[Robert J. Sawyer] Science Fiction Writer
Hugo and Nebula Award Winner

SFWRITER.COM > Novels > SI Reply


Another Rebuttal to

The Skeptical Inquirer's Review

of Calculating God

6 December 2002

Dear Skeptical Inquirer:

I was astonished to see that SI is still talking about my science-fiction novel Calculating God (using its latest letter column to essentially assert, "See, we were right all along!"). But let's look at lines from another science-fiction novel: "The universe was made on purpose ... In the fabric of space and in the nature of matter, as in a great work of art, there is, written small, the artist's signature ... there is an intelligence that antedates the universe."

Clearly, this is creationist propaganda masquerading as fiction, right? Maybe so — but the author is Carl Sagan, and the novel is Contact. Nor are these obscure references buried in the text, and, unlike Barry F. Seidman, in his ridiculous "review" of my book that started this discussion, I am not quoting dialog without mentioning that it is dialog; the words above are straight narration given pride of place on the very last page of Sagan's novel — they are the concluding statement of his book.

Christian Fundamentalism looks ridiculous when it attacks works of fantasy, such as the Harry Potter series, for supposed promotion of a belief in non-divine magic; Skepticism looks equally ridiculous when it attacks works of science fiction — even more so when the attacks are selective, ignoring the writings by those it identifies as being by "one of us" while shouting down supposed apostates.

— Robert J. Sawyer

More Good Reading

Rob's earlier letter to The Skeptical Inquirer
More about Calculating God
First Chapter of Calculating God
A Bright Idea for Atheists

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