Stupid Science in Sci-Fi

Forums Other Forums Science Faction Stupid Science in Sci-Fi

Viewing 30 posts - 1 through 30 (of 30 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #40099
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    These sites might have been mentioned here before, but check out Insultingly Stupid Movie Physics[/url] and here’s the Sci-Fi Science Blunders Hall of Infamy[/url]

    What’s the clichéd bad movie physics, or all-around bad science, in sci-fi that gets you exasperated? And what’s your pick for most scientifically inept movie or show?

    Universal Translators: In so many shows and movies wherever you go in the universe they seem to speak English, never mind that just on Earth most people don’t speak English – Mandarin is the most popular language here on Terra Firma. This might be explained by, to use Star Trek babble, a Universal Translator, but would it cause the beholder to see the aliens’ mouths mimic the English language? Possibly… Perhaps it’s some kind of parallel tongue evolution, telepathy, or the aliens have a steep learning curve. Anyway, I know from watching numerous Bollywood sci-fi musicals that the universal language of song is Hindi – and boy can those aliens dance.

    I noticed that both sites mention that a big error in a lot of sci-fi is that you cannot have fire in a vacuum… Well I tested this theory on my Hoover, and they are wrong! So think twice before you light a bonfire in the vacuum of your cleaner.

    Here’s my choice for a movie with really bad science: One Million Years BC. There are scenes where fur bikini-clad Raquel Welsh (with the help of her caveman friends) are fighting dinosaurs… Bad science! Anthropological evidence from a million plus years ago clearly shows us that Homo Sapiens and bikinis did not co-exist a million years ago. It would be a hundred thousand years before daring Neanderthal fashion designer Giorgio Rockmani shocked the prehistoric world with the first bikini which, unfortunately for sales, he modelled himself. It wasn’t until the advent of Nair hair removal products that the bikini flourished. Thank you Nair!

    #72552
    lexxrobotech
    Participant

    I don’t think you can have sound either, but can you imagine a spaceship explosion without noise or fire?

    Sci-Fi will always bend the rules.

    #72553
    theFrey
    Participant

    I have been told that we need to just QUIT whining about stuff like this. There is a very simple reason that this happens, that happens and the rules of logic and physics are so often suspended.

    IT IS IN THE SCRIPT!

    #72554
    Anonymous
    Guest

    I have been told that we need to just QUIT whining about stuff like this. There is a very simple reason that this happens, that happens and the rules of logic and physics are so often suspended.

    IT IS IN THE SCRIPT!

    Ahhh okay, my flowchart is finally finished then.

    Newton<Aristotle<Hawking<Einstein<Tesla<GOD<Me<Script Writers!

    😛

    On subject; I think what you’re describing Logan is the difference between “Sci-Fi” and “Fantasy”. Science Fiction has the extraordinary baggage of including the word “Science” which authors oft times hate. So they supplement with the Fantastic and assume we will swallow it as Sci-Fi.

    Meet Stargate Atlantis, the culmination of such efforts.

    #72555
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    I don’t think you can have sound either, but can you imagine a spaceship explosion without noise or fire?…

    I ready my finger ready over the mute button and put on my darkest sunglasses when anticipating a space battle.

    …IT IS IN THE SCRIPT!

    But did the script have to be so stoopid?

    #72556
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    I think what you’re describing Logan is the difference between “Sci-Fi” and “Fantasy”. Science Fiction has the extraordinary baggage of including the word “Science” which authors oft times hate. So they supplement with the Fantastic and assume we will swallow it as Sci-Fi.

    That is basically what was running through my head as I wrote the post. The science in sci-fi is generally de-emphasised by design, and the pure fiction (i.e. fantasy) aspect conveniently realised. I’d rename the genre to avoid confusion.

    However, I do tend to classify the sci-fi genre, as well as the horror and fantasy genres, as the Fantastic (and all fiction is fantasy in one sense). All three genres construct fantastic worlds that realise the imagination. It’s one thing to build a case for defying currently known empirical laws; it’s another to defy any attempts at rational logic (the improbable can be made possible in sci-fi with the speculation of new technology, but “bad” so-called science doesn’t fly).

    The true (or “hard”) sci-fi genre is fiction that is informed by scientific thought and principles. For instance, there is a real and knowable universe which is governed by empirical laws (a rational universe as opposed to those in horror and fantasy, ‘though the genre lines are often crossed… By the way, I like to think of hard sci-fi as Hi-Fi and soft sci-fi as Lo-Fi.

    The fiction aspect in the science fiction genre relies on hypothesising or imagining, generally future, discoveries and developments in science. Sometimes this is an extension of current scientific theories and knowledge, and sometimes it’s pseudo-science (think the later Trek’s pretentious techno-babble which is indicative of a “soft” sci-fi approach – soft “sci-fi” requires little understanding of real science). So there’s speculative science (based on current theories and known laws), and then there’s bogus science which aint, of course, really science at all.

    Btw, LexxRobotech, fire and noise in the vacuum of space may be entertaining to some (however, there are other ways to make it exciting — I’d rather see the fireworks in the ship), but I also think it can be insulting to some of the viewers (and ultimately to the producers). Too often convenience supercedes plausibility. Think outside the box, and boldly go where much other science-fiction dares to tread by making scientifically plausible movies that still manage to entertain — it isn’t that hard with a little imagination. 🙂

    Now I’m off to defy the laws of physics on the golf course with my improbable swing.

    #72570
    Anonymous
    Guest

    I noticed that both sites mention that a big error in a lot of sci-fi is that you cannot have fire in a vacuum… Well I tested this theory on my Hoover, and they are wrong! So think twice before you light a bonfire in the vacuum of your cleaner.

    🙄
    Silly Logan! You used the WRONG vacuum! You can’t use a Hoover, you need a …..

    Eureka!!!

    😉

    MM

    #72572
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    🙄
    Silly Logan! You used the WRONG vacuum! You can’t use a Hoover, you need a …..

    Eureka!!!

    😉

    MM

    Eureka! Good thinking MM, I’ll try that. Since the Hoover combusted I need a new vacuum anyway.

    #72573
    nursewhen
    Participant

    I ready my finger ready over the mute button and put on my darkest sunglasses when anticipating a space battle.

    Very often true. However, I refer your honours to evidence number 1.
    2001 space travel in almost complete silence except for the bizarre floating orchestra.

    Evidence number 2. In firefly, when they needed to fire a gun in space, they wrapped it in a space suit to provide oxygen and the shots were completely silent.

    However, I do agree that most space science is shit. 😉

    …………Nah! killjoy blinking anti swearing software! I can’t even say shit 🙁

    Merde!

    #72589
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    I ready my finger ready over the mute button and put on my darkest sunglasses when anticipating a space battle.

    Very often true. However, I refer your honours to evidence number 1.
    2001 space travel in almost complete silence except for the bizarre floating orchestra

    ….

    Merde![/quote]

    I’m just thankful there weren’t any space battles involving the floating orchestra. The triangle did try to upstage the cowbell, but intergalactic warfare was averted thanks to the quick-witted piccolo.

    Scheisse! Erm, or was it Strauss?

    #72764
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    I think what you’re describing Logan is the difference between “Sci-Fi” and “Fantasy”. Science Fiction has the extraordinary baggage of including the word “Science” which authors oft times hate. So they supplement with the Fantastic and assume we will swallow it as Sci-Fi.

    I know I already responded to your quoted comment, so think of this as a mostly very redundant addendum to my former response… I should edit this response down since my babbling, and iterating and reiterating the same thoughts, is infinitely worse than Star Trek frannchise techno-babble. Maybe I should write for them? It sure would save on effects as it would all be plotless talk-talky.

    There is another classification called Science Fantasy, and an old comment in the Best Sci Fi Film Ever poll that I read for the first time today put me in mind of your post, so I thought I’d share my thoughts here… I really wish we had a few more polls running in that section, by the way.

    Hmm. One of the old school huh? I think it’s Sci Fi. Are you saying that YOU think [The Two Towers is] Sci Fantasy and shouldn”t be in the list?

    Since all fiction is fantasy in a sense, distinguishing Science Fiction from Science Fantasy is an interesting concept, but an accepted genre or sub-genre in many circles. I certainly think of The Lord of the Rings as firmly grounded in the Fantasy genre as the fantasy aspect overwhems what science there may be (especially of a speculative scientific nature). At times it’s horror… Tampering with nature is a common staple of the horror genre — it’s a transgression which deserves punishment… Creating the abomination of the Orcs was one of the most monstrous atrocities.

    Science is about understanding the real world, fantasy is about creating imaginary worlds and peoples (flights of fancy), and the science fiction genre is concerned with imagining, or postulating, generally future or futurtistic scientific advances/technology, as well as hypothesising potential social and environmental changes etc. Or it can be just about having spaceships, aliens, and rayguns… The scientific method utilises observation and testing to better know the universe…. Expirementation in fiction and scientific expirementation differ. Science and fiction and science and fantasy by definition are at odds with eachother. Science is about trying to know the true universe, whereas fiction/fantasy is involved with making stuff up. Try utilising the scientific method by observing and testing within a fictional construct — hard to do?. You can still hypothesise new developments/discoveries based with understanding of currently known scientific principles, laws, and theories, and then create a fictional framework (a story) to embellish it.

    Fantasy, as genre, is often based on myths (superstitions etc,). There’s often an element of mysticism, and irrationalism. Science tries to demystify what is a rational universe. Fantasy is magical, science is down to earth, and science fiction, while often scientifically informed, still, generally, has its head in the clouds, but usually there is a rational explanation for what happens. An awful lot of sci-fi might well be termed Science Fantasy… For instance, in so called fantasy genre works you have monsters, and so called sci-fi genre works many of the aliens are also monsters. Also, as the the technology may be about as effable as magic wands or rings, it may as well be of supernatural origins. Like fiction writer and scientist Clarke stated, “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”

    So is the Lord of the Rings best defined as science fantasy, rather than “just” plain fantasy genre? And are the rings of power, for instance, best-described as technologically advanced tools, or as supernatural artefacts? I haven’t seen the movies, since I loved the books too much, so I can only talk about Tolkien’s vision. Tolkien was inspired/indebted by/to myths when creating the Lord of the Rings (mythical creatures, the Ring of the Nibelung etc.) I don’t think he was particularly inspired by science, and therefore his books fall into the Fantasy genre as far as I can see, and is not really a hybrid of the science fiction and fantasy genres. If his rings of power were replaced with ray guns of power would that be enough to make it clearly sci-fi? As for the clear-cut science, or technology I should say: the technology in LOTR, it, if memory serves, is generally not particularly advanced. I’m thinking of Saruman’s factories, though he did develop a new breed of Orc which was indeed science fiction-ish. On a side note: When it comes to “technological progress” in the Lord of the Rings, it takes something of a Luddite stance… Suruman’s “industry” is bad — it’s against nature. He cuts down trees to feed Isengard’s subterranean factory, he tampers with humanoids through crossbreeding (Sauron originally developed Orcs from men), and he pollutes the Shire with his factories. This was an anti-industrial message, we long to return to simpler pastoral times. That final chapter always reminds me of Blake’s “dark satanic mills.” Logan’s Run and countless other books and movies, also had an anti-technology message. Where was I going with this? Science fiction generally looks to the future and often takes an optomistic approach to scientific discovery, whereas fantasy tends to look more, in a longing way, to the past. In its reliance on myth and magic, and it’s idealizing of simpler times — as in the case of LOTR.

    Really there is no clear-cut definition of science fiction or science fantasy — it’s a semantics game and open to interpretation. Science, to use the Oxford defintion, is “a branch of knowledge conducted on objective principles involving the systematized observation of and experiment with phenomena esp. concerned with the material and functions of the physical universe.” As I said before, fantasy as a genre is concerned with imaginary worlds and people. The SF genre is based on imagined, often future, techonological or scientific advances. All fiction/fantasy is a fabrication which requires the imagination.

    I’d like to think of true, or hard sci-fi as speculative science… The imaginings should still follow scientific principles (scientific method). Of course under these definitions, you’ll see that much sci-fi as well as fantasy genres deal with imaginary worlds and people, so the genres are not totally distinct. As I stated earlier, the sci-fi, horror, and fantasy genres are all concerned with the Fantastic in a way. I happen to look at Fantasy as more fantastic…

    I suppose Sci Fantasy could also be used interchangably in many cases with soft sci-ifi. Star Wars is a pretty good example of this. You might call it sci-fi or fantasy, or Science Fantasy (Sci-Fa for short)… It has imaginary worlds and peoples, and it has futuristic technology, though suppoedly delevoped in the past, but it does not overly concern itself with visionary (fictional) science per se. Rather than trying to scientifically understand and elaborate on our universe, it deliberately distances itself in creating a “new” universe — “long ago, in a galaxy far, far way.” But that newness is indebted to oldness: Like the Lord of the RIngs, its heroic epic is indebted to old myths.

    Now I’m off to watch an ASF (artsy science fartsy) movie.

    #74807
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    I ready my finger ready over the mute button and put on my darkest sunglasses when anticipating a space battle.

    Very often true. However, I refer your honours to evidence number 1.
    2001 space travel in almost complete silence except for the bizarre floating orchestra

    ….

    Merde![/quote]

    I’m just thankful there weren’t any space battles involving the floating orchestra. The triangle did try to upstage the cowbell, but intergalactic warfare was averted thanks to the quick-witted piccolo.

    Scheisse! Erm, or was it Strauss?[/quote]

    Wow, triple-post, and lamely quoting myself… How sad, how very, very sad (and not in a cool sad geezer kind of way).

    Anyway, found another link, by accident, for bad (or weird) science in sci-fi… http://www.scifimoviepage.com/art_6.html

    Note that 2001 is listed every time in the “rare exceptions.”

    ERROR: SOUND IN OUTER SPACE

    Forget about Han Solo in Star Wars referring to parsecs as a unit of time (it is actually a unit of measurement!) but the Star Wars Trilogy’s biggest legacy is sound in outer space. All those roaring engines of spaceships may be very exciting but the fact remains that sound doesn’t travel in a vacuum (like outer space).

    BIGGEST TRANGRESSORS: Well, most of today’s sci-fi. Anything from Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica to Lost In Space.

    RARE EXCEPTION: A very rare exception indeed is 2001: A Space Odyssey where the soundlessness of space is used to unnerving effect. All you’ll hear in the outer space shots in this movie are the occasional strains of The Blue Danube . . .

    #74816
    lizard
    Participant

    Here’s one that I feel certain I have pointed out before (hopefully not earlier in this thread– because I am too lazy to check 😉 )

    In the season finale of one of the STNG (with picard and riker), there is a strange phenomenon of an explosion that moves back in time. In other words, it starts as a tiny point, getting larger and larger as one goes back in time– so that it is destroying the past. So say it appears at 10:00 it’s a bit bigger at 9:59 — 9:58 … etc.

    Well, they have to find the origin of this explosion and try to stop it. In the end, the enterprise crew finally tracks down the location where the anomoly is supposed to start– and it’s not there. So they go away for a while and come back LATER and it IS there! They say something like “we were just to soon before”! Well! (This is like checking for the thing at 10:05 above, not finding it and coming back at 10:10 and it IS there!) If this thing moves backwards in time they would have to go away and have come back SOONER not later, and when they missed it say “it’s not here already”

    I like SF with time travel, but they really screwed up by basically forgetting about their own premise about the anomoly
    🙁

    #74820
    Sidhecafe
    Participant

    Question for Logan….in all this, I’m thinking you would classify cyberpunk fiction as Science Fantasy, (esp since Gibson didn’t even know how computers worked when he wrote Neuromancer)
    good example: The Matrix

    So what about BladeRunner??? Not hard scifi, because replicants aren’t really based on anything we can do yet…And Phil (Philip K. Dick)was more concerned with people’s reaction to technology/society’s reaction rather than the technology….hmmmm….

    One of my all time fav Scifi movies though.

    #74825
    MuadDib
    Participant

    So what about BladeRunner??? Not hard scifi, because replicants aren’t really based on anything we can do yet…

    That therefore means that 2001 has to be down graded as well, because we don’t yet have neurotic computers that kill astronauts and expire whilst singing daisy (although that does make a great shutdown sound 😀 ) By the way this isn’t to say that I don’t think that 2001 is a great film, I just think we have to be careful where we draw the lines between:

    Hard Sci-fi > Space Opera > Low Scifi > Toilet paper.

    #74826
    Sidhecafe
    Participant

    MuadDib wrote:

    That therefore means that 2001 has to be down graded as well, because we don’t yet have neurotic computers that kill astronauts and expire whilst singing daisy (although that does make a great shutdown sound ) By the way this isn’t to say that I don’t think that 2001 is a great film, I just think we have to be careful where we draw the lines between:

    Hard Sci-fi > Space Opera > Low Scifi > Toilet paper.

    Excellent point really. So perhaps the real distinctions can only be made by the generally accepted perception of the writer’s intention, mixed with the content, compared to the genre existing before each work.

    That’s pretty much how these things get done- do you think?- not denying other factors, but this seems to be the case, especially in the instances where “Hard scifi” has been written by individuals with some sort of scientific training.

    #74838
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Question for Logan….in all this, I’m thinking you would classify cyberpunk fiction as Science Fantasy, (esp since Gibson didn’t even know how computers worked when he wrote Neuromancer)
    good example: The Matrix

    Interesting question…

    I tend not classify things as Sci-Fantasy — genres overlap all the time. Sometimes I just classify sci-fi, fantasy, horror as The Fantastic.

    The line between hard sci-fi and soft sci-fi can be shadowy at best. I’ll get into that later…

    The first question to ask of a sci-fi work is how scientifically realistic/plausible is it? Does it make sense from what we know?

    As for Gibson’s cyber-punk work: A lot of what he wrote is conceptually hard to very hard sci-fi. He’s anticipating advances in AI and VR for instance. His ideas aren’t coming from a vacuum… As his knowledge grew, his sci-fi became harder.

    As for The Matrix… Thematically it draws on themes common in fantasy. There is a mythological element. It has that Supermanesque wish fulfillment desire/ fantasy, “he is the one” thing, going on. But it’s not magic, the powers are due to a technological construct — is it good science?

    One reason I used Star Wars as an example before as more fantasy than sci-fi was because of the idea of the force (later they did try to scientifically explain it which I thought silly, and because the film is far more about myth-making than science).

    Still, I look at The Matrix as far more sci-fi than fantasy genre. The question for me is, how hard (plausible) is the science in the fiction. First off all it’s questioning of reality puts it firmly into the scifi ballpark for me, while also making it a philosophical work (though pretty basic philosophy).

    I’ll start with basic axioms (really assumptions) of science:

    1. There is a real and knowable universe
    2. The universe acts according to certain understandable rules/laws.
    3. These laws are immutable.
    4. These laws can be discerned, studied, and understood through observation, experimentation, and research.

    Writing this down may seem a bit silly, but…

    1. In The Matrix, there is real and knowable universe. The basic concept is discovering reality, the nature of the Matrix, and the world outside the program.
    2. The Matrix works according to certain rules/programming… In understanding it one can alter ones interaction with the VR.
    3. The “laws” of the Matrix are apparently mutable due to design flaws/ system bugs.
    4. The programming can be understood with the ability to research etc.

    There are advances being made in VR and computer technology all the time. It’s speculative fiction. Though it has hard sci-fi concepts (advances in technology based on the stuff we have now), I don’t think it’s really hard sci-fi simply because some of the science seems implausible to me (but I’m not much of a scientist).

    The harder the sci-fi, the closer to present day reality (what we know about science now).. The speculation is minimised. In really soft sci-fi, the laws of physics, for instance, are broken, or totally disregarded.

    So what about BladeRunner??? Not hard scifi, because replicants aren’t really based on anything we can do yet…And Phil (Philip K. Dick)was more concerned with people’s reaction to technology/society’s reaction rather than the technology….hmmmm….

    One of my all time fav Scifi movies though.

    Mine too… Specifically referring to the movie here (and not Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?), the real question is: Is the neo-noirish Blade Runner hard-boiled detective fiction or soft-boiled? 😆

    It’s not very hard sci-fi, certainly, but I do think the speculative fiction is informed by scientific thought. Postulating a possible future reality based on the world we know today. Of course it’s highly unlikely that the world will look like that by the year 2019 — as time goes on such a 2019 future becomes far more implausible. And 2001, e.g., has passed with no manned space odyssey to Jupiter etc.. I’m not that keen on what often appears to be rather arbitrary dates. Like they have to give it a set-date.

    The concept of a Replicant is informed by scientific thinking. Replicants are based on scientific ideas, and there is scientific research in that area… It’s speculative; not baseless. They’re organic; genetically engineered, right? Well that’s a hot topic in scientific circles as well as with the public. BTW, thinking machines are also a hot topic amongst many scientists now.

    Vehicles similar to Spinners have been developed. Furthermore, Blade Runner is concerned with environmental change (environmental sciences), increased industrialisation, and societal changes (the social sciences). Voit Komp (spelling?), looking for an emotional repsonse with pupil dilation is good science.

    The Director’s Cut is certainly more realistic than the old studio cut with Rachel and Deckard driving in pristine countryside

    Intent is important… I love dystopian speculative fiction. Yes, like me, he is more interested in the interaction/reaction of people with technology than the technology itself. I don’t think that’s necessarily indicative of a soft sci-fi approach. In fact, I think that can lead to the opposite. And one needn’t necessarily explain the technology in hardish sci-fi as long as its doesn’t go against what we know about science — technobabble in cod science is a turn-off for me.

    I’m certainly more interested in the affects of technology than the technology itself. But then generally, I’m more interested in the relationship between things than the things themselves.

    Some hard sci-fi is harder than others, and some soft sci-fi is more flaccid than others. You can grade it on realism, and plausibility. The bad sci-fi, as in bad science, is when scientific laws are thrown out, disregarded, or the writer is clearly ignorant of science. Of course we don’t know what advances will be made, what theories will be thrown out or modified. The universe may be knowable, but I don’t expect we will ever fully know it.

    One way to look at it is that soft sci-fi has implausible science to one degree or another. The farther we get from what we know, the less hard. I like plausible speculative fiction — imagining or hypothesising a possible future based on the world today.

    For instance, I find it very unlikely that most of the intelligent lifeforms will be so very similar to our own… It’s efficient with actors to make them humanoid in appearance, and I guess it makes easier for people to identify with recognisable life-forms.

    #74866
    Sidhecafe
    Participant

    Logan, you make some really good arguements in all that. And i think generally speaking I agree on your distinction between hard and soft within the context of speculative fiction.

    The only point I may disagree with you is that I don’t think the universe is completely knowable. And you also said we may not be able to understand it all anyway. So it’s just a shade of distinction.

    But this is getting me thinking that, yes there can be a seperation into such genres but does that truly have an impact on the creator.

    There must be some minds that say “Yes I will create this.”

    But even then the end product may be very different than the intention, and it’s helpful to have classifications to discuss things.

    To determine our likes and dislikes. Could there be simpler / wider lines drawn with varying hues, rather than cutting the genre up into smaller and smaller subsets?

    #74868
    corvina
    Participant

    He say you braderunner….

    Sidhecafe and Muadib raised some interesting perspectives there..you know I’d always had Blade Runner down as harder science than most..I saw the film back in the eighties and left the cinema thinking “how the hell do I know I’m not a replicant?” with cloning kicking around..and lets face it the first human’s been cloned somewhere so we aren’ that far away from replicants. Besides think on this: I have a transsexual friend – Rachael – and she identifies very strongly with her chosen namesake. Thing is if you don’t know her history (and very few people do) you’d never tell her apart from, what she calls, ‘genetic females’. By her own admission she is a synthetic being…

    as for Neuromancer –which is similar territory to a lot of Phil Dick and the Matrix – how does one tell what reality is? Besides the ‘Matrix’ in a Gibson sense is already here….isn’t it?

    #74870
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    I’ll get to your other points (which are the major ones anyway, and a very interesting question at the end of your post), and respond to Corvina’s post later…

    The only point I may disagree with you is that I don’t think the universe is completely knowable. And you also said we may not be able to understand it all anyway. So it’s just a shade of distinction.

    We’re in deep epistemological waters now. As I expect you’re far more knowledgeable in this area than I, I may be in over my head a bit, but I’m pretty good at treading water. 🙂

    Did I say that I thought the universe completely knowable? Implied maybe… I included, and used that common scientific assumption for my scatter-brained argument, but…

    As I see it, it’s based on the assumption that we live in a rational/logical universe… The universe can be known, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that we (humans or otherwise) will ever fully know/comprehend it (considering how I question the rationality of our race, I wouldn’t expect it. hehe ;))

    I like to interpret knowing in this case as understanding — as in the universe is understandable/comprehensible. It’s a starting point in trying to understand the universe. Since I think of the universe as a body of time/space, and whatever else, as infinite, I don’t know how we could ever reach a point where we’d say, “Okay, so I guess we covered it all. Time to pack up and look for something else to do…” I think there will always be mysteries uncovered and realms yet unexplored. But then the universe in all its totality may be a lot smaller than I think. 😀

    To complicate matters; to know something is not necessarily to understand it (but I risk semantic games). I don’t know what we really know as fact. Our understanding is based on a lot of assumptions, but I believe in trying to make sense of our perceived universe through observation, experimentation, and speculation (if so and so, then what?).

    A theist may believe that the universe is fully knowable by God… Materialists tend to also fall on the assumption that the universe is knowable (dosen’t mean we will ever fully know it). Perhaps it is rather an optomistic assumption in science.

    Taking the flip-side, if the universe is unknowable/imcomprehensible, then there ain’t much point in trying to figure out the mechanics of it/explore. To say it’s only partially capable of being known (ever, by whomever or whatever), also entails an assumption… Who knows? The answer is not knowable now, that I know of. I think so, at least I think I think… Oh *shakes head* what do I know? 😉

    Perhaps Douglas Adams had it right when he said that the whole universe could be extrapolated from a piece of faerie cake — eat up (if I’m getting my science from the Hitchhiker’s books, then I’m in real trouble).

    One thing I think I can fairly safely say in all of this discussion is that science fiction shows tend to be more influenced by other science fiction than by science (in a more direct manner).

    #74872
    MuadDib
    Participant

    I think in the end we’re probably going to realise that this is one of those discussions that can do one of two things:

    1.) Carry on perptually with everyone giving their piece then others detracting and adding to those pieces, until nobody remembers what was originally being discussed (sounds like a lot of government commitees doesn’t it? :D),

    2.) Or everyone will agree to disagree, and the discussion will fall silent for a while until someone necroposts to it and the whole viscious cycle starts again,

    #74892
    corvina
    Participant

    Hi there Logan

    I seem to recall a Prisoner episode where he trashes the naughty computer by asking it “WHY?”

    Even if we could fully understand the mechanics of the universe – work out a theory of everything – the fact that it exists at all seems to be the most thorny problem of all. I ‘ve read stuff about the Quantum vacuum and such like, but still it always seems that non existence – absolute nothingness – is a more likely scenario a basic state. I mean where did all this stuff come from..and why?

    Ooooooooooh yeah I hate faster than light travel – no point in this as travel at light speed is instantaneous – I did the Lorentz equations for a whole term at art school on a blackboard in my studio space.. From the lights’ perspective the universe shrinks to zero depth in the direction of travel.

    Also those shows like Taken (and indeed the whole Rockwell UFO thing) where the UFO is downed by a WW2 Mustang or even worse, crashes of it’s own volition – I mean are these guys really gonna travel through interstellar space then crash on a type 13 planet in its’ final stages?

    #74905
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    because we don’t yet have neurotic computers that kill astronauts and expire whilst singing daisy (although that does make a great shutdown sound 😀 )

    Give me seven minutes…[/quote]

    Give me seven minutes…

    😯 Oh ye flipping hairy Gods! he’s going to build Skynet![/quote]

    Give me seven minutes…

    😯 Oh ye flipping hairy Gods! he’s going to build Skynet![/quote]

    Nah he doesn’t even have to build anything. Nuerotic computers are already here. My one’s not only self aware it’s actually terrified of the crowbar that I keep beside it.

    Anyone remember a Film called The Forbin Project – based on DF Jones’ book Colossus – same kinda thing as Skynet but nice twist. Colossus the computer seizes control of both US and Soviet weapons systems and the Film ends with the line ” This is the voice of World Control –under me the human race will stop fighting and learn to prosper…[/quote]

    MuadDib wrote:

    I think in the end we’re probably going to realise that this is one of those discussions that can do one of two things:

    1.) Carry on perptually with everyone giving their piece then others detracting and adding to those pieces, until nobody remembers what was originally being discussed (sounds like a lot of government commitees doesn’t it? ),

    2.) Or everyone will agree to disagree, and the discussion will fall silent for a while until someone necroposts to it and the whole viscious cycle starts again,

    😈 😆 😆 Apophatic cultural criticism….
    So we’re really in the realm of defining something by what it’s not??? How did we get here?! 😳

    So back to Logan:

    A theist may believe that the universe is fully knowable by God… Materialists tend to also fall on the assumption that the universe is knowable (dosen’t mean we will ever fully know it). Perhaps it is rather an optomistic assumption in science.

    and :

    Perhaps Douglas Adams had it right when he said that the whole universe could be extrapolated from a piece of faerie cake — eat up (if I’m getting my science from the Hitchhiker’s books, then I’m in real trouble).

    One thing I think I can fairly safely say in all of this discussion is that science fiction shows tend to be more influenced by other science fiction than by science (in a more direct manner).

    I agree with Logan tremendously on his final point, scifi is influenced more by what has occured in the genre before hand than in any actually scientific extrapolation.

    So that’s how this thread started right??? 😆
    And in a tremendous effort I will not dive into “deep epistemological” discussions over this because as I said it’s shades of meaning, slivers of semantics that Logan and I could could on and on about the nature of the knowable vs. unknowable universe…

    Another time, another thread for that maybe…[/quote]

    #74906
    Sidhecafe
    Participant

    whatever did happen to my posted quoted above in Logan’s??

    #74907
    Sidhecafe
    Participant

    Nevermind, saw explanation on another thread! Thanks Logan

    #74912
    corvina
    Participant

    I don’t think you can have sound either, but can you imagine a spaceship explosion without noise or fire?

    Check out the scene in 2001 where Bowman’s been locked out by HAL and has to get back on board without his helmet… no sound in that and it works really well… conveys the weirdness of the vacuum …

    #74914
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    MuadDib: I’m just happy to have the opportunity to expore ideas with such a thoughtful group. I consider everything that’s been said in this fairly free-wheeling discussion valuable, but there will always be other alternatives/ nuances/ related notions for us to ponder. Of course this particular thread will die in time, but the discussion will never end since there are a lot more questions to consider than easy answers (in regards to the large territory this thread covers). I love evolving discussions.

    To determine our likes and dislikes. Could there be simpler / wider lines drawn with varying hues, rather than cutting the genre up into smaller and smaller subsets?

    I think so.

    Would be nice to start a thread devoted to exploring which qualities appeal to us individually cross ‘genre’, and what turns us off. I find that the themes that appeal to me tends to transcend genre. Some stuff appeals to my personality, and other fiction makes me cringe. Part of that is my ideological bias. I like tales of alienation, and works that reflect, and/or explore, my social and political concerns, for instance…

    And in a tremendous effort I will not dive into “deep epistemological” discussions over this because as I said it’s shades of meaning, slivers of semantics…

    True, true, so very true.

    I seem to recall a Prisoner episode where he trashes the naughty computer by asking it “WHY?”

    Even if we could fully understand the mechanics of the universe – work out a theory of everything – the fact that it exists at all seems to be the most thorny problem of all. I ‘ve read stuff about the Quantum vacuum and such like, but still it always seems that non existence – absolute nothingness – is a more likely scenario a basic state. I mean where did all this stuff come from..and why?

    Why? does not compute. Excellent post, by the way. There’s the God as first cause argument, but my problem with that is, then what caused God? Thorny indeed, it boggles the mind, and likely always will… *head explodes*

    And I loved The Forbin Project. Have you seen Demon Seed?

    Sidhecafe: And glad to be of use… I was feeling a bit awkward about my approach. There may be some messages still missing in other forums.

    #74918
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Sorry for not continuing the line in this excellent thread but I just saw Star Wars III and the stupid science in the last scenes really pissed me off:- what’s the boiling point of solid rock? It’s godda be more than a few degrees centigrade right? I mean if we were perched three feet above a bonfire we’d be pretty darned hot wouldn’t we?

    Why then do the writers decide to hold the final battle scene a few inches over molten rock without the two main protagonists even suffering a slight heat exhaustion. If it was me, and I was standing 200 metres over such an inferno I’d be dead in a few seconds!! The air I breathed would be so hot that I would quickly cook my lungs from the inside, my hair would be singed off, my skin would blister and my eyeballs would shrivel. Molten rock is typically between 700 and 1250 degrees Celsius (2000 degrees Fahrenheit)

    Anakin was burned not by his body touching the molten rock, not even by lying on rock that was only a few degrees from being liquid (maybe 1800 degrees F), he was burned because some of his clothes touched the magma and set fire, his surroundings were infinitely hotter than the hottest temperature that can cause clothes to ignite and …… good grief I could go on and on, that film was such a load of bollocks!

    #74919
    MuadDib
    Participant

    …… good grief I could go on and on, that film was such a load of bollocks!

    True, but the Darth Vader “NOOO” sequence just wins the award, for most comedic sequence in an un-funny film.

    #74921
    hishadow
    Participant

    Just a question about this Scientology blockbuster…

    Why does a superior alien race have humungous scrotums? As you can see, Travolta’s scrotum is also bigger than Whitakers, signaling his social rank.

Viewing 30 posts - 1 through 30 (of 30 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.