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Jason R.
Wed, Oct 17, 2018, 7:10am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: General Discussion

"OTOH, I do wonder if all the people who complain about SJW's and liberals hijacking Star Trek have ever watched the show. Did they forget about the condescending speeches Picard gave in 'The Neutral Zone', the treatment of labour relations in 'Bar Association', the Ferengi in general, the contempt for theism in 'Who Watches the Watchers?'? Star Trek has always been "liberal".

True, but what passed for "liberal" in 1987 ain't so now. Or more precisely, what's left in 2018 isn't really liberal by any reasonable definition.
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Jason R.
Sun, Oct 14, 2018, 4:08pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Masterpiece Society

"Data: "The [random space object thing] has a density of 100 billion kilograms per cubic centimetre." Uhh, bit exaggerated?"

I think they said it was a neutron star fragment. Short of a black hole that would be the densest object in the universe. Not sure about the math (someone who knows this stuff could say) but yeah, ridiculously dense.
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Jason
Sat, Oct 13, 2018, 4:25pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Genesis

@Rahul

I always find it funny when people link articles like that saying “life is too complex to be left to the chance of evolution” but inevitably offer no alternative scientific theory of how life progressed over the aeons.

Let me just throw an example out here: dogs. Domesticated dogs originally came from various wolf breeds that humans befriended and raised as companions. Over thousands of years humans have selected dogs that have desirable qualities (good at hunting, pulling sleds, watchdogs, beauty for showdogs) and selectively bred those dogs so their offspring would have those desirable qualities. Thus, there’s documented evidence of unnatural or man-made selection that we know works.

Now natural selection is different. Instead of an intelligent human choosing which animal survives, various other natural factors (harsh weather, food only available for animals that can jump or swim or fly, possessing adequate intelligence to avoid predators) decide who reproduces. But the outcome is similar to bred dogs; only offspring with qualities found adequate are able to survive and create offspring.

Now of course evolution is just a theory, but unless you can irrefutably debunk natural selection and offer a better alternative, the theory is going to remain predominant in the scientific community.

As to how this relates to this episode - well if any the writers made an attempt to show how deevolution works without resorting to magic technobabble then it would’ve been better received by those who believe in evolution. For those who don’t believe in evolution, at least they don’t necessarily need to dismiss their understanding of science to enjoy the episode.
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Jason R.
Thu, Oct 11, 2018, 3:11pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: Destiny

"The Bajorans' behaviour treats the Aliens as deities because, to an primitive culture, they would appear to be so; the only reason this continues after "Emissary" is because the Bajorans self-consciously avoid interacting with their gods in a scientific way--which they are perfectly capable of doing. It's ridiculous"

One reason the Bajorans may have avoided "interacting" with the Prophets on a scientific level is because doing so is inherently dangerous, as Dukat and Sisko found out in Emissary, and as a Dominion fleet discovered in SOA.

I agree with Peter that this cannot be considered a Pagan religion yet there are very interesting parralels. The ancients certainly understood that you don't mess around with Gods - Greek myth is chalk full of the horrible consequencea of such "investigations".

I say it is an interesting parralel because the Bajorans are very much in a similar position to an ancient observing a thunderstorm. To such a person, one not need to resort to metaphor to explain God's power. One need not resort to faith in the modern sense. The lightning and thunder *is* the God from his point of view. He doesn't need to speculate much as the truth is manifest.

The Bajorans don't need to speculate or resort to metaphor. Their Gods are real period full stop. The power they possess can't be explained easily, or indeed, at all, using 24th century science. If we tale Q's musings in AGT about the time paradox and what understanding this could mean for a human mind, the Prophets may be as far beyond 24th Century humans as our science would be beyond the understanding of cave dwellers. What they accomplish daily makes Picard's insight in AGT look trivial in comparison. And unlike Picard, the Bajorans don't run elbows the the Q, the Dowd, Armis or others like that every Tuesday.

To say that the Bajorans could not see the Prophets as Gods because they have scientific understanding disregards the context of their religion.

You can say that this type of faith isn't really "faith" in the modern context or that such faith is less valuable or less fulfilling than what Christians experience - that's fine. But you'd also have to make the same point to the cave dweller trembling before a lightning storm, that somehow he doesn't have real "faith" either. You'd have to claim that his behaviour is absurd, his religion foolish or whatnot. Fine, but frankly, ridiculous.
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Jason R.
Thu, Oct 11, 2018, 9:06am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: Destiny

"The onus is on you (or the show) to prove this, because your position has no real-world equivalent. No post-Enlightenment civilisation on Earth has ever maintained a religion around pre-modern god concepts."

The Bajorans don't believe the Prophets create lightning - they believe they are beings with the ability to see and exist outside of time, which is factually correct. On what basis do you claim that they cannot view them as "Gods" on those terms?

Indeed, what you seem to be caught up on is the fact that certain physical processes (such as the weather) were used to explain such Gods in the past by people who had no other explanation for such phenomena, presuming that explanation of natural phenomena must have been the primary purpose for such beings being invented. But that is an assumption, not a fact.

You are confusing correlation with causation. That ancient Gods were always correlated with some explanation of natural phenomena does not prove that the inability to explain natural phenomena caused people to worship Gods.

I am reminded of the discussion concerning Space Seed and the innate human need to worship power. All over the world, powerful men attract worshippers putting themselves forward as nothing less than Gods to their followers. Men like David Koresh were provably human and mortal yet their modern post enlightenment worshippers believe them to be more than they were.

It's absurd to claim that modern people could not worship beings as awesome as the Prophets when people today do no less with flesh and blood men who have no special power beyond personal charisma.
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Jason R.
Thu, Oct 11, 2018, 8:51am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: Destiny

"In the first episode of the series Sisko has to explain time to the wormhole aliens. The same time in which the bajorans live. This should have been a huge topic of discussion. How are the aliens seen as gods of the bajorans if they need a human to explain the time in which the bajorans exist"

This always seemed a retcon to me. But after watching All Good Things the thought occurred to me that perhaps Sisko was as responsible for the Prophets as they were responsible for him? Perhaps in teaching the aliens about linear time, he encouraged them to become "Prophets" even to the point of sending orbs to the Bajorans in the past. As they exist outside linear time, what they "learned" from Sisko in the present would apply both to the future and the past. Indeed, Sisko may even have precipitated the intervention by the Prophets that led to his birth.

Not unlike Picard creating an anomoly in the past because of knowledge he gained in the future. A total paradox. Also a bit like Benny Russel where the future changes the past. Very much consistent with the idea of a race "beyond time".
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Jason R.
Thu, Oct 11, 2018, 8:16am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: Destiny

Elliott you say that the writers don't understand how religion works. Do you?

The Greek and Roman Gods, plainly, were not abandoned because of improved scientific understanding of the universe. Indeed, their decline precipitated the dark ages. It wasn't another 1000 years before western cultures gained back much of the knowledge that was lost following Rome's fall, even basic concepts such as the world being round. Christianity's ascendence and supplanting of the Pagan order cannot possibly be explained in terms of scientific advancement.

I think Peter has it right - there is no law of the universe that says that a modern civilization cannot worship "gods" unless they are Gods in some Judeo Christian sense of total infallibility and omnipotence.

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Jason R.
Tue, Oct 2, 2018, 10:56am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Sacrifice of Angels

"We don't think it is. It's a fact it is. It's a classic deus ex machina. Very lazy writing. Accept it."

Nope. As has been explained many times, the capability of the Prophets to do what they did was established in Emissary. A Deus Ex Machina comes out of nowhere and employs arbitrary or previously unknown means.

While their relationship with Sisko and their personal interest in him as an individual is a retcon, their power to do as they please in their own wormhole, which they constructed, is not.

Like Dukat (and the Federation) the audience completely forgot what the wormhole was. I actually think it's brilliant.

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Jason R.
Mon, Oct 1, 2018, 1:27pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: The Chase

Not sure why you limit this to the Alpha quadrant. I actually figured they influenced all life in the galaxy. Otherwise Voyager and DS9 would assert that the galaxy happens to be populated with humanoid life in general anyways, independent of the progenitors' meddling. This would of course render the central thesis of the episode meaningless.

Actually funny enough, other Trek canon isn't incompatible with the hypothesis that the humanoid form is unique to our galaxy. In TOS there were only two extra galactic races encountered - the guys who Spock saw as multi tentacled monsters in their natural states (who took human form) and those plastic pizzas from Operation Annihilate! In TNG the only extra galactic lifeform we met was Kevin Uxbridge, who was basically an energy being who took human form after the fact. And I guess Q, if you presume his race evolved somewhere outside our galaxy.
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Jason R.
Thu, Sep 27, 2018, 2:30pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: Shades of Gray

I suppose if the price for Q Who was Shades of Grey it was a fair trade and I'm pleased with the outcome. Definitely puts a more satisfying spin on the situation.
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Jason R.
Thu, Sep 27, 2018, 5:39am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: Shades of Gray

Oh I see. So I guess the writer's strike wasn't in issue then?
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Jason R.
Wed, Sep 26, 2018, 1:45pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: Shades of Gray

Okay I can see how putting one together from scratch would be hard, but if you had a template from previous shows, a general knowledge of the characters and a reasonably good idea for an episode why is it so hard? I'm not saying I could write a classic, but I am confident I could do better than Shades of Grey! Surely someone like a producer or a director or someone who was already deeply involved in the creative process could put together something competent!
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Jason R.
Wed, Sep 26, 2018, 1:31pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: Shades of Gray

Pardon my ignorance, but is it really such an onerous process to write a single 45 minute episode? Couldn't someone in management have just done it? It's not like they had to write a whole season's worth. What am I missing??
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Jason R.
Tue, Sep 25, 2018, 6:55pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: The Vulcan Hello / Battle at the Binary Stars

Catwoman and Electra do poorly and someone claims that the "lesson" from that is that female led superhero vehicles aren't commercially successful, never mind the fact that those films were pure excrement, utterly unsalvageable no matter who you cast in the lead.

Then movies like Wonderwoman, Black Panther and Mad Max Fury Road do well and others claim that supposedly "diversity" is the key to commercial sex, never mind the fact that those movies were fantastic or at least quite good.

Confirmation bias is pretty much the main issue. People jam the facts into a preferred narrative but there really is only one factor - good movies with good stories do well and lacklustre ones do badly.

I watched the female Ghostbusters recently for the first time on Netflix and was struck by how irrelevent them being women was to me. I wasn't upset or offended at it the way I thought I might be. I just didn't care because I was too busy being bored by the lacklustre story and unfunny dialogue to care. I laughed at Thor who was the only funny character. And since I thought Bride's Maids was funny (which was another all female comedy with several of the same actresses!) I can confidently say it's not sexism standing in the way of my enjoyment. Mediocrity is mediocrity.

And by the way, I have seen zero evidence that feminists prop up poor movies for political reasons or that their adversaries sink good ones for opposite reasons. Twitter and social media is fantastic at convincing corporations and governments that it has this incredible consumer influence without ever giving the slightest proof of said influence. It is the convincing the corporation to change its behaviour in anticipation of a non-existent boycott that is its only power. No bad movie ever did well because of social media or the reverse. Angry Christians didn't sink The Golden Compass any more than rabid feminists made Ghostbusters a roaring success. This is all mythmaking in the service of rabid confirmation bias.
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Jason
Fri, Sep 21, 2018, 1:36pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: Meridian

Plot twist: Elliott gives this one 4 stars.
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Jason R.
Fri, Sep 21, 2018, 11:45am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: The Abandoned

Speaking of age of consent laws and Europe, France recently voted down a law that would have set their AOC at *15*. Apparently they have no age of consent still, which is amazing. In Quebec it used to be 14, though no idea if that has changed.

So yeah. Not that a 20 yr old being with a 16 yr old isn't dubious mind you. But it wouldn't be illegal in most places.
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Jason R.
Fri, Sep 21, 2018, 11:37am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: The Abandoned

In Canada age of consent is 16.

I haven't researched this recently but my understanding is that in most first world countries including most States in the USA a 16 year old could legally be with a 20 year old or an 80 year old for that matter.

The sole exception would be in specific instances such as parent/child, brother/sister, or teacher/student.

I think mm is correct and Elliott is wrong.
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Jason R.
Wed, Sep 19, 2018, 6:00am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: The House of Quark

"But because this scene is there, the trope that normal males are attracted to females, and that this is the only normal way to be is enforced. I am telling you that when you grow up without role models who look like you or who act like you, it's traumatic. "

That is a neurotic reading of the scene. A better explanation is that what is commonplace is considered normal and what is normal is commonly portrayed by default.

If I watch a movie made by Indians in India I would not presume that the portrayal of an Indian marrying another Indian must convey the message that non Indians are aberrant or cannot marry.

As a Jew, I don't consider the ubiquity of Christmas carols or Christmas movies in December to be a statement that I'm abnormal. I consider this to be healthy.
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Jason R.
Tue, Sep 18, 2018, 5:52am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: The House of Quark

For the record, Jason and Jason R. aren't the same. Not that I'm disagreeing with Jason specifically. It just got a bit confusing.

Not sure I see how privilege fits in either. But it's essentially a conversation ender. It signifies the end of any meaningful dialogue.
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Jason
Tue, Sep 18, 2018, 12:25am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: The House of Quark

Actually, the ego loves notions like privilege because it puts the blame and responsibility for being miserable onto others. So-called "privileged" people even believe that their privilege is making them happier, even though it's plain to see that it's not.
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Jason
Mon, Sep 17, 2018, 5:56pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: The House of Quark

@Elliott

Actually I've heard it said quite frequently that someone or other should have nothing to complain about by virtue of being a certain color or sex, implying life is peachy for the socially privileged. And when you look at episodes like "Past Tense" (which you're coming up on) where the difference between an unequal society and post-revolution is like heaven and hell, changing everything... it's hard not to come to the conclusion that people generally think that the unequal suffer not just more, but infinitely so.
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Jason
Mon, Sep 17, 2018, 4:47pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: The House of Quark

No snark Elliott - honest. I'd say you are projecting on me something of your own creation, which probably isn't surprising since it seems I've wandered into a hornet's nest.

Then again, I'd also say the fuss over all these "isms" is more than a little overstated (considering that there's barely anything else on anyone's moral radar these days). Social inequality exists, no doubt about that. And I know many would say I'm taking my sexual and racial privilege for granted, which may also be true. But I would say that those privileges are never what brings a life lasting happiness. Fight for equality on all levels, by all means - it's a worthy fight. But don't expect it to bring total peace and prosperity when it comes. And I don't think Star Trek has done much to dispel that enduring utopian myth.
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Jason
Mon, Sep 17, 2018, 4:14pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: The House of Quark

@Elliott

"Your snark seems to indicates you have no interest in learning about the difference between gender identity and sexual function.

If Captain Janeway were denied a promotion because she was in her late 50s, that would be ageism. If she were told she couldn't conceive a child like your farcical O'Brien, that would be acknowledging biological reality. Do you see the difference?"

Settle down, it was just a joke. I know the difference between biology and gender. I was just pointing to your comment that sexism is making "assumptions based on nothing more than the fact that (males and females) have different genitalia." People do that all the time (eg doctors) and it's fine. At times when it's not fine, there's a lot more to it than that.


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Jason
Mon, Sep 17, 2018, 2:50pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: The House of Quark

@Elliot

"Sexism is a form of prejudice. Just like racism. It is not racist to note that people of different races might have different skin colours or facial features because that's the definition of race. It is racist to make assumptions about people based on their race. Likewise, it is sexist to make assumptions about people based on their gender. Assuming that Keiko, as a woman, must be with her child where as Miles, a man, doesn't necessarily have to is sexist because it makes assumptions based on nothing more than the fact that Miles and Keiko have different genitalia. "

Unreleased script outline for DS9 episode 8x01 "Unexpected":

(O'Brien walks into Bashir's office.)
Bashir: Miles! Great to see you. Loved our game of darts last night. Is there something I can get you - perhaps a mild analgesic? You must have quite the headache after being so soundly thrashed...
O'Brien: Morning Julian... actually, do you mind if we sit down? It's rather important... medically speaking.
Bashir: Of course! Now what seems to be the problem?
O'Brien: Well... to be honest, I'm not sure how to say this... but I'm pregnant!
Bashir: What?
O'Brien: I just found out. There's no doubt about it. I'm going to have a baby.
Bashir: Miles... are you feeling okay?
O'Brien: Of course! What, don't you believe me?
Bashir: Well... I mean...
O'Brien: You don't, do you?
Bashir: Don't get me wrong, it's just that... well, you don't have the genitalia for it.
O'Brien: How dare you! That's sexist!
Bashir: Miles... perhaps we should run a full scan... starting with your neurology...
O'Brien: Don't try to change the subject! You're a bloody sexist and you know it. Right, I'm going to Sisko. Odo will want to hear about this too. I hope you enjoy your time in the brig, I for one won't be missing our darts games...

(Miles storms out leaving Julian with a stunned look, pinching the bridge of his nose)
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Jason R.
Mon, Sep 17, 2018, 2:12pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: The House of Quark

"Sexism is a form of prejudice. Just like racism. It is not racist to note that people of different races might have different skin colours or facial features because that's the definition of race. It is racist to make assumptions about people based on their race. Likewise, it is sexist to make assumptions about people based on their gender. Assuming that Keiko, as a woman, must be with her child where as Miles, a man, doesn't necessarily have to is sexist because it makes assumptions based on nothing more than the fact that Miles and Keiko have different genitalia."

I understand your viewpoint and I imagine many would agree with you that differences between men and women are merely "genitalia" and "plumbing" to use another common metaphor.

My response is first to suggest that there is nothing trivial about genitalia, from which a host of biological realities (from breastfeeding to childbirth to sexual pleasure responses stem) and second, to note that there is alot of research into male and female brains that disputes the common "it's just plumbing" approach to sexual dimorphism. Ironically, this research into male and female brains, comes in the context of transexuality.

The race analogy is a false one because human races are mere social construct whereas sexual dimorphism in humans (and the reality of our biological differences) is not, clearly.

Incidentally, I want to emphasize that nowhere in this episode is there an implication that Keiko *must* watch the children or that it can be no other way because she is a woman. Your comment isn't against that proposition (and if it is, you are debating a straw man). Rather, it seems you object to the notion that default assumptions about people could in any way be informed by their sex in an enlightened society i.e. any society that is not strictly neutral in its attitude toward men and women is bigoted or sexist a priori.

I gotta disagree, strongly.
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