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LiquidBlue
April 17th, 2010, 01:45 PM
Overall this was a good episode. It was too bad that only redshirts were left behind.

Okay now to the substance of my post. This episode was billed as an examination of faith, however I felt let down.

I liked that this episode featured an apparently artificial planet and star system. This continues the theme that was introduced from the beginning of the franchise with the movie. That is, What measure is a god? A sufficiently advanced alien? A being of energy and transcendental knowledge? The ability to mold and shape worlds?

I like this theme and and the questions it brings up. I do not however like the actions of the characters protrayed in this episode which is suggested to be faith.

The Destiny is brought out of FTL by an artificial star orbited by a seemingly idylic planet. This planet not only provides much needed supplies, but presents an alternative to life on Destiny while providing the people on destiny a much needed opportunity to perform much needed repairs and the opportunity to access greater areas of the ship.

From this circumstance, and without and further evidence, some of the crew members decide that an advanced entity specificly created the star system for their benefit, and that if they hang around long enough this same entity will show up and help them return home.

In other words, they made up a story to explain their situation and decided that it was good enough to believe in, and risk their lives on. I wold have liked a little bit more complexity and nuance.

TJ's case is good. She wants to stay on the planet becuase it offers a better quality of life than on Destiny. I wold have liked to have seen this position shared by others. Why did no one on the ship offer this argument? You do not have the "believe" in order to make a rational decision that staying on the planet is the better alternative.

Concerning faith. Instead of an entirely made up explaination, I would have like to see some evidence that this or some other reason was the correct explanation -- Especially if it was only one person who had the experience. I mean, it would have been interesting if someone, or a small group of people while off by themselves saw or interacted with the glowy form of an ascended being; Or, some while trying to figure out the mystery of the obelisk had the strong impression that the planet was meant to be their lifeline.

It would have been a much greater examination of faith, if instead of trying to believe in a fantasy, the people had to consider whether to believe someone whose evidence could not be shared.

Coronach
April 17th, 2010, 01:55 PM
Concerning faith. Instead of an entirely made up explaination, I would have like to see some evidence that this or some other reason was the correct explanation -- Especially if it was only one person who had the experience. I mean, it would have been interesting if someone, or a small group of people while off by themselves saw or interacted with the glowy form of an ascended being; Or, some while trying to figure out the mystery of the obelisk had the strong impression that the planet was meant to be their lifeline.

It would have been a much greater examination of faith, if instead of trying to believe in a fantasy, the people had to consider whether to believe someone whose evidence could not be shared.

Isn't this how faith (by the strictest definition of the word) works? It is decidedly not a belief that has objective evidence as then it's not faith...it's simply an observation. Nearly every religious person I've ever spoken to agrees with this assertion.

I know you mention evidence that could not be shared, but I'm not sure it should have worked that way. If we would have seen the crew members interacting with some sort of glowing ascended being, then it's not a matter of faith anymore....it'd simply be an observation. However, the way it was portrayed left both the characters as well as the audience unsure as to what to believe in this regard. There was circumstantial evidence (i.e. the supposed planetary paradise from out of nowhere), and that's where the faith aspect came in. Some people chose to view it as some sort of predestined, benevolent event...while some of the crew did not.

I actually really liked the way they played this up in the episode. Dr. Caine (for better or for worse) was quite convinced of his position, and it was clearly not something he could have proven one way or another. He just had faith that, given the circumstances, that there must be some sort of being that would save them.

Just my thoughts, anyways. :)

Kaiphantom
April 17th, 2010, 02:22 PM
LiquidBlue, good analysis. I, too, was disappointed by the approach to Faith in this episode. I'm not a religious person, but I did grow up Christian for most of my life so I know what Faith is.

I do want to respond to something Coronach said...


Isn't this how faith (by the strictest definition of the word) works? It is decidedly not a belief that has objective evidence as then it's not faith...it's simply an observation. Nearly every religious person I've ever spoken to agrees with this assertion.

There is "good faith" and "bad faith." It's simply something that someone chooses to believe, but it all depends on the rationality behind it. I have faith that if I go outside and get into my car, it will start up when I turn the key. I don't know before hand if it will start up, by my faith has been established because of preceding experiences. This is "good faith."

"Bad faith" happens when you just choose to believe something, without much rational thought behind it. And taken too far, it comes up idiocy. There is a quote "God helps those who help themselves" or in other words, God wants you to use the brain you were given. I think another way to explain this, is with an old joke:

A man was sitting on top of his house, as the flood waters rose. Another man came by in a rowboat, saying, "Get in, good sir! Before the flood waters rise and you drown!" The man on the house replied, "No no, it's okay. I have faith that God will save me."

The man in the rowboat left, and the flood waters continued to rise. Eventually, a yacht came by, with several people in it. They, too, told the man to get on lest he drown. Again, the man replied, "No no, I have Faith that God will save me." They left, and the waters continued to rise, burying most of the house and leaving him with just a bit of roof left. A rescue helicopter came by and they dropped a rope ladder, but despite beseeching him to climb up, he said once more, "No no, I have faith that God will save me."

Eventually, the flood rose up and he drowned and died. In heaven, the man asked God, "Why did you let me die? I had faith in you!" and God replied, "I sent you two boats and a helicopter; what more did you want!?"

Or the story about the "Children's Crusade." In medieval times, during the crusades, a group of kids decided to travel to where all the killing was going on in an effort to stop it. They figured their strong faith would mean God would provide a way, and that they'd stop the killing when they got there. They marched for days, and finally arrived... and were promptly captured and sold into slavery.

So while faith is important, using your brain is even more important; that's the big lesson they(and Dr. Caine) missed here. You can't just randomly believe in blind luck, or in things that you've never seen or experienced, because if there is a God, he doesn't work that way. He gave you a brain and expects you to use it.

How I envisioned this episode based upon the stuff I read was that Destiny just stops in this system with no countdown clock. Perhaps in orbit of the planet, and they can't determine why. Going down reveals it's an earth-llike planet (with no obelisks) with earth fruits and plants. The combination of the unknown stopping of the ship, plus the perfect planet, would have given a stronger message that something was going on, and a greater case for Faith. More of a clash earlier between staying on the planet, or trying to get Destiny moving again. In the end, Rush or Eli finds some glitch that was keeping the countdown from going, and go "See? It was just a glitch." And Young going, "I wonder if that's all it was..."

Because as it was, there wasn't enough time to get everyone to the planet anyway, so it's hard to make a case that the planet was what "god" intended. Whereas if the ship just stopped in orbit with no countdown, there would have been plenty of time, and more reason to ponder, "What's going on? Why stop here like this?"

Coronach
April 17th, 2010, 02:27 PM
Ah, thanks for that interesting post Kaiphantom. I've actually heard that story about the man and the flood before. And while I'm not religious myself, I totally agree with the sentiment of that story.

I wasn't displeased with the way an idea of faith was presented in this story, but I agree that there may have been ways to have portrayed it even better. I don't think the writers meant to imply anything though. Dr. Caine exhibited a pretty "bad faith", as you'd put it. By contrast, though, several of the other characters in the episode expressed varying levels of "faith", and not all of them were people who wanted to stay behind on the planet.

I thought there was a nice balance with regards to the issue of faith in this episode, but I guess I can see why others might not have enjoyed it as much.

Makenshi
April 17th, 2010, 03:02 PM
To me, Caine's "bad faith" was not in seeing the perfect planet as divine gift, but in hoping that God (or the supposed pwnzor aliens) would also taking them home. Damn, providence gives them paradise and they expect a ticket to Earth?

LiquidBlue
April 17th, 2010, 03:31 PM
To me, Caine's "bad faith" was not in seeing the perfect planet as divine gift, but in hoping that God (or the supposed pwnzor aliens) would also taking them home. Damn, providence gives them paradise and they expect a ticket to Earth?

That is an interesting thought. That one can appreciate good things or blessings a divine gift as a matter of faith, but that interpretation or expectation of divine will can be mistaken. I think that I agree. It seems that any person of faith on the Destiny should accept the time that was spent in the uncharted system as an unmigitated blessing.


I wasn't displeased with the way an idea of faith was presented in this story, but I agree that there may have been ways to have portrayed it even better. I don't think the writers meant to imply anything though. Dr. Caine exhibited a pretty "bad faith", as you'd put it. By contrast, though, several of the other characters in the episode expressed varying levels of "faith", and not all of them were people who wanted to stay behind on the planet.

I thought there was a nice balance with regards to the issue of faith in this episode, but I guess I can see why others might not have enjoyed it as much.

I enjoyed this episode. It was a very good episode to follow divided and certainly helped to credibly mend some bridges. I feel that however, that it did not really treat the question of faith as interestingly as it could have. Like in your first post, this episode seemed to treat faith as something for which their is no evidence. I feel that there should be a reason for faith, otherwise it is just fantasy.



How I envisioned this episode based upon the stuff I read was that Destiny just stops in this system with no countdown clock. Perhaps in orbit of the planet, and they can't determine why. Going down reveals it's an earth-llike planet (with no obelisks) with earth fruits and plants. The combination of the unknown stopping of the ship, plus the perfect planet, would have given a stronger message that something was going on, and a greater case for Faith. More of a clash earlier between staying on the planet, or trying to get Destiny moving again. In the end, Rush or Eli finds some glitch that was keeping the countdown from going, and go "See? It was just a glitch." And Young going, "I wonder if that's all it was..."

Because as it was, there wasn't enough time to get everyone to the planet anyway, so it's hard to make a case that the planet was what "god" intended. Whereas if the ship just stopped in orbit with no countdown, there would have been plenty of time, and more reason to ponder, "What's going on? Why stop here like this?"

Thanks for the thought. This is my direction as well. The episode seemed to present a split between those that are rational and those that are faithful. It would have been interesting to see a different split. There are some very good, rational reasons to stay on the planet.

JustAnotherVoice
April 17th, 2010, 04:10 PM
They explored "faith" all too fleetingly in the 42 minutes. I can appreciate Caine's beliefs, but he came across completely fanatical in his thoughts, especially since he is supposedly a scientist. He makes logical jumps based on cursory observations, and speculations based on assumptions.

The idea of faith would have been much better served if it were a two part episode, without the month long montage, where we get exposition of how Caine became so fanatical and extreme in his thinking. I would have liked to see a steady progression, from the scene in the shuttle where everyone was in awe of how perfect the planet is, to Caine talking with Scott about serendipity, and then his descent into full fledged "the aliens must rescue us."

As it stands, Caine's attempt to convince others of his belief that he'll get rescued comes off as a desperate man in a fanatical state of denial, without the sympathy that comes from getting to know the throwaway (quite literally) character. If his position was taken by an already established character, such as Chloe, who has been shown to be more fragile, or TJ because of the pregnancy, then the argument wouldn't have sounded as fanatical as it did, and would have gained sympathy - we know Chloe is homesick, we know (by the end of the episode, anyway) TJ doesn't want to raise a baby on the ship.

Of course, Caine is the only one to voice his beliefs (while TJ, Chloe and Scott make decisions based on other things), and the voice of logic is not exactly vocal either. Both of these characters were handled rather ham-fistedly (although I would say that the voice of reason is done better, since I would react similarly if confronted with Caine if presented with a similar timeframe, so I'm biased).

EllieVee
April 17th, 2010, 09:14 PM
In other words, they made up a story to explain their situation and decided that it was good enough to believe in, and risk their lives on. I wold have liked a little bit more complexity and nuance.

Sounds like how most religions form to me.


They explored "faith" all too fleetingly in the 42 minutes. I can appreciate Caine's beliefs, but he came across completely fanatical in his thoughts, especially since he is supposedly a scientist. He makes logical jumps based on cursory observations, and speculations based on assumptions.

He's not a scientist, he says he's a computer tech.

Phenom
April 17th, 2010, 09:47 PM
To be honest the prospect of a 'higher power' and all that being raised in an episode in which alien being with extreme 'higher power' are known to exist, seems kind of stupid.

Essentially what they were having 'faith' in, was that some really smart super aliens would take pity on their plight and give them an awesome planet for a few months before sending them home in a miracle shuttle.

To me, it just didn't seem to be the right vehicle was these sort of questions to be raised given what is known about the Stargate universe (the canon... not the show).

PG15
April 17th, 2010, 10:12 PM
What's the difference between alien beings with extreme "higher power" and a "higher power"? There reallly isn't any. Since God is clearly not human, he is, by definition, an alien.

I see no problems with some of the characters believing that it was a higher power that built this system specificially in their path. After struggling through 15 weeks of hell on Destiny, suddenly finding something like this would probably catch anyone off their guard and make them question their perception of reality. It's just so incredibly unlikely that something like this could've happened.

Phenom
April 17th, 2010, 10:18 PM
What's the difference between alien beings with extreme "higher power" and a "higher power"? There reallly isn't any. Since God is clearly not human, he is, by definition, an alien.

I see no problems with some of the characters believing that it was a higher power that built this system specificially in their path. After struggling through 15 weeks of hell on Destiny, suddenly finding something like this would probably catch anyone off their guard and make them question their perception of reality. It's just so incredibly unlikely that something like this could've happened.

I had no dramas with thinking it was an advanced alien race, which it probably was. I think the fact that some very smart people were not using a lot of logic frustrated me a little (in a good way I might add, an enjoyable frustration if that makes sense). But I can see that as you say, a bit of cabin fever has probably taken hold and they would believe anything given half the chance.

KiLL3r
April 18th, 2010, 01:13 AM
It would have been a much greater examination of faith, if instead of trying to believe in a fantasy, the people had to consider whether to believe someone whose evidence could not be shared.

faith is the belief in something without any evidence/or enormous evidence to the contrary. Therefore if they had of seen some glowy form or something, then faith drops out of the equation

JustAnotherVoice
April 18th, 2010, 03:02 AM
He's not a scientist, he says he's a computer tech.

You may have a point there, I never paid too much attention to his lines outside of the religous ranting. However, you don't become a computer tech on any level (aside from telephone tech support) by making logical jumps. Besides, don't ComTechs of his level have Computer Science degrees? :p

Eternal Density
April 18th, 2010, 03:53 AM
My problem with Caine's faith was that he had faith that the unknown creators of the planet (or at least of the obelisk) would be benevolent towards him an anyone on their planet. He had absolutely no reason to believe that: he just wanted to believe it. His faith in the character of the aliens was based on an assumption.
If there had been an inscription on the obelisk which was somehow translated to say that the aliens were benevolent and would help anyone they found on the planet, then Caine could then have faith that the translation was correct and that the aliens were truthful.
As a Christian I have faith in God's character, that He will or won't do certain things, but those aren't things that I've just made up myself and chosen to have faith in, rather those are attributes God has revealed and promises He has made. My faith isn't in something I've merely assumed should be the way I want it, as Caine's faith was. I just trust that God is able to get his point across correctly and that He is as He says He is and will stay that way.

Also interesting in this episode is that the planet and star existing where they shouldn't, combined with a mere obelisk, were sufficient for everyone to believe that intelligent and powerful aliens exist. And yet in the real world, we are faced with a planet full of life, and a universe full of galaxies or stars (of which the theories of formation rely on the existence of stars already), but for many that isn't enough evidence for the existence of a powerful and intelligent God. Funny how the characters immediately knew that the obelisk was intelligently designed, not a natural formation.

thekillman
April 18th, 2010, 06:36 AM
any sufficiently advanced alien is indistinguishable from a god.



though in stargate creating stars and planets is relatively easy. if you can make ZPM's and stargates, then planets and stars are a walk in the park

Xarn
April 18th, 2010, 12:26 PM
but those aren't things that I've just made up myself and chosen to have faith in, rather those are attributes God has revealed and promises He has made. My faith isn't in something I've merely assumed should be the way I want it, as Caine's faith was. I just trust that God is able to get his point across correctly and that He is as He says He is and will stay that way.
I wont reply to the second part, because, **** it, by now I think every single person who has been using internet (or hell, is just alive and likes debate) has heard more or less every single argument for/against god and had a chance to evaluate those.

But, I would like to to know where is the difference between faith systems made around people who had "revelations" and wrote it down to make a holy book, and faith systems created by people who "just decided" that they will believe something (extremely advanced aliens saving their sorry asses for all I care), respectively what would be the difference if Caine said he had revelation (offscreen ofcourse, so we would have to speculate)



[This should go into another topic but]
Also, why do people aboard the ship think that creating sun makes whoever made them, the most advanced aliens ever?

I mean we had:
aliens creating black hole from a planet
aliens igniting gas giant
aliens with highly efficient time dilatation (and even friggin time travel, time flow reversal)
aliens with universe busting tech
aliens for whom harnessing energy levels of supernova or two was easy

etc etc etc (We never had aliens with inteligent tactics, but hey, that would mean the writers would actually have to think for a second...)
Compared to these, the sun+single planet is quite easy, just question of logistics.

Eternal Density
April 19th, 2010, 03:54 PM
... by now I think every single person who has been using internet (or hell, is just alive and likes debate) has heard more or less every single argument for/against god and had a chance to evaluate those.I wouldn't count on it.


But, I would like to to know where is the difference between faith systems made around people who had "revelations" and wrote it down to make a holy book, and faith systems created by people who "just decided" that they will believe something (extremely advanced aliens saving their sorry asses for all I care), respectively what would be the difference if Caine said he had revelation (offscreen ofcourse, so we would have to speculate)There is a big difference. In the case we saw in the show, Caine is speaking from blind speculation. People have no reason to believe him beyond wanting what he wants. If Caine said he had some sort of revelation (e.g. "The aliens spoke into my mind") then the others would have to decide whether or not to have faith that Caine was correct and truthful (and that the message he received was trustworthy). Even if Caine had a very good track record of being 100% truthful and sane (and if there were trusted people present who could confirm that), it's still a leap to believe that the aliens aren't lying to us for some reason. We have no precedent or context to judge their intentions against.
If however, the message also told Caine where to find fresh water and the best food and how to access an underground bunker or hidden cave to serve as a winter shelter, that would serve both to verify his claim and provide some proof that the aliens are benevolent. In that case, faith that they will really come to send us home is a lot more reasonable.

By the same token, if someone came up to me and said "God exists and will raise people from the dead", that alone would prove nothing and it would be silly for me to put any faith in it.



[This should go into another topic but]
Also, why do people aboard the ship think that creating sun makes whoever made them, the most advanced aliens ever?

I mean we had:
aliens creating black hole from a planet
aliens igniting gas giant
aliens with highly efficient time dilatation (and even friggin time travel, time flow reversal)
aliens with universe busting tech
aliens for whom harnessing energy levels of supernova or two was easy

etc etc etc (We never had aliens with inteligent tactics, but hey, that would mean the writers would actually have to think for a second...)
Compared to these, the sun+single planet is quite easy, just question of logistics.[/QUOTE]

EllieVee
April 19th, 2010, 04:29 PM
We may be venturing into dangerous territory here where people get offended so I'll start with the generic disclaimer of 'no offense intended'.

I'm not a religious person. The one thing I like about religion is choral music. So, that said, I think there seems to be a fine line between what one person describes as having faith and what another sees. And having read a few things over the past days bout what faith is, it's in the eye of the beholder. I can't see much difference between having faith in god existing and what Caine describes on the planet.

aretood2
April 19th, 2010, 06:04 PM
We may be venturing into dangerous territory here where people get offended so I'll start with the generic disclaimer of 'no offense intended'.

I'm not a religious person. The one thing I like about religion is choral music. So, that said, I think there seems to be a fine line between what one person describes as having faith and what another sees. And having read a few things over the past days bout what faith is, it's in the eye of the beholder. I can't see much difference between having faith in god existing and what Caine describes on the planet.

The difference is based on what one believes per say. For example, take those who say they believe in God, yet they murder and so on. Their belief is purely traditional with no substance at all.

Caine's faith had no substance, it was devoid of an understanding between himself and what ever was the object of said faith. It was wishful thinking. The difference between faith and wishful thinking is that faith is based on a set of parameters determined by a evolution of sociocultural events that lead to a belief system.

Take Islam for example, it was a slow progression of Christian influence in Arabia that led to Muhhamed's preachings. Those preachings instilled a set parameter for a faith.

Or Humanism, it was the developments of the Enlightenment age that led people to have faith in Humankind's ability to change one's life, to better one's self.

and so on, these faiths have substance to them. What exactly brought Caine's Faith? Was it a progressive cultural movement? Or was it wishful thinking after being in a profoundly troubling situation?

Scott still believes in God, yet he didn't fall for Caine's explanation. He stayed for TJ and Chloe and to help the others that would stay. Or rather he wanted to stay for those reasons.

The faith Caine showed was one without substance at all. Not to mentioned he seemed a little arrogant for claiming to know what is meant to happen. How can you know that? I'm as Religious as the next church goer, and even I have to agree that Atheist (Allegedly) Carrot top was right. We have to live with what we are given.

EllieVee
April 19th, 2010, 06:25 PM
And if you're given a paradisey planet with a mysterious obelisk, that might be enough for some people. You don't have to have 2000 years of history (though Caine actually did have that as a reference point).

LiquidBlue
April 19th, 2010, 06:26 PM
I am impressed by the posts to this thread. Certainly we can recognize that this is a topic which could very easily digress into flames and misunderstandings.

I think that aretood2 brought up a very interesting point, and I appreciate his post. I think it addresses my initial dissatisfaction. There has been some posts that suggest that fantasy and faith are the same, and it is my feeling that this episode presented faith that way as well.

I have come to reflect more on this episode. It would have been much more interesting to me if this episode had be setup previously. Say, for example, Caine had in a previous episode expressed his confidence that there was a higher power that was aware of them and would provide for them. Thus when this planet showed up it would be a confirmation of his belief while still leaving legitimate and ample room open for the doubting or agnostic viewpoint as well.

aretood2
April 19th, 2010, 06:29 PM
And if you're given a paradisey planet with a mysterious obelisk, that might be enough for some people. You don't have to have 2000 years of history (though Caine actually did have that as a reference point).

If you are referring to Christianity...add some 3,000 years to that.

While it was an influencing factor, I am not convinced that he truly felt some form of relationship with that world. Something in the way he talked, it sounded.

Eternal Density
April 19th, 2010, 09:17 PM
We may be venturing into dangerous territory here where people get offended so I'll start with the generic disclaimer of 'no offense intended'.
...
The one thing I like about religion is choral music.You like choral music? Now you're really pushing the envelope. I shall have to distance myself from this thread.


The faith Caine showed was one without substance at all. This!