Every Wednesday, I post a comment about science fiction concepts as I see them. This is not a political or current events blog, and it’s not about theology as such—although theology must enter the discussion. I try to remain upbeat and not denigrate or condemn particular shows or programs. Read this first to understand my overall purpose here. See a full index of all my blog entries. You can also click on a category on the right, or use the search engine to see if I’ve blogged about a topic yet.
|Posted on March 11, 2013 at 11:50 AM||comments (9)|
Yesterday morning, March 10, 2013, my brother passed away quietly from this life into a new frontier. You may know him as Victor Travison, who faithfully blogged every Wednesday until his last days.
My brother loved to write, and especially loved to merge science fiction with his faith in God. He enjoyed your comments and the comradery he had with other writers.
We are planning a memorial service in about a week, and would appreciate any comments or insights that you would like to share.
God bless, Linda Kind
|Posted on March 6, 2013 at 7:00 PM||comments (0)|
On occasion, I see a sci-fi show that features some scientist inventing some kind of potion or device to make a person, or a group of people, forget they saw whatever they saw, and go with a “different reality.” I know, psychology and psychiatry has been doing this for decades, ever since Sigmund Freud. Usually it’s done by hypnotism, or worse, by some New Age development to bypass the subconscious.
Memory stories like these must be hard to write. Under normal circumstances, an author will get into all characters’ heads, know what each of these knows and wants, and go from there. Easy enough with experience. But with the limited plot of one character after another losing their memory, you also must also factor in when the alteration took place.
Two Next Generation episodes, “Clues” and “Cause and Effect,” give us two different takes on the subject. There are more, of course, but these are representative of most.
In “Clues,” the Enterprise-D comes across a mysterious Class M planet with a small, unstable wormhole nearby. Just as they begin to probe for details, the starship is flung half a parsec into parts unknown, and all bridge crew except Data are knocked unconscious. Nothing unnatural so far. Data says they were out for half and hour, and there’s no immediate reason to doubt him.
But in the next few hours, inconsistencies show up. An exotic plant shows a full day’s growth. The planet that had appeared to be Class M now reads more as a low-power star. In spite of the suggestion everybody had been down for the “half-hour” count, Worf’s arm had been broken and mended. Then alterations become apparent in the computer banks—first in the chronometer, then in deleted records. Alterations which only Data and LaForge could accomplish.
It appears Data has been lying. He even admits as much when directly confronted, fully aware of Starfleet ramifications. Nevertheless he says, “I was following orders, sir.”
“Whose orders?” asks Picard.
“I cannot say.”
Fully frustrated by continued evasive answers, the captain pulls rank and asks, “Who ordered you to lie to us?”
Now Data has no choice. “You did, sir.”
One alien from the Class M planet had been left on board to supervise, embodied in Counselor Troi, and he/she is upset because the experiment had failed. Data urges her to give them another chance, with total disclosure this time, and the alien agrees. Mystery is solved and nobody is hurt.
“Cause and Effect” deals with a time loop, in which the same few hours are repeated four times, each starting with a mid-space collision. I’ve blogged about this one in the last half of my article on September 21, 2011. This isn’t about the crew losing memories, but the crew disturbed to recall they’ve done the same things before. Progressive discussions among the crew determine Data’s multitronic brain is the only thing that can recall the previous loops and sent a message into the next.
But what started this train of thought was an episode of Eureka, the next one after the show’s two-part premiere. Titled “Before I Forget,” it introduces us to Kim Anderson, whose brilliance showed all through college, but somehow faded behind Jason after they got married. Invariably as soon as Kim came close to an answer, Jason would swoop in and find the final solution.
Jason is self-assured, confidant, and yes, even arrogant over the many prestigious awards he has received. “I haven’t failed in 15 years,” he says of a failed field test. “I’m not going to start now.” Clearly he loves the prestige and awards too much to let himself fall into disgrace.
Only now he’s in a town of geniuses, and they detect something odd going on. Apparently Kim and Henry had been an item in college, and Henry had been Jason’s partner. In talking out old times, they both recall he had always taken the honors. Kim says in tears, “Did we even kiss?” Their personal life is a ghost to them. They can’t remember when they broke up, or why.
Turns out Jason has a flashing device on his key ring. So while he, Kim, and Henry work on a formula, Jason switches it on, erases a key component on the board, and leaves to get coffee. Ten to twenty minutes later, he returns to find them stumped over the formula, so he marks down what he has erased, for he’s already memorized it.
It’s plagiarism by stealth, and it should be illegal—except that nobody knows when it happens. Kim feels like her life has been stolen. So does Henry.
Fanciful, yes, and entertaining. Actually, a person’s memory is a very unique brain function; no one’s recollection of the past can match another. No one can steal your memories, either. This happens with old age, unpleasant past experiences, and of course, senility.
God remembers too, and he doesn’t need a schedule or a day planner. Rather, repeatedly He reminds us of things we should be doing, things outlined in His Word. Most of all, He doesn’t manipulate our minds to ensure we already think as He does; we make those decisions ourselves.
Same with the Holy Spirit. He’s personal with each of us; His presence within each of us cannot be copied or bought or sold. The Indwelling to guide us into all truth cannot be transferred from one to another.
“And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of Truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a Seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a Deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession—to the praise of His glory” (Ephesians 1:13-14). Sure sounds personal to me.
When Jesus first introduced the Holy Spirit to His disciples, He said, “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will **remind you** of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:26-27).
So if the Holy Spirit is custom-designed for everyone He lives in, so are the things He passes on to us, such as memory. Also, all of the Fruit of the Spirit are given to us. Some of us have a greater problem with absorbing this Fruit than others, but none of us should have a problem understanding their importance.
The idea that you can enhance or lose any brain function is a worldly standard, one espoused time and again in SF/f. They would think it’s completely logical for a starship to be wiped of its memory bank and sent away by force. They’d think time and space cannot be stable in all places, denying as they do the realities of God’s design. They’d have no trouble accepting that a device can steal one’s memory, as though its existence could be also subject to outside causes. No hint of anything biblical as long as they reject Christ.
“For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles” (Romans 1:21-23).
To me, this sounds very much like what men have invented regarding aliens, as well as idols. Creatures they invent, control, and design much like themselves. If they had valuable memories, a self-serving god can place him on a barren isle, apart from civilization without the most basic or the most recent of them. I wouldn’t worship a god like that.
God wants us whole. Healings of the spirit and memories are always part of it. Some physical maladies too, but not so much. Let’s appeal to the Great Physician to heal what ails us.
|Posted on February 27, 2013 at 1:05 PM||comments (5)|
With a February topic like “Opportunity,” it was hard to zero in on one particular race. There are lots of wars—the Borg, the Romulans, the Klingons, among others—where one side takes the opportunity to prevail against Starfleet, but this is not so much an opportunity as much as a power play. Ultimately, the prize went to the always enterprising Ferengi.
Their heads appear misshapen, their ears are oversized and connected by a brow ridge that suggests a perpetual leer. Their sawtooth smiles seem to add to their loathsome nature, and they wear some kind of small veil at the back of their heads.
Perhaps the most surprising development in the whole Ferengi saga is on Deep Space Nine, where actor Armin Shimerman plays Quark, store owner and bartender, as well as casino operator. He’s the one you see most playing a major Ferengi character, probably because he does it so well. But I wonder: How can the Deep Space Nine station trust a man whose race is known for its opportunistic ways? Aren’t they afraid he’ll disappear with all the proceeds?
Ferengi have a sharp acumen for business, but they use it to swindle, cheat, and steal from other races. They abide by a series of 285 regulations to accomplish this, known as Rules of Acquisition. To cite just a few: “A wise man can hear profit in the wind.” “War is good for business.” “Free advice is seldom cheap.” “The riskier the road, the greater the profit.” And: “Never place friendship above profit.”
Thus, they have a religion of sorts, built around their greed. In this respect, I think the Ferengi represent everything that’s wrong with America today, including the huge egos and huger thirst for more wealth. But every time the Bible mentions greed, it’s never in a positive light. Greed is one of the causes of our heart “uncleanness,” unfit for God’s use (Mark 7:21-23). It’s also listed as one of the things to “put to death” as we follow Christ (Colossians 3:5-6). While I’m not aware of the Ferengi having a physical idol to worship, their opportunism certainly amounts to one.
Don’t get me wrong: Our free enterprise system is a great way to conduct commerce. Healthy competition is at the heart of it; some products win, others lose. Americans have lots of choices. However, when greed takes the opportunity to intrude on people’s private lives, it’s like inviting the thief inside and telling him he can take anything he wants.
Once the con artist is seen for what he is, however, he is disrespected and mistrusted. A caveat: It’s wrong to associate such a man with a group, just as it’s wrong to trust him. Many are the Western dramas where a band of Gypsies, Chinese workers, or another misunderstood people rides in. If there is a murder, naturally a “different” person is accused.
Since I have no first-hand knowledge how many Gypsies truly are trying to be honest, I won’t make a summary judgment here. With most groups, however, the innocent ones suffer most. Another point: Even if the true evil party is known, they’re run out of town and told never to come back. Does that stop them? No, they just continue their swindling ways in another town, so rebellion must also be involved.
“Ménage à Troi” shows Ferengi lust in fuller force when Deanna Troi and her mother Lwaxana are kidnapped, then literally whisked out of their dresses. (Fortunately, all we see are bare shoulders; and from the back, shoulder blades.) But the idea of them disrobed for some wicked alien’s libido is too sick to contemplate.
Worse, in “The Last Outpost,” Letek criticized the human race for putting clothes on their women. He says the Ferengi keep their women nude, because clothes are considered more sensual. That may be an empty boast, however, since Deep Space Nine introduced us to Quark’s mother, who thankfully did wear clothes. Would God create a race built on greed and sexual deviancy? Colossians 3:6 suggests no.
This episode, as well as “The Outcast,” vie for top honors (or is that “bottom honors”?), for the most abysmal storyline of The Next Generation. Most of the inappropriate dialogue in both does nothing for the paper-thin plots. The other focused on a curious mono-sexual race, and how one of its members became about bisexual races; and William Riker. Like original Trek’s “The Immunity Syndrome” as they approach the monster, illogical dialogue dominates (see February 6).
Enough about that. My favorite episode involving the Ferengi is “Rascals,” mainly because the race comprises a secondary plot rather than the main one. Captain Picard, Keiko O’Brien, Ensign Ro Laren, and Guinan. On their way home from an archeological dig on Marlonia, their shuttle encounters an energy field that reduces their age to about 12 years old—despite of their original diverse ages as adults. At the same time they’re beamed on board, their shuttle breaks apart into brittle pieces.
All of the child actors did a great job impersonating their adult counterparts. Young Guinan never loses her Cheshire-cat grin as she helps young Ensign Ro readjust to life as a child. Having grown up in refugee camps on Bajor, Ro does not savor the chance to do it all over again. Keiko has trouble relating to her husband Miles, as well as their daughter Molly. And Picard, with a full head of hair, is forced by good form to temporarily step down from the captaincy until a solution can be found.
Just as Dr. Beverly Crusher and Commander Riker hit upon the answer—using the transporter’s pattern buffer to reintegrate them into adults—the Ferengi arrive. Unlike most Ferengi, these are renegades whose interest is not so much acquisition, but salvage. They board the Enterprise-D from two commandeered Klingon birds-of-prey, and force most of the adults to work as slaves in the mines of Suvin IV.
Of course, because our four transformees appear to be children, they are passed over—a fact which they, with the aid of Worf’s son Alexander, use to their advantage. They trick all the renegade Ferengi into being beamed onto the transport pad, surrounded by a force field to keep them from escaping, and they whisk them off the ship.
“Rascals” is one of my favorite sixth-season episodes precisely because children’s innocence is contrasted with the greedy Ferengi. Okay, the kids in question are really adults in disguise, as it were, but I’m reminded of Jesus’ words to His quarreling disciples.
“He called a little child and had him stand among them. And He said, ‘I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven’” (Matthew 18:2-4).
Guinan had to remind Picard: “We look like children, it’s time we started acting like children.” It was the best way to best their enemies and get rid of the problem. Similarly, when we humble ourselves before God, we allow no greed or sexual deviancy to infiltrate our lives, because children don’t know such things. Even adults who used to be in self-destructive lifestyles—such as addictions to sex, gambling, and drugs—can receive a clean slate if they present themselves humbly before God like children.
Others in the chain have written positive things about opportunity, and I agree we should always take them as they come, especially in sharing the Gospel of Christ. What I’m talking about here is the other side of the subject. Satan and his minions exploit opportunities to swindle and deceive, and the Ferengi are symbolic for those.
In real life, even though idolaters and other greedy people may seem to prosper, the Bible promises they are under God’s wrath. Same goes for those immersed in sexual lifestyles apart from marriage. However, there is still hope for all of them.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). It matters not who you are or where you’ve been, He is ready and waiting to forgive you.
We just need to give Him the opportunity.
|Posted on February 13, 2013 at 6:45 AM||comments (0)|
In my recent push to fully blog about every episode in the original series, I find another time travel story that’s been neglected. The seemingly anachronistic story of “Tomorrow is Yesterday” pits two military forces against each other, though not overtly; and unlike the situations I discussed on January 16 this year, the displaced airman and the police sergeant are sent back.
It opens on jets scrambling to meet what radar officials call a UFO. Quickly we discover the bogey is the Enterprise herself. She tries to break orbit at a steep climb as soon as the crew notices the pursuit.
As Kirk explains it: “Captain’s log, stardate 3113.2. We were en route to Starbase 9 for resupply when a black star of high gravitational attraction began to drag us toward it. It required all warp power in reverse to pull us away from the star. But like snapping a rubber band, the breakaway sent us plunging through space, out of control, to stop here. Wherever we are.”
Brief side note here: Aren’t all black stars equipped with a “high gravitational attraction”?
They pick up a news report: “This is the 5:30 news summary, Cape Kennedy. The first manned moon shot is scheduled for Wednesday, 6 p.m., Eastern Standard Time. All three astronauts making this historic …”
Kirk signals to shut it off. Since the show first aired in 1966, and the actual moon shot took place on July 19, 1969, we can overlook the generalities. After all, nobody can see the future. At least we have an exact year established from real history.
The interceptor plane zeroes in for a closer look, but begins to break up when it flies too high. The Enterprise puts a tractor beam on it to save the craft, but this loads even more stress. Finally Kirk decides to beam the pilot aboard, just before the plane falls apart completely.
So far, so good. I also see no conflict with showing Captain John Christopher the wonders of the 23rd century, but as usual, Star Trek gets paranoid over this. They believe that future technology can spawn “new” inventions in the past and ultimately alter time. I’m surprised they gave Christopher free access at all. It never enters anyone’s mind that past eras would not have the raw materials to make these inventions work.
Here’s two more examples we can forgive because they come so early in the series. No time frame for the Enterprise’s missions had been established at first. Kirk tells Christopher “there are only 12 like it in the fleet.” He also says, “Our authority is the United Earth Space Probe Agency,” but later it was pared down to United Federation of Planets, then Starfleet.
Okay, enough about the anachronisms. Through a series of events, Kirk and Spock discover though keeping the captain would be dangerous, they have to take him back. Later, an Air Force police sergeant catches Kirk and Sulu taking tapes of interceptor camera shots from their storeroom on Earth, along with voice commands. He confiscates their equipment and accidentally his the emergency signal. Dutifully, Scotty transports him.
So Captain Christopher and the unnamed sergeant have the same problem. When Spock reports the starship’s power is too depleted to return to the future, Christopher practically mocks Kirk.
In spite of man’s imperfect perceptions, God is in charge of time frames and technologies, not man. If God wills that ancient societies stay on the track He made for them, no amount of future exposure will change it. I know missionaries who used reel-to-reel videotape and slide shows to present the Gospel message. Has it resulted in sudden advancement within the tribe? Nope. As one example, when a missionary took somebody’s Polaroid picture, they became fearful, thinking he had stolen their soul. With that mindset in place, I doubt if they took a second glance.
Back to the story. What makes this episode different from all other time stories is this: Christopher’s yet-to-be-born son had made a significant contribution in space exploration. Apparently he had headed a trip to Saturn, though the planet’s composition suggests he did not land there.
So, they can’t keep him and they can’t take him forward. The reasoning behind this is as Kirk explains: “We’re roughly the same age, but in our society, he’d be useless. Archaic.”
McCoy says, “Maybe he could be retrained, re-educated.” The rhetorical answer to this seems to be no.
Referring again to my blog on January 16, we find Gillian Taylor establish her future niche by becoming the foremost authority on humpback whales. We find Trevor Grant finding a place in the future. We find Clare Raymond and Ralph Offenhouse going on with their lives. Therefore, it doesn’t make sense to assume Captain Christopher would be an archaic relic. Some of this could happen, but eventually he’d have to call an end to interviews and build a new life in the future.
The secret is changing comfort zones—never an easy task. The ancient Israelites had to leave their “comfortable” lives in Egypt to trek through the wilderness and find their Promised Land. At least their former lives were comfortable when the challenges of sand and hunger made them complain. They forgot all about the forced labor, the heavy workloads, the whipped welts on their backs.
“The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, ‘If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost—also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!’ (Numbers 11:4-6).”
Another complaint was this: “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death” (Exodus 16:3).
Humans have a remarkable capacity for forgetting the negative and focusing on the positive. How many old-timers sit around, reminiscing about “the good ol’ days”? How many recovering alcoholics advance for awhile, only to go back to their comfort zone?
This phenomenon has an upside, too, which I believe God intended us to use, which is embodied in the great hymn “Love Lifted Me.”
“I was sinking deep in sin, far from the peaceful shore.
Very deeply stained within, sinking to rise no more.
But the Master of the Sea heard my despairing cry;
From the waters lifted me, now safe am I!
“Love lifted me! Love lifted me!
When nothing else would help,
Love lifted me!”
Many people get so comfortable being in the churning water, they don’t want to be lifted. I’ve never understood this attitude, but I come across it a lot. Like the Israelites above, they think their life is better without God than with God. They talk as though they had it made, remembering the great food they ate, but despised manna. It amounts to a rejection of God, for they counted man-made delicacies as unbeatable, while miraculous manna seemed bad.
Here’s how it’s supposed to work, and I think this episode and others make a good example of it. When moving from one comfort zone to another, the best thing to do is go with the flow. Even with Captain Christopher, the absence of his future son would have allowed somebody else to fill it, so Saturn could still be explored. That is, if God really is sovereign over time.
I also think God is behind moving to positive new zones. Take Saul of Tarsus, for example. When he moved from murderous rampage to loving the Lord, he changed his name to Paul, and today stands as a cornerstone of intelligent faith.
“Tomorrow is Yesterday” may be fiction, but our relationship to Christ is not. It’s the best life one could ever hope to live.
|Posted on February 6, 2013 at 6:10 AM||comments (0)|
It’s one thing that your average science fiction program misses the point of theology and goes off on its own merry way. “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:5). Eventually they’ll fall down a cliff or get stuck in a thicket when nobody is around to rescue them.
John 10:1-18 says loads about Jesus’ care for us, His sheep; and John 15:3-7 tells what happens when Jesus finds one of a hundred-head flock missing.
It’s quite another thing when it strays even from its own doctrines, such as evolution. Here we have a story which does both. One wonders where the author finds stability in his life choices.
The best thing I can say about Star Trek’s “The Immunity Syndrome” is that the special effects for the giant ameba are fantastic, a highly imaginative piece of engineering. You can see it pulsating, reaching out with tendrils, as though it were alive. But as you know, I’m not one to put my stamp of approval on something, just because it looks cool. Even the worst-written episode of Lost in Space looks intelligent next to the plotting and dialogue of this one.
So let’s get right into it. The Enterprise is on her way for shore leave for the crew, when suddenly Spock’s head snaps up in pain. The Vulcan starship Intrepid has just died, supposedly sensed through the mind link between Spock and the ship.
It has been established that he must be touching someone to meld with him, and now he senses Vulcan deaths, tens of light-years away? When asked about this, Spock says, “Call it a deep understanding of the way things are”—which doesn’t tell us a thing.
They come across a “zone of darkness,” which defies all attempts to probe by sensor. Is it a dust cloud? “No,” says Kirk, “you can see stars through a dust cloud.”
Apparently they have never lived in the Midwest, where blinding sandstorms are common. Kirk should know this if he came from Iowa. Also, if you’re traveling a dusty back road and find yourself behind a slow-moving truck, you see nothing of the outside world until you pull back, or the truck turns a corner.
As they draw closer, a high-pitch whine afflicts the ship and makes half the crew dizzy, including Uhura. After his third attempt to get straight answers from Spock, he complains: “‘Insufficient data’ is not sufficient, Mr. Spock. As science officer, you’re supposed to have sufficient data all the time.”
One of the episode’s most laughable moments comes after they penetrate the zone of darkness, with the same high whine. Everywhere they look, there’s pitch-blackness. In mounting frustration, Kirk demands, “Kindly tell me where are the stars.”
“Unknown, Captain,” says Spock.
Well, duh! After all the talk of the zone’s opaqueness, why is this such a mystery?
Later, Kirk asks Spock, “Any analysis of that last burst of noise before losing power?”
“That sound was the turbulence caused by the penetration of a boundary layer, Captain.”
“A boundary layer between what and what?”
“Between where we were, and where we are.”
Am I really hearing this logically abysmal nonsense? From Mr. Spock, yet? It’s painfully obvious they had entered the zone of darkness, the noise came from the penetration, and the stars are outside. If these words were meant to generate the mystery, they do a sloppy job of it.
Then they see it. A humongous living cell with a nucleus and eddies showing it’s alive. This is where evolution takes a beating, because its tenets demand certain restrictions for single-celled animals. Size, for one. Its sudden appearance for another. The question on most fans’ lips: “Which came first, the zone of darkness or the ameba?”
The ameba can’t exist by itself. A cell requires oxygen to survive, but only in a group. However, without the zone, no doubt it would suffocate before it could do any damage. Besides, oxygen is toxic to an individual cell, even if it developed on a compatible planet. Therefore, again it would die.
The zone can’t exist alone, for if its purpose is to protect the ameba. For the first million or billion years (evolution time) it would have nothing to protect. Anything left to itself will eventually crumble and die. The zone would have to waste away.
One minor note before we wrap it. Whenever the Enterprise tries to overpower the pull and back out, everything operates in reverse. Backward thrust propels her forward, for instance. Even a sustained effort backward only slows her down, but doesn’t stop the forward movement.
So it should have been a cinch that Dr. McCoy should come up with using “antibodies” (antimatter) to blast their way out. Instead, it’s Kirk who suggests it, while the doctor remains clueless. “It would be ironic indeed if that were our sole destiny.”
Perhaps the reason for these dark bunny trails—not to mention from spiritual ideals—is that they didn’t have enough plot to fill the hour. As an author, I am more than a little familiar with this phenomenon. When it happens to me, I develop a minor subplot, so my spaceship crew doesn’t stand around making idle, uninformed speculations about what they are seeing.
Apostle Paul advised Pastor Timothy: “Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, which some have professed and in so doing have wandered from the faith. Grace be with you” (1 Timothy 6:20-21). He was probably talking about the Gnostics here, a cult that believed you are what you know. Nothing existed if it didn’t make human sense. But it also applies to the weird directions our rebellious heart takes us.
The King James Version reads thus: “Keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science, falsely so-called—which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen.”
Too much science and not enough of the God who created science is a volatile mix. It’s so volatile that many think the two are diametrically opposed. Not true. Men who reject God are the true instigators of this conflict.
On the other hand, too much God and not enough science makes people sound like mindless parrots. The common phrase, “God said it, I believe it, that’s good enough for me,” might work for items which we cannot possibly prove materially, such as the existence of Heaven. But citing it for things that are reachable shows an unwillingness to think. Like the Gnostics, they are sure God placed the answers they need in the Bible. They miss all the links between faith and science, and therefore miss enriching their knowledge.
There’s no such thing as a living creature suddenly showing up and threatening our very existence. However, it can be used as an illustration of a solid spiritual principle. “Each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death” (James 1:14-15).
The Enterprise was dragged away and enticed by the ameba’s powerful force. No amount of effort could get her out. At the end lay death, just as it did for the Intrepid.
In another place, King David wrote Psalm 9:16-17: “The Lord is known by His justice; the wicked are ensnared by the work of their hands. Higgaion. Selah. The wicked return to the grave, all the nations that forget God.”
Regarding the obscure Hebrew words ending verse 16, the best educated guess I’ve heard is that Higgaion is a mellow, meditative tune. It’s immediately followed by Selah, a period of soft instrumental music which enhances the sense of meditation. These in turn would emphasize that our enemies—those who prove hostile to our message on their own—will not last forever. Eventually they’ll have to face the same God we serve and answer for their rebellion.
Once we’re in Satan’s clutches, it takes “antibodies” to destroy the enemy and escape the snare. In other words, he entices us with things that look good to us, but leads us from God. We can counter this by being devoted to the Bible, even if we’re a scientist—the best Antibody anyone has seen.
Thus, Satan can’t touch us, even if we break down the gates of Hell (see Matthew 16:17).
JANUARY THEME: “FORWARD”
FEBRUARY THEME: “OPPORTUNITY”
Feb. 6: Chris Vonada at I'm Just Thinkin'
Feb. 10: Terrie Thorpe at Light for the Journey
Feb. 13: Jacky Brown at Random Thoughts
|Posted on January 30, 2013 at 7:35 AM||comments (0)|
AUTHOR’S NOTE: Today I present my 200th post on Lightwalker’s View. Hard to believe, since I didn’t expect more than 60 posts before I ran out of ideas. Instead, the ideas kept coming, and still are coming, even as I still fight this infection. Since others have the same problem, they’ve begun to give us a 10-day regimen of Prilosec to clear up.
Our discussion today is about what peace means to most science fiction authors, and how it compares with promises in the Bible. If you were to ask most people to define “peace,” no doubt they would say the absence of war, or the opposite of war. Well, this is true, but it only scratches the surface.
Psalm 23 is one of the most familiar psalms in the Bible, since it’s often used at funerals and wakes. “He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me” (verses 2-4). But technically, this is not a death passage. This is a description of a peaceful life, just like sheep under a gentle Shepherd. They don’t have to become mutton to enjoy green pastures.
This confusing idea of “peace” is behind the Star Trek episode, “Journey to Babel.” Like the name Eden, it is used frivolously, without regard to its true meaning. In Genesis 11, the earth has been newly washed in the Flood, and Noah’s descendants began to fear being separated by long distances. So they decided to built a ziggarat to the sky to make homes around, all one people.
However, God had already said, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over every living creature that moves on the ground” (Genesis 1:28 ).
God saw this and said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them” (Genesis 11:6). In others words, they would be so proud of themselves, they would forget their Creator. “Come, let Us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other" (verse 7).
So far from being a symbol of unity between nations, Babel represents a division between nations. In the same way, violent minds would like to demonize Eden, but they do so in willful ignorance. The manifest includes porcine pirates called Tellarites, as argumentative as any bully; there are Andorians, blue-skinned men with a pair of antennae sprouting from white hair; and Spock’s parents, Sarek and Amanda. it’s a first time in the series where we’ve seen such a motley array.
Back to “Journey to Babel.” Main issue at stake: accepting Coridan into the Federation, apparently a volatile question. So right from the get-go, peace is scarcely on anyone’s mind—except Sarek’s.
At the reception, the Tellarite ambassador Gav spoils for a fight with Sarek, who states: “The vote will not be taken here, Ambassador Gav.”
“No, you! How do you vote, Sarek of Vulcan?”
The Andorian ambassador asks, “Why must you know, Tellarite?”
Apparently Gav’s race wants to plunder Coridan for all the resources they have, which would be more difficult if Coridan were a member. Though Gav bristles at Sarek’s suggestion they’re thieves, this is clearly his intent. The argument becomes important when Gav is found dead in a Jeffries tube, and Sarek is the most likely suspect.
Great peace conference, huh?
At first it looks like the evidence against Sarek is overwhelming, but then comes a new wrinkle. Sarek has begun to experience coronary issues. They try to say it’s different from an Earthian heart attack, but no distinction is made. Thus, he could not have murdered Gav. He requires lots of T-negative blood, a rare type only Spock can provide.
However, Spock has other problems. There have been mysterious communiqués with a ship, and they discover the receiver is aboard the starship. Therefore he foregoes giving the transfusion till this problem is resolved, because “my first duty is to the Enterprise.”
A major battle in the corridor between Captain Kirk and the ambassador’s aide Telev yields part of the answer. Kirk is badly injured, and Telev is put in the brig. Later, in a struggle with guards for his freedom, he is again knocked down for the count, one antenna breaks off, revealing a radio transceiver inside. I’d love to know who started the fight, and watch it from the beginning.
Turns out he’s a pirate from Orion, in business similar to the Tellarites, and they came along to disrupt the talks and reject Coridan’s admission. At first Kirk plans to take command from Spock, pretending everything’s okay, but a battle between the Orion ship and the Enterprise during the transfusion threatens to take both men.
Maybe I was wrong earlier. Maybe Babel is not such an out-of-place name for this story. After all, I had said, “Far from being a symbol of unity between nations, Babel represents a division between nations.” What better example of divided nations can there be than in “Journey to Babel”?
There are real-life examples all through history to support this. Just try to interest rival street gangs into working together in new camaraderie. What Arab leader has ever surrendered property without a peep? Are Communist and socialist dictators interested in what the people want?
Anger and peace are such opposites that in his epistle to Galatia Province, Apostle Paul wrote: “The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: … hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, and envy, … and the like” (Galatians 5:19-20). Other passages could not be clearer that those who practice sin will never see the Kingdom of God, either here on Earth or later in Heaven.
“But the Fruit [not ‘fruits’] of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, … gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law” (verses 22-23). Not only is there no law against these, but all nine qualities in the full version are attributes of God—and by extension, of Christian men and women. We will see the Kingdom of Heaven and are guaranteed a place with Jesus when we die.
Incredibly, humanists take a different approach: Just focus on what the two factions have in common, come to an understanding based on it, and go from there. Don’t they know that when both factions come to the table angry, reason and sound judgment are already outside, looking in? Quelling volatile delegates is impossible without God’s Fruit of the Spirit growing inside you. If hatred, jealousy, fits of rage, etc. are acts of sin, how can one possibly shift over to love, joy, and peace?
Gav and Telev were interested in Coridan’s admission, approximately for the same reason. Therefore, it was their goal that the planet should not become Federation property. Without regulations in place, the Orion pirates and the Tellarites could freely plunder Coridan till it had nothing left for the populace.
Sarek is the one oasis in the midst of the storm. He uses reason and logic to call Gav down. “Tellarites don’t argue for reasons,” he says evenly. “They just argue.”
This, I believe, is the crux of what I’m talking about. Arguing never got anywhere; it only generates more hatred, more animosity, until peace talks break down and nothing is resolved. Therefore Jesus and all His disciples, including Paul, encourage their readers to live peacefully with each other, as much as possible. Forgiveness is a key component of this. Draw from God’s strength and His attributes, and you can learn to live, without blowing your top.
Otherwise, all you have to look forward to is a life of bitterness and grudges, and a death that is not very pretty at all.
JANUARY THEME: “FORWARD”
FEBRUARY THEME: “OPPORTUNITY”
Feb. 4: Lynne Sarah at Fossil Poetry
Feb. 5: Keri Mae Lamar at A Happy Home
|Posted on January 23, 2013 at 7:40 AM||comments (0)|
Long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away …
Oops! Wrong opening.
But it was a long time ago, while I was entering my teenage years, I saw my very first science fiction show, ever. Or at least, it passed as sci-fi in those days. Dad bought us our first TV set in 1965—the old black-and-white cabinet style that took five minutes to turn on. The movie was titled Teenagers from Outer Space, and it featured an alien crew no more than 18 years old.
They were looking for a breeding ground for their pet gargon, a lobster-like creature, and thought they had found it on Earth. However, they discovered the planet was inhabited, and since they considered themselves superior to anyone else, regardless how advanced or intelligent they were, the aliens went on a killing spree.
It horrified me so much, I ran to my room bawling, and declared I would never watch science fiction again.
I’ve seen it again in recent years, and I laugh at my childish fears. Why was I afraid? Because these guys had ray guns which could zap organic material, making their perceived enemies fall in a pile of bones. The first creature to buy it was a barking dog, and from that point on skeletons showed up all over town.
Add that the gargon grows to immense size by movie’s end. Obviously this is your standard B-movie, cheesy in concept and special effects.
In the ’50s they were called beatniks; later they became hippies. Same song, different verse. These were disenchanted teenagers bucked against “the Establishment” and developed their own society. The religion they often adopted varied greatly, usually as some sort of “enlightenment” brought on by drug euphoria.
But stereotypes also made rounds, and elements of it linger today. Usually they were seen as worthless, unproductive kids without respect. Rather than look for jobs, all they did was sit around barefoot, smoking weed and trying stronger drugs (which itself was no doubt true of many), beating bongos and strumming sitars, and writing senseless poetry.
One thing is certainly not true. It was believed they were violent, and several movies and books emphasized this. No doubt these prejudices were behind Teenagers from Outer Space, between the flesh-eating rays and the giant lobster.
Not long after I saw this movie, another program premiered: Lost in Space. From the very first episode, I liked this one, even though it also had monsters. The fact it was a family exploring space, rather than an alien invasion against a hapless world, made all the difference. This is the seed that eventually caused me to write stories about the houseship Saternis.
In the second season came an episode titled “Collision of Planets,” featuring teenage aliens who land on the Robinsons’ world. Seems their homeworld is on a collision course with it, and to show themselves “worthy” to enter polite society, they must blow it up in “two diurnal days.” Of course John Robinson can’t lift off in time, and he tries to reason with them like a father trying to reason with rebels.
See the stereotypes? The hippies are violent, wanting to blow up the planet. They are lazy. They are “worthless,” and through this act they might merge among the masses. However, as we all know, nobody is worthless in God’s eyes. He loves us all, and those who are not His sheep He attempts to love into the fold.
Then Star Trek got into the act, with an episode called “The Way to Eden.” I’ve talked before of how irresponsibly the name Eden is thrown around, in several episodes (see January 12, 2011, for example). In this case, it refers to a mythical planet rather than a garden, and to Dr. Sevrin and his followers, it seems like the perfect destination.
He steals the shuttlecraft Aurora, and the Enterprise gives chase. So desperate is he to escape recapture, he overheats the engine and it explodes. Nevertheless, Scotty manages to beam all six of the crew on board, intact. The rest includes an ambassador’s son, a smirky fellow with blond hair, and a former girlfriend of Chekov’s.
Several of the stereotypes I mentioned can be heard in dialogue, perhaps the personal prejudice of the characters speaking. The idea they’d steal a shuttlecraft is somewhat questionable, but if cauliflower-eared Sevrin wanted to travel to Eden and felt trapped where he was, it’s possible.
In an odd twist, Mr. Spock seems to be the only one on board who can “reach” them. What’s odd is that in other episodes, he often needs somebody to explain idioms (such as “pursuing a wild goose” ) and other symbolic language to him. But he talks to the hippies like it’s the most natural thing to do. He even authorizes them to hold a jam session, and harmonizes with them on his Vulcan lyre.
Spock starts relating by placing both hands in a triangle, saying, “One.”
Sevrin replies in similar fashion: “We are one.”
“One is the beginning.” And they instantly accept him.
A flash of theology here, though it’s probably not the intended meaning. The beginning did start with One God, who created the entire Universe.
When Captain Kirk tries to reason with them, they chant “Herbert, Herbert, Herbert” against him and will not listen. Spock explains what I means: “Herbert was a minor official notorious for his rigid and limited patterns of thought.”
Come to find out, a medical checkup on all the teens shows a latent disease in Dr. Sevrin, one that “evolved in a few days.” Even evolutionists can see the fallacy here, since things aren’t supposed to come into existence within such a short time. That’s why Sevrin’s so eager to visit Eden, hoping the natives would have the cure.
However, once they arrive, there are no natives. Flowers, trees, and grass certainly make the place look beautiful, but don’t touch them! Acid permeates all plant life here. They find the blond lying dead next to a tree with the green, red-striped fruit still in his hand.
“His name was Adam,” says Spock, as though this were significant. The kids were rebels for years before they ever found the tree, whereas the real Adam and Eve were evicted from the garden after one moment of rebellion.
Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians: “The first Adam was of the earth, made of dust; the second Adam is the Lord from Heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man” (1 Corinthians 15:47-49 NKJV).
We’re all looking for something, like Sevrin’s eyes toward the planet Eden. Usually it’s some material treasure, and I don’t mean just silver and gold. Many seek to be one with nature, to live in an idyllic world surrounded by beauty. We can find such a place, but we don’t have to strive against the Establishment to get there. Just as Adam, made of dust, is a reflection of who we are, so Jesus is a reflection of the realities of Heaven. Everything on Earth is but a shadow of things to come.
“Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ” (Colossians 3:16-17). “The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves” (Hebrews 10:1a).
As beautiful as the planet Eden was, it cannot compare to the heavenly glories we will see one day. Especially since there’s no acid in the flora. As beautiful as the Garden of Eden must’ve been, Heaven will outshine it. We’ll never know how much till we get there.
As for the rebellious beatniks and hippies in decades gone by, they are blamed too much for societal ills. Let’s face it: we are all rebels. It’s inherent in our humanness. The trick is to turn our rebellion against vice, sin, and corruption, with our focus on Jesus.
“The reality is found in Christ.”
JANUARY THEME: “FORWARD”
Jan. 23: Nona King at Word Obsession
Jan. 27: Tracy Krauss at Expression Express
Jan. 28: Marilyn McKay at Life 101 Understanding It All
|Posted on January 16, 2013 at 7:50 AM||comments (7)|
UPDATE: The disease I mentiioned last week is all but gone. Now if the weather would cooperate, I could go out and about again. Thank you, all, for your prayers.
“Forward” seemed like a good topic for January, but at the same time, we’re considering closing the blog chain down for a season. Lack of interest and no follow-through from some chainers is part of the reason. Another could be that lives constantly change, whether they go to school, grow tired, or have to take care of some ailing relative. We are praying and hoping for new bloggers to join us, or previous ones to return.
It’s really sad to us who blog most faithfully, but we are few and far between. So in addition to the general meaning of “Forward,” it’s a comment that we will not stop blogging. However, this is not the main point of my entry.
Time travel in secular sci-fi is fascinating. There’s always the fear that should one iota be changed during a trip to the past, the entire future as we know it would be severely altered. When I hear things like this, I hear God being taken out of the equation. His Sovereignty is not considered, according to these speculators; He’s just a myth, a belief, a state of consciousness or enlightenment, or whatever ridiculous term men use.
The Prime Directive is a prime ingredient into many of these mental calisthenics. What right do we have to bring in our high technology to help somebody of lower technology? In many cases, Picard et. al. would rather let whole races die than do that, as explained back on July 1, 2009. Not very strong in compassion, are they?
Nevertheless, there are some interesting stories with these ideas in place. Take Gillian of Star Trek IV: the Voyage Home, for instance. I blogged on this movie in detail on September 23, 2009, but this time I’m focusing on Gillian. Her impulsive travel to the 23rd century resulted in her going forward with her life, for she became the foremost authority on cetacean biology.
In Eureka, there’s the story of Trevor Grant and his impulsive travel from 1947 to 2010. I covered this one on September 18, 2011: Grant had to stay and resume his life in a future world. All this because humanists believe in chance rather than God. I’d hate to live in a timeline where there was no pattern, where we could go poof because one man decided to change something in the past.
And that brings us to The Next Generation’s “The Neutral Zone.” While the Enterprise-D waits for Captain Picard to return, the crew spots a remarkable space pod. It has a cylindrical body and it’s very badly beaten up, presumably by meteors; even its solar vanes show holes from the impacts. When Data and Worf beam over to investigate, they discover its computer system is all but gone.
Several capsules show the remains of people in cryo-sleep, others are empty. Only three survivors remain, so Data makes the decision to beam them on board and have Dr. Crusher thaw them out. However, when Picard hears of it, he reprimands Data for saving them: “It’s not our problem.” Such selfishness is very common in humanistic ideals.
Data’s research explains who the three are. Clare Raymond is a housewife who died of a massive embolism. Ralph Offenhouse is a financier who had died of severe coronary problems. L.Q. “Sonny” Clemonds is a Western singer who had suffered significant kidney damage, plus other problems, probably due to drug abuse.
A number of “facts” in this episode don’t take into account raw humanity. For instance, Dr. Crusher explains the fad of cryonics toward the end of the 20th century. “People feared death. It terrified them. So at the moment of death, they were frozen so that later, sometime in the future—presumably when medical science had found a cure for whatever killed them—they could be thawed back to life, healed, and sent on about their business.”
And people in the 24th century do not fear death? Unrealistic, especially among those who don’t claim God.
So let’s take a closer look at these people. Clemonds is obviously addicted to alcohol and other drugs, not to mention womanizing—cruder than Kirk, since he lacks the finesse. He tries to involve several of the crew in his raucous ways, including Data, believe it or not.
At the replicator, he starts to order a Kansas City steak with fried potatoes, then he says, “Oh, well, ferget all that and gimme a martini, straight up with two olives.”
Obviously he can only think of himself, and is intent to repeat the bad lifestyle choices he’d just been healed from. “As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly” (Proverbs 26:11). That’s how an addiction works: You may clean up on the outside, but until your subconscious cooperates, the dependence continues.
Offenhouse is another who can think only of himself. From the moment we meet him, he’s loud and demanding, obsessed with his stock portfolio. At the same moment Captain Picard must deal with them, he also must deal with a Romulan warbird and decide whether their intent is hostile. But Offenhouse reads his apparent aloofness as balking to answer his demands.
Incensed, Picard tells him, “We are in a very serious and potentially dangerous situation.”
“I’m sure whatever it is seems very important to you,” says Offenhouse, “but my situation is far more critical.”
Picard also tells him, “People are no longer obsessed with the accumulation of things. We’ve eliminated hunger, want, the need for possessions. We’ve grown out of our infancy.” Have you heard a philosophy more remote from human nature? Yet this is what avid humanists believe in: a world without obsessions or conflict—and without God.
But Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33b). Even the series, in spite of Picard’s declaration, agrees with this. They talk about peace, but are always battling somebody. They talk about justice and compassion, but refuse to share their technology to save others.
They must have possessions to travel in space, namely a starship and all her equipment. Crewmen must have possessions in their quarters, important to them and their families. By living in a comfortable environment, they are pleased to serve the Enterprise-D with all their heart. Otherwise, Starfleet cannot expect its soldiers to perform their duty.
In stark contrast to her male companions, Clare Raymond could not be more humble. As the reality of having jumped four centuries sinks in, she becomes depressed and begins to cry. “I keep thinking about my boys.” The fatal embolism had made her unaware she’d been in cryonic sleep at all. She believes her husband Donald had done it, since he was fascinated with every new gadget that came along.
So unlike the others, Clare does care about somebody else: her husband and two sons, and probably others as well. Here’s where Counselor Troi gets involved, another compassionate soul amid all the crises. She invites Clare to help her search for her sons with the on-board computer.
So what does all this have to do with moving forward? The answer is in the tag. Concerning the three displaced passengers, Riker says, “It’s a pity we can’t take them [to Starbase 39 Sierra] ourselves. Having them on board is like a visit from the past.”
“That would take us in the wrong direction,” says Picard. “Our mission is to go forward, and it’s just begun.”
In the same way, Sonny Clemonds, Ralph Offenhouse, and Clare Raymond must go forward in the 24th century. Once they’ve come to terms with their long-lost past, new vistas are likely to open wide. I don’t hold out much hope for Clemonds, but at least his companions are willing to change to meet the new world. Just as Gillian Taylor and Trevor Grant had to change, though the reason they couldn’t return is less logical than in “The Neutral Zone.”
Forward is also our mission as Christians. We’re not displaced in time, but as the Hebrews author said, “Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1-2).
If we’re not running forward, we’re stagnating; and if our focus is on our shameful past and not on Jesus, we’re actually running the wrong direction. Jesus stands beyond the ribbon at the end, ready to welcome us for a job well done.
JANUARY THEME: “FORWARD”
Jan. 18: Heather C. King at Room to Breathe
Jan. 19: Deb K. Anderson at Faith, Fiction, & Unvarnished Truth
Jan. 21: Jacky Brown at JayBee's Blog
|Posted on January 9, 2013 at 7:40 AM||comments (0)|
My friends, please pray for me. I have picked up pneumonia somewhere, with heavy coughing and difficulty sleeping. Pray for good health to continue after this disease is through.
On December 12, we covered the penal colony on Elba II, and the self-appointed god inmate, Captain Garth. Today we’re back with another tale of a penal colony on Tantalus V. Unlike “Whom Gods Destroy,” “Dagger of the Mind” shows not an inmate who needs psychological treatment, but the usually congenial doctor.
Both colonies have a security dome to keep the prisoners in. Items must be transported only after said shield has been removed. The box that beams up from Tantalus contains not research material for Stockholm, as stated, but a man. He knocks out the security chief and runs amuck all over the Enterprise.
He’s Simon van Gelder, a man desperate that Kirk “not take me back there, to Tantalus.” In fact, he’d rather die than return. Every time he tries to give Kirk’s crew pertinent information, he grunts, writhes, and grimaces in pain. His rants make him sound like a raging lunatic, but is he really?
A communiqué with Dr. Tristan Adams, administrator of the colony, Adams expresses concern over this inmate: “He’s clever as well as extremely violent.” Later, when the man is found to be Adams’ former assistant, Adams automatically refers to him as a doctor. You’d think he would’ve cleared it up the first time he spoke.
Adams explains: “He’d been doing experimental work, Captain, an experimental beam we’d hope might rehabilitate incorrigibles. Van Gelder felt he hadn’t the moral right to expose another man to something he hadn’t tried on his own person.”
The last idea has gotten more people in trouble than anybody knows. Probably some ancient philosophic thinker came up with it, and it remains a popular attitude today. “Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it,” they say. “You have no moral right to tell others what to do.” So by this reasoning, we don’t have the moral right to stop cars from crossing a gorge whose bridge is out, until we’ve driven across it ourselves. Enough said.
The “experimental beam” Adams mentions is a neural neutralizer, a device apparently on the ceiling over a comfortable looking lounge. It’s the same chair, by the way, which was recycled for “Whom Gods Destroy.” I remember in the 1950s and ’60s, when some homes had a neon kitchen light like this. It had consisted of two concentric tubes putting out bright light, similar in principle to spiral energy-saving bulbs today. Add colors and a spinning effect, and voilà! Instant neutralizer.
To get to the bottom of van Gelder’s claims, Captain Kirk beams down with a young lady who has “psychiatric and penology experience.” She’s Dr. Helen Noel, a rather cartoonish name given that she and Kirk had met at a Christmas party.
Yet throughout the mission, in spite of certain bits of knowledge, she’s mostly seen as a melt-in-your-hand woman in Kirk’s arms. Her shining moments are when they compare notes on the case, and when she braves entering a vent leading to the power center, to turn off the security shield. She even fights off a couple of technicians in the process.
When Kirk and Helen first meet Dr. Adams, he’s all cordiality and mostly friendly (though his portrayer, James Gregory, always seems to slur his lines when he performs). However, his current assistant carries a vacant stare, as does Lethe. In a tone as stilted as her face, she says, “I love my work.” And Adams calls her one of his successes?
Still on board—though I think he should’ve been planetside as chaperone—Dr. McCoy notices several things in Kirk’s report that don’t “quite ring true.” McCoy’s presence might have prevented Kirk from making one of his notoriously foolish decisions: trying the neutralizer on himself.
With Helen at the controls in the observation booth, Kirk reclines under the device in the testing area. All Helen has to do is say, “You’re hungry,” and Kirk wants to raid a refrigerator somewhere. As a further test, Helen develops an alternate timeline for the Christmas party, in which she and Kirk had fallen in love. It’s a drawn-out flashback which has very little to do with plot, interrupted when Dr. Adams and his assistants catch her. Upping the machine’s power, he tells Kirk Helen is dead, and the captain falls off, screaming and sobbing.
Clearly the neural neutralizer must itself be neutralized, so somebody has to find the power station and shut it down. This is the only time in original Star Trek that a woman entered a dangerous situation, and prevailed over it. It would happen more often in The Next Generation and later incarnations.
Once the power grid is off, Spock with a small army invades the complex and rescues Kirk and Helen. In a moment of power loss, thanks to Helen, they also enter the treatment room and scuffle with Adams and the inmates. When power is restored, Adams winds up under the beam, and dies of an emptied brain “with not even a tormentor for company.”
Both “Whom Gods Destroy” and “Dagger of the Mind” suggest the answer to insanity is pumping a person full of drugs. In “Destroy,” Garth destroys a medicine that could reverse mental instability and get rid of penal colonies forever. In “Dagger,” Tristan Adams is a pioneer whose superior methods are copied by other asylums in Starfleet’s range. Message: Insanity must start in the brain.
What I say now, I say without a psychiatric degree of any sort, but I do observe people and I do know how the Lord and the Devil work. Sometimes insanity starts in the brain, often without a chance of reversal. Head trauma in a car accident could be one cause, giving one dementia. A bump on the head could result in decreased motor functions, if the skull is breached. Reasoning can also be affected.
But I’ve been able to observe bona fide crazy people first-hand. Those whose back stories I know either have a shallow religious conscience, or have rejected God altogether. The religious ones can also curse up a storm, not realizing the clash between faith and foul language. I can’t judge any of them, of course; I’m not God. But it does make me wonder where their soul would go, since most mental illness is caused by rejection of God and all He stands for. It’s a spiritual condition, not physical, which means no material med can touch it.
Consider King Saul, for instance. In the beginning, he was quiet, shy, and believed in the Lord—not to mention he was extremely handsome and stood “a head taller than any of the [other young men]” (1 Samuel 9:2). His coronation came as a great surprise to him, and he was so embarrassed that he tried to hide behind the travelers’ luggage (1 Samuel 10:21-27).
In time, he settled into his new office, commissioning an army and taking command, but even now he showed signs of instability. He tried to offer a sacrifice, though he was neither a priest nor a prophet. He hedged on a direct command from God to strike back against marauding Amalekites. God wanted them completely destroyed because of their incorrigible hatred and rebellion, not to mention idolatry. Saul spared King Agag and several of their livestock, blaming his soldiers for it.
The prophet Samuel was incensed. “Rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the Word of the Lord, He has rejected you as king” (1 Samuel 15:23).
Distressed, Saul clutched at him and tore his robe, so Samuel said, "The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today and has given it to one of your neighbors—to one better than you” (verse 28 ), meaning David.
Just as Tristan Adams seemed reasonable but had gone crazy, so King Saul seemed religious but suffered from clinical depression. I’d even say he was criminally insane, since he tried to skewer David twice with his spear. Later he chased David all over the Judean countryside, intending to kill him.
Bottom line: There is no connection between apparent faith and mental illness. Focus on Jesus, and chances are you’ll never sink as low as Garth, Adams, or Saul.
DECEMBER THEME: “CHRISTMAS SCENTS/SENSE”
JANUARY THEME: “FORWARD”
Jan. 9: Nona King at Spirit Driven Fiction
Jan. 10: Chris Vonada at I'm Just Thinkin'
Jan. 11: Terrie Thorpe at Light for the Journey
Jan. 12: Mike Johnson at The College Field Manual
Jan. 13: Jacky Brown at JayBee's Blog
Jan. 16: MY TURN right here at Lightwalker's View
|Posted on January 2, 2013 at 7:30 AM||comments (0)|
Last year we saw how the Astraeus crew hoped to travel to Titan, but were thwarted by Beverly Barlowe’s evil spy consortium. They kidnapped the crew and placed them in pod beds, giving them a virtual Eureka. There they would invent things which the Consortium could promptly steal for their own purposes. But with Allison Blake in the mix, things started to go wrong. Holly Marten watched a wound on her forearm return before her eyes, so she dutifully reported to Sheriff Jack Carter. But since he was an NPC (Non-Playing Character) in this false reality, he squeezed her face, her eyes rolled back, and she collapsed.
For the next few episodes, we’re led to believe that Holly is dead. Other glitches occur. Zane Donovan notices a flying bird meshing with a rock as though stuck there. Carter’s image phases out, cluing Zane he’s not real, and he’s dangerous. Finally the real Carter agrees to be plugged into the VR program and attempts to rescue the rest.
Once that is resolved, grieving takes place. Holly’s friends hold a funeral for her, and dedicate in memoriam a huge laser pointer to help them explore the stars. But Zane finds brain activity in the computer, which supposedly supports organic signals. By this he and Fargo determine Holly is alive and well and still living in Virtual Eureka.
To explain the phenomenon, Zane says, “Our brains are just hard drives of actions and memories. If you think she’s real, and she thinks she’s real, does it matter?” Actually it does, because organic and electronic brain signals are so different from each other, the best a scientist could hope to achieve is an artificial intelligence. Not to mention, God created our brains far beyond mere “hard drives.”
Other impossible acts ensue, such as Fargo putting on a VR headset which allows him into the computer to talk to Holly. He finds her on empty Eureka streets, and communicates with her until Zane yanks him out for one reason or another.
Meanwhile, a tough major from the DOD, Shaw, has the entire computer system purged because it’s a security risk, considering the Astraeus crew’s experience. Fortunately (or conveniently—take your pick), Holly’s brain realizes the threat and gets out of Dodge to enter the Global Dynamics computer system.
Machines malfunction all over the complex as Holly gains her bearings in the massive mainframe, including her own laser pointer. At first the pointer appears to attack Sheriff Carter and Henry Deacon in the observatory. But then Henry mentions a pattern in the etchings, and the laser’s generator head nods. Now that’s funny! The pattern is a message in Holly’s handwriting: “Help Me.”
Eventually they use her memory lattice to develop a Holly-graphic image in SARAH’s wall. Later, she becomes a full 3-D presence, free to go where she pleases—in the house. But soon she gets cabin fever and is eager to get out for a change. Fargo refuses to do anything about it, so Zane and Henry work together to make her a body to move into.
Are you seeing the humanist philosophy in the story so far? Realistically, every step of restoring Holly would take weeks, months, even years to develop. Yet they’re able to save her in the nick of time, while seconds tick away. I don’t care how much a genius you are, this’d never fly in real life. But logic aside, Eureka is pure entertainment, and in this respect it succeeds.
Zane calls his construction a “biological fabrication,” made of a combination of “a protein emulsion and undifferentiated somatic cells. We can use her DNA profile and print her body on an organic lattice.” A bit later he claps his hands and declares: “Let’s make us a woman!”
You think God got so technical when He decided to create man? No, He simply spoke, and man was formed from clay. In Genesis 1:27 He said, “Let Us make man in Our image, in Our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
The machine used in this man-made miracle, called a bio-printer, features a coffin-shaped depression where the mannequin would go, and a force field around it forms matrixes for the skeleton, blood vessels, muscles, and skin. Holly-gram bends to look at her image as the face takes shape.
The body is controlled by zeta waves, or Z-waves, but I can find no reference to them except in Eureka documentation. It’s just an invention to serve the stories, presumably the force behind psychic powers, and that’s another reason this technology can’t exist. As further evidence of unrealism, when Holly’s consciousness enters her body, things start to fail. Only when Fargo gives her a kiss, as in the fairytales Sleeping Beauty and Snow White, does she awaken.
After the first restoration, Holly vacillates between paranoid distrust of everybody—especially Carter, since his NPC image had killed her—and acting and thinking normally. Her Z-waves are backfiring, so they put her through the memory lattice again. This time she is completely sane, and searches for something to do with her new life, apparently moving on from astrophysics.
“I have to write about this for the GD archives,” she says, “but I need a good title. How about The Second Coming of Holly Marten? Or is it the third? Naw, that sounds pretentious, and borderline offensive.” Absolutely true, for only one Second Coming is real, predicted in Revelation and other Bible books. Only Jesus Christ as God Incarnate will come a second time, without going through another resurrection.
Here’s where the story arc shifts from incredulous mode to creepy mode, à la Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Holly receives an e-mail on her computer, and when she opens it, flashing lights and changing shapes reflect in her eyes. A digital hand reaches out and hypnotizes her into wicked thoughts. It causes her to choose for her occupation making more people from the bio-printer that had brought her back.
Starting with Andy and Henry, she exposes as many people as she can to the images, and makes more organic lattices to replace them. This time it’s not limited to the Astraeus crew, plus Allison and Carter who had also seen Virtual Eureka. The entire town is affected.
Searching for answers, Zane and Allison find the eerily distorted screen with the hand. Zane says, “The strobe patterns look like they could cause epileptic seizures.”
Allison concludes: “This can’t be a computer malfunction. The patterns are too complex. This is not an accident.”
She’s right. Man cannot be a product of evolution because the patterns are too complex. This is not an accident, or pure chance. Same with every other natural creation in this world.
Watching the brainwave activity, she also says, “It looks like EEG tracings.” She steps forward to study them closer. “Those are Z-waves!”
Meanwhile, Carter investigates a cabin in the countryside, following a beeper which has picked up electronic activity. He enters, sees the bio-printer in action, and watches it lattice his own facial features. Startled, he stumbles back, then finds everybody who’s been replaced so far, lying unconscious on cots.
Holly shows up with her usual cheery “Hi!” Behind her come the replicates she’s already made. She approaches Carter and zaps him, and her tone turns sinister. “Now we’re even.”
Upping the ante for the remaining episode of this arc, it’s an edge-of-your-seat experience as clones take over the town, and chase down those who have yet to be replaced. Zane and Dr. Parrish come up with a Z-bomb which would stop them in their tracks, but the problem is setting it off where it would affect all the dopplegangers at once.
One co-plot I have not mentioned is the invention of “smart dust,” which is supposed to shield against global warming. But the only real evidence of global warming is a one-degree higher average between the last half of the 19th century and all of the 20th. All this hullabaloo over one degree? Therefore this is another science myth, and most of the “evidence” they trot out are simply the earth recycling between warm and cool climes, such as icebergs breaking off the ice cap and floating away.
But the crux of bringing Holly back to life is the idea man can create men, and her rebirth shouldn’t have required any hardware at all. This is a humanist conceit that flies far from reality, for at least half of the technical details are invented. It might be fun to watch, but don’t set your clocks by it.
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).
DECEMBER THEME: “CHRISTMAS SCENTS/SENSE”
JANUARY THEME: “FORWARD”
JANUARY THEME: “FORWARD”
Jan. 3: Tracy Krauss at Expression Express
Jan. 7: Keri Mae at A Happy Home
Jan. 8: Carol Peterson at From Carol's Quill
Jan. 9: Nona King at Spirit Driven Fiction