Prophecy

I was amused to see an article attempting to demonstrate that the science fiction writer Isaac Asimov had been a good predicator of the future, in a 1964 article looking forward to 2014.

In fact the article demonstrated the opposite.  Certain things he predicted exist in the most narrow sense – testtube grown meat for example – but are not widespread.   Conversely he missed the internet, the dramatic change to the role of women, the backlash against nuclear power and in some senses a loss of faith in science, environmentalism, and global warming.  Like nearly all writers, he assumed the proceeds of automation would be wisely shared so we all had a good standard of living and a short working week, instead of landing large numbers of people with no work or limited work.

Science fiction is unlikely to be reliable prophesy in the sense of prediction.  I recall stories which predicted mobile access to the internet from the Fifties, Arthur C Clarke not only predicted communication satellites but the moral issues that one country beaming porn, violence and political propaganda into another.

Science fiction apart from just being adventure stories with ideas in, can be prophesy in the best sense, speaking truth to our current condition.  It is these parts of the prophets in the Old and New Testament which speak to us, challenges to our moral character and that our our society.  I venture to suggest the Bible as narrow timebound prediction doesn’t work either.

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