I was trying to decide what to focus on in my post about my first day in Boston at the American Academy of Religion and Society of Biblical Literature annual meeting, when I saw this comment on one of my posts about Star Trek: Discovery:
When interpreting Star Trek we have to start with the presupposition that Star Trek is inerrant. So when we are faced with an apparent contradiction like this we have to look at possible solutions: e.g. has it been established that STD is in the same universe as TOS? Do we know that they didn’t later discover some flaws with that scientific breakthrouh?
Those possibilities are all more probable than Star Trek being in error.
This connects with two points that were emphasized or touched on at the workshop on fake news and religion that I attended yesterday.
One was the question of tensions within the thinking of young-earth creationists and others on the religious right. Those who hold views that appear contradictory to others may in some cases simply never have thought about the issues in question. But quite often, they are simply adept at constructing a larger framework within which they reconcile the conflicting data. We see this in fandoms as in religion and politics. Harmonizing discrepancies involves great mental acumen and creativity. There are plenty of legitimate criticisms of fundamentalism that one can offer, without making the inappropriate and often simply false accusation that fundamentalists are stupid.
The other connection to yesterday’s workshop has to do with satire. Two presenters talked about The Onion and the fact that students do not always recognize it as satire. I was sorry that Poe’s Law never came up. I wonder whether all readers could detect that the comment about the inerrancy of Star Trek is satire, without a smile or wink.
It has been a great conference so far, and it has barely really started yet…