In Holy Sci-Fi! , popular writer Paul Nahin explores the fertile and sometimes uneasy relationship between science fiction and religion. It draws connections between science fact, science fiction, philosophy and theological debate over the past five centuries.
Can a computer have a soul? Are religion and science mutually exclusive? Is there really such a thing as free will? If you could time travel to visit Jesus, would you (and should you)? For hundreds of years, philosophers, scientists and science fiction writers have pondered these questions and many more.
In Holy Sci-Fi! , popular writer Paul Nahin explores the fertile and sometimes uneasy relationship between science fiction and religion. With a scope spanning the history of religion, philosophy and literature, Nahin follows religious themes in science fiction from Feynman to Foucault and from Asimov to Aristotle.
An intriguing journey through popular and well-loved books and stories, Holy Sci-Fi! shows how sci-fi has informed humanity's attitudes towards our faiths, our future and ourselves.
1. Introduction.- Author's Note One.- God and Skepticism.- God, Fantasy, and Science Fiction.- God and Science.- Author's Note Two.- 2. Religious Science Fiction Before Science Fiction.- The 'Start' of Modern SF.- Before the 'Start' of SF.- Early Theological SF.- Theological Maturity.- 3. Time, Space, God's Omniscience, and Free Will.- What is Time?.- Time in SF and Theology.- The Four-Dimensional World.- The Block Universe.- God's Omniscience in Theology and SF.- 4. Religious Robots.- Alan Turing, Artificial Minds, and the Souls of Machines.- Asimov's Robotic Laws.- Robots and God.- 5. Computers as God.- Computers as Local Gods.- Computers as Planet-Wide Gods.- Computers as Known Universe Gods.- 6. Space Travel, Radio, and Alien Encounters.- The Fiction of Interstellar Space Travel.- Theology and Early Fictional Alien Encounters.- Interstellar Radio Messages.- Direct Encounters.- 7. Time Traveling to Jesus.- Time Travel: Fact or Fantasy.- Theology and the Past.- Jesus and Time Travelers.- Quantum Mechanics and God.- 8. What if God Revealed Himself?.- Not So Serious Speculations.- The End of It All.- Appendix 1: Matching Wits with 'God'.- Appendix 2: (fantasy) "Some Things Just Have to Be Done By Hand!" and "The Next Time Around".- Appendix 3: (science fiction): "A Father's Gift".- Appendix 4: "Applied Mathematical Theology" (Gregory Benford).- Appendix 5: "Gravity's Whispers" (Gregory Benford).- Bibliography of Short Stories Cited.
By the author of the popular books "Time Machines" and "The Science of Radio"
Discusses the opinions and writings of philosophers and scientists (Pascal, Hume, Nietzsche) and science fiction authors (Arthur C. Clark, C. S. Lewis, Isaac Asimov)
Draws connections between science fact, science fiction, philosophy, and theological debate over the past five centuries