Sunday, May 15, 2011


I just watched Agora (2009 film). It is an anti-Christian propaganda movie about the murder of Hypatia in AD 0415. The movie portrays her as inventing elliptical orbits, but she is killed by anti-intellectual flat-Earth Christians.

I expected the movie to be anti-Christian because the director said in interviews that he intended to make an anti-Christian movie, and because the favorable reviews of it are almost entirely by people who praise the anti-Christian aspects of the movie. That is what they liked about it.

Some of the movie errors are documented here.

No one makes any scientific arguments. I don't expect any heavy duty mathematics, but the movie does give a mathematically correct explanation of an ellipse. It does not talk comparing theory with observation. A viewer might get the impression that Ptolemy believed in epicycles because they are in the Bible somewhere. Rejecting epicycles is portrayed as a sign of enlightenment. In fact, no one has even found a good description of how we observe the solar system without epicycles, or something equivalent.

I regard movies like this as being anti-intellectual. It ignores the historical facts, and gets the astronomy wrong. If there were Christians who got the astronomy wrong in 0415, then they could be criticized for it, but what excuse is there for a filmmaker to get it wrong today?

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