Reasons to Buy Religion and Science Fiction: You’re a Mad Scientist Playing God

Mad scientists “playing God” are a staple of science fiction, ever since the first work of science fiction, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and right up to our favorite mad scientist of the current day, Walter Bishop from Fringe. But science fiction has often had an ambivalence about pioneers at the cutting edge – or fringe – of science. Is pressing ahead into new scientific domains “playing God” – and even if it is, is it necessarily a bad thing?

Religion and Science Fiction has a whole chapter devoted to “Scientists Playing God.” Perhaps Walter Bishop should give it a read. And as fans of the show wait for its return, they too would surely enjoy reading about some of the predecessors of Walter Bishop in science fiction literature and film, as well as some of the broader issues that those works, and Fringe, continue to explore.

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  • Nancy

    And…Photoshop the staple of all mad scientists…*; )

  • Anonymous

    RSF.  Seems if I recall just right, it was Doctor Who who went into a parallel universe like Walter Bishop to find that RSF wasn’t a book titled “Religion and Science Fiction,” but represented the “Republican Security Forces.”  I would not put it past the literary genius of our own Dr. McGrath to have started to drop some interesting clues which will ultimately bring us into a new reality of knowledge, if not a parallel universe itself.  And then again I could be wrong.   😉

  • Anonymous

    “Science fiction” could be viewed as scientific hypothesis, which must be proven through experimentation. This is when the questions of ethics get murky, which will one commit to as an ultimate value? Scientific advancement, national security, the ideal of liberty, human rights all make valid claims upon life, but which will be or (“should be”) of primary importance and chosen in a particular situation or by a particular individual? 

    Just today, I read about an engineer who educated terrorists groups, who use mosques as their “bunkers”. He was repentant for giving away such information to those that do not value Western civilization. And yet, in the name of human rights, scientific advancement, and the ideal of liberty one might compromise national security. That is unfortunate and naive. And then, science fiction might become a reality.