Fictional Science: 100 Glaring Logical Issues With Prometheus

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Part 3: The Explanation of the Mission (0:15:00 – 0:23:00)

14. Why is Guy Pearce playing an extremely old man? The make-up is awful, the performance is hokey, and it’s all because Pearce is not Weyland’s actual age and has to overcompensate wildly. Why could they not hire an actual elderly actor. In fact, since Pearce’s old man voice sounds almost identical to legendary performer Malcolm McDowell, who happens to be much closer to Weyland’s actual age, why not just hire the actual Malcolm McDowell?

15. The position of hieroglyphic circles would not lead Prometheus to a specific spot in space. This is the explanation Dr. Holloway gives for how they found the planet, but there are multiple flaws in his reasoning. First, if these cave paintings really were separated by centuries, star coordinates and positions would be drastically different to each separate culture, as they move and change through time. Even then, five circles painted simplistically on a wall could never serve as actual cosmic coordinates to a tiny, minute section of space, because the universe is incredibly vast. That pattern of five circles would appear all over the Milky Way galaxy, let alone other galaxies. It’s not nearly specific enough to serve as a map.

16. What does Dr. Holloway mean by a “galactic system?” This is what he calls the place they are going, but he describes the system as a star similar to Earth’s sun with a nearby planet and moon. That would technically be called a solar system, like the one Earth exists in.

17. Odd syntax: “There seems to be a planet,” says Dr. Holloway, “but there is a moon capable of sustaining life.” Why can the crew’s interstellar scanners pick up minute details like a life-bearing moon with absolute certainty, but only ‘seem’ to show an entire planet?

18. Why does Dr. Shaw assert that the paintings are “an invitation?” It seems like a very broad assumption to make based on such a miniscule amount of evidence.

19. Why do Drs. Shaw and Holloway assume the tall creatures in the paintings are aliens? The only distinguishing characteristic about the so-called ‘aliens’ is that they are tall, and pointing at circles. Why do those circles have to be planets? Why do those beings have to be aliens? What makes Shaw and Holloway think of such a thing in the first place, let alone assume it to be undeniably true? Still, it’s not nearly as massive a logical leap as…

20. What reason does Dr. Shaw have to assert that the aliens “engineered us?” Here’s how the exchange goes in the film. “We call them engineers,” Shaw says. The geologist asks why. “They engineered us,” she replies. No further explanation is given. Shaw simply makes the ridiculously cavernous leap from ‘cave paintings with stars’ to ‘we have found the origin of all life on Earth.’ She has not a shred of evidence – not even a little detail that suggests her larger conjecture – to prove this, and yet she asserts it as absolute fact. When the Geologist continues to grill her on the point, as any sane person would, she has no answers, no evidence, no shred of logical reasoning to explain why the entire history of human scientific theory is now null and void. All she says is “It is what I choose to believe.” Which is infuriating, and leads me to my next point…

21. How can Elizabeth Shaw be considered an actual scientist when “It is what I choose to believe” is her only reason behind a trillion dollar interstellar voyage? That’s not science. That’s not even logic. Believing wholeheartedly in something without a shred of proof is closer to religion, and even then, most faiths can point to some real-world event that fuels their belief. Not Dr. Shaw. She’s just insane, and everyone around her goes along with it without batting an eyelash.

22. Who is the Prometheus sending messages to? Holloway, Shaw, and David discuss how they have had “no response” from the planet, but what was the message? Who were they sending it to? If they have never been to or mapped out the planet, how and where would they send it in the first place? Even digital messages need another digital receptacle. They can’t just be sent out into the ether in hopes of getting a response.

23. Holloway, David, and the script do not understand basic linguistic theory. David tells Holloway he can communicate with the aliens “provided your thesis is correct.” There is no possible way Holloway could formulate a thesis about alien language in the first place, and if he did, no expectation for it to be true. I assume his thesis is that the basis of human languages come from the engineers, which is not only completely and utterly unfounded and unverified by the film’s internal logic, but absolutely impossible in reality. The thesis supposes that humans must be taught how to communicate, or to have it instilled, but it’s actually a natural ability all humans possess. That is why we have had thousands of languages throughout history, even though, for a long time, humans from one part of the world could not communicate with humans from other parts. Even if that weren’t true, for Holloway’s thesis to be correct, all languages would have to have the exact same foundation, but they don’t. Chinese and English, for instance, are completely different. There is no possible way David could trace all human language back to one sole root and somehow learn to speak the Engineers’ language.

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