Tag Archives: Prometheus

Director Ridley Scott and a question: What is justified, rational belief?

Director Ridley Scott’s new movie Prometheus is due June 8.

A fairly obvious cultural subtext emerges from this excerpt in today’s New York Times on Scott and Prometheus.

On the one hand, he said, he was inspired by the current quest to look for life beyond Earth, under the sands of Mars and in the oceans beneath the ice covering Jupiter’s moon Europa.

“I think, wow, this is a pretty useful basis for my film,” Mr. Scott recalled.

At the other end of the credibility scale is the pop archaeologist Erich von Daniken, who argued in books like his 1968 “Chariots of the Gods” that there was archaeological evidence in the form of things like the Nazca lines in Peru that we had received visitors from outer space. His claims gained no traction among professional archaeologists, but, Mr. Scott said, “to me it all made sense.”

In news conferences and in conversation Mr. Scott has evinced sympathy for the notion — popular in some circles, including the Vatican — that it is almost “mathematically impossible” for life on Earth to have gotten to where it is today without help.

“It is so enormously irrational that we can do this,” he went on, referring to our conversation — “two specs of atoms on a carbon ball.”

“Who pushed it along?” he asked. Have we been previsited by gods or aliens? “The fact that they’d be at least a billion years ahead of us in technology is daunting, and one might use the word God or gods or engineers of life in space.”

And would we want to meet them again? Mr. Scott’s countryman the cosmologist Stephen Hawking has suggested that we should be careful Out There. “We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn’t want to meet,” Dr. Hawking said.

Mr. Scott agreed: “Hopefully they won’t visit.”

Let us consider: A belief that makes sense to an individual, yet that belief doesn’t gain the support of experts. Irrational? Alternative? Plausible? Crazy?


‘Acquire The Fire’ sounds both Promethean and Pelagian

Just sayin’. Please look up Prometheus and Pelagius before commenting.

Update, July 18, 2013

Due to the popularity of this post and related posts, I decided to make a brief explanation.

In Greek mythology, Prometheus stole fire from the gods.

In Christian history, Pelagius thought it possible to gain one’s salvation through effort.

As a name, “Acquire the Fire” evokes the sense that an individual can do something to obtain things from God. The emphasis is on human efforts, not God’s completed work in Christ. “Acquire the Fire” suggests that individuals can come to special events and do enough and feel enough to get something more from God — and unfortunately, such an attitude and approach has numerous predecessors in contemporary evangelicalism and fundamentalism. However, according to the New Testament, God already has given us every spiritual blessing, an idea that Saint Paul says and then soon repeats.