but humans). Would the Genesis fall affect them? Was there a pair in line behind Adam and Eve to take a bite of the fruit?

Perhaps anthros were originally unfallen, but their fall was the result of temptation by already-fallen humans?

What species would Christ have chosen? The question makes me uncomfortable (sounds almost like blasphemy:confused: ). Does it matter? (I’d guess sheep, for “Lamb of God” if humans are unavailable)

Would only individuals of His species (humans, if the fictional universe includes them) be allowed to be priests, just as Catholic teaching requires that only a man (not a woman) may act in persona Christi?

And if all anthros could be lumped together (Anybody got a better way of phrasing that, BTW?), just how do direct descendants of a single pair end up looking like foxes, rabbits, hedgehogs, etc.? CS Lewis had Aslan (Christ) create talking animals from ordinary animals. I guess the creation story in such a fictional universe wouldn’t have to be exactly like the real-world version.

Also, where do non-anthro animals fit into things? For example, Sonic Adventure 2 had three different types of bat: Rouge, regular bats, and those gumdrop-shaped Chao Garden bats.

Perhaps the best answer is simply to let the author invent his own rules for the world and just accept them in the context of whichever fictional universe.

Sorry about going on so long… I’m just excited that anyone besides me actually took an interest.:smiley: Yay for nerds!

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit