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March 2018



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Religious bias

I was just watching "Tintin: The Prisoners of the Sun" (1969). It takes place in Peru. The plot hinges on the Incas not knowing that a solar eclipse is going to occur. This is the old "superstitious savages defeated by science" trope. In reality the Incas were better than Europeans at astronomy. It played a key role in their culture. They were predicting solar eclipses when Europeans were still afraid of comets.

It just annoys me to see this sort of scientific mythology get a free pass. Religion is not anti-knowledge. The origin of astronomy was religion. Just because Christianity is anti-nature doesn't mean all religions are. Even modern science began as a Christian search for "God's truth".


Temporarily Humboldt County

CONQUISTADOR: Buenos dias, amigos!
INDIAN: Hello! You must be The True White Brother!
CONQUISTADOR: Sure! You must be The Indians!
SECOND INDIAN: Welcome Home!
All the Spanish soldiers cheer.
CONQUISTADOR: Welcome to New Spain! This is your new Father - Father Corona.
FATHER CORONA: Pax vneuti nicutm! down on your knees, now! D'ye recognize what I'm holdin' over your head, lads?
INDIAN: It's a Cross. The Symbol of the Quartering of the Universe into Active and Passive Principles.
FATHER CORONA: God have mercy on their heathen souls!

Re: Temporarily Humboldt County


Pass expired!

As you said, this movie was filmed in 1969, though I am sure you could find all kinds of modern examples just as fatuous. However- Avatar? There IS progress, I hope...personally, I get sick and tired of people doing CPR on someone who has a pulse, and "corpses" whose jaws are tightly clenched, and endless attempts by supposed medical professionals to "shock" asystole, (flat-line on a heart monitor) which in never going to work, and indeed would never even be ATTEMPTED by a medical professional....and no-one listens to me either. *Sigh*.

Re: Pass expired!

Avatar was a different trope, Nobel Savage instead of Primitive Savage. Avatar was pure environmentalist propaganda but at least it was neither anti-religion not anti-science, the scientists were the good guys. It was anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist. I would say it was anti-military but both sides were militant.

The problems you mention are technical details (which popular fiction always bends to add drama) rather than underlying ideological problems. Medical shows get the medicine wrong. Law shows get the law wrong. Military shows get the military wrong. It can be a problem especially when Young doctors learn bad habits from TV medical dramas

The stories we tell are always expressions of our underlying beliefs about the world, that is part of the rhetoric of fiction. I wasn't so much annoyed at the inaccurate detail as the underlying belief that it expressed, that ancient societies and religious people are ignorant and superstitious and can easily be fooled with a little science.

Tintin tends to be be pro-science, although in the end the Incas curse was done with "voodoo" dolls and not explained by science, there is that.

Re: Pass expired!

Do you also see the development, especially since the Sixties, of the philosophy that all ancient societies were made up of "Noble Savages" and all ancient religions are beneficent and good, and way more intelligent than current, modern ones? Starting with the Beatles trekking off to India, and all the Maharishi stuff, and continuing today with the veneration of the Dalai Lama?
It's interesting; I've never studied a single religion from any time period that didn't have pertinent and useful precepts, ad also stupid and regressive things, usually behavioral rules. I remember a wise woman telling me, "For a group to exist, it must have rules. It's not so important what the rules are, but that there ARE rules!" And I guess I really am a UU at heart!