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Old September 4 2008, 05:03 PM   #46
Neroon
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Re: Ripping the supernatural out of science fiction.

Nedersong, 4 posts in a row like that?
That's why God invented the Edit button, as well as the concept of patience.
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Last edited by Neroon; September 4 2008 at 05:34 PM.
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Old September 4 2008, 05:21 PM   #47
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Re: Ripping the supernatural out of science fiction.

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Old September 4 2008, 05:59 PM   #48
darkshadow0001
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Re: Ripping the supernatural out of science fiction.

Star Wars?

I'm not a big fan of Star Wars, but I don't think there was any mention of that sutff during the first six movies. Then again I could be wrong.
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Old September 4 2008, 06:01 PM   #49
Harvey
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Re: Ripping the supernatural out of science fiction.

darkshadow0001 wrote: View Post
Star Wars?

I'm not a big fan of Star Wars, but I don't think there was any mention of that sutff during the first six movies. Then again I could be wrong.
Midichlorians aside... the force?
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Old September 4 2008, 06:06 PM   #50
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Re: Ripping the supernatural out of science fiction.

Denifantely NOT Star Wars.

The jedi are a mystical force. "We are luminous beings, not this crude matter".
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Old September 4 2008, 07:03 PM   #51
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Re: Ripping the supernatural out of science fiction.

Hirogen Alpha wrote: View Post
darkshadow0001 wrote: View Post
Star Wars?

I'm not a big fan of Star Wars, but I don't think there was any mention of that sutff during the first six movies. Then again I could be wrong.
Midichlorians aside... the force?
Yup, the midis. Like out of a really bad Voyager script, technobabble gone amuck.
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Old September 4 2008, 07:18 PM   #52
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Re: Ripping the supernatural out of science fiction.

the thing about psi powers is that it may not be psi powers at all....it just might look like psi powers to the untrained eye (That's the whole premise of Psyche).

For instance, in the TNG ep "Cause and Effect," Data gets the android equivalent of a premonition. However, watching the episode we get a TECH reason for the message.

Babylon 5 is another example of this. From the very first episode we see that the Minbari believe in prophesy. Their prophosies had an uncanny way of comming true. Its only later do we discover they are the result of a pre-destination paradox.

The new BSG has by no means conclusively included supernatural elements. Its intentionally left ambiguous. So far most of the things that have happened have been given rational explanations. The same was true on Lost until very late in the game.

As for shows without supernatural elements....

Total Recall 2070
Space Above and Beyond
Time Trax
Time Cop
Sliders (Sliders is a unique case since the very nature of the show opens the potential for "different" physical laws in other universes.....its a stretch though)
Invasion
Alien Nation
Century City (one cannot help but notice that most of these did not get more than one season...if that)
Doomwatch
EUReKA
Jericho (is this sci-fi)
Jeremiah
Mann & Machine
Mercy Point
Seven Days
Planet of the Apes
Primeval (conditionally...we do not know the origins of the rifts)
The Prisoner
Surface
TekWar
Viper (once you accept Knight Rider you get all of its copy cats)
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Old September 4 2008, 07:30 PM   #53
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Re: Ripping the supernatural out of science fiction.

stonester1 wrote: View Post
TV just isn't the place for pure, rigourous science fiction.
I think it could be, if it was backdrop. If it was the main selling point, it would fail.

Also, I don't know how long that would stay interesting. A speculative fiction TV series that locks itself down into any assumptions/dogma stands a chance of getting predictable.

Science fiction is about breaking boundaries, not adhering to them.

So I think "pure" science fiction could be a launch platform, if you will. But if you never leave it...

Actually you can do a pure science fiction show without any supernatural elements and make it interesting. The show would just need to have more of an adventure spin to it. Techincally CSI is now considered sci-fi because it uses speculative technology.

The first and last seasons of seaQuest are good examples. Most of season 1 was considered sci-fact (once you weed out the ghosts and couple of psychic episodes). 2032 was all action and political intrigue.
The
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Old September 4 2008, 08:34 PM   #54
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Re: Ripping the supernatural out of science fiction.

Nedersong wrote: View Post
John Doe.
John Doe wandered away from the more rigourous scientific approach towards the end of its run, with remote viewing and the mysticism behind those Phoenix people. The show's creators have stated that the explanation for John's total knowledge was a near-death experience; he acquired total knowledge after transcending his body and reaching a spiritual plane (and a few other such cop-outs, like the mysterious scar being just a sharpnel wound). I liked the show, but it's probably better that it ended when it did if that's the explanation they were going for.

Fictitiously yours, Trent Roman
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Old September 4 2008, 08:36 PM   #55
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Re: Ripping the supernatural out of science fiction.

Actually you can do a pure science fiction show without any supernatural elements and make it interesting. The show would just need to have more of an adventure spin to it. Techincally CSI is now considered sci-fi because it uses speculative technology.
CSI bores the crap out of me, as do most procedurals. Talk about a genre trapped in it's assumptions...

The first and last seasons of seaQuest are good examples. Most of season 1 was considered sci-fact (once you weed out the ghosts and couple of psychic episodes). 2032 was all action and political intrigue.
The
But you can't just weed that stuff out. It's there. I personally allow for it, as such things can't simply be explained away definitively in our reality, either.
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Old September 4 2008, 09:01 PM   #56
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Re: Ripping the supernatural out of science fiction.

You folks should give Eleventh Hour a look: the whole idea behind it is to be "near future sci fi" that has present day relevance.

I personally think this limitation will cause the show to be quickly cancelled because it won't be imaginative enough for the sci fi audience, but who knows. Anyway it's a good test case to see just how interested anyone really is for taking the goofy/wild stuff out of sci fi.
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Old September 4 2008, 09:09 PM   #57
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Re: Ripping the supernatural out of science fiction.

Temis the Vorta wrote: View Post
You folks should give Eleventh Hour a look: the whole idea behind it is to be "near future sci fi" that has present day relevance.
Just like ReGenesis. It also deals with near-future issues like cloning, engineered viruses, modern-day science gone too far, etc.
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Old September 4 2008, 10:17 PM   #58
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Re: Ripping the supernatural out of science fiction.

Rather than attempt to reply to everyone individually with quotes all over the place I'll try and do this all at once.

The goal for me in this exercise is to find shows, whether recent or past, that adhere to our scientific understanding of the world as we know it today.

Do I allow open the door for the 'possibility' of psychic phenomena... yes. But... science as it stands right now says that that is highly unlikely. There are NO instances of psychic phenomena that has stood up to rigorous skeptical scrutiny. Science demands that an idea has to be testable. At which point it needs to be tested over and over and over (and yes we're talking about double blind experiments). If the hypothesis fails, even once, it is discarded as false and we either refine the hypothesis or toss it away.

I've never heard of a case of reported psychic phenomena standing up to that kind of rigorous testing. How many faith healers, psychics, tarot readers have been shown to be charlatans once put in to a double blind experiment. How many have allowed themselves to be tested in this manner?

Science is about rigorous testing. Science also proves nothing (ever!). All it does is lend support to a hypothesis. Once it's gone through the testing loop enough times it becomes accepted as a theory. Not a proof, a theory.

I don't see any problem with holding this standard up to science fiction.

Someone made a good point about the fact that we haven't discovered life on other planets and hence any show that depicts otherwise is pseudoscientific and/or supernatural. Point well taken. We haven't. We're searching, but we haven't yet. I suppose this is where we have to look at the term "speculative fiction"

Now is it any less speculative to say we may learn that psychic phenomenae may be found to potentially exist as it is to say life on other planets may exist. In some sense no. But, I would personally argue (and this is only my opinion) that at least the notion or possibility of life on other planets at least fits into the realm of possibility from what we know of biology, chemistry, etc... Much more so than the notion of someone levitating a spoon or reading my thoughts by thinking really hard. There's just no support for it in science.

But, you ask, can't the same be said for life on other planets?

Let's look at the case of shrimp living near undersea thermal vents. Until recently it was assumed that no life could exist under such extremes. And yet there it is, right on our own planet. This lends support to the hypothesis of other planets with similar extremes could potentially be true. I've seen no such supporting evidence in the case of psychic phenomena e.

I hope that helps in understanding where I'm coming from with this. ALL the replies so far have been great!
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Old September 5 2008, 12:06 AM   #59
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Re: Ripping the supernatural out of science fiction.

cynical dreamer wrote: View Post
Rather than attempt to reply to everyone individually with quotes all over the place I'll try and do this all at once.

The goal for me in this exercise is to find shows, whether recent or past, that adhere to our scientific understanding of the world as we know it today.

Do I allow open the door for the 'possibility' of psychic phenomena... yes. But... science as it stands right now says that that is highly unlikely. There are NO instances of psychic phenomena that has stood up to rigorous skeptical scrutiny. Science demands that an idea has to be testable. At which point it needs to be tested over and over and over (and yes we're talking about double blind experiments). If the hypothesis fails, even once, it is discarded as false and we either refine the hypothesis or toss it away.

I've never heard of a case of reported psychic phenomena standing up to that kind of rigorous testing. How many faith healers, psychics, tarot readers have been shown to be charlatans once put in to a double blind experiment. How many have allowed themselves to be tested in this manner?

Science is about rigorous testing. Science also proves nothing (ever!). All it does is lend support to a hypothesis. Once it's gone through the testing loop enough times it becomes accepted as a theory. Not a proof, a theory.

I don't see any problem with holding this standard up to science fiction.

Someone made a good point about the fact that we haven't discovered life on other planets and hence any show that depicts otherwise is pseudoscientific and/or supernatural. Point well taken. We haven't. We're searching, but we haven't yet. I suppose this is where we have to look at the term "speculative fiction"
Here's where you're having difficulties I believe. There's a ton of shows that adhere strictly to current scientific understanding - from ER to Law and Order. But they are not science fiction. To qualify as science fiction, any series has to have some speculative aspect - that is, it must function off of an idea that has not been proven. Otherwise, where's the "speculative" part?

Now is it any less speculative to say we may learn that psychic phenomenae may be found to potentially exist as it is to say life on other planets may exist. In some sense no. But, I would personally argue (and this is only my opinion) that at least the notion or possibility of life on other planets at least fits into the realm of possibility from what we know of biology, chemistry, etc... Much more so than the notion of someone levitating a spoon or reading my thoughts by thinking really hard. There's just no support for it in science.

But, you ask, can't the same be said for life on other planets?

Let's look at the case of shrimp living near undersea thermal vents. Until recently it was assumed that no life could exist under such extremes. And yet there it is, right on our own planet. This lends support to the hypothesis of other planets with similar extremes could potentially be true. I've seen no such supporting evidence in the case of psychic phenomena e.

I hope that helps in understanding where I'm coming from with this. ALL the replies so far have been great!
And the Ganzfeld experiments lend support to the idea of psychic phenomenon. At least as much as what you point to lends support to the idea of alien life. Life on earth, under no matter what intense earthly conditions, does not really lend any support to the hypothesis of extraterrestrial life, since on another planet everything from stellar radiation to atmospheric composition would be different from earth's (as far as we know) unique conditions. Plus, any show postulating alien life almost always shows it as being more or less humanoid in structure and the chances of that happening, by most evolutionary biologists' estimations, is so tiny as to be nearly impossible.

I think everyone gets what you're after, but it seems like the line you've drawn is entirely arbitrary, based on your personal beliefs about what is credible in speculative fiction, and what isn't. Meanwhile you've brought up an interesting subject - what is and isn't scientifically plausible in current tv SF, and where are people willing to suspend disbelief?
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Old September 5 2008, 12:46 AM   #60
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Re: Ripping the supernatural out of science fiction.

The Ganzfeld experiments were riddled with statistical errors as well as problems in replicating the results.

http://www.csicop.org/si/9603/claims.html
http://www.rso.cornell.edu/scitech/a...5sum/para.html
http://www.science-frontiers.com/sf089/sf089p15.htm
http://skepticwiki.org/index.php/Ganzfeld_experiments
http://www.dichotomistic.com/mind_re...0ganzfeld.html

It's an intriguing experiment, but until it can be replicated over and over it still doesn't mean much.

Meanwhile you've brought up an interesting subject - what is and isn't scientifically plausible in current tv SF, and where are people willing to suspend disbelief?
Which i hope is one that people will explore. This whole thread is meant to spark discussion on all of these types of issues in science fiction.
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