Friday, April 18, 2014

Even Spock Gets Freakin' Irrational

(C) 2014  Ray X

"Did you see Star Trek last night?  Spock was horny!"

Standing in line, waiting for lunch outside the junior high school cafeteria, when I hear one of my adolescent "peers" give his erudite review of the episode, "Amok Time," from the original ST TV series.

For those of you unfamiliar with Star Trek in any of its incarnations Spock is the half-earthling/half-alien science officer aboard the starship Enterprise in the 23rd Century (Earth time).  He struggles with his human side which at times is in conflict with his logical Vulcan upbringing.  Vulcans value unemotional rational thought above all else.

But as the episode "Amok Time" reveals even Vulcans deal with irrational and violent impulses when it comes to mating time - pon farr.  Every seven years Vulcans have to knock boots or eventually die like a female ferret with intact virginity at mating season's end.

I knew one woman who liked the character of Spock, his stoic persona.  She hated it when Spock acted human, especially when something like alien plant spores unleashed his feelings, making him goofy and smiling as in the episode "This Side of Paradise."

For some Spock represents logic over emotion, the ideal state to see truth as it is, not as one wants it to be.  The ideal that skeptics strive for – and fail to achieve on occasion.

Wanna open a huge can o' worms?  Google these search terms: "skeptics sexual harassment,"  "radford vs. stollznow," or "michael shermer allegations."  It's skeptic versus skeptic when it comes to arguments over accusations of sexual harassment and other allegations of transgressions even worse.

Dive in and you'll find various dogfights going on, the vast gray area called "He said, she said."  Who's innocent?  Who's guilty?  Who knows?  At times emotions, not rational thoughts, reign supreme.  Statements, counter-statements, lawsuits threatened or initiated, legal defense fundraisers.

Obviously skeptics are human and despite their claim to Correct Thinking can be just as screwed up as us regular joes and janes.

Within skepticdom individuals align themselves to either group: he or she, pro or con.  Divisiveness, not diversity, predominates.  From some rationality is a thin veneer.

Call it Skeptical Pon Farr.

1 comment:

X. Dell said...

I get the analogy with Spock, but the "skeptics," as you call them, don't have pon farr for an excuse.

I've written about this before, but sometimes belief in science, or more accurately in humanism, becomes just that, a belief as opposed to query, investigation, exploration, the search for justice and so forth. It doesn't surprise me that skeptics would deny their own extrarational motives for adopting certain things as true or false, and that they would clash over whose ideas trumps whose.