Kyeo's head hurts very badly. He doesn't remember how he got that way but he can guess that he's taken a blow to the head. That doesn't explain why he's not on a spaceship any more but he should probably not expect to figure that out right now. He looks confusedly at the non-spaceship around him for a minute before closing his eyes.
"No. Absolutely not."
"Have you not invented enough science yet to be sure?"
"--in our society people feel very strongly about their religions and to get people to stop practicing it you often have to torture them or kill them, and even then a lot of people will continue to practice in secret. So the government does not have any opinion about religion and lets everyone practice their own religions and then no one has to be tortured."
"...how is this not a thing in the future? Did religion die out in the next hundred years? Are you, I don't know, from an atheist planet--?"
"I am from an atheist planet. I believe some religions persist elsewhere."
"I guess you could do a lot of things with controlling immigration-- it's interesting that the second generation doesn't convert, though-- I guess that's proof of the hypothesis that if they weren't raised in a religious society no one would be religious-- do you have belief in fairies or anything like that?"
"Huh. That's really interesting. The atheist activists are going to have a great time when this comes out."
"I don't see what's so surprising about a planet where no one believes in religions or fairies."
"Well, so far at least some people believing in religions or fairies or something that breaks the laws of physics is a human universal. So people who think nothing can break the laws of physics are going to be excited that you can, in fact, convince everyone of that fact. --Do you have superstitions, do people have lucky charms or refuse to walk under ladders because it's bad luck or think their computers have personalities or kick the car when it won't start up...?"
"I have seen people kick things that weren't working," allows Kyeo. "Though many things have parts that can in fact get stuck."
"Wow, that's fascinating."
"So, one difference from what you're used to is that in Cascadia people often have religions. It is not polite to argue with them about it, unless you are on a forum for debating religion or are close friends or something like that. If someone says they have to do something for religious purposes you should generally let them even if it seems stupid to you, although if it is particularly irritating to you personally you can say that you'd prefer not to have the relevant kind of interaction. Like, if someone has religious reasons not to eat pork you shouldn't feed it to them but you can refrain from inviting them to a dinner party."
"Are there other things that are different-- or questions you have in general from what you've noticed--"
"I think you have mentioned explanations relating to everything I had noticed and didn't already expect based on this being Earth. It... does seem odd to respond to a fertility crisis with encouraging women to do a lot of things that aren't having children, and it does look like they are actually doing those things, but perhaps the ones I have seen are infertile."
"We're not Gilead."
"The owl did not teach me 'gilead'."
"Gilead is... the country next door to us. It... remember what I said about religion? It believes strongly in one particular God, and has forbidden anyone from doing anything their God doesn't approve of. And one of the things it forbade is women working any jobs that interfere with them having children, although they can still run daycares and program and write novels and things like that."
"Oh. - even the infertile ones?"
"God... apparently does not care whether a woman is infertile before He decides that it is wrong to let her do whatever job she wants. --They can also be teachers, nurses, secretaries, feminine jobs like that."
"I'm not sure what is meant to be feminine about those jobs."
"Uh, they're jobs women did historically so they must be suited to women's innate feminine nature? Or something like that."
"Sometimes you talk as though you believe things by saying 'must' or 'apparently' when it does not seem that you really believe them."