Scientific Mythologies

Feb 5, 04:37 by IROSF
Review of Scientific Mythologies
Feb 6, 16:45 by D. Nicklin-Dunbar
Is Herricks from the fundamentalist brands of Christianity? Just as the Young Earth Creationists selectively quote from 40 year old biology textbooks and willfully ignore any modern advance, in their polemics against evolution, it should not be surprising that there is also a willful ignorance about S/F literature, themes, motifs and film. The intended audiences of these sorts of books are intellectually isolated, tend to under-education, and quite probably never heard of Kubrick or seen Close Encounters . . .. It is all a part of the grand deception YECs and other fundamentalist churches are perpetrating on their neatly controlled congregations. I am certain that there are those who are taking Herrick's arguments as gospel.

Sounds like this book is just another errantly aimed cannon ball in the Culture Wars. Faulty scholarship, illogical arguments and out right lies (well, willful perpetration of erroneous misconceptions) are par for the course with these folks. Thank you, Mr. Mckee, for saving me some money, although if I find a cheap used copy, I might just read it if for no other reason than to stoke my indignation.
Feb 7, 04:31 by Ron Bales

"Forging" is such a nice action verb to use for a subtitle.

This review makes Scientific Mythologies sound rather like a Dick Chick tract with footnotes. Obviously the impression taken by the other commenter. Having not read it I don't know if this is fair. Certainly it is a subject that deserves a breadth of thought and research. Even a polemic against Science Fiction would deserve that. The genre is too broad to categorize simply.

I am interested in both Christianity and SF and am comfortable leaving this book unread on the basis of this review. If I stumble across it, sure, give it a look. There is only limited time to actually read in both subjects why waste it on a tweener that offers less insight.

Feb 8, 15:19 by David Bartell
One thing that fascinates me is the odd choice of battles in the book, but yes, it does warrant a better treatment.

I actually do think the resemblance between the aliens in CE3K and the little boy was intentional, possibly to include a couple other humans (but not Dreyfuss.) If so, it was a minor point.

I also agree to an extent that the inevitability and possibly desirability of post-humans may arguably be assumed by the overall trend. The ethics arguments of most stories, and cautionary elements of many contain the underlying meaning, of course. But I recall the weight of literature that "assumed" we were doomed to nuclear holocaust, "destined" for the stars, etc. SF has straw men of its own, but they deserve less dismissive criticism.
Feb 9, 03:17 by Joshua Zelinsky
Errant, I don't think Herrick is fundamentalist. He appears to be an evangelical and he could possibly be of one of the more extreme ones (which most people colloquially label fundamentalist).

He works at Hope College in which is a Christian school in Michiganbut one that seems somewhat moderate to me. He has been previously employed at UC Davis. So I don't see any reason to consider him as anything other than a devout Christian. Many different people engage are sloppy. One shouldn't assume someone lies in a specific group because of it.

Regarding the post-human idea; the notion of it being both good and inevitable is I think a fairly modern trend. Look at for example The Time Machine where a species becomes very advanced only to fall back down. Even some of the scifi focusing on transhumanism and the Singularity is ambivalent or conflicted about the result. And if one looks at science fiction in popular television then scientific progress in almost all forms is negative. The most obvious such example would be the remake of The Outer Limits. My impression is that about half the episodes involved some sort of hubris by human scientists and many if not most of those involved transhumanist themes such as genetic engineering. (I haven't gone through and counted episodes).

Feb 9, 17:44 by Nader Elhefnawy
Hi everyone. I ran across Herrick's book a few months ago. I didn't come away with the same impression about an angle on the subject, though admittedly I gave it just a quick going-over--mainly because it didn't impress me as a terribly original, or unusually well-crafted or comprehensive treatment of an issue that's received a lot of study over the years, though I suspect I'll come to some similar conclusions when I revisit it.

Incidentally, any examination of Christianity and science fiction (and especially posthumanism) is, in my view, entirely inadequate if it leaves out nineteenth century thinkers like Nikolai Fedorov and the Cosmists--who, despite being grossly underappreciated in the West (for a million bad reasons), were most certainly Christian, and absolutely, often positively, engaged with these ideas in ways far ahead of their time, and perhaps, also still ahead of ours. And I certainly don't remember Herrick's book being an exception to this pattern.

In case anyone's curious to find out more, I've authored two articles on Fedorov myself. One (based mainly on a close reading of some of his writing) is over at the science fiction magazine, The Future Fire, at http://futurefire.net/2007.09/nonfiction/fedorov.html. Another, which I published with the Space Review (Fedorov, who incidentally worked with the young Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, is one of the forgotten forefathers of space flight), can also be found on my own blog, at http://naderelhefnawy.blogspot.com/2008/10/resurrecting-nikolai-fedorov.html.

In any case, my compliments to McKee on a well written, highly detailed and persuasively argued review.

Incidentally, I'm in agreement about The Outer Limits, which too often fell into the familiar "Frankenstein complex" pattern.
Mar 18, 21:44 by Paul Schilling
I'm not surprised that anyone arguing that SF could replace Christianity as our mythology would write such a bad book. It takes a certain degree of denial to believe the premise in the first place. Nor am I surprised that a conservative Christian writer would do such a bad job of the research into SF, considering their constant misrepresentation of the Bible as well. Yes, for them the idea of a simple Christianity is a good thing, because if they looked too closely at the very complicated Bible, they couldn't sustain their simple belief structure, nor could they have voted for politicans like Bush, whose policies violated the teachings of Jesus.
   

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