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You can't be good without sci-fi

PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2010 12:43 am
by Blog of Reason

Re: You can’t be good without sci-fi

PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2010 1:17 am
by Josan
Really, really, well written Aught3! =)

It (at least the last paragraph) seems heavily inspired by the courtier's reply. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Courtier's ... .27s_Reply =)

Re: You can’t be good without sci-fi

PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2010 2:24 am
by Aught3
Josan wrote:Really, really, well written Aught3! =)

It (at least the last paragraph) seems heavily inspired by the courtier's reply. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Courtier's ... .27s_Reply =)
Although I've read the Courtier's reply and I was going for something similar in the last paragraph, I didn't have it in mind when I was writing. However, the reply is probably the best paragraph PZ has ever written so I am honoured by the comparison!

Re: You can’t be good without sci-fi

PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2010 11:14 am
by Tenderfoot
I very much liked your post, well-thought and well-written.
Maybe it's a "sign of the times" that your examples are all from television series.
Science fiction, however, started in the printed media.
My personal favorites are Robert Heinlein's novels for adult readers.
One that comes to mind is Starship Troopers, and its look on democracy and franchise (who has the right/duty to vote).
Now, if you haven't read the book and only know the movie, please abstain from comment; there are almost no points in common except for the title and the names of the characters.

Best regards,
Tenderfoot

Re: You can’t be good without sci-fi

PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2010 11:50 am
by Aught3
Tenderfoot wrote:I very much liked your post, well-thought and well-written.
Maybe it's a "sign of the times" that your examples are all from television series.
Science fiction, however, started in the printed media.
My personal favorites are Robert Heinlein's novels for adult readers.
One that comes to mind is Starship Troopers, and its look on democracy and franchise (who has the right/duty to vote).
Now, if you haven't read the book and only know the movie, please abstain from comment; there are almost no points in common except for the title and the names of the characters.

Best regards,
Tenderfoot
Thanks for the feedback. If someone asked me to name our greatest resource for moral insights, I would say it is the body of literature that we have developed over the last few millennia. Any type of quality fiction can bring you important ethical lessons and science fiction books are no exception. But I wanted to show that you could derive similar lessons from more modern formats such as movies and TV shows. I chose Star Trek because it's so ubiquitous in the sci-fi category and I chose Babylon 5 because it is my personal favourite. With these two examples I realised there was a TV theme going so I picked Battlestar Galactica to round it out. Frank Herbert's Dune would have been another great example to talk about - the back story of the Butlerian jihad is fascinating, alas, not this time.

Re: You can’t be good without sci-fi

PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2010 4:34 pm
by Andiferous
I love the topic, Aught3. :D

I agree with your points completely. Especially the idea of an unprejudiced discussion of moral dilemmas. (I suppose as with all fiction, on occasion science fiction is accused of allegory now and then). Babylon 5 was my favourite for philosophical stuffs.

I think the best fiction has a real face, and the best science fiction must dig into morality and ethics because it introduces new worlds and experiences. New situations force us to evaluate our questions in a different way, and ultimately this lends itself to toggling ideas in unusual philosophical terrain. If that makes sense. ;)

And that helps us to see those problems a little better.

Re: You can’t be good without sci-fi

PostPosted: Tue Jul 13, 2010 6:22 am
by Aught3
Andiferous wrote:I love the topic, Aught3. :D

I agree with your points completely. Especially the idea of an unprejudiced discussion of moral dilemmas. (I suppose as with all fiction, on occasion science fiction is accused of allegory now and then). Babylon 5 was my favourite for philosophical stuffs.

I think the best fiction has a real face, and the best science fiction must dig into morality and ethics because it introduces new worlds and experiences. New situations force us to evaluate our questions in a different way, and ultimately this lends itself to toggling ideas in unusual philosophical terrain. If that makes sense. ;)

And that helps us to see those problems a little better.
I appreciate the comments Andie. It's interesting how completely new worlds and experiences can shed light on aspects of everyday life, is it not?

Re: You can’t be good without sci-fi

PostPosted: Tue Jul 13, 2010 10:06 am
by Prolescum
I completely agree with the blog and posters on this 'ere thread about its author. I've argued this many times over the years, and may have even said something similar on this forum at some point, although, I'm sure, without the eloquence.

Re: You can’t be good without sci-fi

PostPosted: Tue Jul 13, 2010 8:20 pm
by monitoradiation
Aught3 wrote:Simply put, the Prime Directive prevents intervention into pre-warp alien societies so as not to interfere with the natural course of their cultural development.


I cant help but be reminded of the Krogans and Salarians in Mass Effect.

Re: You can’t be good without sci-fi

PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 2010 3:38 am
by /b/artleby
You know, I agree entirely with you. I learned more from Isaac Asimov about ethics than any number of Sunday school lessons.

I'm sorry, but I consider Daneel Olivaw's devotion to the Zeroth law in Robots and Empire to be on a higher moral plain than any story in the bible. Also, the ending to Caves of Steel...

The robot said, "I have been trying, friend Julius, to understand some remarks Elijah made to me earlier. Perhaps I am beginning to, for it suddenly seems to me that the destruction of what should not be, that is, the destruction of what you people call evil, is less just and desirable than the conversion of this evil into what you call good."
He hesitated, then, almost as though he were surprised at his own words, he said, "Go, and sin no more!"

Re: You can’t be good without sci-fi

PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 2010 8:10 am
by nasher168
/b/artleby wrote: I consider Daneel Olivaw's devotion to the Zeroth law in Robots and Empire to be on a higher moral plain than any story in the bible. Also, the ending to Caves of Steel...

Indeed. The moral dilemma in Foundation and Earth in making the choice between personal freedom and ultimate survival of humanity in the form of the Galaxia super-organism is another interesting one from the Foundation/Robots series.

For those who haven't read it, the main character is considered infallible by a planetary super-organism called Gaia. He has to choose whether Gaia will be allowed to expand beyond just being a planet to encompass the entire Galaxy. If this happens, every single human will possess and be part of the same mind, so will have virtually no personal freedom. On the other hand, it guarantees the survival of humanity-in some form-for billions of years and grants protection from invasions by non-human civilisations etc.
In the end, the decision is for Galaxia over a Second Galactic Empire.