John (Cavil) complains that his knowledge is limited by his human body, and that as a machine, he is entitled to have a more complete and better knowledge of the universe. But what he describes is not angelic knowledge; rather it is a greater perception of accidents--being able to see more of the EM spectrum, to smell dark matter, and so on. Not the knowledge of essences.
In her defense and defense of the others of the Final Five, Ellen tells Sharon Valeri that there is no need for remorse or blame. She explains to Boomer what they had given to the 8 models: "We didn't limit you. We gave you something wonderful: free will. The ability to think creatively, to reach out to others with compassion, to love."
Sharon responds: "Love? Who? Humans? Why would I want to do that? Who would I want to love?"
So machines can have intellectual knowledge, but not intellectual appetite? We shouldn't be surprised that the materialistic assumptions of BSG run counter to reality...