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Some More Thoughts on ABC’s Visitors

So ABC’s “V” was on again tonight.  I enjoyed it.  It lacked the same punch as the first episode but I still liked it.  It seems a little hurried to me.  Maybe there are too many commercials?  I’ve seen other hour long shows that seemed to really carry a narrative so I know its possible.  I can’t put my finger on it with “V” but it isn’t enough (yet) to push me away from future viewings.

In my previous post on the “V” series, I hoped that I would see some metaphysical conversation.  Perhaps its too early in the series, but there wasn’t much in that regards.  Ie, unlike the first episode, this one seemed to lack substance.  It still got me thinking anyway.  I will now outline some of those thoughts.

The visual effects are far superior to the previous incarnation of the series.  Indeed, far superior to any show from the 80’s and earlier.  The miracle of CGI!

But isn’t it interesting that we are able to recognize that just because the space ships we see hovering over American cities in this show, despite their incredible life like detail, are fictional?  This uncanny ability (most) people have is interesting given our “Seeing is believing” society.  There is a great deal on television, movie, and computer screens that appears to be absolutely real.  Yet, we know it isn’t.

I’m sure that there are numerous ruminations to be explored there but I would like to make a point that I’ve made before but I think bears repeating.  A tad bit of background will help.

It is sometimes argued by skeptics that an all knowing God that wanted everyone to know him would reveal himself indisputably to all and submit himself to modern inquiry.  This can be disputed at a number of points but the one I’d like to focus on is this stunning truth:  ironically and counter-intuitively, today’s modern technology makes it all the more difficult to ‘believe what we see.’  We all know that technology is amazing and can create amazing illusions.

If God appeared today, I suspect any video would be rejected out of hand and distrusted because anything can be done with a good computer and a skillful editor- hence, more than enough reason to doubt what is seen.  And even if something appeared before our own eyes or ears I think this would fare no better.   David Copperfield made the Statue of Liberty disappear, remember?  With enough cleverness and funding, in today’s modern age nothing is too fantastic to conjure.

Certainly, those who deny the moon landing are appealing to exactly this reality.

Thus, as it turns out, the most opportune time for God to reveal himself in miraculous terms is well before the modern era.

At this point in the argument, it is usually stated (smugly) that before the modern era people were really gullible and moreover were not very well informed about the laws of nature.  This is nonsense for a number of reasons.

First of all, die hard skeptics can often be found complaining about how people are so gullible today.  There is no room for chronological snobbery on this count.  Second of all, if we look at the miracles described in the New Testament, we are instantly confronted with a very simple and painfully obvious truism:  one cannot discern a ‘miracle’ if one does not in fact have some notion about the laws of nature.

Consider, for example, Jesus walking on the water.  The only reason why this was deemed remarkable was precisely because it was known then- and is known today- that it cannot be done by mere mortals.  Unless they use fancy trickery, of course (see argument above and this clip around the 1:30 mark).  Fancy trickery that it is hard to imagine crusty, stupid, uneducated Galilean shepherds to be capable of.

A Virgin Birth is still scoffed at today- despite the fact that science seems hell bent on achieving just that.  All that is left is for modern scientists to figure out how to defy the law of conservation and create hundreds of loaves of bread out of just a couple to begin with… (aha, they did it!  Proof you can see with your eyes here!)

In short, many of the miracles of the New Testament are not the sort to be easily faked and moreover would appear to be just as miraculous today, barring the exclusion of trickery- which would be hard to do, today.

Ok, so what does this have to do with “V”?  Well, wouldn’t it be interesting for ‘alien life’ to actually appear in real life?  If it happened, I wouldn’t be surprised if in fact quite a few people refused to believe it.   Conspiracy theories are just too interesting and technology more than up to the task of such a charade.  Carl Sagan, if he were still alive, would lead the scoffers.

It is apparently harder than we think to establish with any certainty what is actually reality.  Unlike skeptics, reasonable people know they can’t dismiss possibilities out of hand and that simple empirical scrutiny will never be sufficient to establish the boundaries of ‘reality.’  A variety of forms of scrutiny will be required, along with an open mind.

Tune in next week when I conjure up more metaphysical talk from simple entertainment on the tube.  🙂

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