Scientific Mythologies
IVP Academic
Intermediate Intermediate

Scientific Mythologies

How Science and Science Fiction Forge New Religious Beliefs

by James A. Herrick

Scientific Mythologies
paperback
  • Length: 288 pages
  • Published: June 2008
  •  Discontinued
  • ISBN: 978-0-8308-2588-2
  • Item Code: 2588
  • Case Quantity: 36

What does science have to do with science fiction?

What does science fiction have to do with scientists?

What does religion have to do with science and science fiction?

In the spiritual vacuum of our post-Christian West, new mythologies continually arise. The sources of much religious speculation, however, may be surprising. Author James Herrick directs our attention to a wide range of scientists, filmmakers, science fiction writers and religious philosophers and discovers there the role that science and science fiction have played in such mythmaking.

From scientists such as Francis Bacon, Francis Crick, Carl Sagan and Freeman Dyson, to filmmakers such as George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, to science fiction writers such as Olaf Stapledon, Sir Arthur C. Clarke, Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov, Herrick finds a curious collusion of science with science fiction for promoting and justifying alternative spiritualities. The rise of these new mythologies, he argues, is no longer a curiosity at the edge of Western culture. This alchemy is catalyzing a religious vision of new gods, a new humanity, and alien races with superior intelligence and secret knowledge. This new mythology overshadows the realms of politics, science and religion.

Should we follow such visions? Does science endorse these mythologies? Are we being offered a spirituality superior to the Judeo-Christian tradition? This book will help you decide.

"With a remarkable array of carefully assembled documentation, James Herrick demonstrates how the porous boundary between science fiction and 'speculative science' has produced a new guiding myth in the West, allegedly capable of reenchanting the cosmos. Coming in the wake of numerous books that have snidely dismissed Christian belief as a lot of wishful thinking and superstitious hooey, Scientific Mythologies is a refreshing and revealing reminder of the odd forms a longing for transcendence can take when the God who actually did come down from the heavens is rejected. Christopher Hitchens, phone home!"

Ken Myers, host and producer of the Mars Hill Audio Journal

"Scientific Mythologies is a well-researched and well-written analysis of the role of science in science fiction. Both master scientists and tellers of tall tales are here. From Francis Bacon to Carl Sagan, from Mary Shelley to Steven Spielberg, Herrick moves from fact to myth and myth to fact. Fascinating from beginning to end."

James W. Sire, author of The Universe Next Door

"Dr. Herrick gives us a fascinating, detailed, well-written and well-documented account of the alien worldviews that have emerged through the genre of science fiction. I know of no other work that addresses this counterfeit ideology from a deeply informed Christian perspective."

Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D., professor of philosophy, Denver Seminary

Herrick examines seven specific myths that have arisen from the intersection of science and science fiction, and illustrates them with examples drawn from the works of popular science writers, works of science fiction, and science-fiction movies.

George Wood, AG Think Tank (agthinktank.com), December 12, 2008

What is it about UFOs and a sharper awareness of the cosmos that leads us to modify - or create new - religious beliefs? The author explored what an awareness of the possibility of aliens in our world is doing to our thinking about spiritual matters. It's quite a trip.

Bill Tammeus, Faith Matter (billtammeus.typepad.com), August 23, 2008
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CONTENTS

Acknowledgments

1. Introduction
2. New Myths for a New Age
3. The Myth of the Extraterrestrial
4. The Myth of Space
5. The Myth of the New Humanity
6. The Myth of the Future
7. The Myth of the Spiritual Race
8. The Myth of Space Religions
9. The Myth of Alien Gnosis
10. Conclusion

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James A. Herrick is Guy Vander Jagt Professor of communication at Hope College in Holland, Michigan. He has also written The Radical Rhetoric of the English Deists (University of South Carolina Press), Argumentation (Strata), The History and Theory of Rhetoric (Allyn & Bacon), and The Making of the New Spirituality (IVP Books).

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