In a new post this week, the Fundamental Baptist Information Service (FBIS) has a stern warning for those Baptist parents who might have children interested in science fiction, it is simply: “Stop them before they take up thinking!” Several of my favorite science fiction authors are singled out for specific damnation, including my favorite human being, Carl Sagan:
“Take CARL SAGAN, for example. His best-selling sci-fi novel Contact was made into a movie. Sagan was one of the high priests of atheistic evolution. In his novel he has the main character debating two preachers and saying, “There is no compelling evidence that God exists.” In 1997 Sagan said, “I share the view of a hero of mine, Albert Einstein: ‘I cannot conceive of a god who rewards and punishes his creatures or has a will of the kind that we experience in ourselves. Neither can I–nor would I want to–conceive of an individual that survives his physical death. Let feeble souls, from fear or absurd egotism, cherish such thoughts’” (Parade, March 10, 1997).”
I had the good fortune to meet and spend an all-too-brief time with Dr. Sagan, and I can attest he was everything this ninny said he was – and more! Another of my personal hero’s, Isaac Asimov was also singled out in the piece:
“Consider another prominent name in Sci-Fi, ISAAC ASIMOV. (shown above) In a 1982 interview he said, “Emotionally, I am an atheist. I don’t have the evidence to prove that God doesn’t exist, but I so strongly suspect he doesn’t that I don’t want to waste my time” (Paul Kurtz, “An Interview with Isaac Asimov on Science and the Bible,” Free Inquiry, Spring 1982, p. 9).”
Isaac was, and still is my all-time favorite SF author, but he gave the world far more than great SF, he also wrote literally hundreds of non-fiction books of all types, mostly about science. Several other favorite authors of mine are also given honorable mention in the FBIS screed, including Arthur C. Clark; Robert Heinlein, Curt Vonnegut; and Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek. All are “called out” in various ways as atheists, as though being an atheist was a bad thing.
The piece ends with this stunningly ignorant paragraph:
“Science fiction is intimately associated with Darwinian evolution. Sagan and Asimov, for example, were prominent evolutionary scientists. Sci-fi arose in the late 19th and early 20th century as a product of an evolutionary worldview that denies the Almighty Creator. In fact, evolution IS the pre-eminent science fiction. Beware!”
David Cloud, the author of this wonderful piece, did a pretty job with his facts, right up ’till the second sentence of the last paragraph. Neither Sagan nor Asimov were evolutionary scientists, prominent or otherwise. Dr. Carl Sagan was a Physicist, and Dr. Isaac Asimov was a Chemist. Neither man was a Biologist, or did any work at all in any field concerning evolution. I have no idea where Mr. Cloud gets the idea that SF arose as the product of an evolutionary worldview, as the early SF authors, Verne, Wells, etc.. did not write about biology or evolution, but about technology, time travel and even nuclear power. Referring to evolution as the pre-eminent science fiction is really off the trolley, and merely showcases the prejudices of an ignorant man.
One of the interesting tidbits that Cloud left out is that at least one prominent SF writer has actually STARTED a religion! L. Ron Hubbard, in a conversation among writers at an SF convention was quoted as saying: “If you want to know where the REAL money is, start a religion!” A couple of years later, in 1950, he published Dianetics, and subsequently founded the religion of Scientology.
I don’t quite know what the author’s point was in the FBIS post, perhaps it was simply that encouragement of thinking is dangerous to the delicate bulwarks of organized religion, which can apparently be swept away by the least little “dot or tittle” of rational thought.