A couple of weeks ago the Edinburgh University Humanist Society hosted Ken MacLeod who gave a talk about the influence of science fiction on modern secularism. This idea absolutely resonates with my own view that while non-fictional scientific literature is essential, and does inherently question religious beliefs, it's probably fictional work that often makes direct challenges to religious epistemology more thoroughly.
The following are science fiction works, in no particular order, that perhaps illustrate this point:
Other authors were also mentioned without specific titles:
But this is not so useful, they have millions of books each.
Sitting amongst a crowd of humanists celebrating the works of other humanists led to some largely optimistic discussions regarding the future of society etc. But one fairly salient point was made that the ideas that shape the future of culture and society won't necessarily be those that explain the universe the most accurately, or prove to be the most morally sound or scientifically rigorous; but they will necessarily be the ones that spread the quickest, and embed more permanently. Religion, as a meme, has proven to be extremely potent and it's absence in the future is not guaranteed.
Also - these links came up and they look interesting:
Finally, Isaac Asimov has something to say on the subject. This story, written in 1956, is absolutely brilliant: The last question. The future is here, his 'MultiVAC' sounds a lot like the internet. How can entropy be reversed?
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