Jewish date: 16 ’Adhar 5770 (Parashath Ki Thissa’).
Today’s holidays: Bahá’í Month of Fasting and Ayyam-i-ha (Bahá’í Faith), Tuesday of the Second Week of Lent (Roman Catholicism).
Worthy cause of the day: “Take Action: Help stop expanded logging in the Tongass”.
Topic 1: The latest episode of Caprica, “There Is Another Sky”. The first of two major religious themes of this episode is the treatment of artificial people. Daniel Graystone, arguing before the board of his company, claims that artificial intelligences do not have rights and do not need to be treated with the same consideration as humans and can be exploited and bossed around at will. To illustrate, he orders Zoe II to rip her own arm off. He still has no idea that Zoe II is still alive and possesses a Cylon body, and she complies, apparently to avoid blowing her cover. (Why she keeps up the pretense of being just another robot, I have no idea. I hope she will eventually explain her reasons.) Meanwhile, the virtual reconstruction of Tamara Adama falls into the hands of a gang who realize that she is pure avatar and not a normal human; she cannot be injured—though she can feel pain—and she cannot be knocked out of the virtual world. The gang feels no qualms about forcing her to participate in New Cap City, a crime-based game in which normal rules of morality are ignored. Eventually she turns on them and shoots them all, knocking them out of the virtual world, except for one; the reason for this will be explained shortly. But suffice it to say that many of the humans have little or no moral regard for artificial people. This explains a lot about why 58 years in the future the Cylons rebel and try to kill all the humans.
The other major religious theme is mourning. Joseph and Willie Adama spend this episode trying to come to terms with the deaths of Shannon and Tamara. Joseph finds out that Willie has been skipping school and tries to bond with his son. Eventually the two of them participate in a Tauron mourning ceremony involving giving coins for the dead—shades of the ancient Greek practice of placing a coin under the tongue of the dead so as to pay Charon to take him/her across the river Styx to Hades—and officiated by a bald, darkly-clad priest. At this point Joseph seems well on his way to recovery (that is the point of mourning ceremonies, after all), when all of a sudden a visitor shows up. It is the one gang member which Tamara II did not shoot, and he tells Joseph that Tamara II sent him. The gang member runs away in fear before delivering any more information, and Joseph is left clearly disturbed. Clearly Joseph’s search for Tamara II is meant to be a long-term arc.
Topic 2: Despite a prediction to the contrary, Utah was not destroyed by a comet yesterday. Reason: 1, Bible codes: 0.
Topic 3: For today’s religious humor: “Even Basement Cat”: