James A. Herrick’s Scientific Mythologies: How Science and Science Fiction Forge New Religious Beliefs offers a fascinating look at the interplay between fiction and reality. Sci-fi literature has had more of an impact on scientific research than one might expect. Rather than being a purely logical endeavor, science is sometimes fueled by – and often distorted by – what scientists want to be true. As a result, scientists sometimes embrace cherished ideas in ways that are remarkably at odds with their claim to be dispassionately pursuing hard, cold facts.
Mr. Herrick identifies seven ‘scientific mythologies’ that arise when fertile scientific imaginations join with a strictly materialistic view of the world: the myth of the extraterrestrial, the myth of space, the myth of the new humanity, the myth of the future, the myth of the spiritual race, the myth of space religion, and the myth of alien gnosis. [Read more…]