I think it's more along the lines of: yeah, it's easy to just say "it's absurd" when comparing Java code to a human being. But it wouldn't be so easy to brush off as obvious with an uber-advanced cyborg that looks and acts human to the point you can't tell the difference. At that point, you need to really break it down with some logical arguments as to what defines life or consciousness.
Good points. I'd also like to add that people anthropomorphize (take that, Google) almost everything we see. People see the Terminator as "alive" to some degree simply because it walks and talks like a human. We almost certainly see it as more "alive" on a subconscious level than a supercomputer many times more intelligent just because it can speak.