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Jason R.
Fri, Aug 28, 2020, 5:47am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Rapture

"I also think it should be clear by now that if I would need a knight it would a native american knight who is charging with his mighty sword drawn."

Native Americans didn't have swords. No metalworking.
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Jason R.
Wed, Aug 26, 2020, 7:46am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Rapture

@Booming I just think that our understanding of Ancient Greek religion based on a few greatest hits from their myth library is likely less accurate and representative than Worf's understanding of the Klingons based on his childhood experience being raised by a couple humans on Earth.

But I'd love to know what a classicist who has actually studied this has to say.

As an aside I was positively gaga for Greek and Norse myths as a kid and read every story I could find, albeit probably the kid versions they stocked in the school library. As an adult of course I read Homer and took a few classes in university but I always did wonder if what I was reading bore any resemblance to what an actual Ancient Greek person would have known.
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Jason R.
Wed, Aug 26, 2020, 6:15am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Rapture

I agree with Peter and others regarding some of the weaknesses in DS9's portrayal of the Prophets which are *not* in my view, the same as Elliott's complaints.

And ya, I wanted to smack Admiral Ross silly every time he poo pooed Sisko's role as the Emissary or implied that this was second-fiddle to being a Starfleet officer. Buddy, these space Gods annihilated a Dominion fleet and saved the Federation from conquest. If they want Sisko to fly into the wormhole once a month and kiss their non-linear boots, you should give him your blessing and call it a win. Ungrateful punk!!

This is especially galling considering that Ross was prepared to throw Bajor under the bus just to placate the Romulans who are just soooooo important to the war effort. Hey Ross, guess who is more important to the war than the Romulans? How about the aliens who wiped out a 4,000 ship Dominion invasion force and are single-handedly blocking the Dominion from overrunning the Alpha Quadrant? But god forbid they should ask Sisko to stay on DS9 because nobody but Sisko could stand on the bridge of the Defiant and say "fire phasers!" as well.

What I love especially about that episode was that Sisko ended up getting knocked out by a disturbance in the force and had to spend the battle in Sickbay anyway. They end up destroying the automated weapon platforms just fine without his help anyway.

God Ross is stupid!!

@Booming I won't argue that many of the Gods' actions seem immoral (to put it mildly) by modern standards. I mean Poseidon rapes Medusa in Athena's temple and then Athena punishes Medusa for defiling her temple by turning her into a Gorgon! Wow even ISIL would say that's a bit unfair.

But then again, Athena is the Goddess of wisdom. She was worshipped as such. What's more, apart from different standards of morality (the ancients I think valued sacredness and purity perhaps moreso than we do - and clearly saw sexual violence differently from us) I am not certain that the myths we are most familiar with were necessarily the stories that rank and file worshippers would have known or cared about.

I mean with Judeo Christian beliefs at least there is a fairly standardized bible. But even with the bible there are oddball books that seem extreme, out of place or inconsistent with others. The Old Testament is chalk full of nuttiness, nearly as bad as the Medusa myth.

I just wonder if the Ancient Greeks all had the same set of stories we are familiar with today, or perhaps even if they did, like with the bible, they may have emphasized some over others. Nobody ever claimed religions are internally consistent!

Anyway I just see your and Elliott's comments on the Greek Gods off base.
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Jason R.
Tue, Aug 25, 2020, 4:48pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Rapture

"And nooo the greek gods were not ethical or moral guides for greeks. Zeus alone did: patricide, incest, murder, rape ... so much rape, started wars and so on."

Are you arguing that we in 2020 shouldn't think Zeus was moral or are you saying the Ancient Greeks didn't think he was? If the latter then again... evidence?
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Jason R.
Tue, Aug 25, 2020, 2:33pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Rapture

"You are misinterpreting what I have written"

Apparently not from what you say next:

"The Greeks followed the laws of their gods, yes, but that was out of punitive fear. The laws of the gods provided structure in Greek society (which is of course the underlying reason Socrates was executed). My point is that the Greeks believed Zeus held you to specific standards of conduct for his own reasons, not because it was immutably "good.""

Umm evidence? Or could it be that maybe you are superimposing *your own opinion* of the Greek Gods onto the Ancient Greeks?
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Jason R.
Tue, Aug 25, 2020, 2:06pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Rapture

"This is absolutely not true. The Greeks did not view the gods as especially virtuous, let alone arbiters of virtue. The gods were capricious and mortals felt the need to appease them in order to be successful in life. The gods took sides in human affairs for their own petty reasons all the time. They were jealous and vindictive."

Well I will concede certainly some Greek myths suggest a certain cynicism about the Gods which fall into the category you describe. Other myths only seem cynical through a modern lens, but undoubtedly would not have been from the point if view of the ancients.

But I never saw this as monolithic, nor would I have assumed that myths like the Iliad, for example, or others that survived into modern day, were necessarily representative of rank and file religiosity in day to day Greek life.

I could be wrong, bit I always presumed that ordinary Greeks would have worshipped various Gods in a sincere and not cynical way. So when an ordinary Greek put an offering out for Zeus he wasn't secretly thinking that Zeus was a virgin raping capricious bastard to be bought off out of fear.
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Jason R.
Tue, Aug 25, 2020, 1:35pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Rapture

@Trent

"A contemporary, real-world believer does not have testable wormhole Gods, recorded contacts with super-beings, magic orbs and verifiable prophecies."

Why should it matter if the belief is "testable" or not? If someone believes the lightning is Thor out of ignorance or because it really is Thor the resulting belief system should be the same.
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Jason R.
Tue, Aug 25, 2020, 1:30pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Rapture

"That's why the allegory falls apart, because the god of Abraham can't be vaporised by a space station or imprisoned in a fire cave."

Okay but you realize in Greek myth, to use an example, mortals could at times impact, even injure their Gods and did so in Greek myth all the time.

And yet, contrary to what you asserted, the Greeks nevertheless considered at times their Gods as moral authorities in a manner analogous to the judeo christian God.

So you are presupposing that a "God" must, by definition, be outside of human influence OR not a moral authority but refuse to accept the possibility of overlap.

If a Bajoran has faith that the Prophets are good and have a righteous plan for Bajor, notwithstanding the knowledge that they are actual aliens who can be affected (even killed) how is that any different than a Greek worshipping Aphrodite, notwithstanding the knowledge that she could be influenced by or even injured by mortals or demigods?

I just don't see the problem here.
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Jason R.
Tue, Aug 25, 2020, 11:56am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Rapture

@Elliott I think it is pretty apparent that when Dax says she doesn't "believe" in the Prophets she is not claiming the aliens in the wormhole don't exist but simply doubting their status as "Gods".

You keep implying that the fact of their apparent existence in the real world is some kind of game changer for people of faith, that a God must be some abstract unprovable thing in order to be a God.

But I don't think many ancient cultures necessarily saw it that way. For many the existence of gods was self-evident - if there was a lightning storm, for instance, that was literally a god's power.

None of your criticisms are correct unless one assumes that the only possible archetype for divinity and faith is a judeo Christian invisible unprovable God wholly separate from human existence.
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Jason R.
Tue, Aug 25, 2020, 11:01am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Rapture

Booming is a she
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Jason R.
Tue, Aug 25, 2020, 10:00am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Rapture

"Around 15% in most western countries hold right wing radical or extremist views."

Reading your posts I get the distinct impression that you consider *any* right wing or conservative opinion to be "radical" / "extremist" a priori. Which seems to be about a half step by you away from being a card carrying Nazi.
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Jason R.
Mon, Aug 24, 2020, 4:43pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Rapture

"Those gods never, never, never possess moral authority over human beings; they only possess coercive power over them. "

See I am pretty certain that is not true. I will concede that the Greeks and Norse likely had a more nuanced relationship with their Gods than the Abrahamic religions, say somewhere between absolute reverence a la Christianity versus something on the other extreme - say Klingon faith haha.

But you look at Gods and religion from a super contemporary highly Judeo Christian frame of reference and I think that is part of why you can't seem to fathom the Bajoran concept of divinity.
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Jason R.
Mon, Aug 24, 2020, 1:50pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Rapture

@Elliott I realize in retrospect that your objection here seems to be to the Bajorans being grateful to the Prophets in spite of the occupation rather to any specific action or inaction by the deities.

I still see no validity to this objection.

The Bajorans believe that the Prophets are guiding them to some good outcome and that to the extent that they suffer, it is to fulfill some beneficial purpose.

In the case of the Prophets, post discovery of the wormhole, we happen to know for a fact that the Prophets are 1. Real and 2. Perfectly capable of delivering on this promise to the Bajorans period full stop.

The Bajorans don't have any hard evidence that the Prophets have a good plan for them, but choose to believe that they do - that would be their faith.

You seem to have an inherent distrust / contempt for faith, which I suspect is the real source of your problem with this storyline. You want DS9 to spit on religion, but it insists on addressing it on its own terms rather than on yours.

As an atheist I can't say I understand faith bit I am not going to expect a tv show dealing with faith to give it the Richard Dawkins treatment either.
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Jason R.
Mon, Aug 24, 2020, 1:37pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Rapture

"I think you know this is an unfair comparison. Roddenberry is not a deity in the Federation. Humans may recognise that the dialectic of history got them where they are but that doesn't mean they are *grateful* to, say, Q for allowing WWIII etc. to happen when he could have prevented it. "

Picard and Janeway were grateful to Q for introducing the Federation to the Borg, even though it cost quite a few lives.

" The Prophets claim a mantle of taking personal responsibility for Bajor, so it is completely fair to ask what gives them the right to make that determination. If the only answer is "because they can," then that is not a sign of being good stewards, it's a sign of monstrosity."

I can't for the life of me understand what is meant by "monstrosity" in this context. If I am speculating what you mean, I suspect it has something to do with making a decision affecting someone's life against his will or perhaps you are just taking blanket exception to a powerful being imposing its will on a less powerful being a priori? Perhaps this was your objection to the Prophets using Sarah Sisko against her will?

In any event, it isn't self-evident to me that this is "monstrous", especially given that it wasn't the Prophets who occupied Bajor - it was the Cardassians.

Your idea of a non "monstrous" deity seems to be the divine equivalent of a helicopter parent or some kind of guardian angel who swoops in to fill every crack in the road ahead, kills off any threats and otherwise ensures zero adversity and zero growth. Sounds like the Edo Guardian or maybe Vaal.

I fail to see how that sort of intervention would ever be desirable.
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Jason R.
Mon, Aug 24, 2020, 11:05am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Rapture

I wonder what a 15 year old teenaged girl would think of Elliott's use of "bitch whore".
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Jason R.
Mon, Aug 24, 2020, 5:29am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: The Disease

"and a 15 year old female teenager might have a different perception of a guy objectifying and fantasizing about having sex with a female character and even risking going to prison for years because of it."

I can't imagine even Gen Z females are this unspeakably lame.
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Jason R.
Sat, Aug 22, 2020, 1:49pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: The Drumhead

"The only people who are de-platformed wield enormous power and wealth to begin with, actors, political power-brokers and their puppets, media moguls, celebrity artists, internet personalities, etc. "

Not true but even if it were, it would not make it less vile. In this episode Picard ends up the target of the witch hunt and I don't think we are meant to think it is harmless merely because it is targeting powerful, prominent individuals like the Captain of the Federation flagship.
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Jason R.
Fri, Aug 21, 2020, 11:30am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: Macrocosm

@Elliott so what you are saying is that for some reason your EAF scores, what I will call the "meta" score, is actually dragging down your ratings. So I'll bite - any insight into why?
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Jason R.
Fri, Aug 21, 2020, 9:10am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: Macrocosm

@Elliott thanks that makes sense. By the way I do enjoy your reviews and your tireless defence of Voyager (and corresponding antipathy toward DS9) even though I disagree 100%.

The whole thing about Voyager's lesbian appeal (or was it just gay generally?) took me completely by surprise but is very cool anyway. It never occurred to me that there were subcultures out there seeing things in that show completely invisible to me. Voyager of all shows was the last thing I would have expected to have any kind of subtext. I always presumed that what we saw with that show was (depressingly) it. But I will have to keep your comments in mind the next time I watch it. Maybe it,'s even time for a complete rewatch rather than my usual cherry picking of 3-4 favourite episodes.
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Jason R.
Fri, Aug 21, 2020, 5:40am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Survivors

@ Smokey given that the Enterprise did not recognize the reproduction of the Husnack ship and Picard had to be told the attackers were Husnack and explained who the Husnack were, it is safe to infer they were simply unknown to the Federation.
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Jason R.
Fri, Aug 21, 2020, 5:38am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: Macrocosm

Elliott I have been reading your reviews for 5 years and I still don't understand your scoring system. I also still don't what "functionary" means in this context.

But I would have given an extra half star. I kind of like the macroscopic virus concept.
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Jason R.
Thu, Aug 20, 2020, 5:55am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: Through the Looking Glass

"The mirror universe episodes require assuming that the exact same sperm-egg combinations happen in both universes, creating the same people, even though entirely different lives are being led.

It's just a bridge way, way, way, way, way too far..."

Well the explanation is that given an infinite number of universes there has to be one where all the same sperm / egg combos were the same as well, despite wildly differing circumstances.

There was a cool Ted Chiang short story about parallel universes where two realities could contact one another through devices like interdimentional modems transmitting data and even permitting parallel versions to converse and engage in financial transactions with one another through brokers. The catch was as soon as one reality made contact with another, they would immediately begin to diverge wildly - even weather systems would be effected.

In this case, the existence of mirror Kirk and Mirror Spock etc.... is plausible assuming that was the first contact between these two universes and we assume that this was the 1/1,000,000,000,0000 universe where those particular sperm and eggs got together. But as soon as a single molecule crossed over, the universes should have forever diverged, so no one in the DS9 time frame should have been the same.

Of course this assumes that the universe contacted in DS9 was actually the same one contacted by Kirk et al. in Mirror Mirror. Maybe this was the 1/1,000,000,000,000,000,000 alternate version where the same sperm fertilized the same eggs anyway haha :)
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Jason R.
Wed, Aug 19, 2020, 6:11pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S1: In the Hands of the Prophets

@Elliott I say this as a fellow atheist but I always found your criticism of DS9 on the religion front is less about whether what is portrayed on screen is true to life and more that it fails to meet you on your own atheist terms.

Which is another way of saying that you'd probably raise the same objections and call ridiculous the beliefs of any real life religions.

Which doesn't make you wrong, but does render your criticism slightly disingenuous because what you are really after is for the show to just dismiss religion as stupid full stop, which of course it doesn't do.

Personally, I find nothing ridiculous about how the Bajorans are portrayed.
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Jason K
Wed, Aug 19, 2020, 3:23pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: Flashback

I'm sure most of you have seen this clip, but if not, it's a good, quick watch of the '91 UC scene side-by-side with the Voyager version.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nAKRe_gAAFk
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Jason R.
Tue, Aug 18, 2020, 4:56pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: The Drumhead

Trent have any of your proposals been tried in any advanced nations?

And interestingly, the original topic was racism, yet your proposals do not mention race. Do your proposed reforms have nothing to do with that?
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