11

It may seem silly to ask and/or obvious to answer.

I can't recall exact episode titles I'm afraid, but when Deanna was pregnant, Data was assumed by Pulaski to be cold to the touch.

In contrast, the child in Pen Pal had no lines indicating this fact, and she of all witnesses would be likely to say he was cold, even if she had known prior to their meeting.

This might be inaccurate to the trek-lore of the androids but since there is mechanical functions working about him, perhaps, under my own personal theory, rather than typical human warmth upon his bioplasmic skin, he might have artificial warmth, like that of a surge protector of computer cords. Or maybe I am terribly wrong and there is none; rendering him cold like the surface of washing machines.

What causes this roller-coaster of debate is that during Ensigns of Command, his new friend, a woman, kissed him and later on, out of support, and she clearly enjoyed it. I think he has to have warmth. I can't imagine anyone having her expression kissing cold lips.

Anyway, I'd like some input on this. It's boggling my mind.

16

Human-normal. A Soong-Type android is designed to closely mimic the human body. This includes a regulated temperature, "fully-functional" anatomy, hair growth - even pumping bodily fluids and a pulse. Much of this was discussed in the TNG 2-part episode "Birthright."

Numerous members of the Enterprise crew, including those unfamiliar with Data, have had physical contact with the android and expressed no surprise at his skin temperature. As you mentioned, he was kissed by Ard'rian with no indication on her part that he was cold. He was also intimate with Tasha Yar, although her reaction (beyond embarrassment) was never seen on-screen. However, we have every indication that - physically, at least - the interaction was normal. In fact, all indications on-screen are that Data could pass for human if not for his golden skin & eyes.

As for Dr. Pulaski, it's important to note that the character is shown to have a certain hostility towards technology in general. Other comments by her have indicated that she thinks of Data as nothing more than a machine, a cold, emotionless robot. In essence, as Data is considered by Federation law to be his own "species", we could say that Pulaski is "speciesist" against him.

  • 2
    Small nitpick. The episode where Tasha and Data were intimate was the same where people were constantly "hot". Some even freezed to death in an attempt to cool themselves down. It is conceivable his cold touch would have been soothing, rather than alienating Tasha. Secondly, regarding Pulaski, she'd be considered speciesist rather than racist, as Data is a different species than humans, not a different race (a race is defined by (usually minor) phenotypical distinction, a species by it's (in)ability to interbreed with other species). – bitmask Mar 16 '15 at 14:46
  • @bitmask updated my answer to reflect your second point. – Omegacron Mar 16 '15 at 17:36
  • @bitmask: "Race" is commonly used in this way; "Klingon race", for example, gets thousands of Google-hits, and of course the phrase "the human race" is very common even in non-sci-fi contexts. – ruakh Mar 17 '15 at 4:23
  • I think you should note that Tasha (and Data) were the equivalent of drunk when they copulated. @bitmask Data was also affected by that "illness", so maybe he was overheating too. – 15742 Mar 17 '15 at 7:55
10

This small bit of dialog from Birthright Part 1:

BASHIR: You're breathing. 
DATA: Yes. I do have a functional respiration system. However, its purpose is to maintain thermal control of my internal systems. I am, in fact, capable of functioning for extended periods in a vacuum. 

We can directly know that Data's breath will have some heat to it, we can infer that his body will have some level of heat to it as well.

Furthermore:

BASHIR: Your creator went to a lot of trouble to make you seem human. I find that fascinating.

There is a constant thread of Data not being recognized as artificial. Some think he is weird but not outside the range of possible human looks. Soong, the perfectionist he is, would not overlook body temperature.

  • 1
    Wow, glad to see one simple question like this provides so much feedback. Thanks everyone! :) – RoseOfTheNight4444 Mar 18 '15 at 8:03

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