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"The Martian" Does it mislead the public about science? 
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Post Re: "The Martian" Does it mislead the public about science?
DWill wrote:
Now you've got me thinking about what makes a movie or book science fiction. Maybe the category is fuzzy in definition. . .


Andy Weir, author of The Martian, actually worked hard to get the science right and that has become one of the talking points of this movie. But the more important word in "science fiction" is "fiction." All movies are fiction, even those that are supposedly "based on a true story." Even many documentaries are obviously biased. And even if a movie is based on real events, the screenwriters must take many liberties and invent dialogues and sometimes even characters and scenes in order to dramatize the story to make it more exciting. I guess I would assume that most moviegoers know that Mark Watney isn't a real person who was stranded on Mars (in the year 2030).

But Harlan Ellison tells a funny story in one of the articles he wrote about the impact of television in our lives (collected in his book, The Glass Teat), wherein he describes a conversation he had with Dan Blocker, who once played the character Hoss on Bonanaza.

Quote:
"He told me– and he said this happened all the time, not just in isolated cases– that he had been approached by a little old woman during one of his personal appearances at a rodeo, and the woman had said to him, dead seriously, “Now listen to me, Hoss: when you go home tonight, I want you to tell your daddy, Ben, to get rid of that Chinee fella who cooks for you all. What you need is to get yourself a good woman in there can cook up some decent food for you and your family.”

“So Dan said to her, very politely (because he was one of the most courteous people I’ve ever met), “Excuse me, ma’am, but my name is Dan Blocker. Hoss is just the character I play. When I go home I’ll be going to my house in Los Angeles and my wife and children will be waiting.”

“And she went right on, just a bit affronted because she knew all that, what was the matter with him, did he think she was simple or something, “Yes, I know… but when you go back to the Ponderosa, you just tell your daddy Ben that I said…”


Ellison uses this anecdote to show the dumbing down effect of the boob tube. But I like to think he was exxagerating and that most people do, in fact, know the difference between fiction and reality and aren't going to come to have "unrealistic expectations" of science after watching the movie, The Martian. I think this Slate piece could easily have been in The Onion. I think the author had to come up with an article and this was the best she could do under time constraints.


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Mon Oct 05, 2015 9:45 am
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Post Re: "The Martian" Does it mislead the public about science?
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But the more important word in "science fiction" is "fiction."


Gee thanks for letting us know that, Geo.
Very instructive.



Mon Oct 05, 2015 10:09 am
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Post Re: "The Martian" Does it mislead the public about science?
If life was seeded from Mars, I'd like to know where that Marian life came from.

Is it just turtles all the way down, Geo?


As possibly the only true Humanist among all the quasi declared atheists here, I find it rather inhuman that we are all set to justify playing comic cowboy and spend perhaps a trillion dollars going to Mars when there's life on earth that's dying from malnutrition, lack of fresh water, and is in a state of abject poverty.

You guys are totally disconnected from what's on the ground here on earth.
And you call yourselves humanists?

I think I'll side with rational theism on this one.



Mon Oct 05, 2015 11:01 am
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Post Re: "The Martian" Does it mislead the public about science?
We're secular humanists.

What are you?



The following user would like to thank Chris OConnor for this post:
ant
Mon Oct 05, 2015 11:47 am
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Post Re: "The Martian" Does it mislead the public about science?
Chris OConnor wrote:
We're secular humanists.

What are you?




Quote:
Secular Humanism is an outgrowth of eighteenth century enlightenment rationalism and nineteenth century freethought. Many secular groups, such as the Council for Secular Humanism and the American Rationalist Federation, and many otherwise unaffiliated academic philosophers and scientists, advocate this philosophy.


This also happens to be the one that is most susceptible to positivism (totally debunked) and anti clericalism (unhealthy for social cohesiveness).
It is too close to the "enlightenment" that historically was criminal in both action and thought.

What is the "outgrowth" that makes your brand of secular humanism different from the 18th century enlightenment?



Mon Oct 05, 2015 1:32 pm
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Post Re: "The Martian" Does it mislead the public about science?
This is the problem with labels especially in the mind of someone who ses things in such black-and-white terms. Many people who consider themselves secularists might not even know what positivism is or might easily disagree with your definition of it and, yet, you're going to assign that belief to them anyway, based entirely on your interpretation, not what they actually believe.

This is classic Ant strawman thinking. You treat your own beliefs as facts. And, as a result, you go around attacking your own poorly conceived notions of things. Chasing your own tail.

Regarding the atheist-Stalin connection, do you think that atheists on BookTalk are sympathetic or pro-Stalin in any way? Your honest answer to this question, I think, would be very telling, though I'm not holding my breath that you will answer it.


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Mon Oct 05, 2015 2:27 pm
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Post Re: "The Martian" Does it mislead the public about science?
Quote:
This is the problem with labels especially in the mind of someone who ses things in such black-and-white terms.


This is precisely the issue I take with new atheism and their broad, oversimplified labels of theists and theism.
It's preposterously foolish



Mon Oct 05, 2015 2:33 pm
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Post Re: "The Martian" Does it mislead the public about science?
ant wrote:
Quote:
This is the problem with labels especially in the mind of someone who ses things in such black-and-white terms.


This is precisely the issue I take with new atheism and their broad, oversimplified labels of theists and theism.
It's preposterously foolish


Aaah, a whole new strawman. Wonderful! I'm talking about secularism though. Are you saying the definition of "secularism" is completely unambiguous and hasn't changed since the 1800s? Shall we consult our dictionaries?


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Mon Oct 05, 2015 2:55 pm
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Post Re: "The Martian" Does it mislead the public about science?
geo wrote:
ant wrote:
Quote:
This is the problem with labels especially in the mind of someone who ses things in such black-and-white terms.


This is precisely the issue I take with new atheism and their broad, oversimplified labels of theists and theism.
It's preposterously foolish


Aaah, a whole new strawman. Wonderful! I'm talking about secularism though. Are you saying the definition of "secularism" is completely unambiguous and hasn't changed since the 1800s? Shall we consult our dictionaries?



We don't need to consult a dictionary.
We'll just look at the broad-brushed oversimplifications made right in our very own yard here.

You've pretty much parroted Richard Dawkins supposed "philosophical thought" about religion. That's bad enough.

Do you deny the Enlightenment promoted positivism? Not overtly, but implicitly.
Do you also deny that most of the core thinkers here on BT have unknowingly promoted positivism as well? I had to personally introduce the word "scientism" to your working vocabulary. Do you remember that as well?



Last edited by ant on Mon Oct 05, 2015 3:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Mon Oct 05, 2015 3:03 pm
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Post Re: "The Martian" Does it mislead the public about science?
ant wrote:
We don't need to consult a dictionary.
We'll just look at the broad-brushed oversimplifications made right in our very own yard here.

You've pretty much parroted Richard Dawkins supposed "philosophical thought" about religion. That's bad enough.

Do you deny the Enlightenment promoted positivism? Not overtly, but implicitly.
Do you also deny that most of the core thinkers here on BT have unknowingly promoted positivism as well? I had to personally introduce the word "scientism" to your working vocabulary. Do you remember that as well?


That's okay, Ant, I'm getting off the train. I personally don't find a lot of use of broad generalizations and stereotypes which apparently is the only way you are capable of seeing the world. I can only speak for myself and my own beliefs. I see no point in telling you what my own beliefs are because you've already made up your mind about what they are.

As for parroting Richard Dawkins, please show me exactly what I said. I'm always happy to explain where I'm coming from. By not quoting my exact words, we have to rely on your interpretation and memory of what I said. That would be foolhardy to say the least.


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Mon Oct 05, 2015 3:27 pm
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Post Re: "The Martian" Does it mislead the public about science?
Quote:
Regarding the atheist-Stalin connection, do you think that atheists on BookTalk are sympathetic or pro-Stalin in any way? Your honest answer to this question, I think, would be very telling, though I'm not holding my breath that you will answer it.


Oh so there is a connection between atheism and Stalin, huh?
That is the closest you've been to admitting that. Congratulations.

You're question is a ridiculous one.


(when will Geo write that Stalin was just an evil politician and not an atheist)



Mon Oct 05, 2015 3:30 pm
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Post Re: "The Martian" Does it mislead the public about science?
geo wrote:
ant wrote:
We don't need to consult a dictionary.
We'll just look at the broad-brushed oversimplifications made right in our very own yard here.

You've pretty much parroted Richard Dawkins supposed "philosophical thought" about religion. That's bad enough.

Do you deny the Enlightenment promoted positivism? Not overtly, but implicitly.
Do you also deny that most of the core thinkers here on BT have unknowingly promoted positivism as well? I had to personally introduce the word "scientism" to your working vocabulary. Do you remember that as well?


That's okay, Ant, I'm getting off the train. I personally don't find a lot of use of broad generalizations and stereotypes which apparently is the only way you are capable of seeing the world. I can only speak for myself and my own beliefs. I see no point in telling you what my own beliefs are because you've already made up your mind about what they are.

As for parroting Richard Dawkins, please show me exactly what I said. I'm always happy to explain where I'm coming from. By not quoting my exact words, we have to rely on your interpretation and memory of what I said. That would be foolhardy to say the least.



Of course you MUST get off the train here, rather than answer straightforward questions.
That's a great tactic.



Mon Oct 05, 2015 3:32 pm
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Post Re: "The Martian" Does it mislead the public about science?
I can answer questions.

I don't really have an opinion on whether the Enlightenment promoted positivism. The Enlightenment was about a lot of things. Why would you focus on its promotion of positivism? Is that your favorite word of the week or something?

Personally, I consider myself a naturalist. Does that mean I'm promoting positivism? To me that's a rather bizarre way of looking at it. Do my ideas have to be pinned to a grand movement?

Your turn. Can you answer my questions?


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Mon Oct 05, 2015 4:14 pm
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Post Re: "The Martian" Does it mislead the public about science?
Quote:

This also happens to be the one that is most susceptible to positivism (totally debunked) and anti clericalism (unhealthy for social cohesiveness).
It is too close to the "enlightenment" that historically was criminal in both action and thought.

What is the "outgrowth" that makes your brand of secular humanism different from the 18th century enlightenment?


Really, this era dubbed by historians as the Enlightenment was "criminal"? Our Founding Fathers, partaking of its spirit, were rogues or worse? Want to retract this generalization?



Mon Oct 05, 2015 5:01 pm
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Post Re: "The Martian" Does it mislead the public about science?
DWill wrote:
Quote:

This also happens to be the one that is most susceptible to positivism (totally debunked) and anti clericalism (unhealthy for social cohesiveness).
It is too close to the "enlightenment" that historically was criminal in both action and thought.

What is the "outgrowth" that makes your brand of secular humanism different from the 18th century enlightenment?


Really, this era dubbed by historians as the Enlightenment was "criminal"? Our Founding Fathers, partaking of its spirit, were rogues or worse? Want to retract this generalization?



The French Age of Enlightenment? Of course its results were barbaric

BTW, I'm certain your great grandchildren will consider their age to be an age of enlightenment.

Specifically, that is what root we are speaking of as it pertains to secular humanism being an outgrowth of the 18th century enlightenment.



Last edited by ant on Mon Oct 05, 2015 5:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Mon Oct 05, 2015 5:36 pm
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