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Jason R.
Tue, Dec 11, 2018, 8:31am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S4: One

So this subnucleonic radiation sails right through the shields and hull but stops at the 2 inch thick tin plated stasis pods. Ummmm.... why? Who cares if the pods are on separate life support systems. It's radiation - it"s not in the air, it is going right through the hull.

And I love how Tuvok has to painfully and slowly stagger over to Tom's station to punch in the coordinates manually while everyone is being bbq'd. Why don't you just tell the computer to reverse course verbally? We even see Seven giving verbal course corrections to the computer later in the episode!

And at the end Seven cuts life support with just 11 minutes to exit the nebula and.... instantaneously starts suffocating? Ummmm.. the giant starship doesn't have 11 minutes worth of air and heat. You cut life support and BAM she's sucking vacuum?
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Jason R.
Sat, Dec 8, 2018, 5:57pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S2: Crossover

I find it hard sometimes to put myself back in the frame of mind I was in when these shows were on the air and I was in my teens. Certainly I realize I was very forgiving back then. As bad as TNG season 1 seems to my adult eyes, to my eyes as a child it was still worth watching religiously. Of course by Season 3 and Best of Both Worlds there was no question - I was hooked. Saturday nights were TNG nights and I am certain I watched the entire series as it aired, perhaps with a few exceptions where I simply couldn't watch it or tape it.

Reflecting on DS9 and Voyager it's hard now to summon memory of more than an overall impression. DS9 was boring to me when I watched it and I feel I must have skipped most of its original airing. Voyager I probably watched more of, ironically, in its original airing. It was OK.

But going into my twenties there is little doubt as I caught up on both these series that Voyager's star certainly fell as DS9's rose. The characters on Voyager never really clicked for me. And by that point in my life, strictly episodic TV without a grander story was just no longer good enough. Shows like Babylon 5 and DS9 (after a couple seasons) spoiled me in that way. Even TNG seemed behind the times in this regard, although in retrospect, the amazing actors and characters (chiefly Stewart) elevated it even as Voyager just sunk like lead in my eyes with its bland characters, ridiculous technobabble reliance, and lazy reset switch forgettable plots.

For me, Voyager was the moment when Trek started to go wrong. With the exception of maybe Scorpion it was the first Trek show that lacked truly compelling can't miss episodes.

By Enterprise my patience was just not what it was. I watched maybe four episodes and that was that.
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Jason R.
Mon, Dec 3, 2018, 4:13pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S1: Duet

"They would know that this wasn't him being executed, which surely defeats the purpose?"

It was established throughout DS9's run that the Cardassian state constantly deceived its populace and the people knew it. In Season 7 this was made explicit when it was said that the people refused to believe D'Mar had died.

Enough people would believe it that it would have made an impact. The more the state denied it the more people would believe it.
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Jason R.
Fri, Nov 30, 2018, 2:45pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S2: Cardassians

I think Peter is right. If you walk into a hospital nursery and just steal a baby and the raise it for the next 5 years as your own, I don't think there's any debate where the child ends up when the cops catch you. Even if you are a lovely parent and the child really would be better off with you - it's not staying with you.

I've always felt since studying family law, that the "best interests of the child" standard is one that's been fraught with bias, and resulted in highly self-serving conclusions. Since both sides inevitably claim *their* position is in the child's interest, and since the determination is so subjective (a child may have many overlapping interests - the need for stability versus the need for a relationship with both parents etc...) what you end up with seems less an objective determination and more an ideological exercise.
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Jason R.
Fri, Nov 23, 2018, 5:14pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S1: The Alternative Factor

So tedious. Half the episode was spent on these lame special effects. Meanwhile the concept is ridiculous. A man has a mass of what, 90 kg? That much matter meeting an equal quantity of antimatter would be insanely destructive but it would hardly blow up the universe.
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Jason R.
Tue, Nov 13, 2018, 12:34pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S4: Hippocratic Oath

Chrome, I should explain what I meant by "easy" in this context. I don't mean to suggest that Picard's actions were easy in the sense that they required no personal courage or sacrifice in any sense. Obviously surving torture, choosing to destroy the ship rather than submit to inhumane experiments etc. are all difficult things requiring tremendous integrity and conviction.

But I'm talking about a *moral* sacrifice here. I am saying that Picard's choices are easy in the sense that they don't require him to sacrifice his principles the way Sisko does in ITPM. Picard choosing to endure torture rather than surrender, or blowing up the ship rather than submit to experiments, affirm his own personal sense of morality. He may lose his crew or his life, but for a man like that (and Starfleet officers) those are acceptable stakes and indeed, it is what they signed up for.

If Picard had chosen to let Nagolim kill half the ship to save the rest, or if he had chosen to use Hue as a weapon against the borg, that would have been a true sacrifice for a man like Picard.

Why didn't he? Because the show never really permitted us to test that resolve with stakes that could truly move the needle. Would Picard have let Hue go if he knew the Federation would be assimilated as a result, if the wolves were really at the door and a cube was on its way to Earth?

Picard was a man who captained the flahship of the Federation, set policy, had a huge role in its strategic operations and policy, yet somehow got away with never sullying his own conscience, never having to compromise his personal integrity for a greater good. I just don't buy that.

Unfortunately, TNG always cheated, refusing to really put a man like Picard's feet to the fire the way Sisko was. In ITPM there is no doubt in my mind that Sisko made the right choice. I agree with Sisko that one officer's self respect was a small price to pay. Picard, in my view, got off lightly in TNG.



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Jason R.
Tue, Nov 13, 2018, 5:36am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S4: Hippocratic Oath

The problem with TNG is that outside perhaps one episode (I Borg, to be specific) Picard's choices were never all that hard, at least as I always saw it. Doing the right thing, by 24th century Picardian standards, is relatively easy when you're the captain of a Galaxy Class starship at the vanguard of an interstellar federation that is simultaneously virtuous and all-powerful.

Most of Picard's moral dilemmas entailed choosing the sacrifice of strangers (Pen Pals, Symbiosis, the one with Worf's Brother...) or alternatively, the sacrifice of crewpeople where in the end it isn't even necessary and the price need not be paid (eg Justice, When the Bough Breaks).

In the Pale Moonlight, and to a lesser extent, Paradise Lost, are rebukes of that fraudulent TNG era Roddenberry morality where humans are supposedly *better* yet where that concept is never tested. Saints in paradise is right.

The irony with Silicon Avatar is that I don't even think it should have been much of a dilemma. The Enterprise could have blasted the entity to pieces with its phasers any time it pleased. They were either going to convince it to behave or destroy it. Picard's position was not all that radical.

I Borg should be the much more controversial episode. That should have been Picard's ITPM moment. But since he never had to pay the piper and take responsibility for his decision (the Borg were transformed by Voyager into villain of the week cartoons) he once again got away with being the Saint but dodging the lion's jaws.
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Jason R.
Thu, Nov 8, 2018, 5:25am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S4: Random Thoughts

"But indeed, control of one's thoughts is something to be striven for. By this I mean doing one's best to eliminate violent, immoral, and otherwise improper thoughts. The fact that this does not happen in the world around us is a real shame and the increase in violence is the sad result. Such things as violent videogames, television, and other "entertainment" (I use the word in quotes as it is anything but) is sadly condoned and again, the results speak for themselves"

Control of one's thoughts and emotions is indeed something to be strived for. But if it is your desire to have the state enforce this control through authoritarian means, then that is where most are going to part ways with you.

Indeed, assuming such technology existed, it would only be adopted society wide through the use of force. To think otherwise is utopian.
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Jason R.
Tue, Oct 30, 2018, 9:43am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: General Discussion

Boomer maybe we don't even disagree after all. You seem to be implying that CBS is selling the family silver to pay its rent for the month. In other words out of desperation. Cam't say I disagree.

And if they really think they are going to compete with Netflix? Then they're insane.
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Jason R.
Tue, Oct 30, 2018, 9:40am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: General Discussion

"And as I pointed out 10 years ago Trek was basically a dead brand which still had value as a cultural phenomenon. In other words. Everybody knows Spock."

You're wrong on several points. First, Star Trek wasn't a "dead" brand. Dead brands don't have legions of fans writing fiction, attending conventions, playing card games, reading novels etc...

That was Star Trek's magic and its value. Movies would come and go, TV shows would rise and fall, but Trek was immortal.

It was never about mere recognition as you imply i.e. everyone knows Spock. That was exactly the wrong conclusion to draw. I am not discounting the value of name recognition, but that was only a fraction of the Trek brand's true value.

I will concede my retail analogy is not perfect, but it is a stark lesson in business of the dangers of diluting a brand beyond recognition. The masses are fickle. Those who fight in those murky waters for a true mass audience had better be titans, because not many are going to thrive.

Can CBS turn Trek into mass entertainment? Is that the optimal use of *this* brand? Maybe if you want to goose the stock price for a couple years so Mr. CEO can get his quarterly bonus. Is it a long term strategy to effectively stripmine Trek? I just don't see it.
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Jason R.
Tue, Oct 30, 2018, 8:54am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: General Discussion

Ubiq I agree completely that if it's good, that is, in some ways, all that matters. In theory if you made a Star Trek slapstick comedy a la Pink Panther, and it genuinely as funny as Pink Panther, it should be successful. But what are the odds of that happening?

Going back to my retail example, Coach could start producing $7,000 purses and go toe to toe with Prada and Chanel - but would they want to? Even if they could succeed on quality, on marketing, on rebranding, would it make any sense? Would it be an optimal use of resources?

Brands are investments. They are packed with value in terms of built-in audience, good will, expectations. When CBS purchased the rights to Trek, it paid for that package. So what sense does it make to wipe the slate clean and start over? Commercially, it makes no sense at all. If Trek isn't Trek, then what did CBS buy?
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Jason R.
Tue, Oct 30, 2018, 6:54am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: General Discussion

Booming, these things are cyclical. I'm reminded of how branding goes in retail. A company like Coach has a brand name that stands for luxury, exclusivity. They have a loyal following. Someone logically says let's open many more stores, sell at outlets to the masses. It works, for a while. But over time, everyone has a coach purse. Everyone is buying that $400 purse for 50% off and before you know it Coach isn't luxury anymore - it's cheap trash. And the masses? They've moved on. And now Coach has a hard time going back because they've trained their customers to think of their purses as bargain bin merchandise. They killed their golden goose.

Netflix is a behemoth that burns through cash producing buckets of programming, most of it godawful, with just enough quality shows to keep people subscribing. It remains to be seen if that business model is sustainable in the long term.

CBS will never compete with Netflix on Netflix's terms, nor should it try. CBS thinks that it can leverage Trek (the Coach brand of its lineup) by making it all things for all people. Come see Trek on sale, 50% off! Trek for less! Trek comedy, Trek drama, Trek for all! Trek on every TV.

We'll see what happens in the long run, but I think turning Trek into a mass market brand a la Star Wars is a mistake. I think CBS, like Coach, will end up with neither the niche exclusive market, nor the mass market. They'll just be nowhere.
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Jason R.
Fri, Oct 19, 2018, 11:14am (UTC -6)
Re: Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith

I agree with Peter about world-building but I wanted to hone in on that point. What is world-building? What does it mean? I think it refers to a kind of storytelling that implies that things are going on in the background, that this universe has a vitality beyond just what is shown on the screen. That even if something is left unexplained on screen, it is *explicable* on its own terms.

Little details about how big or small an operation Bespin was in ESB, the Huts being described as gangsters and criminals outside of imperial control in PM, or slavery being illegal in the Republic but practiced out on the rim in TPM, the Senate being dissolved in ANH, the great library in AOTC, droids not being allowed in bars, Mos Eisley being a hive of scum and villainy...

None of these references are even necessary to the story in their respective movies and are at best tangental to the plot, but they contribute to the sense that stuff is happening behind the scenes, that not everything that matters in the universe is on camera.

In TFA I can scarcely think of a single plot element or reference that isn't directly a part of the main plot. Hell even basic elements of the universe that are fundamental to the plot are sketched in the most rudimentary detail. What the hell is the First Order? What is Hosnian Prime, the planet that gets destroyed? What happened to the Republic fleet? Who or what is Snope?

I guess the closest we get is the casino planet in TLJ which seems to have *no connection* to the plot at all. Even there, I can't even understand what I was watching - it felt like a half-assed social statement about income inequality awkwardly grafted into Star Wars. It had nothing to do with anything that had come before and I doubt we'll see or hear about it again.
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Jason R.
Fri, Oct 19, 2018, 10:53am (UTC -6)
Re: Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith

"I'm really confused by your reply. In what way was "my little green friend" a reference to anything we had seen prior? What exactly was the relationship between Palpatine and Yoda? Did he ever refer to him as his "little green friend" during their political meetings? I don't get it."

I'm confused by your confusion. Did I suggest this one comment was about their prior relationship? I just thought it was a fun quip punctuating a moment between two great characters. I love how in that scene after putting Yoda on his green ass with a bolt of lightning Palpatine just raises up his arms in total joy, as if mugging for an applause. It's just a moment of tremendous satisfaction and a rare glimpse of hubris in a character who previously was all business and didn't really express a ton of emotion or egotism.

But you know, scratch that - I think this line (and the scene) was about their relationship after all.

Palpatine did have a pretty significant relationship with Yoda. The two were political colleagues for years. We did have scenes where Palpatine and Yoda are together and Palpatine even defers to him. Yoda was the grandmaster of the Jedi, the wisest, the strongest and Palpatine just knocked him on his green ass, after outwitting him, killing most of his friends and taking over the government. For Palpatine, this had to be the cherry on the sundae. Yoda even saw the lightning bolt coming and couldn't even block it.

Yeah, I'd say this was extremely personal for these two characters. But even if you ignore that subtext and just call it a fun quip, it's a great scene because McDiarmitt just oozes personality and character. He sells it.

On the topic of TLJ I don't really recall much about the battle with Kylo and Luke so I can't say if it was good or bad. I just remember being so disappointed that Luke wasn't even there, and that he just died - arbitrarily. I didn't much care about the Resistance at this point because their survival meant nothing to me so his "sacrifice" (why did he die again?) was a pointless diversion of little consequence. They should have just had Rey fight him at that point. Who needs a Jedi Master anyway when Rey could just do it herself?

I didn't care about the First Order either because apart from Ren, they were just a bunch of clowns whose leader was played as a buffoon (General Nazi or whatshisname)

Yeah, again, no idea what was so appealing about any of those battles.
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Jason R.
Fri, Oct 19, 2018, 5:49am (UTC -6)
Re: Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith

"Lightsaber battles are *not* about the lightsabers, they are about the characters."

Agreed. And I will give props to Force Awakens for focusing on character rather than choreography in the final Ren / Rey fight. Too bad the characters were such a failure for me that I just didn't care about them by that point.

Not sure what fight in TLJ you were referencing - There were no memorable ones for me. To be fair I only saw TLJ once, on my 15 inch kitchen tv while cooking a meal for a large dinner party. Since most of the film (including pretty much every scene with Finn and Rose) scarcely required any attention I felt I was giving the film its due. But I'll rewatch the Ren / Luke duel and the Ren / Rey versus red shirts one just to make sure I didn't miss anything good. God I love Netflix.

Regarding Palpatine versus Yoda it's ironic that the high point of the whole mess was when Yoda thumped those two red guard guys - that got the whole theatre every time. Plus I loved the little exchange of force powers with the "little green friend" line which was awesome. As you said, it's about the characters. Once Sidius started flinging senate seats at Yoda I was just not as engaged.

By the way Sean, cool idea!
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Jason R.
Thu, Oct 18, 2018, 12:54pm (UTC -6)
Re: Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith

Elliott in a universe where Sith can see the future and manipulate minds with the force Sidius's plan seems almost mundane frankly. They are completely plausible in that context.

Actually, not only do I love what McDermitt does with the chatacter on-screen I think the overrarching story around him is nothing short of brilliant. He makes the Jedi look like fools over three movies. I essentially consider him to be the protagonist of the prequels.
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Jason R.
Thu, Oct 18, 2018, 12:18pm (UTC -6)
Re: Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith

"Aside from the music and the special effects (which obviously, the new films possess in equal or greater measure), I can't think of anything in the Prequels which I would label "gold."

Every scene with Ian McDermitt in it.
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Jason R.
Thu, Oct 18, 2018, 12:14pm (UTC -6)
Re: Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith

For what it is worth nobody I knew hated PM or talked about hating it. We didn't talk about Jar Jar at all if I am recalling correctly. I do recall raging a bit against the bad romance dialogue in AOTC mind you.

I have watched Phantom Menace and the other prequels more recently and I stand by my 50/50 ratio. The highs were high. Palpatine was a spkendid villain and for me it was his story. The world building was beautiful.

On the topic of Clone Wars, it is an irony that Asohka Tano, a character that never even appeared in film, became a more popular character than Anakin, the ostensible star of the prequel trilogy. I didn't watch the show at the time but having seen it recently on Netflix, I think Lucasfilm really caught lightning in a bottle there. It really did pay them (and Disney) fantastic dividends for what I presume was a relatively tiny investment.
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Jason R.
Thu, Oct 18, 2018, 11:52am (UTC -6)
Re: Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith

The prequels were lots of garbage mixed together with lots of gold, a 50/50 proportion I would say.

The Abrams era movies are pure garbage, gold plated.

I know which one I preferred.
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Jason R.
Thu, Oct 18, 2018, 9:37am (UTC -6)
Re: Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith

NCC what I realize in retrospect about the prequels is that whatever their faults, they were world building stories that contributed to a larger Star Wars mythos. The Disney era movies, are not.

To be clear I am not even commenting on the quality of the storytelling or the acting, but rather on that quality which I think is the mortar that helps build franchises that churn out $2 billion dollar movies.

Interestingly, I caught an episode of the animated show Star Wars Rebels recently. Funny that this struck me as having that quality I mentioned, so Disney is clearly capable of producing such content. Also interesting though that the show takes place just before Episode IV and therefore has nothing to do with the new characters or the movies.

In many ways the Clone Wars TV show was a brilliant move for Lucasfilm, a franchise building property that probably played a significant role in paving the way for Episode VII's success. That property might be part of the reason some are looking to the prequels with renewed nostalgia.
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Jason R.
Wed, Oct 17, 2018, 7:10am (UTC -6)
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 -6)
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 -6)
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 -6)
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 -6)
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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