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jhwegener
2005-Dec-02, 07:38 PM
Why should not progress in astronomy and other sciences leave their fingerprint on Architecture, film, litterature, and other arts, and perhaps even on more aspects of peoples daily life?
In what ways could it be?
Once peoples view of the universe, sometimes including their gods, influenced their arts and perhaps even life very much. Why should it not be so for us, having so much better tools in many ways?
Take bestseller novels. Novels with perhaps far out scientific (or is it pseudo-scientific?) aasumptions about christianity sells worldwide. The same is true for books and films about wizzardry or imagined worlds with alien creatures. There is probably even better examples.
Where is the bestseller novel/film with much real science content combining science and story telling?

publiusr
2005-Dec-02, 09:38 PM
A telescope for every household, a doubled NASA budget and forced subscriptions to Sky & Scope on pain of death.

Disinfo Agent
2005-Dec-02, 10:18 PM
Why should not progress in astronomy and other sciences leave their fingerprint on Architecture, film, litterature, and other arts, and perhaps even on more aspects of peoples daily life?
In what ways could it be?
Once peoples view of the universe, sometimes including their gods, influenced their arts and perhaps even life very much. Why should it not be so for us, having so much better tools in many ways?
Take bestseller novels. Novels with perhaps far out scientific (or is it pseudo-scientific?) aasumptions about christianity sells worldwide. The same is true for books and films about wizzardry or imagined worlds with alien creatures. There is probably even better examples.
Where is the bestseller novel/film with much real science content combining science and story telling?The critics panned it. (http://www.bautforum.com/showthread.php?t=4510) ;)

I think the public does have an interest in science, and especially space science, but the link between them is mostly through documentaries and other popularisations, rather than pure art.

Huevos Grandes
2005-Dec-02, 10:30 PM
Why should not progress in astronomy and other sciences leave their fingerprint on Architecture, film, litterature, and other arts, and perhaps even on more aspects of peoples daily life?
In what ways could it be?
As far as I know- they already are. Observatories are popular meeting places. Sci-fi films, once laughed at just a couple of decades ago, are mainstream, as are the books that spawned them. Artists have painted the night sky for hundreds and thousands of years (see Vincent Van Gogh's Starry Night (http://www.lip.pt/~catarina/starry-night.jpg) for one example).
The only example I can find of a daily presence in people's lives is the telling of horoscopes, and of astrology in general. A big, steaming pile of something brown and stinky is what it is commonly regarded to be, by both scientists and non-scientists alike. Astrology assumes all aspects of the night sky to be known, which is foolish to say the least. The gods and pictures the constellations were named for, are taken literally, and then transcribed into advice, telling people how to live.

Once peoples view of the universe, sometimes including their gods, influenced their arts and perhaps even life very much. Why should it not be so for us, having so much better tools in many ways?
Once? How about, "still" ? Astronomy is allowed into society, because of as the by-products of space-exploration, society has been granted: stronger metal alloys, satellite-television, and Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles. Otherwise, it would be viewed as an attack on the religious ideals that have aided and plagued mankind for thousands of years. "Toleration" is really about the best that can be said for astronomy and space exploration right now.
C'mon- for every time you've thought how cool it is that NASA, JAXA, or the ESA is sending a probe to another world, all in the effort of increasing our understanding or asserting our will upon the Universe... wasn't there always a large group of people saying something like: "Yeah, great, but that funding could've gone to helping all of the homeless crack-addicted mothers in Detroit" ?

Take bestseller novels. Novels with perhaps far out scientific (or is it pseudo-scientific?) aasumptions about christianity sells worldwide. The same is true for books and films about wizzardry or imagined worlds with alien creatures. There is probably even better examples.
Where is the bestseller novel/film with much real science content combining science and story telling?
"Contact (http://www.tcp.com/~mary/contact1.jpg)", "Volcano (http://www.famouslocations.com/images/movies/volcano1997_.jpg)", "Medicine Man (http://images.amazon.com/images/P/6305428506.01.LZZZZZZZ.jpg)... okay Lorraine Bracco is annoying... sorry. :doh:

But I see your point. I think, maybe because science is slow to make judgements, and methodical, it is seen as boring. Movie-goers are more apt to prefer wide displays of human emotion, fantastic explosions, and scary/funny/thought-provoking atmospheres. If they have to suspend disbelief and gloss over some basics of intelligence, continuity, or the First Law of Thermodynamics occasionally to do so, then so what ?

James_Digriz
2005-Dec-02, 11:59 PM
Where is the bestseller novel/film with much real science content combining science and story telling?

Jurasic Park.

jhwegener
2005-Dec-03, 01:27 PM
Well, You may all have some good points, but I have the impression this is not what I have in mind. First: Yes Science Fiction is a part of popular culture. The question is if it is not much more fiction, and fictive science and technology than real? Most of the science fiction I think of is more about imagined future science and technological developments than contemporary.
But the future, including its science and technology is of course uncertain.
About the technological "offspinns" of astronomy mentioned in the post one might ask: Has this anything to do with advanced astronomy of 20.th century? I cannot see why say intercontinental missiles and navigation systems depends on a deeper understanding of the universe at large. Would a single piece of technology be impossible without knowing the universe outside our galaxy? If anything it could be telescopes or radiotelescopes, but how has invention of pure astronomical instruments contributed to other products?(not that I think it should. science may be praisworthy in itself).
Big steps forward in our understanding of the world may not be allways strongly linked with technological breakthroughs and vice versa.

parallaxicality
2005-Dec-03, 04:59 PM
"Hard" scifi, which tries to stick to known ideas about science, is rather pessimistic and limiting. No matter how much Stephen Baxtering an author may indulge in; basking in the glory of human potential, once you constrain imagination by known scientific principles, you are a) shackling your storytelling possibilities, b) implicitly hectoring an audience by claiming "Forget what everyone else tells you, this is how it is" (a dangerous tack given science's propensity to show up predictors as completely wrong), and c) running the risk of your story becoming a "technical manual for future living."

As for astrology, that has little or nothing to do with astronomy; its primary descriptive tool is myth, nothing else. It is about stories, not stars, and therefore cannot be seen as astronomy as the masses perceive it (a rather condescending idea, actually)

James_Digriz
2005-Dec-03, 06:21 PM
"Hard" scifi, which tries to stick to known ideas about science, is rather pessimistic and limiting.

You make a good point and I do see this sort of writing in most of the hard science fiction writers except one: Larry Niven.

Somehow he was able to bring the sense of wonder found in all of the soft science fistion stories to hard science fiction stories.

jhwegener
2005-Dec-03, 09:03 PM
[QUOTE=parallaxicality]"Hard" scifi, which tries to stick to known ideas about science, is rather pessimistic and limiting. once you constrain imagination by known scientific principles, you are a) shackling your storytelling possibilities, QUOTE]
Is litterature with some relation(novels, short stories) the same as science fiction?
I am not sure about the exact definition of the genre, but when
I read "science fiction" I imediately think future science and/or technology and perhaps society. So what I have in mind is probably not part of the category "science fiction", but some other label. (I have played with "science faction", but have been told that was unfitting too).
There are stories and novels about almost everything. Crime stories, love stories, war stories, and a multitude of others. Why cannot some of these have an "astronomy touch" as well as, say, some plot about religion, templars and far out theories about christianity, or ww2, or assasination of some statesman?
[QUOTE=parallaxicality]"b) implicitly hectoring an audience by claiming "Forget what everyone else tells you, this is how it is" (a dangerous tack given science's propensity to show up predictors as completely wrong), and c) running the risk of your story becoming a "technical manual for future living."

QUOTE]
I think the "risks" are there as soon as the "science/technology" part is taken seriously. It is hard to see how it is less risky to use what is allready established science or real technologies compared to something the author imagine may someday become estblished. On the contrary it may be less "risky" to use known principle (say newton), compared to "antigravity" or "the force" or telepathy.

parallaxicality
2005-Dec-03, 09:31 PM
Well, that depends. "The Da Vinci Code" is a thriller with assassination, political intrigue and love, and claims it is "touched" by history, mythology, and religion, and yet the vast majority of historians, mythologists and theologians (to say nothing of literary critics) have decried it (rightly) as utter rubbish. That's the point I was making; oftentimes if one wishes to write a good story one has to forego realism to a certain extent. Many lawyers and criminologists despise CSI because it is spreading the myth that the evidence gathered by a crime lab is somehow infallable, absolute and non-negotiable, when in fact it is just as open to interpretation as any other form of evidence.

As to whether making predictions based on established science vs. imagined science is riskier, I think you have a point; every so often an HG Wells, a Jules Verne, or an Aldous Huxley makes a prediction of astonishing precience; nonetheless it is far better, in the long term, to make predictions based on imagination than the reality you see around you. If you do the former, you may never be proved right, but then you will probably also never be proved wrong (even if we never discover FTL travel, telepathy, humanoid aliens or anti-gravity, that doesn't mean they aren't out there), whereas if you base your ideas on current levels of science and technology, you WILL (and I am almost willing to state this as a socialogical inevitability) be proven wrong at some point. I am reminded of one of the earliest (and now largely forgotten) examples of futurist writing, Mary Shelley's "The Last Man", which looked forward from the 1840s to a 2075 where people still used the horse and cart and travelled in such technological wonders as hot air balloons.

jhwegener
2005-Dec-04, 11:37 AM
If there is any science or technological "touch" in litterary and art products it is probaly more often that not rather "pseudo". It may be easier to make it that way. The author may need less research. The reader may not be overburdened by brain work. And both author and reader (or viewer) may be more free to imagine sensational and dramatic plots wherever it fits best.
Still perhaps some readers want some "real knowledge" too, and it could be a challenge for the artist to give it. I think the author that take the challenge may be more interesting and rewarding.

QUOTE=parallaxicality]
nonetheless it is far better, in the long term, to make predictions based on imagination than the reality you see around you. If you do the former, you may never be proved right, but then you will probably also never be proved wrong (even if we never discover FTL travel, telepathy, humanoid aliens or anti-gravity, that doesn't mean they aren't out there), whereas if you base your ideas on current levels of science and technology, you WILL (and I am almost willing to state this as a socialogical inevitability) be proven wrong at some point. QUOTE]
We cannot talk about the future at all without at least some use of imagination. Predictions of all sorts will fail I suspect. Only exceptions are very unprecise or self evident ones.
Like "if populations increase average life span their average age will probably grow". Or "If human increase their waste it is thinkable their environment might be damaged".
Perhaps people do not judge works based on imagination as they do if it is based on "realistic" assumptions, because they do not take is so serious (I would not).They wisely assume there is very little predictive power but some fun and excitement in novels.

parallaxicality
2005-Dec-04, 12:07 PM
There are some very gifted writers and presenters of science fact who can illuminate the nature of scientific discovery without the need to fictionalise it. If we are interested in accurately conveying astronomical information to the public in an entertaining fashion, that would be the safest and least misleading way. The worst possible thing for the future of astronomy in the public sphere would be for people to start taking SF seriously.

jhwegener
2005-Dec-04, 10:21 PM
That is one way.
Then there is all the other facets of human life, art and "culture", living.
What about astronomys and other sciences as inspiration for painting, architecture and other forms?