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Star Trek - Original Series The one that started it all...

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Old June 10 2013, 01:08 PM   #91
TREK_GOD_1
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Re: Atheism, and "Bread and Circuses"

The key error of any reference to Braga's statement as evidence of a GR worldview was that he was not just talking about GR at a time when he worked with him on TNG, but he made a sweeping, historically false statement, tossing his own atheist net on TOS--and GR's own TOS era views by association.

Braga's atheist agenda either robbed him of clarity, or he was completely ignorant of GR's past (including his wedding, the Scheimer account, etc)--only focusing on that which supported his own view--instead of recognizing GR still had some kind of faith up to a point in the 1970s.
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Old June 10 2013, 02:00 PM   #92
iguana_tonante
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Re: Atheism, and "Bread and Circuses"

It's a pretty big deal to you, isn't?
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Old June 10 2013, 02:37 PM   #93
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Re: Atheism, and "Bread and Circuses"

Is Braga an atheist? And does he have an agenda?
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Old June 10 2013, 03:03 PM   #94
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Re: Atheism, and "Bread and Circuses"

Seska wrote: View Post
It may be dull to some, but it was not my mere imagining that Spock, the sciency-est one of them all, got it wrong about Septimus and Flavius based on the facts he just observed on the planet below, until Uhura finally set him straight about the Son at the episode's conclusion.
Yes, it is your "mere imagining" that Uhura was setting Spock straight. Uhura set Kirk, McCoy and Spock straight, none of whom caught the pun. And the one who responded to Uhura was Kirk, not Spock.

Seeing as we both agree that atheism is a belief system, would you also agree that those who share your beliefs should accord respect to those with differing beliefs?
Philosophical materialism today is a conclusion based on an enormous body of knowledge painfully accumulated through the centuries. I don't know what you could call this in everyday language besides a belief system. But I think here you are equivocating, confusing "belief" as "agreement with a proposition of fact" with "belief" as a "value judgment" or "moral principle" or even "choice." (I think the posters above who object that atheism is not a belief system are objecting to this.) Equivocation is at the best a logical fallacy, by the way, and at the worst, deception.

You are going to have your own values, and since it is obvious that you will not respond to arguments, certainly I must respect your right to hold them, regardless of what I might prefer in an ideal world. However, in regards to facts and arguments, I do not, nor should not, "respect" misstatements of fact or fallacious arguments.

For instance, no one should respect your claims that there is no scriptural warrant for the Crusades or the Inquisition, when you know perfectly well that "sola scriptura" is not a universal tenet in Christianity. Nor for that matter should I respect the implicit claim that you, on your personal authority, can attribute these deviations from current social mores to purely secular causes, yet I cannot attribute all consequences of religion, good or ill, to purely secular causes.

Would you agree that the Trek fosters notions of diversity and inclusion?
No. For instance, your misreading of this episode as a simple endorsement of Christianity as a pacifist creed advocating freedom shows you don't accept enough diversity in point of view as to read the episode as critical, nor do you include such views as acceptable. Personally, I invest as much interest or belief in IDIC/the Prime Directive as I do in the Force.

That was not the surprising aspect to me. I was more astonished that you seem to be making the claim that the scientific method has application to the unobservable and the incalculable. As Dr. Lester might say, "are you prepared with an example? One will do."
The electromagnetic vector potential is an unobservable, to date (i.e., the last time I looked.) But you're not Dr. Lester, so I'm quite sure that you will not accept one example. Let me add then, the past. And, here's a third, society.

It is quite obvious that you resent the idea of science, so the only reason you have for pretending to think about the nature of science is to find some excuse to limit it, so that it can only provide material benefits, without affecting your thinking.

As for the "incalculable," this apparently means "deterministic," which rather overlooks the role of statistics in science.

The atom was an unobservable and an incalculable for decades. Those who argued that atoms were therefore an unscientific hypothesis were dead wrong. Comte was notorious for declaring that science could never tell us about the stars. The inescapable lesson is that there are no limits in principle to the powers of science. The situation is grimmer than that, since the practical limits are set by human ingenuity.

...Please take my little diatribe with the love, acceptance, and sincerity with which it is offered. So, howz about a little love back?
Why, sure. I was just reading Paul Levinson's The Plot to Save Socrates, which alludes to Hypatia. Hypatia was a pagan philosopher and mathematician in Byzantine Alexandria during the reign of the regent empress Pulcheria and the floruit of St. Cyril. A Christian crowd seized her from the streets and dragged her into a Christian church. There they stripped her. Then, the reports differ, they either beat her to death (or stoned her) with tiles, or they scraped her flesh from her bones with oyster shells. (The difference hinges on the contextual meaning of word that can mean either.) Her body was hacked to pieces and burnt. Enjoy the happy thoughts!

PS Kirk screwing the slave was by far the most objectionable aspect to the episode. It was not a love interlude. And if this episode really were about Our Heroes find "US" bravely living peace and freedom in the face of persecution, completely contrary to the alleged theme.
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Old June 10 2013, 03:27 PM   #95
CorporalCaptain
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Re: Atheism, and "Bread and Circuses"

Gov Kodos wrote: View Post
Seska wrote: View Post
I would amend my question, by instead asking:

Seeing as we both agree that the positive content of atheism is a belief system, would you also agree that those who share your beliefs should accord respect to those with differing beliefs?
Atheism, or more accurately perhaps, viewing life through a materialistic and empirical framework is only a belief system in an extremely narrow solipsistic sense sense that one can only know what you directly experience with your senses. However, that is physical and independently verifiable by others. It is in no way a belief system like any religious sense which posits a metaphysical reality. There is no way to verify any metaphysical reality. That is completely a belief of faith, which has no way to be assayed, described, or tested independently or observed and verified by any means. Any metaphysical reality is as right and wrong as any other. God has no more claim to reality than Batman and Wonder Woman. To claim 'belief in the physical world is equally a position of belief/faith as 'belief in the metaphysical' is patent foolishness. That is the claim that too many entertain as a valid argument allowing Creationism in the classroom. It's absurd.
I'm glad you made the distinction, but it bears emphasis that it is not necessary to view life through a materialistic and empirical framework, in order to have no belief in a deity. One need not be a philosopher to be an atheist.

As it happens, most of the high-profile atheists, the ones who engage in public debate about it, are philosophers, or fancy themselves to be, but some of them are jack-asses.

In theory, someone could believe in non-empirical things, such as in aliens from other dimensions that regularly abduct people, yet still be an atheist. I don't know how many, but I'm sure there are people out there like that.

When unqualified, atheism is something very specific: an absence of a particular kind of belief, period.

Atheism is not a belief system. Any positive belief that an atheist has has another source.
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Old June 10 2013, 03:42 PM   #96
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Re: Atheism, and "Bread and Circuses"

Why does anyone care what Brannon Braga says or does?
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Old June 10 2013, 06:09 PM   #97
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Re: Atheism, and "Bread and Circuses"

He screwed Jeri Ryan (I think). That earns my respect.
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Old June 10 2013, 06:26 PM   #98
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Re: Atheism, and "Bread and Circuses"

In terms of later day representations of faith in Trek, isn't there a mention in Data's Day of the episode coinciding with a (Hindi? It's been a while) religious ceremony?

Plus we later find out that not only do they still celebrate Christmas, but Picard loves it enough for it to form the basis of his deepest fantasy. Though he's probably just in it for the presents.
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Old June 10 2013, 06:28 PM   #99
Admiral Buzzkill
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Re: Atheism, and "Bread and Circuses"

BillJ wrote: View Post
Why does anyone care what Brannon Braga says or does?
Because he's repeating what Roddenberry said.

Why does anyone care what GR said or did at this point?

Who knows?
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Old June 10 2013, 08:07 PM   #100
Shaka Zulu
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Re: Atheism, and "Bread and Circuses"

Admiral Buzzkill wrote: View Post

"Bible thumper" is most commonly defined as someone who is aggressive in imposing Christianity on others or uses biblical literalism to attack and condemn people. You know what? I don't like bible thumpers. I have no patience with the several who approach me on the street to proselytize, as they frequently do in the commercial downtown blocks of my neighborhood. You can call that a slam on "all Christians" if you like, but it's not. It is, however, the truth.
I hear you-I have to put up with those people myself in downtown Toronto at the corner of Yonge & Dundas near the Eaton Center; the old East European guy standing on the busy northwest street corner saying 'Preese' (his version of 'Preach', I think) while holding a Bible; the Muslims handing out free Korans near the entrance of the Eaton Center itself; and last but not least, this young guy preaching the Gospel also doing his bible-thumping near the Eaton Center entrance last year:

[IMG][/IMG]

Now, if these people were doing something that was entertaining as the break dancers in the V For Vendetta masks, the Toronto Elvis guy, the Toronto Spock guy, or the Toronto Batman guy, I wouldn't mind. But they aren't entertaining as the secular others I've mentioned, least of all the old East European guy, who's most likely annoying people trying to get to where they're going, and also spoiling the city for whatever tourists are there as well, in addition to being a hazard to movement on the sidewalk. I wish that they all would find a public park and get lost, leaving that part of Toronto to the secular entertainers instead.

TREK_GOD_1 is entirely wrong, BTW, in suggesting that Braga misrepresented Roddenberry's expressed opinions about religion during the time that they would have worked together on TNG. GR was not at all shy about expressing his complete disdain for all forms of religious belief and practice during that period of his life. Trying to drag the "Braga is suspect" meme into this discussion is a non-starter.
THIS. Everybody knows that Roddenberry was against religion; that's part of his script for the aborted Star Trek movie The God Thing (which later became the basis for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.) When did he say that he was for it, or that Braga was wrong?
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Old June 10 2013, 08:32 PM   #101
Doomsday
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Re: Atheism, and "Bread and Circuses"

J. Lester wrote: View Post
T'Bonz wrote: View Post
That's rather offensive, Dennis. It's pretty damned sad when Christians are all lumped together with the extremists in what is a very large diverse group.

To me, as a Christian, being called a "Bible thumper" is a pejorative, along the lines of calling a Moslem the "R" word or a Jew the "K" word.

None of these designations should be acceptable, even if the three groups involved have elements in them that are undesirable at times to others (and even to those in said groups, if truth be told).

Even if one disagrees with another person's religious leanings (or lack thereof), it's only common decency to avoid stereotyping.
Thank you, T'Bonz. I was beginning to think I was the only Christian on this forum.
No, you are definitely not the only Christian on this forum.

One of the wonderful things about Trek is how broad and deep it's attraction can be. And often we see in it what we want to see in it.

Clearly, many atheists/humanists/ etc find great comfort in many of Trek's more humanistic stories and characters, and they are certainly there to see.

But interestingly, Trek has always appealed to Christians as well. Most of the fellow Christians I have known since the 80's are also big Star Trek fans, or at least viewers and appreciators of the show.

In fact, I once had an Assistant Pastor who used Trek episodes as parables to illuminate Biblical principles they sometimes reflected. (and this was a very conservative fundamentalist Baptist church, mind you).

I am part of a small home-church group, and our entire group went togehter to see STID.

The Trek universe is broad enough to make room for those who believe and for those who don't.

I think it's arrogant for any of us (Christian or atheist) to think we can possibly know it all. There are too many unknowables.

That is part of the basic Trek philosphy as I see it, tolerance for all kinds of beliefs. I am always saddened and dissappointed when I hear/read Trekkers being intolerant toward those they disagree with, particulary about matters of faith.

I think true wisdom is not in what you know, but that you are aware of and acknowledge that wich you do NOT know.
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Old June 10 2013, 09:03 PM   #102
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Re: Atheism, and "Bread and Circuses"

THIS. Everybody knows that Roddenberry was against religion; that's part of his script for the aborted Star Trek movie The God Thing (which later became the basis for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.) When did he say that he was for it, or that Braga was wrong?
What bothers some people is Braga's sweeping statement about Trek in general, particularly TOS. While Kirk certainly did his share of god-zapping, beginning with Gary Mitchell, there is no evidence from that show itself that GR was as totally hostile to to all manifestations of religious belief in the 1960s as he later became.
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Old June 10 2013, 09:52 PM   #103
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Re: Atheism, and "Bread and Circuses"

Yes, but what is more believable? Braga taking Roddenberry at face value when he expressed his anti-religious stance and just assuming it was a long-held view OR Braga having some nefarious anti-religious agenda and shamelessly co-opting Roddenberry for that agenda?
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Old June 10 2013, 10:12 PM   #104
Gov Kodos
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Re: Atheism, and "Bread and Circuses"

CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
Gov Kodos wrote: View Post
Seska wrote: View Post
I would amend my question, by instead asking:

Seeing as we both agree that the positive content of atheism is a belief system, would you also agree that those who share your beliefs should accord respect to those with differing beliefs?
Atheism, or more accurately perhaps, viewing life through a materialistic and empirical framework is only a belief system in an extremely narrow solipsistic sense sense that one can only know what you directly experience with your senses. However, that is physical and independently verifiable by others. It is in no way a belief system like any religious sense which posits a metaphysical reality. There is no way to verify any metaphysical reality. That is completely a belief of faith, which has no way to be assayed, described, or tested independently or observed and verified by any means. Any metaphysical reality is as right and wrong as any other. God has no more claim to reality than Batman and Wonder Woman. To claim 'belief in the physical world is equally a position of belief/faith as 'belief in the metaphysical' is patent foolishness. That is the claim that too many entertain as a valid argument allowing Creationism in the classroom. It's absurd.
I'm glad you made the distinction, but it bears emphasis that it is not necessary to view life through a materialistic and empirical framework, in order to have no belief in a deity. One need not be a philosopher to be an atheist.

As it happens, most of the high-profile atheists, the ones who engage in public debate about it, are philosophers, or fancy themselves to be, but some of them are jack-asses.

In theory, someone could believe in non-empirical things, such as in aliens from other dimensions that regularly abduct people, yet still be an atheist. I don't know how many, but I'm sure there are people out there like that.

When unqualified, atheism is something very specific: an absence of a particular kind of belief, period.

Atheism is not a belief system. Any positive belief that an atheist has has another source.
That was mixing atheism up with particular philosophical views, thanks. I would argue with the alien point that the aliens are non-existent or non-empirical, rather currently undetectable. (Likely lunacy, but that's something else.) The folks in question are not purposing anything metaphysical. They do have a bad understanding of physics and probably like to throw around terms from quantum mechanics and other branches of physics, but they likely try to stay in a physical framework of the universe for their delusions.

It is the sort of poor thinking that Creationists utilize to claim their beliefs should be accounted equal to the beliefs of science, though. However, science doesn't work on belief as faith. The beliefs of science are knowledge of facts and knowledge of tested, verifiable, and replicable results. There is no issue of faith what so ever. Similarly, asserting Atheism is a belief as faith is simply wrong. It no more works from a position of faith than does science.
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Old June 10 2013, 10:49 PM   #105
Shaka Zulu
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Re: Atheism, and "Bread and Circuses"

stj wrote: View Post
No, there is a reason there is aMericus on the platform watching the games. (Yes, that is a typographical assist, not a typo.) Formally, the climax is when aMericus sees the light and denies the temptations of empire, even at the cost of his own life. And the jokes about television are a humorous way of identifying their world and the contemporary US. I'm pretty sure everyone making Star Trek identified the guy threatening a special (live torture) if the ratings went down with someone they dealt with in mundane life!
THIS. Tragically, what the Magna Romans will get won't be as good as they think that it will be (eventually) with Christianity.

Christianity in Bread and Circuses is presented almost purely as pacifist, with one stray comment about freedom and brotherhood. None of this is historically accurate. Gibbon popularized the thesis that Christian pacifism undermined the imperial will of the Romans but it doesn't really hold up. A secondary theme, the burdens on the state of Christian episcopacy and privileges (free mail service sticks in my mind for some odd reason?) is a little stronger. In the Sixties everyone was well aware that true Christianity was not pacifist and only cultists like the Quakers or Mennonites held to it.
Plus, most of the mainstream Christian churches were for the Vietnam War, including the Catholic Church (Cardinal Francis Spellman was a backer along with William Douglass of the American Friends Of Vietnam, which was an organization that supported the South Vietnamese government of Ngo Dinh Diem simply because Diem was Catholic and had almost become a Catholic priest as a young man, although he took a vow of chastity and never got married.) When the American Friends of Vietnam realized that Diem was an autocratic ruler and was treating Buddhists badly, it faded away, but the Church never really said anything about how bad the Vietnam War was, or even bothered to join in any condemnation of it (except for a certain Afro-American Southern Baptist minister who did condemn it in 1967.)

T'Girl wrote: View Post
I don't see the culture of the Empire depicted in the episode as representing the culture of the American viewing audience, despite the inclusion of automobiles and "smog." The dissidents opposing the Empire, people seeking their freedom and the growth of the "Son of God" Religion, would more likely be the culture that was to have been representing America.
See the epistle to Philemon. See the church names of the time, such as Southern Baptist Convention or Southern Methodist Church and reflect on their origins. The historical claim that Christianity is about freedom comes from a time when "Christianity" was defined in opposition to Roman Catholicism, the Antichrist. Star Trek wasn't interested enough in religion to tackle the issue of Roman Christianity. If that seems atheistical, so be it.
THIS, again. Plus, the opposite is true; it was secular groups and the Quakers that were the ones most like Septimus and Flavius Maximus in our world during the '60s (and now in the 2010s opposing the Iraq/Afghanistan conflicts) in opposing the Vietnam War, plus the certain Afro-American minister I've mentioned above.

....Kirk is in fact a Christian, who embraces that growth comes no other way but through "The Struggle."
Maybe he is, but it may be through something else that he is.

Hardship is normal for the Christian life, it's how we improve ourselves.
For most Christians, maybe. For some in the hierarchy of this religion, not so much.
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