liveonearth (liveonearth) wrote,

Scientific Integrity in Question by Netflix Series

The Union of Concerned Scientists is just that, concerned.  They've created a system by which any government-funded scientist can report the situation or the data if their science is challenged by politics.  The UCS is not partisan, they are simply interested in maintaining this process by which we approach the truth in an objective manner.  They want to see science continue in spite of the increasingly anti-science culture of our nation.  Anyone who is not science trained is increasingly likely to have a negative opinion of science.  Scientists in general are working to understand how things work which allows us to develop medicines and technologies that improve our lives.  But television appears to be more entertaining when the doctor is the devil.

Recently my partner and I have watched almost two seasons of a series on Netflix called The 100.  The premise is that a nuclear holocaust has occurred on earth, and the only humans surviving are the residents of the space stations that were in orbit when the earth was irradiated.  The leaders there decide to send 100 (young and beautiful) criminals down to earth's surface ("the ground") after 200 years of waiting for the radiation to dissipate.  The pretty criminals are outfitted with bracelets that transmit vital medical data back to the Ark (a composite of many space stations), so that those who stay in orbit can tell if they are dying of radiation poison or something else.  It turns out there are some humans who've survived the radiation and are living on the earth's surface.  There are also a set of humans who've survived because they are inside a radiation-sheltered palace underground.  The evil elites living underground have been surviving by tapping the blood of the "grounders" who survive outdoors, and by enslaving them by way of addiction.  The violence escalates as these groups all battle for dominance, rendering the show almost unwatchable by yours truly.  I have never been habituated to bloodshed.  I don't want to be.

The evil elites in their underground palace use science and medicine to live well, with infinite hydropower, delicious food, and vicious defenses from the humans on the surface. They only care about themselves, and consider that they have a right to the planet.  They do not care about human suffering or life.  Captured humans are either "harvested" for their blood or bone marrow or converted into slaves called "reapers" who do the work of fetching more humans to be harvested.  The reapers are also cannibals, disposing of the harvested bodies.  The medical scenes have two sides.  One side of the wall shows white sheets and fluorescent lights like a hospital, and the other side of the wall is inhumane, with people in cages waiting to be used, giant needles penetrating people's necks and limbs, bone marrow being harvested without pain management or concern for the survival of the source person, and humans being scrubbed down like animals before a slaughter so that they can be hung upside down and drained of blood.  It is utterly sickening.

The good people in the series are the "grounders"--barbarians who hack at each other with swords--and the "sky people" who crashed to earth and didn't die because they were smart and found a stash of guns.  This series creates a world in which the educated are hateful and the barbarians and criminals are reasonable.  It is a populist story without the overweening power of big business, and without the inquisitive media.  The only media in sight is the television series itself.

This series is targetted at the young, and it is perpetuating a worldview in which science and medicine are evil and bad.  Education is not valued except for the mandatory techie in each group who saves the day by being smart.  Heartless "strength" is valued over and above love.  This is the kind of television that sets us up culturally for longterm rebellious ignorance.  If this one series has this perspective, how many more are there?
Tags: america, culture, ignorance, media, medicine, science, television

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