Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Dr Who Review of episode,"Last Christmas" shown 25th December 2014

BBC,"Dr Who" sci-fi fantasy episode for 25th Dec. 2014,"Last Christmas" 
was written by Steven Moffat
The story is a bit abstract but the plot is based on the idea that "Dream crabs" are a sort of parasite which are like a big hand which attaches to the face of its victim causing them to slip into dreams while it sucks their brains out. The only way to escape the dream crabs is to wake up and return to reality. So the person has to work out what is real and what it not real.
One idea in the story is that four of the crew are each given a instruction manual and are asked to read from page 12. What they read out is different from each other which reveals that they are not really awake but in a dream state. The parallel is in comparing what scripture says to what we know from science.
I liked the bit where Dr Who tells the crew to focus on other things (their favourite things?) so that the dream crabs will lose their power
The story could be interpreted as a wake up call to people to shake off religious delusion. In religion there is a difference between knowing what the stories say and knowing the various interpretations, i.e the apologist's attempt to persuade that the stories are real and the skeptics interpretation which notes reasons to consider the stories to be not real events.
The show starts with a Santa having crashed his sleigh on the rooftop of Clara's house. Santa asks the elves to pick up the spilled tangerines. One of his elves says,"Nobody likes tangerines". Santa replies,"How dare you, that is my signature gift". A couple of minutes later Dr Who is made to repeat the line,"Nobody likes tangerines"
I would guess that over 70% of people like the taste of tangerines/ satsuma/ clementines/ oranges.
Maybe the line,"Nobody likes tangerines" is placed in the film to be so contrary to what we experience from real life as to make people kick back against it rather than just mindlessly agreeing with everything. If people are encouraged to see the error in things that heroes like Dr Who say then might they also question statements by the "heroes" in scriptures ?
Santa's reply,"How dare you" was an attempt to assert by authority but he could have been made to refer to market research showing 90% of those who tried satsumas enjoyed them.
It can be a bit of hassle when the peel is like glued on to the fruit or when there are seeds but I think the taste is worth it.

Right at the start when Santa's  sleigh crashes into the roof top, he shouts ad hominem / name calling,"Moron" but I would like to imagine Santa would speak about his emotions,"Oh grief, this is so infuriating / upsetting / worrying." Describe the situation," I have so much to do, I can't afford to lose time like this." Inquire about the reasons for what happened and offer instruction on how to avoid & improve in future," What on Earth happened dear Elf ? Were you not watching where you were going? Do you need glasses? Were you not concentrating, were you blinded by the snow ? Do we need to get you GPS steering or radar ? Going too fast due to unrealistic work load?"
See article in the Independant newspaper from 17th December 2009
Are tangerines, satsumas and 'clementinies' any better than the traditional orange?

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Celebrate Christmas because you know the reasons to think the gospel is not real

 Celebrate Christmas because you know the reasons to think the gospel is not real or 
Celebrate Christmas because you think it gives you a happily ever after
Celebrate Christmas because of the things about it that you enjoy, what ever.
Avoid the things about Christmas that you loathe, manage it which ever way you like.

 I celebrate that I have discovered the books & websites which share the reasons to think that the supernatural tales are not real.  Seth Andrews, "The Thinking Atheist" made a great video, "Drawing back the curtain". I think the information Seth shares enriches Christmas. Well it makes a deliciously bitter sweet dialectic.
 I love to scoff at Christmas. When Christmas carols come on the radio I enjoy to think of opposite lyrics. Some people get to play the fool and I get to play the wise man, but then they probably think I play the fool and they play the wise man. As Richard Dawkins said in TGD the common man thinks its true, the educated man thinks its false and the ruler thinks its handy. [You can't have a parody if you don't know the original ]

There is a wealth of skeptic freethought surrounding the nativity stories that can be a spur to studying the history of astronomy etc.
 Aaron Adair makes good points in his book,"The star of Bethlehem: A skeptical view"
Jonathon M.S. Pearce does a similar thing in,"The Nativity:A critical examination"

I would like to send  wide angle Christmas cards that expand peoples vision. The nativity story has Jesus go to Egypt, so I would have a picture of a pyramid with the name Osiris & the 42 negative confessions (1250 BCE), the magi would be Galileo offering the baby a telescope, Leeuwenhoek offering a microscope, Amerigo Vespucci offering a Globe, the star would be comet 67p with Rosetta probe orbiting and Philae Lander on it - reminding of the Philae obelisk with its decree written in both Egyptian hieroglyph & ancient greek , the Rosetta stone with its hieroglyph, demotic & ancient Greek. The angels might be Darwin & Ingersoll. This is the fantastic tale of how science & reason & careful study have gone through every detail in the Bible stories and shown where they are wildly improbable.

I can see that there are bits of religion that people would want to be true - the happy ever after. i find that I have no less security about that, maybe more. I think a loving deity would take everyone to a happily ever after, if there was one but since it looks like there is no supernatural then I look forward to resting in peace. R.I.P looks positively rosy once you have looked into the pit of worst fears. It is possible to see religion as amusing fiction fantasy. ( except for its real life impact )