Category Archives: Faith versus science

Science versus faith: Science wins

“For a reason” is the catchphrase that inspired the name of this blog, the one phrase that seemed to best capture the central mystery of the show.

Originally, it was a phrase associated most strongly with Locke, something that Locke, as the man of faith, would say to Jack, the man of reason.   Jack would always brush Locke off, too skeptical to listen.

Now we’ve turned a corner. Jack is no longer skeptical. But neither is he relying on blind faith.

In last night’s episode, 6×07 Dr. Linus, the phrase “for a reason” was spoken twice, once by Richard Alpert and once by Jack.

You can see both those moments in the “Quick Cut” video below:

Alpert: “I devoted my life in the service of a man who told me everything was happening for a reason. And now that man’s gone, so my entire life had no purpose.”

Jack (as the flame approaches the dynamite): “For some reason Jacob had been wanting me to know that he had been watching me ever since I was a kid. I’m willing to bet you that if Jacob went to that trouble, that he brought me to this island for a reason, and it’s not to blow up sitting here with you right now.”

Jack for a reason in LOST 6x07 Dr Linus

"Jacob brought me to this island for a reason"

That’s a big shift. Originally, in Locke’s formulation, the explanation for the reason they were brought to the Island was mystical and abstract. It was fate. It was their destiny. Locke was speaking the language of abstract religion.

But now we’re getting more concrete. It was Jacob, a specific person, who brought them there, for his own reasons.

Since Jacob, presumably, is just a person, not a god, we have now left the realm of abstract faith. Perhaps God or fate or destiny may work in mysterious ways that humans cannot fully understand, but Jacob’s reasons can and will be explained.

Because the reasons originate from within the mind of a specific person, the explanations will be concrete and non-mystical — the type of explanations that even a man of science can accept.

And, in fact, Jack is looking at Jacob and his reasons with a scientist’s eye, drawing a link between cause and effect: “I’m willing to bet you,” Jack says, “that if Jacob went to that trouble, [then] he brought me to this island for a reason.”

In the lighthouse, Jack observed evidence that showed him that Jacob had been watching him since he was a child. From that, Jack infers an explanation: That Jacob must have had a reason to bring him to the Island. It’s a logical and rational inference — and a testable hypothesis.

Jack tests it by lighting the fuse on the dynamite. The flame fizzles out. The hypothesis is confirmed.

“For a reason” has become a mystery that will be solved not by faith, but by science.

Damon and Carlton talk about the final episode of the final season of LOST (and much more) at the Jules Verne Festival

Earlier, I posted clips of Evangeline Lilly and Michael Emerson at last month’s Jules Verne Festival. Now, here are some clips of producers/writers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, starting with their walking out on stage to extended applause, and then being introduced to the audience:

They start to answer questions. Carlton talks about how being dead on LOST doesn’t mean you won’t appear on the show again:

The questions continue, and this is where they talk about the ending of the show, and where it gets really interesting.

Damon says that they’ve known, for a long time, what the very last scene of the show will be. Carlton promises that the ending will not be that it “happens in a snow globe,” or that it “all takes place in a dream in a dog’s mind” — and that they won’t just cut to black, the way The Sopranos did.

He says they have a very appropriate and legitimate ending for the show, and they are excited about it, even if they are already starting to feel nostalgic about the show coming to an end.

Damon says that they will answer all the mysteries “that we care about” in the final episode. They won’t make us pay to see a movie to find out!

They also discuss the show’s theme of faith versus science. Carlton calls it one of the central philosophical debates of our time. He says that he, who is Catholic, and Damon, who was raised Jewish, debate these issues between themselves, and then they put the debates into the mouths of the characters. He says that the ongoing nature of the debate is what gives the show its thematic power.

Carlton says that they will take the debate to a conclusion that is, hopefully, satisfying. Damon says that so far on the show, faith seems to be winning.

The questions continue. Damon talks about the Dharma Initiative, which he describes as a group of people who say they are trying to make the world a better place, but are probably more violent than anyone else we have met on the Island. He says there is still “much to learn” about them.

Carlton says that we will get some more answers about the Smoke Monster in this season’s finale.

Damon talks about how difficult it was to cast the character of Kate, how he and J.J. Abrams had to audition almost 75 actresses.

And here you can see them receiving the Jules Verne Achievement Award:

Here’s hoping LOST wins all the awards it deserves!

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