Center of Science, Policy and Society Programs: AAAS Dialogue on Science, Ethics and Religion
AAAS Dialogue on Science, Ethics and Religion
News & Events: Public LectureScience and Religion in Science Fiction
2 December 2004
Public entertainment in the form of books, films and television more and more as a matter of course incorporate purportedly scientific elements, these at very least help shape the public understanding of nature and content science, and, for many outside technical professions, may be their chief explicit "scientific” influence. In addition, science fiction authors have frequently incorporated religious themes in their writings (e.g., Arthur Clarke’s "The Star;” Walter M. Miller’s A Canticle for Lebowitz; Frank Herbert’s Dune series; James Blish’s A Case of Conscience; Mary Doria Russell’s The Sparrow). These lectures will consider science fiction as a popular cultural context for informal science education (or miseducation) and the exploration of ethical and religious issues.
Science, Non-science and Nonsense in Science Fiction
Beginning with a bang, and using clips from well known movies and TV shows from Star Trek to the X-files, Dr Krauss will explore how the science fiction universe and the real universe do, and don't compare, by discussing forefront scientific issues such as space and time travel and areas of fictional focus such as UFO's and telekinesis. Ultimately it turns out that truth is far stranger than fiction, and we don't need all the nonsense to make the universe an interesting place in which to live.
Lawrence M. Krauss, PhD, Ambrose Swasey Professor of Physics and Professor of Astronomy, Chairman, Department of Physics, Case Western Reserve University
ET vs. God: Smackdown!
The discovery of a single bacterium somewhere beyond Earth will be as revolutionary as finding out the Earth wasn't the center of the solar system, let alone the center of God's universe. If we find evidence of life beyond our planet, the religious implications will be even more profound than those of heliocentrism and the discovery of the Americas. A number of theologians have thought about this, and come to some surprisingly scientific conclusions. Dr. Russell, a paleoanthropologist and the author of science fiction classics; The Sparrow and Children of God, will discuss the possible effect of extraterrestrial life on human theology.
Mary Doria Russell, Author,
Children of God
A Thread of Grace