You will find that my stories and art just as easily touch on the holy as the scientific. I am one of those rare people whose faith is not shaken or threatened by science. My faith comes from the smallness of man within this vast universe and the fact that neither science nor faith can encompass all the possibilities or realities. In addition, I have an artistic nature that has been cultivated in Science Fiction and Fantasy stories along with a fascination in human history.
I have seen science fall prey to human foibles just as easily as religion. I am not saying that science is no better than religion at understanding the universe. What I am saying is that, although science demands proof through observation and predictability, it can still be made blind by human stubbornness and pride. History is full of treasured theories that had to be battered down by the forces of progress. A very sad tendency I have noticed in our modern world is the pride of understanding that science has with technology. There are times I hear of scientists so secure in science’s and technology’s ability to solve the problems they create. So many forget that they are human, subject to nature, human weakness, and delusions. Thus, while I will believe easier in science than religion because I can touch and feel it, I will always treat each with a healthy dose of doubt.
Some of my stories and posts are explorations of the confluence of science and religion, examinations of religion from a scientific point of view. Others are contemplations on the dangerous liaisons between science and business. Driven by profit, the pace of our technological growth in this century has long since outstripped our ability to deal with the ramifications of said technology. One area that has me concerned is video technology. As we become better and better at creating realistic portrayals of fictitious events, we risk losing our hold on reality. I know that conspiracy theories about the moon landings have been around for decades and have little basis in reality, but we are fast approaching a world where such a hoax could be carried out. Look at the effect fake news is having via social networks like Twitter and Facebook.
So, do not be surprised to hear me taking about God and string theory in the same story.
I was talking with a colleague today and he brought up Trump. I told him Trump was an idiot for which he said, well, there isn’t much choice because he didn’t like Clinton. I reiterated that Trump was and idiot or, more accurately, a con man. Surprisingly, there was not any of the usual bluster from him, even though they were Republican. I found that interesting.
Many Republicans are not happy with the candidate put forth by their party but feel trapped into voting for Trump because Clinton is no more attractive to them. What a sad state of affairs in our country when someone feels they are forced to vote for someone they clearly do not like. However, that is not the case. Just because you do not like any of the candidates the various parties have put forth does not mean you cannot voice your opinion through your vote. You are allowed to write in the person you want to elect. Let me say that again:
You are allowed to write in the person you want to elect.
Hell, if you want to, you can write in your own name but don’t expect a lot of matching votes. Also, you may want to contain your choices to someone that campaigned this election, since they have shown they are willing to take the office. Someone that did not campaign may turn the country down. Other than that, feel free to express yourself. You can even write in “none of the above”.
In my opinion, should the whole country manage to elect someone other than the two candidates chosen for us by the 1% that would send a clearer message to big money than putting a multiple-bankruptcy, wife cheating, service evading, bigot into office. The one thing the 1% are afraid of more than unions is the 99% telling them no more. Think about it. Bones.
I just wanted to let you know that I have added two great links for all you space enthusiast out there. The first one will take you to the solar sail project run by the Planetary Society’ which is an effort to deploy a functioning solar sail satellite into space. The other is the home page of the Planetary Society itself where you will find all kinds of interesting information about space. The links can be found on the left hand side of this blog towards the bottom under the heading Sites.
This one goes out to all you scientist, engineers, and business people who are so fond of conquering nature. When you plow over forests and damn rivers to bring us power and shopping malls, manicured estates and glistening steel towers, non-stick frying pans and germ free houses, you need to remember one important fact. Remember this fact when you see the annoyances nature throws at you as something to be beaten or destroyed. We are nature. We are made from the materials we ingest from the world. Our bodies respond to the stimuli abundant in nature, in fact, that is how we became what we are. We also have reactions to the things you do that we do not have the wisdom to foresee. So do not be in a rush to throw technology at defeating an aspect of nature that bothers you or feel you can profit from. Because by defeating or destroying nature, you destroy us. For those Christians who believe God put us above nature and; thus, you should be allowed to do what you want, the philosophy still holds. God made us from the dust and water of the earth. You are still connected to and part of the nature you scoff. Bones.
In the vain of these adages that I stood on their head, I bring you a new one. Many times throughout my life I have heard that “it is easier to destroy than it is to create”, usually in reference to something beautiful or worthwhile being destroyed. Well, it hit me today about the issue of the wrongful use people put well meaning technology toward. For every technology that is designed to better mankind, someone takes it and perverts into something bad. Computers made to assist and connect us become tools to take away or control us, same with cellphones. In addition, there are all the unintended consequences of our rapidly changing technology. Harmful effects that are not realized until long after the product is in use (i.e. asbestos) and the overwhelming amount of waste material pumped into our environment. So I feel that a corollary adage should be added as follows:
It is easier to destroy than create, also, it is easier to create than to comprehend.
Of which the main idea is that in our greedy grasp for better and better technology, we can become quite blind to all the unforeseen effects of the technology we create. Being short lived creatures, we tend to focus on the here and now and let our progeny deal with the consequences. Just look at all the ways Wall Street used computers to hide the damage they did back in 2008. How much easier did computers make it to push along the toxic debt? In addition, Wall Street currently condones a two level information system, which to me smacks of insider trading. I have heard there are companies who are allowed to trade with systems that get and analyze stock information before the public gets it. It is only say, milliseconds faster, but with computers, companies can buy and sell stocks at a profit before the general public can and this is still legal because the government can’t keep up with the technology.
All of these are results of the creation of computers. I’ll guarantee that the first computer designer never thought about computer viruses, fraud, or cyber warfare. How could they have comprehended all the divergent paths associated with computer technology. Bones.
I finally watched the movie adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s “Ender’s Game”. All in all, the overall ideas and feelings were captured with the special effects being well done. However, I have a nit to pick with the director and Hollywood in general. Why is it so hard to conceive of these type of stories actually starting further in the future the way they should be set. Card’s story takes place further in the future than depicted in the movie.
The screen writer and director decided to open with an “Independence Day” style space battle (almost an exact copy of the ending) to represent the second invasion, which in the book was repulsed near Saturn. They even used current jet fighters as our defense. They then go on to state that the current time frame of the movie is fifty years after this battle where the book says it is eighty years since the second invasion. Therefore, in the movie it only takes fifty years to go from jet fighters and no manned deep space travel to constructing near light speed fleets with world destroying capabilities. This includes the travel time from our system to the Formic territories and conquering one of their worlds.
To contrast, the book starts at a point in the future where we already have in system fleets capable of battling around Saturn then gives another eighty years to adapt the alien technologies and launch the fleet, which was done in stages as we were able to build enough ships.
I just do not understand why some directors feel they need to hold everyone’s hands when it comes to science fiction. They have to start from a comfortable, easily recognizable, near future that makes the sci-fi aspects seem closer to fantasy than science. Would it really have been so hard to come up with a way to depict the original battles in space as they should have been? Let the shocked viewer actually use their mind a bit to realize that the story starts some hundred years or so in our future.
To me, the story was cheapened by this need to cling to the familiar. For the same reason I could not get into the Aliens versus Predator movies. Instead of taking place in the future around where the original Alien movies occurred, they chose to come back to our present, which by the way is inconsistent with the Alien movies cannon. To me, the only proper handling of Aliens versus Predators was the old Atari Jaguar video game of that name that took place in a futuristic setting.