Creationism and the Abduction theory

The posts will come fast and furious in the next two days.

First I want to cover a little more about why this ending is of so much concern to many viewers. While many will accept that it is unscientific, and just say that they never cared that much about such things, the particular errors and issues of the final plot are rather special. What we saw was not merely spacecraft making sound in space or FTL drives or some other random scientific error.

The error in BSG centers around the most pernicious anti-scientific idea of our day: Creationism/Intelligent Design. In particular, it tells the “Ark” story, though it sets it 150,000 years ago rather than 4,000. And, because Moore knows the Ark story is totally bogus, he tries to fix it, by having the alien colonists able to breed with us humans, and thus having the final result be a merger of the two streams of humanity. That’s better than the pure Ark story, and perhaps enough better that I see some viewers are satisfied with it, but with deeper examination, it is just as bad an idea, and perhaps in its way more pernicious because it is easier for people to accept the flaws.

SF writers have been writing the Ark story since the dawn of SF. Indeed, the alien Adam and Eve plot is such a cliche from the 40s that you would have a hard time selling it to an SF magazine today. Not simply because it’s nonsense, but because it became overused back in the day when it wasn’t as obvious to people how nonsensical it was.

The Ark story is not just any bad science. It’s the worst bad science there is. Because there are dedicated forces who want so much for people to accept the Ark story as possible. Normally busy scientists would not even bother to debunk a story like that, but they spend a lot of time debunking this one because of the dedicated religious forces who seek to push it into schools and other places religion does not belong. And debunk it they have, and very solidly. The depth of the debunking is immense, and can’t be covered in this blog. I recommend the talk.origins archive with their giant FAQ for answers to many of the questions about this.

BSG plays a number of tricks to make the Ark story more palatable. It puts it back further in time, prior to the migrations of humanity out of Africa. (Oddly, it also has Adama spread the people around the continents, which simply means all the ones who did not stay in Africa died out without a trace or any descendents.) It makes it a merger rather than a pure origin to account for the long fossil and geological record. It has the aliens destroy all their technology and cast it into the sun to explain why there is no trace of it.

It does all those things, but in the end, the explanation remains religious. As the story is shown, you still need to invoke a variety of divine miracles to make it happen, and the show does indeed do this. The humans, on this planet, are the same species as aliens from another galaxy, due to the plan of God. They have cats and dogs and the rest, even though 150,000 years ago, humans have yet to domesticate any animals. Indeed, god has to have designed the colonials from the start to be the same species as the natives of Earth, it all has to have been set up many thousands of years ago. This is “intelligent design,” the form of creationism that gets dressed like science to help make it more palatable. It is also a pernicious idea.

In one fell swoop, BSG changes from science fiction — hard, soft or otherwise — to religious fiction, or religious SF if you wish. Its story, as shown, is explained on screen as being divine intervention. Now, thanks to BSG, there will be discussion of the ending. But it will involve the defenders of science having to explain again why the Ark story is silly and ignores what we know of biology. I am shocked that Kevin Grazier, who advocates science teaching for children, including biology, was willing to be a part of this ending.

Sadly this ending goes beyond being bad SF.

How to make it work.

Now there is one plot which BSG did not explore which would have made a lot of sense if they wanted to tell this story. It’s been noted on this blog a few times, but discounted because we believed BSG had a “no aliens” rule. This is what I called the “Alien Abduction plot.”

In this plot, aliens — in this case the God, who does not have to be a supernatural god — captured humans and various plants and animals from real Earth many thousands of years ago. The god took them to Kobol, and possibly with other gods (the Lords of Kobol) created a culture and raised them there. From this flows our story.

This plot has been used many times. Recently in Ken Macleod’s “Cosmonaut Keep” series the characters find a human culture way out in the stars, populated by people taken by “gods” (highly advanced beings) a long time ago. The same idea appears in Rob Sawyer’s dinosaur series, and many other books.

Do this, and it suddenly explains why the colonials are the same species as the people on Earth, but more advanced. It does not explain their cats and dogs, or their Earth idioms, but those can be marked down to drama. (They would have to have independently domesticated cats and dogs and other animals, as this had not happened on Earth. Same for the plants. The gods could also have done this for them.)

This plot works well enough that it’s surprising no hint of it was left in the show. I do not believe it was the intention of the writers, though I would love to see post-show interviews declaring that it was.

And even this plot has a hard time explaining what happened to their culture, the metal in their teeth and many other items. For try as they might they could not abandon all their technology. Even things that seem very basic to the Colonials, like better spears, writing, animal and plant domestication, knives, sailboats, complex language and so many other things are still aeons ahead of the humans. They plan to breed with the humans, and will be taking them into their schools and educating them. There was a sudden acceleration of culture 50,000 years ago, but not 150,000. And then there’s the artificial DNA in Hera and any other Cylon descendents. (And no, Hera isn’t the only person we are supposed to be descended from, she is just the source of the maternal lines.) But maybe you can shoehorn it in, which makes it surprising it wasn’t used.

The idea, taken from the old series, that the Greeks would have taken some of their culture from the aliens also is hard to make work. Why do their cultural ideas and now hopefully debunked (to them) polytheist religion show up nowhere else but Greece and eventually Rome? How do they get there, and only there, over 140,000 years of no writing, hunter-gatherer life? I am not a student of classical cultures, but I believe we also have lots of evidence of the origin and evolution of our modern Greek myths. They did not spring, pardon the phrase, fully formed from the head of Zeus. Rather they are based on older and simpler stories we have also traced. But the alien religion is based on our modern concepts of ancient Greek religion.

Even in 5,000 to 10,000 years, there would be a moderate amount of genetic drift in the Kobol environment, including the artificial genetic manipulation involved with Cylons. Since we learn that Africa has more game than the 12 colonies, it’s clear the colonials did not have all of Earth’s animals. It is contact with animals that generates most of our diseases. When different groups of humans get separated for many thousands of years, with different animals, the result is major plagues when they meet. Without divine intervention, the colonials are about to be reduced to a small fraction of their population. Especially after tossing their hospitals into the sun. (Why don’t we see any sick people saying, “Excuse me, do I get a vote on this whole abandon technology idea?)

Atlantis

The other plot which could have explained this I called the “Atlantis” plot. In this plot there is an advanced civilization long ago which reaches the stars but falls and disappears without a trace. It is the civilization that colonizes Kobol and becomes as gods. This requires no aliens. This is not their chosen plot, since it’s even harder to explain how this civilization left no trace, since it would not have gone to the technology destroying extremes the Colonists are shown to do.

Coming up: Why religious SF is a bad idea, even if you believe in the religion. (Hint: while the author is god, you don’t want them to really use that power.)

Thanks

I've thoroughly enjoyed this blog and the stimulating ideas and deep analysis of a beloved series.

Thanks for sharing this.

Matt

Maybe Kevin Grazier knows

Maybe Kevin Grazier knows its all fiction and that anyone so lacking in critical thinking so as to be dissuaded about the origins of mankind is a lost cause?

Is this really the Ending!!???

I live in the UK and mistakenly read the beginning of this current blog. The finale screens here in 2 days.
I am gobsmacked and utterly dismayed at what they have done to the ending of this show. It is an utter travesty. I cannot express my bitter disappointment at the ridiculous CLICHE of an ending. Its massive intimations of backdoor creationism and anti technological standpoint.
I will be selling my copies of the series on amazon ASAP. I can only think of one word to describe this BULLSHIT.

They should show this on a religious channel and bury it there.

Creationsim? Think not.

Why is everyone screaming 'Creationism?' Adama clearly states that the indigenous people they found on Earth EVOLVED that way. This is NOT an ark story. This is NOT a bible story. This is NOT creationsim.

It is an Ark story

In this story, all humans today are descended from a synthetic, cybernetic being (Athena) who landed on Earth in an Ark (group of Arks) with the remnants of a group of people who, through divine intervention, can interbreed with the evolved humans. Some of them were just like the humans, others were these synthetic beings.

Beings of Light

"all humans today are descended from a synthetic, cybernetic being"

Wrong. Midochondrial Eve is one of MANY ancestors we share. Evolution is an incredibly complicated process, and humanity as a species did not evolve from any one source, not in the show and not in reality. This story posits that we Hera is simply one of those sources.

"who, through divine intervention, can interbreed with the evolved humans."

First, this divine intervention is only hinted at, and in an offhand way. Baltar says "you may even say that god has a hand in it" (or words to that effect). It's never specifically stated that 'god' directed the parallel evolution. As astronomical as the odds may seem, parallel evolution is possible, and is a current scientific theory. If we can accept three Earth-like planets in this series (possibly many more if the colonies were not terraformed) than I think it's not so much of a stretch to say that humans can evolve on multiple planets. Whether you personally are willing to make that leap is another matter.

Second, the intervention may not be divine. What if they had said that the head characters/string pullers were highly evolved humans or cylons, similar to the Beings of Light? This may very well be the case.

A thousand times no

I realize this is going to sound pretty nasty, but you must understand that the misconceptions in your article like “parallel evolution is possible” are exactly the sort of nasty ideas that make me so bothered by the ending and what it endorses.

Now it may be that you heard the term parallel evolution ( which refers to a tendency for broad traits which fit particular niches and certain optimized states to evolve multiple times, independently ) and thought it meant something akin to what’s in the show. What’s in the show is vastly beyond that, an improbability that is the same as impossibility. To try to give an example, let’s say you were teaching a class, and after you set your exam, you noticed that every single student handed in exactly the same 200 different papers, word for word as were handed in by their grandparents 50 years ago. Nobody would attempt to explain that by parallel evolution, that the students all just wrote the same words by chance. And this is far more likely than two species, on two different worlds, evolving the same DNA. While there is a theory of convergent evolution, it bears zero relation to what you saw in the show. And the sad part is that when shows like BSG promote such ideas, it makes it more likely that you would make such a mistake.

When a character in a show makes a remark in the finale like this, it’s not just an offhand theory. In drama, this is the writer speaking through Baltar.

As for it being non-divine, I would be all for that, and it would be nice if they had shown us that. As I have said, they could have fixed all this, and kept the same characters and story with just a few tweaks. They did not want to make them, or bother to make them.

A thousand times yes.

"When a character in a show makes a remark in the finale like this, it’s not just an offhand theory."

Agreed, but you need to understand that while they're postulating that another power directed the evolution of the two species, it doesn't mean that science had nothing to do with it, nor is it saying NECESSARILY that it is GOD (as head Baltar's last line in NYC seems to indicate). I wonder if the extended cut will reveal this god's true nature in slightly more detail beyond that last cryptic remark.

My point about parallel evolution is not that it is a current theory (which it is, albeit not a good one) but that you can accept a great many of the scientifically improbable scenarios that they've given us in the show, but not this one?

Again, I have no problem with humans evolving near identically on two planets, it's the nature of the narrative I take issue with. Your recent post on the Tomb of Athena nails it for me.

I understand you say you accept it

And I don’t want to be too mean, but this is because you may not know the area well enough. I’m not saying everybody should be a trained biologist in order to enjoy a TV show. Perhaps you are saying is “It’s OK if they put in nonsense if most of the public won’t know enough to wretch at how silly it is.” Maybe that’s true from a commercial standpoint, it does define whether the producers will get away with it.

But when I express it to you in other ways that are clearer.

But what about the example I gave you, or ones like it. You’re watching a story and astronauts on the Moon find a word-for-word identical copy of War and Peace. The astronaut said, “It seems the Martians must have had their own Pushkin who came up with the same book!”

You would of course say that was silly. But what if I said it doesn’t matter, because many in the public don’t know how unlikely it is, or that Martians come from Mars, or that Pushkin didn’t write War and Peace? Would you say that makes it acceptable? Especially if the whole lynchpin of the story rests on this assumption?

Knowing areas

Maybe I know nothing, but the fact of the matter is I will accept it in fiction because I understand that nothing in the infinite-ness of the universe is impossible. Next to impossible? Sure. So next to impossible that many might find it silly? Fine. But this is fiction, and it's not important enough for me to care about. As i've said, no matter how remote the odds, if odds exist than it is possible. Monkeys and shakespeare and all that.

My point to you was that other things on this show have about the same odds (or close enough to be just as unacceptable) yet you've accepted them. This should be no different for you. The difference here-- and please, focus on this-- is that it makes poor narrative sense, which is what we should be caring about, not the odds of anything's scientific feasibility. We're not talking about people breathing in space.

"But what if I said it doesn’t matter, because many in the public don’t know how unlikely it is, or that Martians come from Mars, or that Pushkin didn’t write War and Peace?"

And what if I said they've just discovered a planet with humans on it? One could argue that if space is infinite, than there are infinite number os stars, inifinite number of planets, inifinite numbers of opportunities for life to evolve. If the universe is unending, and will keep expanding to infinity than any scientifically possible opportunity will arise infinitely over time and it is a guarantee that human life will evolve elsewhere. But i won't argue that. I will argue only that it is not impossible.

Besides, everyone knows Bolgakov wrote War and Peace.

If The Universe Is Infinite...

...then indeed everything possible exists somewhere. There is a planet entirely identical to Earth out there, except for one atom being in a different place; in fact in an infinite universe every possible combination must itself exist as an infinite number of instances.

The problem is, the chances of two planets with identical human species evolving on them being within the same galaxy at the same time, or even within the visible volume of space 15bn LY in radius is so astronomically small as to be incalculably negligible. It's not as small as just comparing random configurations of an earth-planet mass of atoms, since there are considerable constraints on what can evolve- there is probably only one molecule (DNA) that can act as data, there are only so many possible cell designs, morphology is constrained by environmental practicalities, and so on. It's still incredibly, phenomenally unlikely. There might be quite a few planets with similarly sized intelligent bipeds, but two inependently evolved human species..? Hopelessly remote.

The only conclusion is that God deliberately directed the evolution of at least one of these human species, even if only by perfectly setting up the initial conditions. Which is kinda cheesy.

I don't believe in god, but

I don't believe in god, but whenever I see absolutes like this I hope there are gods for people who say things like this, just so they can be put in their place in that afterlife. Just because you and I don't believe in a god or gods doesn't mean you need to shit on the beliefs of other people. By calling a divine ending cheese just because of the divine is essentially saying, anyone religious is a moron. I may not believe, but I know for damn sure anyone who claims they know how it all started and presumes to tell others how it all started with absolute certainty needs to be put in their place in the universe.

total agreemtn.

In total agreement with you right there. To address the above poster, I'm not arguing just that it's possible, but that we've accepted just as many impossible things. Please re-read my post and focus on the part that I told you to focus on:

The problem we should be having with it is not that it's a religious ending, but a poor narrative.

Great posts, Alvin

"The problem we should be having with it is not that it's a religious ending, but a poor narrative."

Couldn't agree more. Well put, Alvin.

I am not religious, either. But what I am is rather disappointed with some parts of the story itself.
For the sake of a good story I am willing to accept divine inteventions, angels/messengers of god(s), even quite a bit of bad science in an otherwise great SF series, but what saddens me is bad writing.
And the finale was definitely the latter. :(

What a shame to end the best piece of television e v e r in such a way.

2 things

What a shame to end the best piece of television e v e r in such a way.

First, I loved the end. I thought it was perfect. I have no problem with loose ends. I realize some people want answers to everything, but like life not everything has answers.

Second, The Wire. 'Nuff said.

Loose ends

I don't mind loose ends or ambiguous answers, per se, but given the importance of some of the questions, I wanted them to at least be addressed. To have them be forgotten is frustrating.

Answers to everything? Nope...

No, the absence of answers to everything is not bad writing.
I prefer questions to answers - they keep the mind busy.

But what IS bad writing is arriving in Earth's past, abandoning all technology, medicine (btw, what happened to all those wounded in the attack?) and tools, crashing the ships into the sun, interbreeding with pre-verbal humans, presumably deciding to "forget" all their knowledge and skills (and they must have, because we found no trace of their civilisation or their "heritage" to us other than the mitochondrial DNA) and definitely not passing them on to tribal humans (obviously, or this world would have had a much different history), not taking into account the viruses they had no immunity to... and the list goes on and on. Others have written about it, no need to repeat it all.

And while we are on the subject of answers... some of them are rather disappointing too. I had been intrigued by the Opera House visions throughout 3 seasons, but in the end they turned out to be... what? ... basically a trailer for the upcoming events? Oh, how "imaginative"!

Degrees of impossible

There are different kinds of impossible, including in fiction. We accept certain types of impossible (like FTL drives) especially if they are given at the beginning of a story. We accept the odd mistake (like the water momentum that Grazier regrets) as simply mistakes on small things because people make mistakes.

But there’s a big difference with this. This is first of all, no small thing. It’s the resolution of the entire story. It’s the connection of the story to us, the viewers. It was very important to Moore, he went to a many lengths to generate such a connection. This one thing, one of the most important foundations of the story, deserves extra care. Mistakes are to be far less tolerated here, for our whole appreciation and understanding of the meaning of the story will lie on this.

Secondly, this is pretty high up on the impossible scale, barring divine intervention. Life on Earth evolved through over a billion years of adaptations to the specific environments. Even close branches of the same family on Earth can’t interbreed. Interbreeding with aliens (short of divine design of our DNA and theirs) vastly less likely than us interbreeding with mushrooms, to whom we are quite closely related.

Third, this was introduced at the very end. We tolerate impossible premises. Implicitly we accept them in our decision to keep watching or reading. We should be less tolerant of impossible endings put upon us at the last minute. They break the deal that the author will give us an ending that has meaning, which makes sense.

Fourth, this particular flaw, involving divine programming of our DNA, and arks, is one of the worst types of antiscience in the world. It’s not as bad as it could have been (ie. Galactica 1980) but it’s pretty bad. It’s not an idea that a good SF show should find itself promoting.

Does this clarify some of the reasons to be upset.

Opposite effect

Does this clarify some of the reasons to be upset.

You have the opposite effect for me because I think you are promoting yourself to Lord of Sci-Fi, and frankly if that is your platform, I will never vote for you.

Not at the end

Third, this was introduced at the very end.

I am pretty sure Head Six told us about this ending a long time ago. Season 1...

At the very end

Oh, the god was introduced on day 1, though not confirmed as real until later.

What I mean is the impossible ending came out of the blue in the final episode, that colonials can breed with early humans, that Hera is our ancestor.

We discussed genetic

We discussed genetic integration earlier. I wouldn't say it's impossible, just very very difficult with a bit of don't really know thrown in. That's scientific enough unless you want to choke on your own words. The problem I have is the general narrative and handling of this specific issue was very poor. Maybe other writers can run with these ideas and do them better but they can do that without feeding the BSG franchise.

I think baby Hera's blood

I think baby Hera's blood was a clue. Many people noted that it was odd the humans thought her blood type was odd. I think they were tipping their hat all along the way.

The Cylons were ...

"The Cylons were created by man." So the theme of creation/ism really is in the show, although not where many people think it is.

Extremes

Dude, I'm a Zen Buddhist and cringe at the religious strokes some folks pull so could people stop lumping us all in with the reglious (and scientific) nutter crowd. Both science and religion are merely perspectives on reality, whatever that is, and just because a few hardboiled zealots make an ass of themselves doesn't mean everyone else peddles toxic crap.

I'm not saying that's what you're saying, just that people might like to make distinction between the useless nutballs that clog up the works and people with more productive persuasions.

I said a while back you were

I said a while back you were going to be disappointed by the ending. I didn't need to know the how's and why's of the finale to see where this was all going. I tried to explain that you were misguided in your view of the Mission Statement. I don't know why there was so much resistance to something that was plain as day on the screen. I also don't understand why you are dismantling the science of it all now. If there is a god force at work than anything is possible. It is just god's doing. I realize that doesn't satisfy some unsatisfied need you have for realistic explanation except that was never their goal. I am not the only person who noticed this and I think if you go back and just watch the series without the scientific dogma you will have a much greater appreciation for what they were doing. I also agree with Edward James Olmos, they should have ended with the shot of the twin towers in New York as they intended originally.

Abandon your tech for the children!

The Abandonment of tech doesn’t hold water for me because who wants their children to have a life expectancy less than theirs? As shown in the show the colonials just condemned generations of their decedents to a life expectancy of around 20 years. I’m not sure what the life expectancy was 150,000 years ago. I do know up to this century families of 10 children was common to ensure a few lived to take care of the parents in their old age. At least with the Cylon war Cycle they that they thought they were ending there are generations between the wars that can expect their children to live past childhood. So Ron is saying 140,000 years of having to have a majority of your children die young is preferable to passing down the thought that creating AI and starting Nuke wars is a bad idea. Well Lee told Roslin he would try to stop being right. Guess he succeeded because he came up with the idea first.

Good point

Not to mention a lack of medicine. What I find more strange though, is that trashing your tech does not solve the problem. You'd have to suppress knowledge and desire. You can dismantle your computers, but knowledge to build sophisticated equipment still exists, and they'll likely start rebuilding mechanical hardware almost immediately for their survival needs, which will quickly evolve into Roman-like, then renassiance era technology within just a few generations. Granted, it wouldn't be computers and circuit boards, but the technological and societal advancement of man would be exponential with the introduction of a highly advance people.

I could see them developing from cavemen to 19th century era technology within a few hundred years.

Ron failed to meet his

Ron failed to meet his stated goals so Brad and the rest of us folks standing behind him have good reason to feel disappointed. Also, a shot of the twin towers in New York probably isn't a good idea at the moment. It would just drag up the past for no good reason.

Like Ron, I'm a Zen Buddhist. Actually, me and Ron are alike in a few ways. I know professional bullshitter when I see one. But, about the Zen thing. Zen is about quality and letting go of the crap, and in that sense BSG was an epic fail. Ron's actually gone some way to admitting that and moved on but, ironically, his biggest defenders don't get that. Brad's holding up a torch for where BSG could and maybe should've gone. It achieved some but not all of that. What's the problem? Ron has some responsibility for leading you to the edge of the cliff but when he steps aside like a matador people don't have to go charging over it.

Where do the Cylons who want to kill us come from? Take a step back. Where do the Cylon plans and willing customers come from? Take a step back. Where do the electronics and career engineers come from? Take a step back. Where do the concepts and desires come from? Take a step back. Where do the thoughts and feelings come from? Take a step back. What's left? You, me, us. It doesn't matter whether you're talking about this or that, you or those over there, the whole cycle that runs through the universe, everyone and everything, runs through you. That means the words and sentiments that flow out from you, that hit Brad's blog, and spin out from there.

People don't get it until they see for themselves. It can take a while.

Ancestors

I feel the story would have been better told without the pre-existing humans on the planet. Once we get to the story that is supposed to explain about Hera that really winds up killing off quite a bit of the rest of the "survivors" that made it to Earth as meaning that it seems only the males (if anyone) of the pre-existing population had any success with the new arrivals.

However, even this doesn't mean that we're all Hera's children. I'm going to assume that the Mitochondrial dna would be Ellen's since she was the mother of all the cylons. I think this means that one couldn't rule out that other human-cylon children may have been born after Hera but we just weren't told about them. Maybe Hera was just the first and most important in showing that it could be done.

I guess the other problem with the attempt to break the cycle would be the fact that they simply let their history and lessons simply vanish into time. Since the future human population doesn't know about the problems they had with creating machines with AI how are they supposed to know about the problems of the past? Are they just going to wind up doomed to repeat the cycle anyways?

What ever happened to the ship that Adama and Roslin flew off in? I assume he built that "cabin" he wanted but then who was left to fly the ship off? Did it simply have an autopilot feature to dispose of it? I can't see simply leaving a ship around when they seemed so concerned about destroying the rest of the fleet.

Liked the ending...

Overall, I liked the ending...

I get why Brad doesn't... It boils down to opposition to having a Deity as a central character in the show. Brad will deny this. But I think its true.

I'll agree that "God fixed it" is in the ending... how he fixes it, we don't know exactly. The show could have laid it out perfectly for us, but I think they didn't so we could. Example: Brad rails at the notion that there are dna compatible humans on Earth. The assumption is that it forces creationism. It doesn't. God could have transported humans FROM Earth to Kobol. Ark story in reverse - humans evolve on Earth in this case, dna compatibility assured given the short time frames (Say 200,000 years). Brad wouldn't be satisfied with an ending that had God doing big things... it's because Brad doesn't believe in God, so the central role of any deity in the show needs to be a bit part. And mystical. And be explainable as just an alien that has vast powers. He'd prefer that they say that in the show, so God can be dead... In hindsight, a foolish notion, given the religious overtones all the way back to season one.

There is also a lot of sentiment on this board about how people wouldn't willingly go back to "savagery"... Well, they haven't read Ishmael by Daniel Quinn. This book points out how humans don't understand how to live with nature... We create unsustainable societies - consume all the resources - breed uncontrollably, etc... same themes as the views of the Agent in the Matrix - we are a virus... Independence Day - ever wonder if our destiny is to become the aliens in that movie? I can easily imagine a race of humans like us, who have caused their world to be uninhabitable, have seen their numbers fall to the 10's of thousands, decide that technology is really a bad drug and eschew it. Can't imagine having a lifespan of 30? On the face of it, yeah, that is pretty bad. But humans lived like that for a million years. Our ethnocentricity keeps us from recognizing that is a perfectly valid way to live.

The views of Brad and the others here show small minded thinking when it comes to God and technology... would it be so bad to live in a world where you just went out an picked the fruit off the trees, ate the lobsters that washed up on the shore, and died a happy man? Not advocating for it - just saying that you need to NOT REJECT SUCH A NOTION OUT OF HAND.

The show eludes to this... no cities. Get rid of all the technology. Live off the land. They decide to do this... really put yourself in their position - all they've been through... now try to imagine rebuilding all that technology just so that it can lead to nukes and homicidal AI's... Alcoholics get off the juice when they hit rock bottom. That's where they are. Is it really so unrealistic?

As for the 50,000 years vs. 150,000 years... maybe they really do "integrate" with the humans, and they don't disclose technology willy nilly. Maybe they decide, for awhile to stay of the juice. Develop taboos and mores that keep people from developing too much tech, that tech is bad. Hey, maybe they put that in their early religions. But now, given the Cylon blood in our veins, can we stay off the juice? Is it fate we redevelop technology? And does it happen because of our Cylon blood? Jesus says not reap and sow - the birds don't need it... he's even against farming technology... live off the land is the message. Is that one more warning to deny our Cylon blood and have we, given our current level of technology - right below BSG Colonial level at this point - ignored that message? I don't need a magic 8 ball to figure that out. And isn't it interesting that most religions are, to one degree or another, anti-science and or anti-technology?

The scenes at the end where they are showing the robots - most of them cute and/or beautiful... is that just "be afraid of Robots and AI" or is that more a metaphor for "be VERY afraid of technology in general" ?

Mitochondrial Eve - you missed the point here. The article isn't that they developed the NOTION of Mitochondrial Eve... they found her! Hera's Dead Bones - her fossilized remains. She's the mother of the human race as we know it here on our Earth. This event hasn't happened yet.

Starbuck - I saw her disappearance coming. I just knew that when Lee looked away and started talking about exploring that she'd be gone when he looked back. This wasn't a cop out... this was just COOL. It had to happen. The "real" Starbuck died on the cinder planet. The Starbuck we see after that is an angel made flesh. At the end, she ascends. Yeah, I know... too religious. Worked perfectly for me though.

Cavil - This was the biggest copout in the show. Cavil eats his gun? No way. Cavil takes out the Final Five if he can. Dumb ending for him.

It raises an interesting question. What happens to the Cylons? I'm not talking about the toasters they set free. I'm talking about the other Cavils, and the 2's and 3's - furious at the humans that double crossed them. Do they get enough of the plans to figure out resurrection on their own? Do they just die out if not, and the toasters wander the universe without a plan? If they do get it, where do they go, what do they do? And are they still out there? Looking for US? This is the most interesting leftover question for me.

We know they disappear for 150,000 years... Did a heavy raider crash at Roswell? Do they know where we are now? Are they still pissed about the double cross? Are theatrical BSG's in our future?

The final question is if the cycle is broken... Some signs say yes, some say no. Roslyn lives to see "the promised land"... prophecy broken. Points to yes. If my "technology is bad" theme is part of it... Points to a big ole no... Angel 6 and Angel Baltar don't know. I guess neither do we. Good.

Damn - Forgot Galen

Meant to put this in the thread... Galen moves to an uninhabited island in the north where it's cold... Does Galen land in the UK??? Is this where Gaelic comes from?

It was implied, yes. Given

It was implied, yes. Given his history, it definitely explains a lot of Celtic beliefs.

And Lee ...

And Lee becomes Apollo who teaches the humans to speak. Nice.

Baltar and God

Baltar's group are the Jews.

Average Life Expectancy

ou’ve indicated living to 30 was a viable option. An average lifespan of 30 does not mean you can expect to live to 30. During the 1700s the average lifespan was 25 to 35 over the century. A lot of people like the founding fathers lived into there 60s and 70’s like most people do today with and average life expectancy in the 70’s. What’s happening now is a lot of people are living into their 80’s and 90’s and a lot fewer are dieing in Childhood. In the 1700’s a lot of children were born that died before they reached adulthood, which in those days was 14 or 15 when girls started having babies. So when the average life expectancy is 30 like it was in the 1700’s for it doesn’t mean your going to live to 30. It means your likely to die before you reach adulthood. If you got to adulthood in the 1700’s your chances of living a longer life than 30 were pretty good. Benjamin Franklin lived to 84, how many kids died to bring the average average life expectancey down to 30? I’m not sure “a valid way to live” applies if the other option is to get a grip on your behavior when it comes to using technology.

Diety as a character

An interventionist diety as a character in a show is a bad idea not simply for scientific and religious reasons. It’s bad fiction. I intend a future blog post on this topic. It gives the author too much power. Dieties work in strange and mysterious ways. Their acts don’t have to make sense to us. When you stop requiring the story make sense, it’s much worse as a story to me. It’s “here’s this cool god I imagined, toying with the puny humans in ways that neither they, nor the audience will ever understand.”

Hunter/gatherer life can be seen as pleasant. For the healthy, in the right places. But you’ll lose everything very quickly once you are rid of writing. You won’t keep a secret society for 100,000 years that then elevates the masses.

No, the story Moore is reading doesn’t really say they literally found her, at least there is no way the scientists could know that. Perhaps Demon-Six knows it through divine knowledge.

And yes, the question of the others (#1s, #4s and #5s) is a loose end. They did not all die. The Colony had many base stars which could jump away after it got the nuclear attack. The only remaining #3 decided to spend out her days on the 13th colony Earth. I suppose somebody could go fetch her at this point. Only one of the #1s killed himself. There also should have been several other invading 1s, 4s and 5s on board Galactica when it did the surprise jump.

Or none of that because god

Or none of that because god took care of the loose ends. I am a complete atheist and I have no problem with this story. I know the scientific evidence that contradicts the end of the show. I know that there are one, or two minor plot errors. I also know this was a great character drama held within a science fiction environment. Scientists and priests are all the same. Both get overly emotional based on their biases towards their respective beliefs when they are challenged, even in fiction. It was a scifi allegory for the events of 9-11. I don't mean the Cylon's were the "terrorists" either. I mean they took all the issues that have resulted from 9-11 and depicted them in ways that hopefully make you question your own beliefs in some way. Whether you change your mind isn't the point, but the idea that it made you examine your own beliefs was important.

There was a recent UK study

There was a recent UK study that looked at science and scientist's ego. It showed they were as bad or worse than the average person. I guess, that's a similar thing to Doctor's God complexes while they suffer the highest suicide rate. It's also a sad fact of scientists and the general population that people can cling to unsound ideas and personality issues even when the evidence against them is overwhelming. People often have to die to make way for better theories and don't change unless they have to. There doesn't seem to be an easy way around this.

I doubt BSG in itself will change much. In many ways it's not original and just an echo chamber for what's going on anyway. I blind monkey wearing boxing gloves and equiped with a typewriter could've churned BSG for all it mattered. With all the drunken wall sliding there's times when I wonder who was really running this show but if Ron is a fully paid up Zen Buddhist, which he claims, he'd probably agree with that. In fact, the bullshit about God and Ron's cameo at the end is as a big a giveaway as anything. Where better to hide the "truth" than in plain sight?

I am a bit of an idealist

I am a bit of an idealist here, in the context of the BSG story. The people on Earth may lose the finished product of technology, but they still have the ideas! They know what a wheel is, what a lever is, what electricity is, how to cultivate land and so on. So they could rebuild pretty quickly ... together. But they decide not to. They decide to scatter. Could it be that justifying that decision is what the whole show has been about, all the time? That they go through all these things, only to learn that they will have to go through them again, and again ... "till kingdom come", minus the kingdom ...

And this is what they come up with: Let's just hang out here for a while, subsistence-level, and hope the best, and vanish into anonymity. Ah.

You may not agree with that decision, just please don't undersell it.

It's a sobering thought to

It's a sobering thought to think that the average sofa dwelling redneck knows more than the combined knowledge of the Greeks at the height of Athens. I have more books stacked in my hall to dispose of than Henry VIII read in his entire life. We live in nations that reached the moon and conquered all the seas, and can communicate with each other instantaneously from the written word to full motion video. Here, at the very pinnacle of evolution, science, and endevour we spend our time... posting on Brad's blog.

I'm still trying to figure out what the joke is. ;-)

What Earth did they land on?

I few people on this blog are discussing what planet was inhabited in Friday's BSG season finale.
It was not our Earth but a planet like ours. It evolved 150,000 later very similarly to our Earth including the commercial names like Footlocker we see in the streets and cities (Washington) which are mere copies of our real Earth which was destroyed in a previous episode when cylons and humans went to war. Yes, the continents are even similar. DNA imprints affect the creative output of a species. Being that the BSG and cylons come from the same pool of genes as our Earth, the inventive ideas of this new Earthlike planet are eerily similar to ours. If you listen to the dialog from the Baltar and Six God as they walked through the streets at the end it went like this: Six God "all of this happened, commercialism, decadence, technology run amok....remind you of anything?" Baltar God "take your pick, Kobol, Earth, the real Earth before this one, Caprica before the fall". In addition, William Adama tells Roslin that this planet is not the real Earth. We have then to assume that we (us ) live on the coveted original Earth planet and not the Earth2 shown in the season finale. Why else would the writers stress this point twice in the episode. It also explains away all the nasty gaps. This would explain (in the context of the series) why our Earth did not have any monumental advances 150,000 yrs ago, or skeletons dug up with advanced dental work in our Earth history.

Wrong Tman

We're living on Earth2. We just don't know it, we don't know about the cycle and call it Earth.

Earth, non-proper noun, means dirt, ground, soil, etc.

Poppycock

It's our Earth. The moon, the clearly visible continent of Africa. Angel Baltar says Earth (our planet), the real Earth (cinder planet)... and Adama calls it Earth, even though it isn't the Earth they were looking for... the one they were looking for was the cinder planet. They found it. When the 13th tribe landed on the cinder planet "they named it Earth"... When they find our Earth, Adama does the same thing... he "named it Earth"...

maybe, maybe not

The whole earth thing is not thoroughly explained. I agree one is led to believe in some sense that the planet landed on in the season finale is Earth2 (ours we live on), but I disagreed in the manner in the way I did for various reasons.
First there are numerous plot holes exposed if the planet landed on was our Earth. The evolution of man definitely was not affected by their technology, or otherwise by the habitation of BSG since 150,000 long years had to pass before we see modern day, with zero influence by BSG members. Granted Apollo suggests only the best of man be given to the tribes. With all the countless wars since I guess that didn't work out so great.
Second Apollo said they would give them our language. Guess that didn't happen since there are hundreds of different languages on our Earth.
Are we all part cylon from the mitchondrial
DNA of Hera? This just seems so rediculous. First cylons can't mate then a hybrid is made so they can... now its our ancestor. Whats the point? Is this a symbol of our good and bad in everyone? Going back to Earth1. It was not clearly shown to be a particular type of planet.
The camera stayed away from showing the continents. Maybe I am wrong but the answer implied that it is our Earth just by continental similarity and similar commericial names during the season finale seemed too simple. I think the writers wanted to raise more questions to start "BSG The Plan" and start the Caprica backstory. All to get us hooked all over again. The only main problem I have with the series is the religious overtones. I was hoping Baltar's illusions of Six were caused by some implant. Inserting Gods into scifi just makes the series more fantasy than scifi. If Gods were truly in charge of directing Baltar maybe they wouldn't of had Baltar give up defense secrets to Six. Of course we start getting into the redemption phase of the analysis as a reason for Baltars about face in the finale.

Wouldn't of

'Wouldn't of.' Think about that for a second.

yes

sorry "wouldn't of made Baltar..."

Oy.

The fact that you corrected the wrong part makes me queezy. It's 'wouldn't have.' Think about the words 'wouldn't' and 'of.' Think about what they mean. Then ask yourself what business they have being next to one another in a sentence.

thank you

I'm a bit embarrassed. Oh well, I learned something today Grammar Geek and I thank you.

No, The Planet At The End Was Our Earth

The "real" Earth referred to was the cinder planet inhabited by Cylons. The "surprise" ending we just saw was that the RTF were led by God to this planet, the one we live on, which they christened "Earth" since that was what they'd always been looking for. That planet at the end is our Earth, the one you and I live on.

The original Earth was a planet briefly inhabited by Kobolian Cylons- the "13th Tribe". It's somewhere not too far away. That was why we weren't shown the outlines of the continents, or the Moon, when we saw that nuked planet, or anything that could identify it as our Earth. Because it wasn't.

Tomb of Athena

My question is: did the Tomb of Athena point the way to our Earth, as was implied at the time? It would make sense that it did, as 'god' also gave Kara/Hera the coordinates for our Earth. But if the Tomb told them how to find our Earth, why did they say the constellations above Cinder Earth matched those from the Tomb of Athena?

Major mistake, right there, or a retcon. Come up with a plausible explanation and i'll accept it. I can stretch my disbelief in the name of good drama.

After contemplating the finale, i'm becoming more and more accepting of it, I just wish little things like the above were explained. If they had, I could have enjoyed it a lot more on first viewing.

No,

...the Tomb Of Athena pointed the way to "Earth", the cinder planet, not our Earth. Original Earth is presumably quite nearby, which is why there is a reasonable constellation match. The zodiac in the Tomb wasn't a perfect match to our zodiac, though it's not clear if that was deliberate at the time it was filmed, since Moore was still pulling story out of his ass at that point.

It's disappointing that we never got a hint regarding what the Kobolian gods were, and the writers clearly didn't think it needed explaining. Presumably they were real Gods too. Why Athena set up her Tomb as a theme park pointer to "Earth" isn't clear either. Nor why any of it happened at all in fact, other than because God Wanted It To. It would have been nice to get an explanation about Kobol and the Gods there. But nobody cared.

Disappointing.

Encouraged by the prospects

"I just wish little things like the above were explained."

I like some of the unanswered questions and plot holes. If nothing else, the series and its finale has set the stage for a whole series of Star Wars-like sci-fi material (comics, novels, tv specials, etc)to explore the backstories and the "evolution" of humanity/cylon on Earth2.

Shallow Salesman

That's the bit that makes me shudder. There's the BSG squad and fanboi's hailing BSG as some new dawn and it's just the same tired old look at us buy our stuff game. While order and harmony are part of Zen Buddhism there's this little thing called integrity. The fact that Ron pulled a stunt and can't swallow his own medicine is human but like a priest that doesn't believe in God, or a salesman that doesn't believe in their own product. Maybe it's a bit trollish but that's why I called it Battlescam Galactica. 'Cept nobody will admit it, or stop buying into it. Damn that ego thing.

I don't know about that.

I still feel that BSG's biggest selling point was never it's theories on life, religion or it's mystery of human origins. To me, it was all about their struggle for survival that made it so appealing. That's what made it a 'new dawn' as you put it. That's how I sold it to others and that's why I enjoyed it. Everything else was secondary. When the other stuff worked, it added to my enjoyment-- when it didn't I shrugged and enjoyed the rest.

A quibble with your quibble

Regarding domestication of dogs.

Closer to 15,000 is probably the date for the origin of the current "domestic dog," but that does not mean that dog/human partnerships are not much older.

This is a TV show, not a

This is a TV show, not a science documentary. Who cares if its accurate or not? I swear, some people will go out of their way not to enjoy somthing...

What is the importance of scientific consistency?

I more or less agree 100% with Brad's objections, and the connection with creationism is very unexpected (and fascinating).

However, getting other non-geek fans to care about any of this seems rather difficult. It's rather hard to avoid the question of "it's entertainment; why overanalyze it? Just enjoy it" - at least without coming across as a blatant elitist who most people will ignore.

So: what, exactly, is objectionable about all of this? Why is it bad if the ending requires a disbelief in current scientific knowledge of human history? Or if it's utterly anti-technological and almost Luddite? Or that the main motive really did turn out to be a deus ex machina (albeit a heavily modified one)?

Well...

Personally I just found the deus ex machina cheesy and not what one expects from science fiction, as with Brad. You expect some kind of rationalist explanations for events in a show about starships. Once you've said God Did It, well, everything becomes meaningless, because it was just What God Wanted To Happen.

I don't though think it was promoting Creationism or ID, and don't feel angry about that at all. But I can understand why Brad is. I used to hold a very Scientism/Atheist/Dawkins type attitude and I think that's the attitude Brad has. An automatic leap to the defence of Science against the irrational religous hordes. Then I started doing a lot of reading up of less-well promoted history of the battle between Evolutionism and Creationism and gradually saw a more balanced view. Creationism was very much inspired by a reasonable reaction against over-enthusiastic Darwinists who weren't noble scientists but were people who held a lot of very dangerous and evil eugenic ideas. A century ago, eugenics and technocratic biological determinism were widely held values; a scientist and intellectual-driven dogma that the human race could be improved by controlled breeding. It was what drove the birth control and family planning movements, which were more interested in the Wise controlling and planning the reproduction of others than in empowering the masses. And eugenics of course ended up in the horror of the Holocaust. Eugenic laws were implemented in many western nations to various degrees- American States (particularly progressive California), my own country the UK, Sweden were particularly enthusiastic and of course Germany, well before Hitler made it a main policy plank. Religious groups reacted against these dangerous applications of evolutionary theory by lapsing into complete denial of it. You still find these attitudes today; often if you engage a technocratic progressive about contraception, abortion, you'll find somebody not really interested in empowering reproductive choice, but a conceited fool eager to stop the "useless eaters" breeding.

So I now feel that science, the institutional system (as opposed to science, the pure methodology) has only itself to blame for Creationism in many respects and am more sympathetic to religious disapproval, even though of course I remain certain that life evolved and Creation is bunk. But say five or so years ago, I'd have leapt up shouting "how dare they promote this irrational dangerous Creation nonsense!" with as much, if not more, fervour as Brad has here. So while the creationist interpretation of this story doesn't bother me, I can understand why somebody of a science-loyalist disposition would find it objectionable.

There's pseudo-science and then there's creationism

There’s lots of pseudo-science in the world. And people are free to fool themselves into believing it if they want. I and many others get upset when they go beyond believing it, and try to get it into secular school curricula. I am not worried so much about Ouija boards, people don’t vote to get that taught in school. Creationism they do, so it gets special attention.

As for the Godwin’s law reference, Hitler also made good cars, so should I hate anybody in a Volkswagen?

Well as I said

It's a matter of historical perspective. The struggle over biology isn't a one sided Good vs. Evil thing. It's a matter of competing moral views, and while as I said I disapprove of Creationism itself, I find it hard to disapprove of the desire to protect individuals from abuse by misguided technocrats. The argument about abortion for instance is presented in a "womens' rights" kind of way, but go back to those fearless crusaders for abortion like Stopes and Sanger and you find them as members of eugenics societies, openly crusading for abortion as a means to limit the breeding of the inferior classes and inferior races. The religious right's view is very much grounded in a not-irrational observation that once you've said people are animals, you start treating them like animals. And we as a species don't generally offer too many rights to animals. It's worth noticing for instance that the leading early creationist William Jennings Bryan, he of the Scopes Monkey Trial, was a leading Democrat who served in the Wilson administration. The thing just isn't as black and white as it is presented.

I'm not supporting Creationism or ID. Just presenting a perspective on where it arose from- from a furious argument about the status and rights of human beings.

I didn't spot any Godwinisation in what I wrote. I mentioned Nazi Germany and Eugenics in the same breath, but I think pretty much any history book would agree with me on that. What is unfair is to ignore the worldwide eugenics movement of the time which manifested in Germany, Britain and the USA. Leading socialists like GB Shaw and HG Wells were vocal supporters of eugenics- Shaw advocated the Lethal Chamber for the unfit- and the British Eugenics Society membership list is a roll call of progressive opinion formers, from Marie Stopes to John Maynard Keynes to Lord Beveridge (architect of our welfare state). This is important, but not often discussed, history that has to be understood to understand how we got where we are.

I'm an atheist, and no fan of religious creationism and ID. I don't want one word of it taught to children- and I live in a country where it is taught to children in state funded religious academies, which fills me with despair. But I try to see the whole picture.

There's no problem with

There's no problem with eugenics. Like abortion, it depends on implementation and context. Mentioning eugenics especially when presenting it in a negative light tends to throw up the Hitler thing because various special interest groups have hung it on that peg. But as Brad says, just because Hitler was good at cars should we hate everyone who drives a Volkswagen?

This sort of generic argument bores the ass off me because the underlying facts don't change. Like a lot of politics the whole thing is argued and spun because people are too busy competing with each other for dominance. This crowds out truth and consensus, and pulls all discussion down to the lowest common denominator. I fail to see how that's compatible with udnerstanding and progress.

I rest my case

"Truth and consensus". Hmmmmmm. We don't want people disagreeing now, do we?

Like I said, these ideas still circulate.

My concern

With your mention of the Nazis is that whatever you may believe about them, this has no bearing on the actions of 99.9% of the “evolutionists” (which just means scientists) who are simply interested in studying the world and learning truths about it.

The creationists are a body that says, “we need to ignore the evidence of our senses because it doesn’t mesh with our faith.”

I have no trouble picking a side between those two. If there were Nazis who misused the work of scientists, it does not taint the scientists who simply seek the truth in any way. Scientists are not perfect, of course, but better than every other system, they have a rigourous way of eventually routing out error and correcting it.

The point I was making-

-wasn't about Nazis. It was only the nazi excesses that dangled the reality in front of people and killed the Eugenics movement off, even though tacit quiet support still exists even though it doesn't often dare speak its name- see the comment above, for instance. It was a widespread meme among the opinion forming classes, and in biology. The Progressive Era was all about applying "science", often very dubious biased science, to everything that moved- economics, society, reproduction, and dragging all manner of unpleasant assumptions about society and who was fit and unfit with it.

Science the method is the best way of understanding many things about our universe. Science the institutions and the people doesn't always live up to scientific standards of objectivity and can become an ideology. Eugenics was an example of science off the rails. The reaction against eugenics and birth control was a moral reaction in defense of humanity; that it took the religious form it did is unfortunate, but perhaps we should ask why there was so little complaint from secular groups, and secular scientists.

Eugenics and Other Evils, an essay by GK Chesterton, was for instance written mostly before WWI and published in 1922. Whether you agree with him or not, it's a cultural artifact that demonstrates the reality of the problem- it's also striking that it was a voice in the wilderness. I think biologists need to recognise this history that set their foes against them, rather than treating it as a crazy uncle nobody talks about.

Parenting and religion

I am also an atheist and I teach my son about creationism, ID, god and all that. It's a part of our culture, our history and society, I have not told him that there is no god. I have told him my beliefs and the beliefs of others and I will let him make up his own mind. My hope is that he will follow logic and his heart. If it leads him to a religion, i'm fine with that so long as he is still a good person.

Look

RDM could have said that Starbuck was resurrected from one of Lee's rib bones and the fleet sailed around earth for 40 days for all I care. The existence of a biblical or creationist worldview - implicit or explicit - is more or less meaningless in a fictional context.

Put another way, do you hold it against BSG TOS for its strong LDS influences? If you do (or did), is that worth convincing anybody else about?

UK Perspective

Coming from a UK perspective, BSG:TOS and Mormonism are both cheesy tack. Nobody cares.

BSG:RDM and Zen Buddhism are probably about on par with a brain fart. Again, nobody cares.

Plenty here to annoy creationists

I agree with Brad's criticisms, but will note that in the real world, most proponents of creationism and ID will be plenty unhappy with the BSG story, which completely accepts evolution as the origin of humanity, accepts an ancient earth, and has at best a deistic, amoral concept of God. All this is anathema to the vast majority of modern creationists, who steadfastly hold to their literal reading of Genesis.

I get the larger point about the waste of time debunking the Ark theory all over again, and the downsides of religious SF. But I am not really all that worried that BSG will give any real ammunition to creationists.

Well, yes

It isn’t pure creationism, of course, for the audience would be rightly angry if it were so obvious. But the two groups having the same DNA, being able to interbreed, requires that they were designed (or the abduction plot.)

What to call this: God-fi? Religious SF? Red state SF?

Science fiction with a clearly spiritual slant, which appeals to spiritual people, without actually offending their religious belief systems?

I think the BSG ending can be filed under the same group as Stargate SG-1 (ever notice that none of the false Goa'uld gods was JHVH?), large parts of ST:DS9... These all share a common thread of plots where human spirituality plays a very important role, and/or omnipotent and unknowable characters play important roles. In Stargate's case there is a large amount of pooping on non-Abrahamic religions too.

Such an aspect may simply be a required feature of science fiction in the mainstream American market.

Yeah, but in Stargate

The Goa’uld are not gods in any way. It’s debatable that the Ascended and the Ori of that show had much in common with gods, though their origins are shown.

Feh

The fact that I didn't see a Jesus or Tetragrammaton Goa'uld tremendously disappointed me. I don't care that they're not really gods - that omission is extremely telling.

Breeding

So any separately evolved creatures that can interbreed was 'designed'? Now YOU sound like a creationist.

So many issues....

... Yet none.

I had many issues while watching the show, but after my disappointment of not seeing what I thought the ending would be, I can say that I'm happy with the ending. Of course not everything was resolved, of course not everything made sense... But what do you want? I'm sure there is some fan out there pissed that they never told the story of what happened to Boxey!

Abduction Plot Can't be Ruled Out

In this plot, aliens — in this case the God, who does not have to be a supernatural god — captured humans and various plants and animals from real Earth many thousands of years ago. The god took them to Kobol, and possibly with other gods (the Lords of Kobol) created a culture and raised them there. From this flows our story.

This plot works well enough that it’s surprising no hint of it was left in the show. I do not believe it was the intention of the writers, though I would love to see post-show interviews declaring that it was.

Perhaps I'm grasping at straws, but in the final scene one of the angels mentions "god" and the other says "It doesn't like to be called that." Moore's BSG does not a god, even it the characters believe in one.

Little to nothing is inconsistent with the abduction theory.

  • Of course Baltar says God is the reason the DNA of colonists and Earthlings are compatible. He's literally had his head filled with Head gSix's preaching for the past 5 years.
  • The Six and Balter "angels" are virtual beings that start of as downloads of the Six and Baltar taken before the destruction of Caprica, with
    added programming.

  • Kara Thrace is a copy of the original Kara, with some added programming. Her sudden disappearance
    while talking to Lee is easily explained by high technology. E.g. today modern humans have prototype
    invisibility; she walks away invisble, and is picked up by It's shuttle craft sometime later.

  • Hera represents the prototype intelligent being "God/It" with the right DNA that could spawn a species that will break the cycle.

The fun part is exploring why did "God/It" abduct humans from our Earth to begin with?

Let's theorize that there are no bug eyed aliens involved at all in BSG (just as Olmos has said). Instead an intelligent species rose on Earth many millions of years ago, developed AIs that overthrew their creators, and started the Cycle. "God/It" is a derivative AI that feels remorse, and wants to atone. It can't bring back Its biological creators. However several million years ago or so, It notices that Earth has evolved some semi-intelligent primates. It starts to plan for atonement.

At 200,000 years ago (when my reference source says modern humans originated in Africa) years, It executes the plan, starting with abducting some members of homo sapiens to Kobol and other planets, where each planet will be an experiment of the Cycle. It uses the Cycle to evolve/naturally select humans that will be suited to Its plan.

To rapidly create an AI-creating civilization on each planet, It creates a pantheon of AIs which appear as gods to the inhabitants. In most cases, each planet's civilization ends up creating metal Cyclons who revolt and kill off their creators; those humans failed to evolve the survival traits needed. It nukes those planets to keep the machine cancer from spreading.

However, on Kobol something different happens. The humans create Cylons in human likeness instead of metal. It thinks it might be on to something, and fabricates an inter-"god" conflict that drives the humans and skin job cylons from Kobol. The Humans go the Colonies (the odds of a star system having 12 planets that capable of supporting human life or being terraformed in a short time is astronomical; It obviously did some engineering and somehow led the 12 tribes to the Colonones). The skin jobs to the original Earth.

None of the 13 tribes have FTL technology at the time of diaspora. The skin jobs never develop it; the humans do develop it eventually (more beings across 12 planets means a higher probability of an egghead being born capable of having the "ah ah"). Skin jobs on Earth develop metal cylons well before humans in the Colonies, because skin jobs are cylons without the metal, so the leap to non-biological AI is easier for the skin jobs.

Things then play out as we have observed, except that the five Earth cylons, at the time of Earth's destruction have been informed by It that they are part of a plan. That they are unaware of this larger plan is a result of Cavil's treachery; they knew at the time they found the Colonial cylons.

It determines that a male colonist, Karl Agathon, has the necessary DNA the break the Cycle, and causes the five Earth cylons to engineer the DNA of the the number Eight line to be compatible with Agathon's, and also carry the genes that will contribute to breaking the Cycle.

Agathon ends up joining the Fleet so It arranges to have the most of the earth Cylons plus one of the Eights assigned to Helo's Battlestar (I don't recall Agathon having any visions, so I assume his path in life prior to the attack on the Colonoes was for the most part not shaped by It). Unfortunately Agathon is marooned on Caprica (if he hadn't been, It could have easily flipped the switch on Boomer to dump Galen, or vice versa for that matter, and flipped a switch on Boomer to seduce Agathon on Galactica). Compounding the problem, Cavil previously programmed Anders to be a jock, perhaps in spite, and Anders never ends up joining the Fleet. It arranges for another Eight (Athena) to impersonate Boomer and seduce Agathon. It then sends a "vision" to Rosalind to send an expedition to Caprica to retrieve a religious artifact. This eventually leads to the rescue of Agathon, Athena, and Anders.

Agathon and Athena mate and produce Hera who ends up being the common female ancestor to all of humanity. Hera's DNA has attributes that produce humans that

  • will avoid the Cylon mistake, and
  • will be able to deal with the inevitable encounters with other machine civilizations in the universe including perhaps Its machine culture that might be still out there.

(Unfortunately, embedded in Hera' DNA, a left over from Kobol, is an inclination for humans to believe in god as an
explanation for things hard to explain.)

Around the time humans that inhabit Greece, It, or more likely the "angels", notice that other civilizations on Earth developed their own pantheons of gods, and so for amusement or perhaps for sentiment for the one experiment of It's abductions that panned out, decide to introduce a modified Kobol-pantheon. Or perhaps Kara's copy (by then likely a virtual being) does this; she was among the most devout of the BSG humans.

In the 1960s an "angel" zaps Dylan's brain with the Watchtower. Maybe the angel figures Dylan could give
the song justice and would like to hear a human play it live.

In what is apparently the year 2009, the angels comment that they think this time the Cycle will be broken. It certainly can't be because there is historical memory of the Cycle ... it then comes down to Hera's DNA in all of us.

Obviously the above is lot to get into one hour (and why tell the whole story in the second hour of finale, then there are a bunch of TV series or movies to be made to unravel a multi mullion year tapestry?). Not just in the past, but in the future, when a much more prepared human race can take on a malevolent machine culture.

I'm not saying Moore has the above in mind. But the above is my interpretation that allows me to accept BSG as believable science fiction. The audience is always free to interpret anyway.

Regardless, given the number of unanswered questions, short of "God did it?", Moore has ample material to fill in if he wants to make this 30 year franchise.

Can't be ruled out

Indeed, I say it is the best available plot to make this ending work (if you must have this sort of ending.) You actually do more the Atlantis style plot (something advanced arises from Earth, but somehow leaves no trace, even on the Moon.)

However, the problem is, it should have been hinted at. Baltar or somebody else crouched on the hill could have said, “Perhaps that divine hand populated Kobol with people who evolved on this planet.” That one line would have been all it took to fix so many of the bad science errors. That’s what a science advisor should be for. Still religious (if you want that) but no longer nearly so creationist.

Moore's logic

Well. I was profoundly dissatisfied with the finale following the first viewing. Just as the writers 'rewrote' the mythos of the entire show with 'No Exit', they rewrote it again in 'Daybreak' 2 & 3, and this time, permanently. I had my quibbles with 'No Exit'. Like Brad, I was disappointed to see all of the bad intentions in the show reduced to one evil mastermind. It seemed trite, and it seemed below BSG standards. But aside from compressing the timeline of F5 arrival, colony construction, Cavil's murder of the F5 to an (I thought) absurdly short scale, it answered crucial show questions--who and what are the F5 and why are they different from the cylons we already knew, most importantly--and didn't strongly contradict the action up til that point. After rewatching Season 3, Cavil now seemed so devious, so perverse, I wasn't faulting the writers' decision at all. After watching 'No Exit', all of the season 3 Cavil was better than before. I just didn't have the frame of reference to put his cruelty in its eventual horrific context.

Just so for many other show elements I hoped/thought would be 'rewritten' in the finale. Obivously, prophecy and destiny have been hugely important threads of the show. In fact the 'C' story, the series-long story arc, is inconceivable without these supernatural elements. I had anticipated that all or most of these mystical elements would be 'rewritten' by the finale through some kind of materialist explanation. Materialist mysticism?? Simply put, I naively thought that the mysticism of the show would be grounded to some _material_ of the bsgverse, either historical or scientific. I'm crushed and bewildered that RDM and Co. have rewritten all of the show's mysticism, what guided the great questions of the plot, is simply the hand of God! And the God is straight out of medieval Europe, with angels, demons and all. That's (for now) what I'm getting out of the enormous insult to the audience that the Kara's story was resolved with. All of the politics, the military conflicts, the best character development in tv, the undercurrents of sex, death, selfishness and selflessness, xenophobia, love and acceptance...its now all subordinate to a simplistic, intellectually and spiritually unsatisfying theology. I will continue to watch, watch, and rewatch this show (not the finale though). Hopefully the show's greatness can slowly erase the debasing effects of the way they decided to (not) tie it all up.

Really though, I should have taken Bill Adama's advice about reading Searider Falcon, and not finished the damn series.

Final note: If Hera is the mitochondrial eve, doesn't that indicate that Hera later gets together with a pre-language hominid in order to people the earth? Or does it mean that the natives die off, and we are all descendents of the original human/cylon?

Angels and all

To give credit to one idea, the real God revealed should have some similarities to the gods of Earth religions, because after all, it is real, and it is interventionist, and it does send down angels to influence things.

So no surprise that our religions, in this universe, would incorporate more of that. In many ways it is odd that this god is quite unlike our gods.

Just Say "No" to having God The Main Influence In BSG

Many on this blog are upset BSG used religion, gods, and angels to explain away the questions we had on a
series we spent over 4 years watching. I bought into BSG because I thought it was true science fiction; dark, dangerous, cutting edge and not some Harry Potter like fantasy. The shaky handheld camera rarely veered into brightly lit rooms. The show was as much about eluding raw emotions from the characters as it was about great complex storytelling.

Since there is no homogeneous definition of science fiction, some can argue its truth. I feel my personal definition fits in with many on this blog. That is SF, should be fiction strongly based on science. There should be no limit to the progressiveness of science that is explored. Last time I checked science and God(s) are dual opposites in much of literature. John W. Campbell, responsible for shaping the Golden Age of Science Fiction defined SF "To be science fiction, not fantasy, an honest effort at prophetic extrapolation from the known must be made". I feel BSG fails this test. Others may argue otherwise, but it makes me strongly question whether I should invest my time in 'Plan' and 'Caprica'. BSG writers have free reign to give us another great build up, only have some deity intervene to solve all the plot holes after we invest "X" number of years in another series. I guess we were told the truth about BSG's intentions early on, but if you were like me, denied it. When Baltar asked Six who she was, her response "I am a messenger of God". I never took that literally until the season finale.

Writer Ronald D Moore essentially wanted to wrap up the whole series with his heavy handed religious beliefs;
"Mathematics," Six Angel replies. "Law of averages. Let a complex system repeat itself long enough and eventually something surprising might occur. That too is in God's plan."
"You know it doesn't like that name," says Baltar Angel. FYI: That was writer Ronald Moore holding the magazine on Mitochondria Eve. As if he's saying (RM) its possible we are descendents of Hera. Don't examine this too much because you will realize to make this true the 38,000 colonist left could not have more children aka DNA spread through our genes then the descendants of Hera. Unless all the colonists were Cylons there is no strong linkage to our origin on Earth2.

making it work

This is the best I can do to make it work within the framework of my alternate ending - BSG: solving the Ark problem.

"Last time I checked science

"Last time I checked science and God(s) are dual opposites in much of literature."

Just because they are dual opposite in some literature does not mean they have to be in all literature. Reading through this blog I have found a disturbing trend among the group that is dissatisfied with any sort of spiritual, and this is spiritual not religious, ending having the idea that religion and science must be anathema to each other, when that is simply not true, plenty of individuals can be religious and have a healthy appreciation for science and vice versa. Either way, the ending is not he best plot. Lee's idea to abandon technology is idealism at its worst, and wholly unrealistic; he mentions how science outraces the human heart, well the colonials have born the fruits, could they not implement the adoption of technology in a way to ensure that this would not happen again? Just abandoning technology because nature is 'good' is Emersonian foolishness at its worst. Well I disagree Lee, nature sucks, things eat you and you die young.

I don't pick up anything in

I don't pick up anything in here that's off the scientific or spiritual dial but, I agree, people can argue themselves into misunderstandings and seperate corners. Science and religion, or politics and the pebble on the beach, are just different perspectives on the same underlying reality. Given that, getting sweaty seems like an incredible waste of time. Life is short and as your closing comment on "natural" versus "artificial" suggests, there are levels of stupid which make it even shorter. Ideally, good science and good religion (or politics and business) helps us avoid this "stupid" and embrace the "awesome".

Real Earth and BSG

In the introduction to the TV show, it started that BattleStar Galactica and the colonies were looking for this so called "Earth" while fleeing from the Cylons.
Base on what I have seen and researched about. The "Earth" is actually our own Earth. Cylons and Humans in the TV has two different ways of being Symbols.
First off, in the middle east there has been discoveries of ancient sites of "visitations from other beings" So Cylons and the Humans could be the "Alien Visitors" to our world who had helped us create the amazing Pyramids and etc.
Another symbol is Human is fleeing from their own creation, when A.I. started to be too much for the humans to control "Our future human race in space"
But it all draws down to the time period that BattleStar Galactic series was created it. Yep, It was our space missions to explore our universe and find more things about our own solar systems. Even our own creation of the possibility of Artificial Intelligences aka the Robots. Another note connected BSG and Our Earth is that, there are lot of science theories about Alien life is walking among our civilization to this day. Yes, our ancient history talked about Roman Gods, Greek Gods, Celtic Gods, Norse Gods, Chinese Gods, Japanese Gods, Hebrew Gods, and etc Gods throughout our world.

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