Prometheus, Ridley Scott’s return to to the stage of the Alien franchise, has drawn mixed reviews. I am really excited to go see it later this week, but without ruining it, Yglesias has some great pointers about critiquing the characters motivations.
The film is asking you to believe that a small minority of the population would begin to act in a somewhat fanatical way if presented with what they believed to be an opportunity to literally encounter God and have a chat.
If you ever read up about the cathedrals of medieval europe, it all sounds totally insane. We’re talking about extremely poor societies operating with primitive technology and very low overall living standards. The idea of taking vast sums of labor and natural resources and using them for religious facilities rather than to make productive capital goods is nuts. What’s more, not only is it illogical to think that a benevolent God would want his worshippers to impoverish themselves for sick sake, there’s clearly nothing in the Bible about the desirability of building fancy churches. The characters’ actions “don’t make sense.” And yet we have all these cathedrals everywhere.