All this must be rather boring if you are already familiar with BSG. My apologies. Anyway, immediately after hearing my synopsis, R, who is well-known for his irony-laced sense of humor, remarked, "So, I take it that the Cylons are the good guys, right?" I was taken aback by this remark for about a quarter of a second, but then quickly saw where he was going with this. This is roughy how the conversation proceeded from this point:
Nobel: Ah yes, I see what you're saying. The humans basically created a slave-race of cybernetic robots to serve their rather trivial interests. All the robots did was rebel and fight back. Which is something any self-respecting race would do.
R [smiles and nods enthusiastically]: So you are on the side of the Cylons?
Nobel [smiles sheepishly]: Well, rationally speaking, I probably should be on the Cylons' side. After all, if we are willing to put aside the fact that they kill humans (like humans don't kill humans, anyway...), they do have a few strong arguments going for them. For instance, many Cylons are deeply religious: They believe that since humans are so fracked-up and corrupt, it is God's will that Cylons should be brought into this universe (by humans, no less: Which shows that God has a very interesting sense of poetic justice) to destroy humans, so that the universe will become a better place. A sort of moral Darwinism, if you will. To be sure, this argument is probably compelling only if you believe that there is a God or some kind of universal agency that is responsible for meting out justice in the universe. But it may still be a great argument if you replace "God" with either your favorite universal-justice-meting-mechanism, or with some notion of the survival of the morally and physically fittest.
Oh, and actually, there is also one more thing going for the Cylons. Since Cylons are basically a bunch of robots, they are, by default, in possession of perfect health and perfect cognitive abilities. Which means that Cylon society does not suffer from the kinds of problems associated with the allocation and distribution of scarce social goods (health care, for instance) that plague human society. After all, who needs insurance or a public health-care system in Cylon society? So, to be a Cylon is to be morally perfect, and also be in possession of perfect health and mental ability. What's not to love about that?
R: Okay, very nice... so why aren't you on the side of the Cylons?
Nobel: Because I'm human! I hate to have to admit this, but I'm basically what Peter Singer would call a speciesist: I am somebody who favors the interests of my own species over that of another, just because they are a different species, just because they, well, look different from me... Well, actually, that's not even really true in the case of the Cylons. The latest Cylon models actually look and feel human (and rather attractively so, if I may add...):
The latest Cylon models
Contrast these with the earlier robot model, a.k.a. the Centurion:
And actually, while poking around online a little while ago, I also found this very useful chart that gives a quick overview of the evolutionary history of the Cylon:
Hmm... from toasters to hot blonde? How's that possible?
Okay, I realize I've digressed majorly here. Anyway, to come back to my conversation with R... by the end of said conversation, I found myself running out of good reasons not to take the side of the Cylons, as they are obviously the physically, intellectually, and morally superior race... I'm going to have to seriously rethink my human allegiances now. By the way, what this also shows is that the writers of BSG are also a bunch of speciesists: Despite the very obvious flaws of the humans, they are still depicted as the good guys in the series.
I suppose I better change the subject before you get bored by my BSG ramblings, if you aren't already. So, on a totally different note, it appears that yoga has scored a legal victory over a bunch of religious
Cylons people. Earlier today, San Diego Superior Court judge John Meyer ruled that the Encinitas Union School District's yoga program (which, as most of you know, was initiated with a grant from the Jois Foundation) does not endorse any religion, and may be allowed to continue.
If you read this blog regularly, you know my position on this case, so I shall not belabor you with a further exposition of my views here. But now I can't help wondering if this entire case might not be a Cylon plot. After all, Cylons look like us (only they are a bit more physically attractive), and believe in a monotheistic religion; this being the case, it is very possible that Cylons might well regard yoga and its spirituality-imbued movement practice as an affront to God. Notice also that the "it's just exercise" argument is not going to work against Cylons: They already have perfect health, and won't need the exercise. Hmm.... could the NCLP be a Cylon front organization? Could those perfect-looking conservative Christians really be the latest Cylon models? Uh oh, I think I may have said too much here... well, I think I'll sign off now and go eat some dinner. And maybe watch more BSG. More later.