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Old June 15 2014, 08:44 PM   #1351
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Re: Cosmos - With Neil deGrasse Tyson

Ancient Mariner wrote: View Post
Yes, it does, Christopher. In the context of a narrative, the one has the explicit decision to label the mob as either "Christian" or something closer to the actual fact. YOU might make the distinction, but you are not the entire audience. Therefore, narratively, it is the responsibility of the authors to provide a description of the mob that best suits the purpose of the narrative - and this is about anti-intellectual fanatics, not Christians.
But it is about Christians -- those who abuse the teachings of their faith and give othe Christians a bad name. The point is that you don't need to draw that distinction because most people in the audience don't need it explained. Should the media have avoided mentioning that Elliot Rodger was male for fear of tarring all males with the same brush? Of course not. His violent misogyny was a corruption of masculinity, but his view of his masculinity was an important factor in what motivated him, and those who try to sidetrack the debate with the "Not All Men" meme are trying to put us on the defensive and keep us from saying things that need to be said. It would be wrong to paint it as generic violence, because it was specifically about gender, even if it ws a corrupt view of gender. So trying to hide from the fact that Rodger was male and that that was a key factor in his actions is dishonest. And the same goes here. The mob did not represent all Christians, which is something that any honest and reasonable observer already knows; but their actions were directly motivated by their Christianity, by the way the Christianity of their time and culture perceived itself and other faiths, by the historical context of Christianity's displacement of paganism. It is an important part of the story, and it's wrong to try to pretend they were just generic, religiously neutral fanatics. You're letting the opposition define the terms and thereby trap you into a dishonest argument, and you're unable to see it. I'm trying to help you recognize how you're hurting your own position -- and my position -- by letting the other side manipulate you.

Christians have to accept and understand that fellow Christians did such a heinous and violent act, because they need to be able to take a look at themselves and what they believe and recognize how it can be corrupted. Just like men have a responsibility to look at ourselves in the wake of what Elliot Rodger did and face those parts of our cultural beliefs and self-images that can be taken to such dangerous extremes if we aren't careful. These acts of violence are not neutral, and it's dangerous to pretend they are, because that just gives us an excuse to avoid questioning ourselves. And that's exactly what is desired by the people who are sidetracking the debate with these "Not All Men/Not All Christians" sort of responses. They're trying to avoid the need for self-criticism and taking responsibility for the misdeeds committed by members of our own groups.
Written Worlds -- Christopher L. Bennett's blog and webpage
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Old June 15 2014, 09:21 PM   #1352
Location: Kentucky
Re: Cosmos - With Neil deGrasse Tyson

But how is the mob's Christianity or Hypatia's paganism even relevant, assuming the mob wasn't actually made up of Cyril's bodyguards and acting on his direct orders, and that Hypatia wasn't a Christian convert, and that anyone in Alexandria had any real beef with the pagans - as the conflict was between one group of Christians led by Orestes, another group of Christians led by Cyril, and lots of Jews who were being expelled after their attack on Cyril's group of Christians, which upset Orestes and his group of Christians, along with Jews and pagans.

It was a Christian/Christian power struggle between two very important leaders over Cyril's attempt to encroach on Orestes' power, an early example of the attempt to extend ecclesiastical Christian authority over secular Christian authority (ie., the kings must answer to the Pope). That is purely power politics, and people were being massacred, tortured, and executed on both sides. Hypatia was using her enormous influence to back Orestes Christian authority, so Cyril or his supporters took her out.

As a continuation of the serious conflict, Orestes side of Christianity used Hypatia's murder as a bloody rag, and continued to do so for over a thousand years, getting worse as time went on - with the theme that Catholic authorities are evil, power mad, and murderous. She died because she was an important player in a life-and-death political struggle between very powerful men representing very powerful forces in a very violent city. Cosmos picked a side in the larger dispute, again using Hypatia's murder for political ends.

So, the way Cosmos presented the overall story is that Alexandria was the sole beacon of knowledge and human learning, the only city reaching out to science and understanding, kind of like the city of the Ancients in Star Gate Atlantis. That's ridiculous, because it ignores the earlier existence of all the Greek City States, Persia, the Arabian Peninsula, Judea, Spain, Constantinople, countless other major cities and centers of learning, and the entire rest of the region and world.

And then Cosmos claims a mindless mob burned the Great Library, which is totally false, using the repeated myth to motivate its viewers into readying themselves to form another mindless mob that's ready to act based on stupid myths they learned from watching Cosmos.

And after the mythical burning of the great library, we're drug right back to the murder of Hypatia, this time blamed on anti-science fanatics instead of a particular faction of the Catholic Church.

In the fourth remake of Cosmos we'll undoubtedly be told that John F. Kennedy was assassinated by an anti-science fanatic who was trying to stop mankind's exploration of the moon and beyond.
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Old June 15 2014, 09:41 PM   #1353
Ancient Mariner
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Re: Cosmos - With Neil deGrasse Tyson

gturner wrote: View Post
Of course NGT didn't have to directly point out that it was a Christian mob, because by episode 13 anyone following the series would already know the theme, starting with the execution of Bruno in episode 1.
Yes, that theme would be anti-intellectualism, via the suppression of free thought and speech:

"This was a time when there was no freedom of thought ... "(17:52)

"Bruno lived at a time when there was no such thing as the separation of church and state, when the notion of freedom of speech is the sacred right of every individual. Expressing an idea that didn't conform to traditional belief could land you in deep trouble ... The Roman Catholic Church maintained a system of courts known as the Inquisition whose sole purpose was to investigate and torment anyone who dared voice views that differed from theirs. It wasn't long before Bruno fell into the clutches of the thought police." (23:05)

So while the episode explicitly acknowledges the role the church played in Bruno's death (in stark contrast to how it portrayed Hypatia's death, by the way), the episode further contextualizes the events as part of "the thought police" acting out of fear for those who were "expressing ideas that didn't conform to traditional belief."

So, yet again, the series is focusing on the fanatical, anti-intellectualism, rather than on religion in general, or Christianity, specifically. After all, NDT pointed out that Copernicus was a priest and that Bruno was a monk, and that Bruno, in particular, was acting from a place of deeply religious faith.

Christopher wrote: View Post
You're letting the opposition define the terms and thereby trap you into a dishonest argument, and you're unable to see it.
Wrong. I'm pointing out what the show explicitly stated ... and why it did so. The fact remains, Christopher, regardless of whether or not you think it was appropriate, the show (in either incarnation) did not say "Christian mob." It deliberately avoided using that label for the murderous mob (and in the case of the newer version, avoided mention of religion altogether). That someone would attempt to claim that the show, in fact, said so, is the point of contention. And I'm merely pointing out that such an assertion was wrong, while also relaying the reason why. There's no equivocation in anything I have stated, so I'm not sure why you keep ignoring this distinction, and if you really are trying to "help" why you're attempting to shoot the messenger.

Christopher wrote: View Post
I'm trying to help you recognize how you're hurting your own position -- and my position -- by letting the other side manipulate you.
I'm afraid that the only attempt at manipulation here is from your posts - which are attempting to force your specific interpretation of "Christianity" onto everyone else. Fact is, without the explicit contextualization, not everyone watching the episode would make the implicit distinction you are making and more than a fair few of them would jump to the wrong (generalized) conclusion. When the word "Christian" is used to describe something, there are as many connotations for that descriptor as there are viewers in the audience. Therefore, the show, responsibly, makes the distinction for the audience because the whole point is that these people were fanatics, not that they were Christian.

Again, what's being discussed is what the show actually stated (and avoided stating): It never used the phrase "Christian mob" - for reasons that really ought to be self-evident.

By the way, I'm not entirely sure why you think I'm defensive of Christianity, specifically. I've been agnostic since grade school and have no inherent need to defend any specific religion - except that, in this case, while the mob was Christian, that description is far less relevant than the fact that they were fanatic. It'd be like, years later, referring to Elliot Rodger as a Male Murderer. Why, yes, he was male ... and it informed his particular brand of mania, but it would be more accurate to say he was a Misogynist Murderer, since "male" doesn't tell you anything about him beyond the most general of descriptions.
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Old June 16 2014, 12:14 AM   #1354
Location: Kentucky
Re: Cosmos - With Neil deGrasse Tyson

But again, what makes you think Hypatia's killers were fanatic, as opposed to being like mafia enforcers sending a message to Orestes? Hypatia's mistake was being the only major player who wasn't traveling around with a large team of bodyguards, making her an easy target.

Second, did her killers remotely care what religion she was or what school of thought she belonged to? Probably not, or they'd have killed her decades earlier (she was somewhere between her mid-40's and mid-60's when she was killed), as she freely associated with Christians, Jews, and pagans. She was, however, in a position to get Cyril and a bunch of his followers killed by Roman forces, and both Cyril and Orestes were sending letters of protest on up the chain trying to resolve their issues. At some point Cyril or his followers concluded that she was poisoning those efforts.

If her murder had been because of her teachings, then her colleagues and students wouldn't have kept teaching the same subjects in the same city, which they did.

So it doesn't matter if her killers are described as Christians or anti-intellectual fanatics, because that narrative is relevant only for modern political ends and has almost nothing to do with what happened to Hypatia.

You might as well argue, after Cosmos remake IV, that it is significant that the show didn't refer to Lee Harvey Oswald as a Texan, since it called him an "anti manned-space-exploration fanatic." It's so far out in the weeds that it's a debate that shouldn't even occur.
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Old June 16 2014, 11:49 AM   #1355
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Re: Cosmos - With Neil deGrasse Tyson

Yanks wrote: View Post
Just read this thread. It's not like you'll accept them anyways...
I have read the thread and you have not shown any lies in the series yet. And since you cannot here when asked we can only assume you cannot. Deniers of climate change have nothing.
Later is now
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Old June 21 2014, 10:42 PM   #1356
Rear Admiral
Re: Cosmos - With Neil deGrasse Tyson

Let us not forget what happened when Caliph Umar took Egypt away from the Byzantine Empire as remembered by al-Qifti:

“As for the books you mention, if there is in it what complies with the Book of God [i.e. the Qur'an], then it is already there and is not needed...and if what is in these books contradict the Book of God there is no need for it. And you can then proceed in destroying them.”

This was worse than what the Christians did--in that books that affirmed the Qur'an were considered useless, and also slated for burning.

That is absolutely crazy. I first read of this in a book about Fermat and Wiles...
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