Science Fiction is Good for Science
Lately, there has been a trend criticizing science fiction books and movies for not being “scientific”. Headlines proclaim “what the new Star Wars movie got wrong” and articles, tweets, and blogs all rush to point out the errors in science fiction books and movies. Some have gone so far as to label speculative fiction as bad for science. Our opinion: Lighten up, guys!
Naturally, fiction makes things up and creates beings, worlds, and technologies that simply cannot exist in our universe. That’s why it’s called fiction. That’s why it’s fun. But beyond the fun, science fiction, in both books and movies, serves science in a unique way. It makes people wonder, what if? It tickles imaginations. It stimulates questions and creativity. It incites an interest in science and discovery. Why is imagination important to science? Let’s hear from a scientist on the subject.
In his book Cosmic Religion and Other Opinions and Aphorisms, Albert Einstein wrote:
At times I feel certain I am right while not knowing the reason. When the eclipse of 1919 confirmed my intuition, I was not in the least surprised. In fact, I would have been astonished had it turned out otherwise. Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution. It is, strictly speaking, a real factor in scientific research.
You never know where the seeds of an idea will come from. You never know whose words will spark someone’s passion.
So lighten up on science fiction. Don’t try to stifle it’s scope and vision. It doesn’t harm science. Quite the contrary.
Oh, and one final message from Einstein:
Posted on January 2, 2016, in Science, Writing and tagged Albert Einstein, does science fiction harm science, Einstein quote about imagination, Einstein quote about knowledge, fantasy fiction, how science fiction benefits science, science fiction and science, science in science fiction, speculative fiction, the science of science fiction. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.
Roger Ebert said that Star Wars was not science fiction back in 1977. Get with the program.
Writers in the media just write stuff to fill up space and mostly its been said better already.
I couldn’t agree more. I don’t watch Star Wars for a science lesson. That’s what we have science and math and astronomy books for.