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One Person's Vison of a Pseudo-Science World

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Chu Gai, Mar 17, 2006.

  1. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Written a decade ago, Condemned to Repeat It is a whimsical and not so far off look at what happens when science is replaced by junk science.
     
  2. ChristopherDAC

    ChristopherDAC Producer

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    Once again we meet someone who speaks of "the Inquisition" without understanding what he's talking about. The great abuses, such as witch-trials, all occurred under Protestant auspices; the courts of the Papal Inqusition [as opposed to the Spanish Inquisition, which was an instrument of political repression] were well known for their insistence upon rational rules of evidence and standards of proof. In any case the primary function of the Inquisition and its successors has always been the licensing and regulation of teachers of Catholic doctrine, and its chief sanction the revocation of the license to teach. NOTE: lest anyone think this is some kind of religious comment, it's not. The historical fact is that Europe up until perhaps the XVII century was periodically swept by waves of strange enthusiasms; a parallel might be found in the Japanese "'Eejanaika' Riots" of 1867-8. In those countries which had embraced Protestantism, there was very little in the way of a central spiritual authority competent to suppress these movements or keep them from getting too far out of hand — nor were the kind of formalised rituals for dealing with spiritual problems, which exert a reassuring and calming effect, available.
     
  3. andrew markworthy

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    And even these are exaggerated, and certainly not the kangaroo courts you might suppose from watching The Crucible et al.

    A lot of supposed 'primitive supersition' trials, etc, were anything but. To take some classic howlers:

    (1) people in mediaeval Europe really believed the earth was flat and people were prosectued who denied this - plain wrong. There were a couple of oddballs who thought the Earth was flat, but the received wisdom was that the Earth was round.

    (2) Copernicus's ideas were rejected because of religious dogma - again, plain wrong. Copernicus's ideas were rejected by the Roman Catholic church because the mathematics were wrong. I grant you that Galileo got a rough deal, but that was under a singularly dumbass Pope.

    (3) people were so superstitious that law courts decided if someone was guilty by dropping them in a river - if they sank, they were innocent, if they floated they were guilty. This is made to sound like this was the normal method of trial. In fact, this was solely done when traditional methods of using witnesses and reasoned argument resulted in a situation where the two sides of the argument were absolutely balanced. It was a method of last resort and was very rare. Primitive by today's standards, but it was basically an admission of failure, not an accepted best method of decision-making.

    Sure the Inquisition et al were nasty brutish things, but the idea that they were totally irrational is far from the truth. Oh and a lot of the figures for the numbers of people killed by the Inquisition et al are based on the figures from opposing countries and are nearly always hugely magnified.
     
  4. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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    Nobody expects apologists for the Inquisition!!!

    (Not totally irrational, just nasty and brutish. And look what the Protestants did! And the Shinto fundamentalists! And the Wahhabists!)

    All primitive superstitions; all fit for the dustbin of history.
     
  5. andrew markworthy

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    Um ... I don't think that anyone is defending the Inquisition et al. Just saying that the images of religious-fuelled bigotry etc are generally hugely distorted. I agree entirely re the forces of ignorance argument, etc, but let's make sure we're attacking an accurate portrayal. Otherwise we're guilty of exactly the faults we're blaming the Inquisition et al for.
     
  6. Haggai

    Haggai Producer

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    Mmm, Andrew, I think Rich was just paraphrasing these guys:

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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    I was paraphrasing a certain comedy troupe, but it was in response to Andrew and Christopher's post, both of which I suspect are drawing on an early-1990s report regarding the inquisitions commissioned by the Vatican.

    The finding? Not so bad really. Not all that many people actually put to the stake. The penitent were spared - you know the rules: admit your blasphemy or die. Only those who clung to their heresies were executed. And, hey, they were just setting up a legal system, that's all, and heresy is a crime against the state (ahem, back when the state received its consent to govern not from the people, but the Church).

    And I suspect that if you add up all the victims of the various inquisitions, and then add up all the victims of the various Protestant denominations, and then add up all the victims of the Islamic conquests of South Asia - and we might as well thrown in the Scythian slaughter of the Cimmerians, and King Saul's eradication of the Amalekites - add all that up and it should be crystal clear that a whole lotta people got killed for not believing in some book that some body with a great deal of power deemed Holy.
     
  8. Jeff Cooper

    Jeff Cooper Screenwriter

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    Careful, Rich, or you're going to be put in the comfy chair.
     
  9. BrianW

    BrianW Cinematographer

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    At one point in the story, the defendant objects, the prosecutor counters, and the the judge says, "Sustained." But the story then continues as if the objection had been overruled, not sustained. Was the judge sustaining the prosecutor's counter-argument? That didn't make sense, since, in another instance, he got it right. Having to read that passage over a couple of times to make sense of it diminished my enjoyment of the story.

    Still, I enjoyed reading it. However, it did remind me of all the "...and the baby turned out to be HITLER!" stories that every beginning writer in this genre must, for some odd reason, crank out.


    On a side note, I wish I had a non-falsifiable, unchallengeable career like Aura Reader, Diviner, or Psychic Stenographer.

    Oh, wait! I already do! I'm a Software Engineer!
     
  10. andrew markworthy

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    'Look, I came here for an argument ...'

    Aaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrgh! A Brit failed to recognise sarcasm by (gulp) an American and it referred to a Brit comedy show as well.

    I think I need to lie down in a darkened room for 48 hours to recover.
     
  11. Jeff_CusBlues

    Jeff_CusBlues Supporting Actor

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    No you didn't....
     
  12. andrew markworthy

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    I'm sorry, is the five minute argument or the full half hour?
     
  13. Grant B

    Grant B Producer

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    Sorry andrew that's Two doors down.....this is getting hit in the head with a heavy object
    ummm like a heavy book

    If you were the person being tourtured doesn't matter what side it was from.
    Well maybe the comfy chair but besides that
     
  14. Jeff_CusBlues

    Jeff_CusBlues Supporting Actor

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    Time's up....
     
  15. Dheiner

    Dheiner Gazoo

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    That wasn't five minutes!
     
  16. Paul McElligott

    Paul McElligott Cinematographer

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    Yes it was.
     

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