Ripping the supernatural out of science fiction.

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by cynical dreamer, Sep 4, 2008.

  1. 3D Master

    3D Master Rear Admiral

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    Nope, our current science tells us FTL is not only possible, we even know what we need to do in order to it. Now how to actually practically do it, is the only hurdle.

    Let me illustrate. In the 1950s there was an SF novel. I can't remember the writer, but the novel depicted desktop computers on every desk, sometimes multiple in a home, faster than the fastest computer back then, and to top it off, all the computers were linked together in a world wide network. Sound familiar?

    You know what the going scientific rate was on the book? It was ridiculous! Computers could NEVER intercommunicate. And Computers would NEVER get smaller, they'd only get BIGGER! Sure as science!

    Less then twenty years later, the first desktop computers arrived. Another dozen years later and the European universities and soon after American universities got connected in the first global network. Another fifteen years later and the world wide web was born. Another ten years after that, and here we are.

    THAT is why artificially keeping yourself to what "present day science" tells us is rather, well, ridiculous. What scientists would tell you is impossible today, and won't happen in a million years, might be on your desk no more than a decade later, and your children would laugh the scientists who told you it was so impossible out of the building.

    The same happened with Jules Verne's envisioning of men landing on the moon. It would never happen! Then it became 1969. Ships traveling under water? Hah! Would never happen!

    A good rule of thumb is; if Science Fiction shows you something that Science are hard telling you it's impossible; expect it to be true within your lifetime. Higher chance of that occurring than it being actually impossible.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2008
  2. Lapis Exilis

    Lapis Exilis Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I would argue the same about any current scientific speculation regarding life on other planets. My point wasn't that the Ganzfeld experiment was particularly good, but that it was about as compelling as anything we have attempting to prove extraterrestrial life. Yet you accept the idea of alien life (something for which there are absolutely no scientific experiments or replicable data), and reject the idea of psychic phenomenon as plausible extrapolation of current scientific understanding.
     
  3. stonester1

    stonester1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Because science fiction is about breaking down barriers, not slamming them down and refusing to move beyond them.
     
  4. Deckerd

    Deckerd Fleet Arse Premium Member

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    Our 'currrent science' tells us the opposite.
     
  5. 3D Master

    3D Master Rear Admiral

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    No, again, your wrong. We know exactly what we need to do to attain FTL speeds. We just don't know how to actually do it. Hell, we have ways to produce FTL-communication (quantum-entanglement).
     
  6. Deckerd

    Deckerd Fleet Arse Premium Member

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    If you read my little snippet on quantum entanglement in the sci/tech thread, you'll realise that even if scientists do actually prove this exists, they are talking about fields connecting sub-atomic particles. Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but humans are, without exception, not sub-atomic particles. Nor are any putative spaceships of the future.

    Some enthusiasts have speculated what might cause an effect that could override the fact that nothing but light can move at the speed of light - this is not "knowing exactly what we need". It's science fiction.
     
  7. stonester1

    stonester1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    And thus, it goes to show, even science isn't an exact science. All the more folly and waste to treat science fiction like that.
     
  8. 3D Master

    3D Master Rear Admiral

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    And what do you think a beam of light is, hmm? It's a collection of sub-atomic particles. Hence, with quantum entanglement, and this is not "do actually prove this exists", it IS proven to exist, in FACT it's being USED in experiments. We can create AT WILL quantum entanglement. Teleportation uses quantum entanglement.

    One does not use quantum entanglement for FTL travel of people, in case you hadn't noticed, that was an example through which we can communicate FTL.

    The FTL travel method for ships that we know is possible, is called the Warp Drive. You might know it from Star Trek. You put your ship in a subspace bubble, shrink space in front of you, expand it behind of you, and the universe will zip past you at speeds greater than that of light - since although relativity tells us that no object in space-time can go faster than light, there is no such limitation on space-time itself.

    Back in the early 70s Star Trek - or rather Franz Joseph, writer of the then Technical Manual - predicted this. For 25 years it was an obscure little text in the technical manual, and then in 1995, a rather smart physicist who happened to be a Star Trek fan, thought: "Hmm, let's see what happens when we just do the science." So he plugged the concept in General Relativity and string physics, did the math, and lo-and-behold, shock, EXACTLY as Franz Joseph pulled out his imagination so does the universe ACTUALLY work. This is not science fiction anymore, it's SCIENCE. You shrink space in front of you, expand it behind you and you've achieved FTL travel, FOR REAL.

    Like I said; the problem, is actually practically doing it. But if we had the practical means to warp space and time, create subspace bubbles, we can go FTL. We know what we need to do to achieve FTL travel, it's essentially possible, we just have no idea how to actually do it.

    Hence my earlier statement: If scientist keep hammering something is impossible from science fiction, there's a larger chance the science fiction concept becomes real before your lifetime is over, than that it will be proven to be truly impossible.
     
  9. Deckerd

    Deckerd Fleet Arse Premium Member

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    You know perfectly well, or at least you should, that a photon does not behave like any other particle. Teleportation is fiction.

    Anyone who uses Star Trek as a source of scientific proof is taking the piss.


    I, on the other hand can't navigate a web board without bollixing up the quotes...
     
  10. AviTrek

    AviTrek Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    According to our current scientific understanding faster than light travel is also impossible. So let's through that out.

    And if you want a scientific explanation to psychic phenomena hows this. Your brain functions by neurons firing. We are currently beginning to learn how to read those impulses. Let's imagine a super sensitive scanner that can measure each neuron firing from a distance. Combine that with a computer fast enough to process all that data instantly. Now make that small enough to be implanted in someone else's brain and relay the information to that person. There you go, a "scientific" explanation to reading someone's thoughts. As someone quoted earlier, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." - Arthur C. Clarke
     
  11. Cary L. Brown

    Cary L. Brown Rear Admiral

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    Having just read through this entire thread, I'm forced to note that the topic really can't be discussed, because nobody agrees on what the definition of the terms being used really are.

    What is "supernatural?" If something like telepathy exists within nature (even a "fictional nature"), doesn't that make it NATURAL?

    Much of what we recognize as science today would have been treated, and not irrationally so, as "supernatural" centuries in our past. Magnetism... broadcast communications... computers... how many things do you, personally, own today which utilize things which people just a couple of centuries ago would have led to you being accused of "witchcraft?"

    For this reason, I'm disinclined to accept the term "supernatural" as having ANY meaning. When people refer to "supernatural," they usually mean one of two different, and entirely unrelated things:

    1) Nature which is above the "mundane" nature we already recognize,

    or

    2) Hoaxes and lies.

    Those are the "pro-supernatural" and the "anti-supernatural" positions.

    The thing is... the first one is bogus, because anything that exists within nature isn't "supernatural," it's merely "nature we don't understand yet." And the second one is bogus, since "not knowing something" doesn't mean it's necessarily not true... as the cell phone in your pocket (a "witches tool" if seen in the 1500's) is recognized as working within (not "above") nature as we know it today.

    The real meaning of the question, then, is "does any science fiction make use only of science we already understand," isn't it?
     
  12. Deckerd

    Deckerd Fleet Arse Premium Member

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    I actually like the idea of humans acquiring psychic powers. I think this is what TV skiffy writers are in love with too. The problem is they never investigate the mechanism by which these powers magically appear.

    It would be more realistic perhaps if they just went for the 'implanted communication device' route.
     
  13. 3D Master

    3D Master Rear Admiral

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    Wrong. A photon behaves like any other bosonic particle. There's nothing special about the photon, or any other particle. The laws of physics apply to all of them.

    Except that they've been doing it since early 1997, but eh.

    Nobody used Star Trek as a source of scientific proof, but you know, reading, very difficult to do.
     
  14. Neroon

    Neroon Mod of Balance Moderator

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    Chill, chill ........ :vulcan:
     
  15. Gaith

    Gaith Vice Admiral Admiral

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    How 'bout some love for the supernatural-free Gattaca!

    Also, the underrated The Sixth Day.

    Both movies, I know, but... :-P
     
  16. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The difference between SF and fantasy is stylistic. In SF the fantastic stuff is supposed to be natural. In fantasy the fantastic stuff is supposed to be supernatural. When the story hinges on the inapplicability of known scientific laws or the irrelevance of logic, because reason is inadequate, then we have fantasy intruding. There are a number of SF stories suddenly tacking on some divine plan at the end, as a sort of shamefaced have it both ways coda. These are usually irrelevant. Usually, efforts that genuinely mix SF and fantasy are miserable failures artistically in my opinion. (I can't really think of any exceptions right now.)
     
  17. Frontier

    Frontier Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I know what you mean.

    Science Fiction is science, IMHO, and fantasy is the supernatural stuff. They should be kept more separate.

    That said, as long as the foundation is built upon science, I can cope with the rest.

    I do hate it though when something is clearly fantasy/supernatural and yet gets lumped in with sci-fi.

    Anyway, what about Terminator? That's all science. I mean, there is the question of fate, destiny, and such, but it's always a question. They really keep to the science. Man and machine.

    Someone mentioned Firefly...

    Uhm... hrm.

    You can't really say 'Ghostbusters' fall into it, but, I always liked that they used their technology to combat the supernatural. Showed that anything otherworldly had a science element in it which could be exploited.
     
  18. darkwing_duck1

    darkwing_duck1 Vice Admiral

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    The wormhole aliens/Prophets exist OUTSIDE linear time, meaning they percieve all points of time simultaneously. It's not "precongnition", it's the advantage of perspective.

    I don't think it's fair for you to lump telepathy, et al (which MAY be explainable by science we haven't figured out as of yet) with the TRULY "supernatural" (ie, that which lies outside of all of nature, such as true Gods, etc).