David Sarkies's Reviews > The Physics of Star Trek

The Physics of Star Trek by Lawrence M. Krauss
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Jul 22, 11

bookshelves: science
Read in January, 1998

This book is a complete and utter waste of time and space. While I like physics and while I enjoyed reading this book when it was given to me as a birthday present, when I think about it, and in fact, the more I think about it, the more pointless it becomes. Granted, science fiction has been a vehicle for technological development in the past, and it still works in that way (just look at Gibson's prediction of the internet, or even the mobile phone). However, much of the ideas in Star Trek stretch from pure fantasy to downright idealistic. Star Trek is little more than a television franchise, or a cash cow that generates income simply through a name.
One thing Star Trek does is identify a problem that the laws of physics create, and then imagine a device that will solve that problem. Okay, we do that today, but we require a lot more than a writer's pen to solve the problem of faster than light travel. Star Trek creates the warp engine, but the problem is that the faster one gets to light speed, the heavier one becomes, and of course, when one becomes heavier, the amount of energy required to increase velocity increases. Thus, to get to light speed, one needs an infinite amount of energy to push an object of infinite weight. Even though, compared to the distances between stars, light speed is pretty slow.
I could go through an look at all of the items the author explores, and the author even has a chapter of alien life. The belief is that if live can evolve on Earth then life can evolve elsewhere. We just have to find it. Do we really want to find it? Well, all of the geeks do, but if this extra-terrestrial life turns out to be more like the predator and the alien as opposed to the vulcan, then we are all in trouble.
The final thing that I must touch on when evaluating any Star Trek literature is the concept of a human utopia. To the Christian, this is not going to happen this side of the second coming. While we, while on earth, and attempt to make life here as tolerable as possible for as many as possible, we are never going to get to that state, so we wait in longing for Christ to return. To the material secularist, it is possible, and usually the main thing holding us back from reaching that utopic state is religion.
I must disagree with that because all we need to do is to look at communist Russia to see what happens when one takes God out of the picture and puts man in his place. I'm am not going to mention Nazi Germany simply because the Nazi's weren't athiests.
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Youness I disagree whole heartidly with your final point. Communist Russia was never a real secular state. Their God and religion was the state. Making them no different then those than the Christians, Muslims, Budhists, Jews etc. that believe in made up things.


David Sarkies Actually, you are correct there because it is interesting how quickly the Soviet government deified Lenin after his death. However a lot of people have hammered athieism because of the actions of Stalin and Mao. However my position has changed somewhat since I wrote the above. My point though is that by getting rid of religion (something which Star Trek does seem to hammer a lot) does not necessarily create a perfect society.


message 2: by Glenn (new)

Glenn Curry 'To the Christian' the logical conclusion of life, the universe and everything is the destruction of Earth and some people burning in hell and some frolicking with lions and lambs, praising God for eternity. You are right, Star Trek is fiction. WE ALL KNOW THAT. We also know that, while based in scientific proofs, Star Trek takes huge liberties with that science. WE ALL KNOW THAT. It's fiction. That's what fiction does. Anyone who approaches Star Trek looking for scientific truth is misguided. And, anyone who approaches Star Trek looking for workable solutions to our current problems is also misguided. However, the fantasy that Star Trek presents is a far more useful and hope-full proposition that the hell, fire, judgement, damnation the Christian future holds. Let's see ... god made flesh through virgin birth, raising people from the dead, demons, angels, apocalyptic horsemen, Christians being raptured to heaven and Satan let loose on the planet ... seems to me Christianity is as every bit as fantastical, fictional and ridiculous as you say Star Trek is. At the very least, the roots of the science in Star trek are based in quantified reality. Whereas Christianity is based on the thoughts and beliefs of people who lived in a world that was flat, unmoving, smack dab in the centre of the universe (in Istanbul you can still see a marker for the centre of the universe). Before you criticize the errors of science in Star Trek, which we all know is a fantasy, you should correct the fundamental errors at the foundation of Christianity, which people believe to be unassailable truth.


David Sarkies Thankyou for commenting on my commentary. I have read your thoughts with interest and note that you have made quite a few assumptions about me. It is quite evident that this is the only commentary of my 500 other commentaries that you have read (including my commentaries on the Left Behind series, of which I completely trash). I do agree that Star Trek is fiction, I have never said otherwise, but the idea that I am attacking is that humanity can evolve out of its current state of barbarism to become the entity that we see in Star Trek. People at the turn of the 20th century believed that they had reached that point and that was completely dismantled by two world wars and numerous genocides. In any case, despite my attacks against Star Trek on philosophical grounds, the main reason that Star Trek fails in comparison with Star Wars comes down to one thing, and that is Light Sabers.
Anyway, I cannot help, but respond to your attacks against Christianity. It appears that you have automatically assumed that because I have mentioned Christianity in my commentary that I am a narrow minded, backward looking, middle American, fundamentalist Christian. That is not the case. In fact, I am completely the opposite. Okay, I believe in the miracles, but believe it or not, Jesus Christ was not the only God-man that was claimed to have been created by the union of a God and a Human. The only difference is that Christ's virgin birth occurred in recorded history as opposed to the likes of Heracles, which occurred in mythology.
As for Christianity arising from a belief that the Earth was flat, pray tell, were in the bible does it actually say that the Earth was flat. As far as I am aware, nowhere does the bible say that the Earth was flat. This misnomer was added afterwards by religion.
Yes, I say religion, because that is what Christ actually came to undermine. What Christ did, beyond the miracles that you doubt, was to point to the world that a relationship with God could exist outside of organised religion. That was why he was executed, because he challenged the established religious system of the time, but it did not take longe for the powers that be to return to the system that Christ abolsihed.
You also suggest that God is some malignant entity that gets his kicks out of sending people to hell. Once again that demonstrates to me you misunderstanding of the true nature of Christianity. Christianity is not like a judge punishing a convicted murderer to like in gaol for hard labour, but it more like a friend inviting you to a party and you turning it down. God noes not send people to hell, but rather he offers an invitation which people have a choice to either accept or reject.
As for the idea that hell is fire a brimstone, once again, that is something that I do not believe. The only references in the bible to Hell being fire and brimstone are allegorical references as to what life outside of God's creation is like. Hell, to me, is better describe as either loneliness, or, as presented on Red Dwarf, spending eternity with your mates. The best analogy to hell that I have discovered (and you should read it as you may find it interesting) is C.S. Lewis' a Great Divorce.


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