Sunday, April 25, 2010

Thoughts for Science

Another subject that has come up a lot this semester is the fact that quite rapidly, that which was once science fiction is quickly becoming actual science. Perhaps not as fast as some authors rashly predicted, but genetic alterations, robots, and cryonics are now a thing of the present even if they aren't yet mainstream. The result has been mass opposition and endless debates over the morality of things like stem-cell research and cloning, and a significant conservative backlash to some of the paths science is taking. Now, whether or you or I personally agree with this that or the other, I think that I can safely say that opposition of any kind, whether they end up being right or not, is in fact a good thing. It is good for people to argue against and reasonably debate the things that many scientists are doing. Why do I say this is a good thing? Because whether or not cryonics or cloning is morally wrong, scientists must sometimes be made to stop and consider the moral implications of what they are doing. And that will only happen if people offer arguments against them. So whether stem cell research ends up saving countless millions of lives or is simply the first step down a long slippery slope ending in human beings as crops (or both), I am just glad that people are stopping to consider the ramifications and proceed cautiously. I think Ian Malcolm put it best in a Sci-Fi movie about the dangers of rashly cloning long extinct dinosaurs..."Yeah well, your scientists were so focused on whether they could, they never stopped to think if they should!"

Strange Bedfellows

Something that has always been on my mind, throughout freshman year in my FDR class, through science classes and religion classes a like, is this odd relationship that science and religion have. There are two schools of thought on this. One of which is that science and religion can't really co-exist, the other is that well, they can. Throughout the study of science fiction, i haven't had this question come up. Why ? Because the science fiction I've seen/read has moved past this question. I'm finding it really interesting to explore the ways in which God, or this higher power is manifest in various things I've watched or seen that are sci-fi, and that's the topic that my paper is exploring...

Till Later.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Evil may be stronger than good...

Science + Religion Today has an interesting article on the physiological effects of good and evil. Since the notion of good vs. evil pervaded much of the course I thought that this was worth sharing!
Performing good deeds (or just thinking about doing them) helps us perform better on tests of physical endurance and willpower, new research suggests. But doing evil things make us even stronger.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Matrix Alternate Ending

If you think about it Neo was faced with a false dichotomy. When, in reality, he had three or more choices. Now why didn't I think of that!


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Arguments Against Immortality

IO9 has once again posted something that connects with recent discussions in class, this time offering four arguments against immortality.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Ethics on the Island

I am writing my paper on morality and ethical issues raised on LOST. Unfortunately I'll have to finish this paper before the series ends, so some of my theories may end up being wrong...but by and large so far LOST has maintained that the lines between good and evil are not clearly drawn. There are some decisions made by the characters that are flat out perceived as wrong on the show (such as Ben's sacrifice of his daughter for the greater good, or Sayid's attempt to kill Ben as a child to prevent him from committing atrocities later in life). However, a significant portion of my paper is going to be on the simple inability to distinguish the good from the bad on the Island, much as real life is like. I have been pleasantly surprised to find this theme ongoing with every new episode that airs, since the "good" side fighting against the supposedly evil monster nevertheless do a number of things that cannot be seen as right by any means (such as the sacrifice of innocent bystanders). It appears that LOST is attempting to capture the human condition and the confusion that occurs when you aren't sure if you're fighting for the right side. This makes alot of sense to me...after all, the evil of someone like Hitler is purely hindsight, since at the time he was followed by millions of people, many of which were good people. But, as was famously pointed out, the best lie is the one that is 99% true. I am very very curious to find out who, if anyone, holds the key to the whole truth in LOST.

Is Creativity Valuable?

If we lived in a future in which we all had the same or similar capacities to do all tasks (i.e. being able to download languages at will, able to do complex math mentally, able to lift heavy objects...etc.), I would like to think that jobs would be divvied out according to who had a passion for which job. Even if person A and person B are "equally qualified" to be editors, for example, if person A is more excited about editing, then it seems that he/she is best for the job b/c of the likelihood of creative ideas arising from that passion. Person A and person B might have identical GPAs, the same schooling, the same test scores...etc., but person A seems slightly more qualified to me b/c of wanting to apply the essence of his/her being to the workplace. That is what makes individuals unique--creativity.

It should be mentioned that by creativity, I am not referring to artistic ability necessarily. I think some people excel in creativity in developing sports strategies(think about how Butler was able to take on Duke), engineering (practical solutions to practical problems [maybe why a bridge is collapsing or why a certain computer command is ineffective] often arise b/c of a creative mind), teaching (being the first person to make learning fun for a student)...etc. I think creativity is something essential to being human. Maybe it is expressed in varying degrees in different people, but more often than not, I think that people who claim to have no creativity in anything simply haven't discovered their strengths yet.

I worry that creativity is undervalued these days, though, b/c as a nation, as an economy, we're more concerned about gross domestic product, not just in goods but in people. We want babies to be "Baby Einsteins" b/c we want them to be get have a head-start in school and thus a head-start in the job market. After all, why else do we go to school anymore except to be on the track to a career? People always say that there are serious problems w/ the school system, the economy...etc., but I think that ultimately if people are affirmed for their individualities--the areas in which they are creative and therefore unique--we might fix some of those problems.

Legal Limits

One of the questions brought up today in class is whether there should be legal limits to advancing, improving, and extending humans and their life. One example was if it should be legal to replace someone's heart simply because it would make them a better athlete, or make them stronger. I do think that there needs to be some type of regulation to control these types of actions. If one is allowed to infinitely enhance themselves or others, then things would no doubt get out of control. What would be stopping people from creating "superhumans"? I feel that our humanity would suffer greatly. While I personally hope that we do not reach a point where we need these certain laws to prevent these things from happening, certain laws would definitely be necessary to regulate enhancing a human's life.

Extended Life

What if one day technology allowed us to live a longer life?

Would this be a good thing? In my opinion this would not be good. As mentioned in a blog before mine, no one wants to die. But dying, I believe is what is best for all of humanity. This is because many problems would stem from living longer lives. For instance just to name a few (I can think a lot!): over population, decreased natural resources, increased disease, increased antibiotic resistance, and increased poverty (or division b/n 3 social classes).

My main concern is towards humanity. If people are able to live longer, yes they do in fact get to cheat death for a little bit longer, but the repercussions of this longer life span might actually wipe out humanity at a faster rate. If the world runs out of resources or disease runs rampant, then more people are going to be wiped out faster than anyone can reproduce.

Ironically, the attempt to extend humanity would ultimately wipe it out.

Technology, Humans, and the Future

Interesting topic we're discussing right now in class.... Technology can certainly make life better for humans. The topic at hand is replacing organic/biological systems in the body such as the kidney, liver, etc, with man-made ones... This certainly would fix a lot of health problems, however this raises a lot of serious ethical issues as well... At what point during the process of replacing organs does one cease to be human ?

Think about it for a second. You look like a regular human being. You think like a regular human being. But you have all mechanical 'innards.' So, are you really human ? What happens to the soul, the essence of what it means to be human ?

When I think about being human, I think about our 'mortality.' At some point, we must cease to exist. It's part of being human. It must occur in the natural order of things. Supplementing humans with artificial cells and organs would disrupt this 'natural' order of things, thereby supplanting the core essence of what it means to be human...

Limits on Life?

Today, we've discussed living for hundreds of years. Would we really want to live that long? Someone mentioned the current overpopulation problem we have in the world. I would imagine that it would continue to be a problem if we lived for hundreds of years instead of just living for 70-80 years. But what would we really need in order to live so much longer than we do now? Would we need some type of physical regeneration capability? How will we fight off cancer or other diseases? Could our economy survive if we lived longer? Would we have enough natural resources to sustain our growing society? This topic really makes me think. No one wants to die, but what if dying is what is best for us?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Repo men

I don’t know how many people have seen the new movie Repo Men but it brings up some really interesting points that we have been talking about in class. At the very end the movie it revealed that main character is actually died for more than half of the movie. It turns out that the main character was put into a dream like state after losing significant amount of his brain. This man is really against technology but is forced in to state because his friend feels bad for accidentally killing him. The question is how bad is it if this man has no clue what is going on? He is happy in this dream like state but if he knew the truth he would be very angry. Some people might think that this man might be better off in dream like state than died but I do not agree because he would never have gone along with this in life. However I do not have anything against people if technology was possible who might choose to go into this dream like state. I believe that people should be able to choose their own path of death.

Monday, April 19, 2010


I'm going to out myself as a complete nerd here, but oh well. I am an avid player of an MMORPG (massively multi-player online role playing game for all you non-nerds) called World of Warcraft (or WoW for short). In WoW, and I am sure other MMOs as well, the issue of what is real already has started to come up, although not to the extreme that we discussed in reference to the Matrix. When talking in game or on forums and blogs that discuss WoW we use the term IRL (in real life) to indicated when we are talking about something that happens outside of game. For example a common use of this might be that a person's character is female but they tell you that they are male IRL (for some reason this usually doesn't happen the other way around though). However I often wonder how experiences in WoW are not "real." Now obviously the pictures on the screen are simulated and I did not actually just single handedly defeat 5 nefarious conspirators in the physical world. However the people I regularly have contact with either through text or voice chat are real people. I put real time, effort, and even research into playing the game and achieving the things that I want to achieve. I have both negative and positive experiences that produce real emotions. In that sense playing an MMO in a virtual space is real, just like playing a board game is real. However where I do think the line can get blurry at points is when people put too much importance on events that happen in game. People get genuinely outraged when something they don't like happens to them in game. They seem to think that this will somehow affect their everyday lives. That is where I think the danger lies in virtual reality. As we develop technology that enables us to experience these things in a more immersive manner I think that it will be harder and harder to distinguish between what really matters in the "real world" and what happens in the virtual one.

Sentient Beings

What defines a sentient being? What makes something or someone real or unreal?

Popular films such as The Matrix and I, Robot explore these topics. However, just watching the film only skims the surface. One has to dip into the film and explore these topics more in depth.

The definition of sentient is

having the power of perception by the senses; conscious.
characterized by sensation and consciousness.

Both of these definitions can apply to The Matrix and I, Robot. For example all the humans that are unknowingly following the matrix are conscious and perceive sensations. Just as the proitronic robots in I, Robot are conscious and can follow their own wills.

Knowing this, does that classify the humans within the matrix and the proitronic robots as sentient beings? If so, do we have to redefine the definition of sentient to make the adjective only apply to us, humans, or when the times comes will we have to broaden the term and open our minds to the possibility that a machine we created can become a living, "breathing", sentient being?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Old School SciFi

As I research my final term paper, I realize how science fiction is not a modern concept. Most people think "Science Fiction" and associate it with the ScyFy channel, Star Trek, Star Wars, and aliens. But science fiction writing dates back into the 1800s. I am rereading Mary Shelley's Frankenstein for my term paper and although the language definitely gives the time period away, the story itself is timeless and indistinguishable from the science fiction films conjured in the past 50yrs. Can anyone give me more examples of early science fiction writing or maybe your favorite science fiction writing and why it's worth reading?

Post-Human Humans, Star Trek ?

A lot of futuristic things I come across tend to be a bit scary... including things from the 1950s.. I mean, back then, people thought we would be driving in space cars, and wearing clothing that looks like it's straight out of the Jetsons... of course, none of this stuff ever came true.

And, like I thought after I read the first paragraph of Monday's reading, I was a bit unnerved. To think that Earth would one day become a society of advanced people that essentially created 're-creations' of their former ancestors to see what they're like is rather disturbing..

Let's think about this, and the philosophy of the mind for a second... If they were created, could we accept them as sentient beings ? Would they have the memories of our former selves, and the feelings that go along with them ? Are the computers that are being discussed powerful enough to do that ?

I don't feel that we'll get that far... Nor do I think we need to... Why, you might ask ? Well, if we create our former selves, we might run into the problem we see in the Star Trek episode, where Cmdr. Data's 'right to choose' is being discussed. Lt Cmdr Riker seems to think that the gentleman who wants to take Data away has ulterior motives (ultimately attributing them to slavery...)

What could become of these 'former selves' ? Could we use them to influence the future ? to change the course of history ? What if the 'post-humans' decide to conjur up the founding fathers of our country ? This is something that has enormous implications to everyone, everywhere...

Friday, April 16, 2010

What religion could look like

To expand upon what I said in class, I have a vision in my head of what the distant future might be like. Admittedly this vision depends upon a host of technological and social variables that I cannot begin to predict, but I'm going to go with it anyway. In my imaginary future humanity has begun a large scale colonization project, planting new communities on dozens of different planets. I imagine that human culture in general, as far as we have shared culture from planet to planet through shared ideas or media, will be largely secular, perhaps with a vague notion of spirituality. This of course assumes no alien religious influence. However I think that there could be places, or even whole planets, where people from a particular religious group decide to live in community together. Perhaps some would completely renounce the larger, secular culture, but I think that others would simply see it as a way to live in community with each other and put their ideals into practice. In all likely hood I have this vision because I am Mennonite and finding our own little planet to live together in community seems like something that Mennonites would be all over. Now the question becomes, would I want to live there? In many ways I think it would be nice, however living with nothing but Mennos might make me want to pull my hair out eventually. I think that if technology allowed for widespread media, communication, and relatively easy travel from planet to planet I would definitely want to live there. However, if technology was such that we were very isolated I think I would think twice about it.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A definite intersection of Sci-fi and Religion....

A Bulba! Pillows and all....

Although this clip involves five of the possibly least informed and obnoxious people (The View, and Heidi Montag)...I think that it exhibits the relevance, and contentiousness of religion in modern society. I think it also shows the varying opinions and shifting role of religion, particularly in schools.

Some thoughts on LOST

Here are a couple of things I noticed after watching last nights episode:

Hugo was the 1st person who met MIB to speak before MIB did. I am not exactly sure what this means, but everyone who let MIB speak first did not fare to well.

We know nothing about Desmond's childhood and we don't know anything about his parents. We know a little bit about every ones family or childhood, but not Desmond's. It would be nice to have an episode that looks at his early childhood.

Since when is trusting Michael a good idea?? He murdered Libby and Ana Lucia, but all of the sudden Hugo has his full confidence in what Michael is telling him. I am just very skeptical of Michael as he has appeared again out of nowhere and he has always made his own self-interests happen at the expense of others.

Desmond seems to be the most confident man in the world in both the Original timeline and the flash-side ways timeline. Everything he is doing seems to be crystal clear and makes sense to him and I think that is because he can see the connection between both time lines and is the messenger between the two. As you all probably suspect, Desmond is going to play a huge role down the stretch here.

Desmond probably hit Locke in the FST because to experience the original timeline you must experience a near death experience or to feel love. Locke has now had his near death experience and now he will probably be taken to Jack's hospital where he will be the doctor that takes care of Locke. Desmond's goal in the FST seems to be to connect everyone in the FST to themselves in the OT.

I am so glad Desmond is back in the mix, he is such an intriguing and interesting character.

See ya in another life brother.

C&T...and religion

I have to say that I am excited to have read some non-Christian religious sci-fi at last (although, I suppose if you count Orson Scott Card...). It seems that most of the short stories we've read up until this point have come out of a largely Christian-informed tradition, even though the authors themselves might not have been religious. I thought "On Venus, Have We Got a Rabbi" was playfully satiric. There's a mix of asking serious questions about preserving tradition amid societal and technological changes and also the Jewish tradition of arguing over an issue in order to seek clarity. The latter is treated somewhat humorously in this story b/c of the idea of "brown lumpy pillows" w/ grey tentacles wishing to be Jewish.

Well, this got me thinking about change and tradition w/in my own faith in the future. Orthodoxy is a faith that is very resistant to change...and that's putting it lightly. There is controversy in Bulgaria even now about whether or not a bishop should be in his position until his death or whether he is allowed retirement. There is controversy in some American churches as to whether or not guide dogs should be allowed in church for blind parishioners (there is a church canon that declares dogs "unclean"). But I often wonder if Orthodoxy has changed as little as it has claimed. Is it just a front that it puts up in order to maintain stability? If Orthodoxy were to change at all, I think it would continue to deny that it had changed. There is a joke in Orthodox communities-- A layperson asks, "How many Orthodox bishops does it take to change a lightbulb?" And a church father responds, flabberghasted, "Change?!"

If I foresee any changes w/in the Orthodox church in the near or far future, it would be a breaking down of ethnic boundaries. As of rigt now we have defined Bulgarian, Romanian, Antiochian, Russian, Coptic, Greek, Ukrainian, Ethiopian, Macedonian...etc. Personally, I hope for greater and more profound changes w/in the church, particularly a movement toward the acceptance of "spiritual" individuals over "religious" individuals, b/c the latter seems to emphasize rules and dogma over individuals and their varied needs. I will end w/ a favorite quote of mine--"Religion is for people afraid of going to Hell. Spirituality is for those who have already been there."

Exploring Topics

Today I begin research for my term paper. However, where should I start?

Over the period of this course many topics have arisen. Such as Lost (which I am literally lost in, I have never seen an episode and feel as if it is too late to jump on the bandwagon of faithful watchers), Star Trek again a topic that I am not up to date on, and various Sci Fi t.v. shows that have been cancelled despite their faithful followers tuning in every weeknight to get his or her fix.

With so many topics that I am unfamiliar with, picking a topic might prove to be difficult. However the broad arena of Science fiction allows me to have room to explore. Which brings me to a possible topic. Since I am very uneducated in the field of science fiction, perhaps I can write about how, despite the fact I am not a faithful follower, I still know a handful of information about cult shows such as Star Trek and Star Wars. This reminds me of the article that was about Star Trek's impact on the general populace. I could explore how one show that preaches a positive future for humankind can become bigger than the tv that shows it every Monday night.

I need your help though. If Star Trek or Star Wars has impacted you or a friend in any way, share the impact with me! This way, I can explore how one show can be considered to be beacon light for a large mass of people.

Monday, April 12, 2010


While discussing Prometheus in class today, I had a hard time getting the thought of this cartoon from my childhood out of my head. Yes, it really isn't related to Prometheus in the manner in which we're discussing him, but I still think some might get a kick out of this.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


In reading article about the balance between the force I came to thinking about the whole concept of good and evil. In Star Wars Darth Vader brings balance to the force because the good were getting to powerful and in fact they were starting to become a bit corrupt. There is no way to not have good without evil. If there was no evil there would be nothing to compare good to. I have always like movie more when there is not happy ending. Movies where nobody wins have I always appeal to me more than when good always triumph because it is more realistic. It is easier in Star Wars movies to identify with the Darth Vader because he was innocent in the beginning of it. If you think about it the Jedi were using him because they know how powerful he was going to become not because they wanted to help him. In fact they tell him to forget about his mother and move on. We see a turn in him when his own mother dies which is not that surprising because his mother just died and they are telling him to suppress his feelings. My question is how can Jedi protect people if they have no human feeling. This brings me to earlier conversation in class that we had about robots and we decided that robots cannot have souls because they have no feelings. If a Jedi as no real feelings do they have souls?

Friday, April 9, 2010

Worship and Faith

Hi All,

On the subject of worship, what is worship, and who/what is deserving of said worship, I'd like to offer my $0.02 as well, and bring in one of my favorite [protestant] theologians, Paul Tillich as well.

Worship to me is an indescribable act. Ok, so that might be a little anti-climatic, no ? Alright, I'll attempt to describe why I feel it is so indescribable. Worship is not only a physical, but a mental, emotional, spiritual act or process which one shows or professes his undying/unfailing allegiance or faith towards a supreme being, or figure, or thing. It is indescribable, because the act for each person is different. What may be worship to one person may not necessarily be 'worship' to the next, even though it is. Worship, just like the American landscape is diverse. Through the spirituous AME churches of the south, to the orthodox nature of some churches in the Mid-West, to the charismatic worship of some in the western/coastal region. Its style varies greatly, even among different parishes of the same denomination. Contemporary/Charismatic/Traditional versions of the same Sunday service can be found at a lot of churches.

But worship need not occur always in a church. Worship is also a way to glorify something or someone. Some do this at home in private, in small groups, or with just another person. Worship can even be the act of planting flowers or trees. This can serve as a testament to the beauty of nature, the spirit of God, which is manifest in this plant, or tree, or flower.

Worship is a vessel by which we show our faith. Our ultimate faith in this person, or thing which we have summarily deemed worthy of our worship. But, this begs the question, what is faith ? When people often mention faith, they say things like, " I have faith in you, I have faith in the system, I have faith it will work." However, to use the term 'faith' in such a manner only dilutes it from is most beautiful context, that which describes the ultimate concern of a person. This is the way Tillich describes it in his book, "The Dynamics of Faith." He suggests that it is wrong to have 'faith (ultimate concern) in corporeal objects, or mere objects of mortal nature. That which is deserving of your faith, your ultimate concern is that 'higher power' in which we place our trust, our faith. It is that thing which demands from us our complete allegiance, our entire being, and our unfailing love.

It is for this reason, that no celebrity, or person, or thing is deserving of worship, but God, and God alone. For we can only truly worship the things we have true faith in, and the only thing we can truly have faith in is God.

On Venus, Have We Got A Rabbi

I just came across this radio program in which William Tenn reads his story (which we'll be reading for next Wednesday) "On Venus, Have We Got a Rabbi."

Cricket Metaphor

Do you think that the benevolent cricket would be any more worshipable if it were immortal?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

SG-1 and worship

Worship for me is hard to define. I am not very religious person so I never been a member of any organized religious group. When reading the article about the little people in twilight zone I instantly identified with the little people and not either group of astronauts. I identified with little people because I do not think I could really demand worship from anyone and I think if I was to worship something the reason might be more out of fear than actual love. When Craig starts to demand worship from the aliens it remained me of another show called Stargate SG-1. In the final season of Stargate there is a race of being called the Ori this particular race is more advanced than any of the humanoids on planet that SG-1 has explore before. However SG-1 chooses not to worship the Ori because the team knows the origin of the Ori and knows that they were once humanoids. Even though the Ori could easily kill any race that SG-1 has encounter they refuses to worship them because they were once beings similar to them. The Ori have ascended to a new level of concession that is only attainable to a few. Another group similar to the Ori is the ancients who come from the same origin of the Ori but do not really care about humans in the slightest. One thing that I have always wondered is what would if SG-1 do if they were to in counter a being that has been there since the test of time? SG -1 never bows down to the beings that pretend to be Gods because there is always a scientific explanation to how those beings got there. However would SG-1 bow down to being that had no origin that was always there and that knows everything or would they continue to look for scientific explanation or simply chose to ignore it?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A not-so benevolent demi-god...

OK, this one ties into today's discussion. Also, fans of Lost or Watchmen will probably find this amusing. Enjoy!


To Worship or Not to Worship?

That is the question...

Who or What is worthy of worship? Can worship be "falsely" assigned?

According to our discussion in class, in some cases worship can be misplaced, meaning that humans could wrongly worship a power. For example in the Twilight episode we watched as a psychopath tried to rule through terror and abuse.

This brings up another question. Can worship, done out of fear, really be defined as worship?

I believe that this form of worship is insincere and cannot fall under the category of the faithful. For someone to truly worship I believe that he or she or it actually needs to feel some sort of devotion. Throughout history there have been times when rulers have reigned with an iron fist. Man kind has fallen under these leaders for self preservation, but secretly there are rebellions. This example illustrates my point. While on the surface the population seemingly obeys, there is really dissension in their private lives.

Which brings me to my conclusion and definition:
Worship: The devotion one "shows" in the privacy of their mind.

I chose to define worship in this way, because people can show actions that are contradictory to what they are actually thinking. However the thoughts that play in the mind are usually the true feelings of that individual and therefore are the purest forms of an individuals beliefs.

Lost is starting to all make sense!

I was hoping for it sooner rather than later, but now all the flashbacks, flash-forwards, and present-flashes(?) are really beginning to make sense! Lost is beginning to reveal that it has been dealing not just with whether time travel is feasible or not, but jumping right into the question of if it's right or even desirable. still, they aren't approaching the question from a moral standpoint at all. rather, it seems to be a question of destiny and asking if there's a life we are supposed to lead and a future we are supposed to have. Which of course is now raising the question in this final season...what happens when we try to change our destiny? Challenging our destiny is of course usually portrayed as a good thing in media such as Star Wars where destiny is a future that should be fought against and changed. Lost, however, is approaching this negatively...this alternate timeline that they created to try and prevent everything horrible (i.e. ever even crashing on the island) from ever happening to them seems to be against the natural order of the universe. It's not yet clear how changing their present is going to impact the characters, but by and large they seem to be making the same choices they made the first time around. At this point I am really hoping for a clear statement from the creators of Lost. It doesn't have to make sense to everyone, but I just want the show to conclude by offering some clear vision that will leave viewers with an added dimension of perspective and at the very least something to ponder. I'll be ticked if it just cuts to a black screen (or a white one) :)

Monday, April 5, 2010

Robots and Aliens: Star Trek vs. Star Wars

Something interesting came to mind after watching the clip about Cmdr. Data on Star Trek the other day. I noticed that there was a good deal of controversy around his 'right to choose', and whether he possessed the ability to do so. It seems as if the creators of Star Trek deliberately chose to debate this subject, possibly hoping to project into the future the decision it came to when the show was written. Perhaps they saw something we didn't, I don't know.

However, what I do know is what happens in Star-Trek is something that people like Capt. Picard were trying to avoid. We see many R2D2's and mech-droids of all kinds serving in all kinds of positions, and ostensibly under human or 'sentient' being control. It does not seem to pose a problem at all for the people in Star Wars, so why does it have to be a big deal in Star Trek ?

Although Star Wars is interfused with religious intertitles (e.g. "Light/Dark" The Force/Dark Side), I feel it does not attempt to address such political or relevant issues that Star Trek attempts. I feel that's one of the reasons that makes Star Trek for me more appealing than Star Wars.

Some thoughts on the afterlife...

We talked today about whether immortality is something to be desired or if death would in fact be something that true immortals would envy. I honestly feel that a story such as Card's comes about from a generation of over-stimulated people constantly seeking the next new thing, which i would argue will make you bored (and addicted to 10 different things) before you hit 30, much less 150. I tend to view immortality more the way Tolkien presents it in his books (sorry for the non-sci-fi reference). In the Lord of the Rings, if they arent killed prematurely the race of Elves can live forever in joy and harmony with nature and are portrayed as the wisest of creatures in Middle Earth. So yes, in my present state and in this world i would certainly not want to live forever, and I fully sympathize with elderly people who often say it is their time to go. I do however hope for an eternity of peace and harmony where time, if it exists at all, is a joy...rather than a drag of constantly searching for the next new thing to entertain me.

Friday, April 2, 2010

How Would the Discovery of Alien Life Affect an Eastern Religion?

This article at Science + Religion Today seemed like it would be of interest to you. It looks at how an Eastern religion might respond to the discovery of extraterrestrial life.