Faith and subjectivity, a response to Extra credits on pennyarcade

Preface

I go on pennyarcade a little now and then to check out the extra credits guys. Pretty sure i’ve recommended them in the past. To put it briefly, for those not in the know, they’re a group of three people (One of them being a professional videogame designer) who make videos about various subjects as they relate to videogames (For the most part, sometimes, they out right make political videos, mailbag videos, etc). It ranges from things such as psychology (Skinner box and videogames, the uncanny valley and videogames) and culture (Violent videogames, sexism in videogames), and so much more.

Sometimes, i do have a lot of concessions to the things that they say there. Like the episode about politics, which in my opinion, was too liberally slanted. But i’m not here to write about that, i’m here to write about their latest videos. A two-parter about videogames and religion.

Lore

Just to maybe quell the fire that these videos has produced, i want to point out that they clearly stated in the first two minutes of the first video that it’s by no means the best way to look at the subject of religion in videogames. It’s just how they view it, and i think for the most part, they’re well on the right track.

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Like their first point, about lore in videogames. I can’t really find any issues here what so ever. Mythology is pretty fucking awesome, and it does resonate with us, all these stories that has survived so many years of human history. The Illiad, the various stories in the bibile

The Quran which mentions Jesus a lot. So many cool things, really. And if games would just expand on the religious lore some more, i think we would see some pretty awesome stories. I mean, why leave out that part of fiction, just because some people believe some of it to be true? Take it for what it is, and make a great game around it, i say. And not just in the shallow way that would, like they say in the video, only provoke tangential learning. But in a more meaningful way. Wish i could point to a great example, but i think they’re right in saying that there really isn’t one.

Mechanics

This is where most people are gonna have issues, i feel.. know.
Because they dared to say that Religion brings us together. More specifically, “ways that religion brings us together”. And i think the underlying thing about their comments on the mechanics part, is that they are a little too roseie about religion. As if there’s equally positive and negative sides to religion.

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Although i have to admit that religion isn’t all bad, i think it could be argued that it’s mostly a force for bad. But i’m not interested in making that argument today, as i want to move along to the part i do want to go more in dept on. So let’s leave this subject for now.

Faith

I think the feelings that they’re trying the equate to “faith” should be referred to as “religious experiences”, “Zen” and/or spirituality. I don’t think the simple act of taking something on faith is really that noble thing they’re trying to describe; but rather, it’s the religious experiences, or spirituality. Which i agree with them on. We can all experience that, even if we’re very skeptical.
So really, my issue is just the terminology  and i think it’s the mayor part of the backlash, is that they didn’t adequately explain it (Not that i have any delusions of being the one to correct them. I’m just pointing out how i see it, and it’s just my opinion on the matter)

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And the other thing that they use the word faith for, which i have some issues with, is when talking about subjectivity and human beings. They bring up such things as “what if we’re just a part of a matrix” or “cogito ergo sum”. Which are valid points, and even here, i agree with them. When it all comes down to it, we can only look at things from a subjective view point. Anyone who knows anything about the electromagnetic spectrum knows just how blind our senses are, and the knowledge of all the science of the universe and all that, really doesn’t help that much in giving us a more objective point of view. They bring up how people are so sure about things like Newtonian physics, yet it does nothing to explain the subatomic world.

But yea.. Subjectivity should have been mentioned instead, and spirituality (For instance) would have been a more accurate term in the first point they made. Instead, they opted to say “faith” instead. Would explaining this better really help though? Would it stop all these people from getting mad at them?
Of course not. Apart from being very.. liberal when explaining the impact religion has had on our culture (Not that this should bother anyone, seeing as they didn’t mean anything bad by it. They just wanted to get to the meat of the topic, not explain shit just to apeace maybe a few rambunctious urchins), they also dared to compare the ignorance that exists within religion to the ignorance of even the smartest scientsts. Which triggers the general fanbase of science. Because they have attached their ego to it, and they’ve made sure to put themselves far above the religious, because they with their lingo brains are so obviously better than those damn dogmatic, religious scum.

Wrap up

That’s how i look at it at least. Have i really made my point about their videos? I agree with what they’re saying, i just don’t think they formulated themselves very well (Like i said, not that i’m much better). And my attack on those who get upset at people saying those things. The science fans, so to speak. They’re just fanboys. There’s nothing else you can really say. When someone has attached their ego to something, it’s really hard to say anything without upsetting them. So an obvious overreaction on their part.

Sources

Part 1
Part 2
A response video they made

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About Get a Grip

Code monkey. Opinionated.

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