Filed under: Carl Sagan, Faith healing, General Musings, Predictions, Psychic abilities, Science Fiction, Writing stuff
…require extraordinary proof” was a favorite line from Carl Sagan, one of my favorite authors. Simply put, while the idea of psychic abilities or faith healing is very appealing, it hasn’t been documented scientifically (as written up wonderfully in this post by Skeptico). Does that mean that it doesn’t exist? No, of course not. It just means that we haven’t found scientific evidence for it. That could mean that it doesn’t exist, or it could mean that our science and technology isn’t up to detecting it as of yet. And in that possibility lies room for plenty of good fiction, if the author is willing to take a little trouble to work around what we do know.
I tried to do that with Communion, though the full ramifications of it take a long time to unfold within the context of the story. Having the alien artifact be not just proof of extraterrestrial intelligence, but part of an isolation field that has supressed our natural psychic abilities, is how I do this. But I try to play fair with my reader, and with science, by having the key to unlocking these mysteries all resort back to the physics breakthrough by Stephen Hawking. In other words, I am saying that this new development in one area has allowed for seredipitous discoveries in other areas, as is frequently the case with science and technology. Science may not hold all the answers, or solve all our problems – but it’s the way to bet.
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