It sits there looking at me and I don't know what it is. This case has dealt with metaphysics with questions best left to saints and philosophers. I am neither competent nor qualified to answer those. I've got to make a ruling, to try to speak to the future. Is Data a machine? Yes. Is he the property of Starfleet? No. We have all been dancing around the basic issue. Does Data have a soul? I don't know that he has. I don't know that I have! But I have got to give him the freedom to explore that question himself. It is the ruling of this court that Lieutenant Commander Data has the freedom to choose.
— Star Trek: The Next Generation
by Gene Roddenberry