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November 26, 2007

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Daedalus B. Logos

I sense in this criticism (as excerpted in this article), also implied by this sites posting, the inclusion of religion in this SciFis storytelling is flawed for its inclusion. This seems to be the root cause such criticisms. However, I believe the BG writers’ intent in the context of religion is really more prosaic: that superior technology (resurrection), religious fascism, and interspecies conflict lead to annihilation of the human race. Very common themes in SciFi and the triple whammy of these lead to a very quick and almost extermination of humans. This is pretty standard SciFi thematic ‘stuff’ ala Dune. There is one interesting twist if you turn the critic’s view of BG’s inclusion of religious themes somehow lessens the story telling on its head. On the surface, the belief in the needs of the individual (going ignored) plays on the collective mind of the Cylons. Once again, this is a common western Scifi theme ala Star Trek and the Borg. The key differences from the Star Trek universe, BG human leaders are deeply and fatally flawed. Now the twist in theme: it is the harmony that leads to technical superiority. Egocentrism is the free radical. This is the sin. Christian religious teachings discuss harmony, reverence, salvation through self-sacrifice, etc. Isn’t that what the Cylons are doing? Plus, they exhibit a more formal democratic government. And the kicker…The Cylon council is made up of those that sacrificed the most by being closest in proximity for a protracted amount of time with humans (which cause their sacrifice). This is not the horrendous inefficiency of the democratic style of humans in BG. They voted in the most egotistical of the humans to have him indirectly kill (again). Continuing this theme, the human resistance in New Caprica was lead by the most individualistic of the Cylons. The examples of self sacrifice, most recently in Razor’s ‘movisode’, the taking of one’s life is only done by those that are most miserable. I might of missed something but self-sacrifice should be done out of love for something better or the common good and not because you have nothing left but drug addiction and guilty conscience. This is the tantamount of egocentrism ala Darwin-istic will to adapt and survive. And if the Cylons give into ‘sin’, humans will win because humans are much better at it. Isn’t BG a condemnation on religious belief when it suppresses the human will? Now, if you really read all this, this diatribe is really just how far one can infer into your own belief. BG is a political treatise of the war on terror and the Iraq war. BG is about green eggs and ham. A good piece of fiction is about what you want it to be and what it can be. If author wants to mirror our history, society, civilization and people, then belief in God is part of that. If big G or little g or multiple g’s are included in a story, this was not done to insult you or bolster your position in how religion is good or bad for the genre of SciFi (derived from the American publisher’s need to over classify, eh?). Rather, BG is a mirror. As an in any quality mirror, it either provides a thoughtful reflection of your emotional belief (or disbelief) for which you derive enjoyment or it causes your mirror neurons to fire in such a way that the distraction fulfills a baser need that is a genetic leftover from the African savannah. To argue the inclusion of religion in a SciFi story is as oxymoronic as the genre title SciFi implies.

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