Science-fiction writers have an enormous advantage over scientists, but unfortunately most of us don’t realize it, and the rest don’t exploit it to its full extent.
It’s something most scientists lack, it’s the cause of their limitations, compromises and inflexibility, and the main reason today’s mainstream scientific theory about the workings and origin of the universe is a synthetic construction made of speculations and compromises, instead of verifiable knowledge and genuine understanding. It’s something all science-fiction writers, on the other hand, possess, something that opens the door to possibilities otherwise out of reach and allows the boundaries of past knowledge to be exceeded.
That extraordinary advantage is independence.
Our modern culture places scientists on a sort of pedestal, as if their brilliance is not to be matched or comprehended, as if anything they say is automatically true. But scientists are fallible just like everyone else, except that their mistakes gather momentum with the passing of time, like snowballs rolling downhill and flattening villages when they finally reach the bottom. Their dependence on funding, peer approval, political trends that may or may not favor scientific inquiries and exploration, makes them inflexible and prone to compromise their ideas.
In the scientific world, if you find something that is not in accordance to the mainstream beliefs, it does not matter if you can prove it or not, it will most likely not see the light of day and never reach the wider public. Because if you successfully refute mainstream science, all scientists who contributed to it and all who are currently making a living off it will be invalidated, the politicians who granted them funds to pursue those ideas will feel cheated, the university professors who sanctioned their papers will be ridiculed, Nobel prizes will have to be revoked, careers destroyed and science stars and starlets will be knocked off form their pedestals. Even if what you discovered is undoubtedly true, withstands all validity tests and can even be consistently reproduced and demonstrated for all to see, you stand no chance against the establishment of mainstream science—not because it’s true, but because it’s everywhere.
This is the difficulty that the Electric Universe Theory, for example, faces when going against the Big Bang Theory. It’s precisely this dependence on academic bureaucracy, economy and politics, that prevents an open-minded exploration of reality, and the flexibility to admit mistakes and change the way we explain what we observe to be happening out there. Instead, dependence on this established, rigid system has our scientists twist and bend an inherently faulty theoretical construction until the universe it depicts defies all common sense and reality, yielding as many practical results as beating a long dead horse into pulling a carriage uphill.
But science-fiction writers are independent. We are not bound by government funding, century-old rigid academic systems, the looming shadows of famous personalities we’d risk our careers if we ever defied, and the widely advertised—practically omnipresent—mainstream theory made entirely of “mystical”, “dark”, “puzzling” and “pluri-dimensional” chimeras that have nothing to do with observational sciences and the spirit of unbiased discovery, and everything to do with captivating computer simulations of theoretical models that tickle the human imagination (and the public’s awe) just like every other work of fiction. Mainstream science with its gravitational model of the universe, it’s black holes, dark matter, dark energy, singularities, a space-time continuum that is conveniently reduced to two dimensions and can be folded and crumpled — that’s just like saying because you can crumple a map, you can do the same to the continent; or saying that if reality works in ways we can’t understand with our best theory and our brightest minds, then reality is inherently incomprehensible, instead of admitting our “best” theory may be hogwash and our brightest minds may be patting the system’s back for a place in a lab and food on their table.
It’s about time we moved on, and we writers can do that with far less opposition than scientists.
Science-fiction writers are free to create worlds governed by laws and principles that defy mainstream science, and not only still be respected, but hailed for their ingenuity. We can afford to create worlds based on the scientific theories that fight in the gutters for their right to speak, and we can show the audience there are different ways to see the universe, better ways, ways that allow us to reproduce and understand all phenomenons we observe in space, ways that bring science back into the realm of practicality and exploration, not fantasy and speculation, ways that enable us to invent new technologies and conquer the stars, instead of surrounding ourselves with models upon models of mathematical beauty and physical impossibility in a neo-Ptolemaic fashion.
We are not constrained by the limitations scientists face, and we have an even straighter and more personal line into the hearts and minds of the wider audience than they have. It’s our distinguished prerogative to expose the public to alternate scientific theories, to stimulate their sense of discovery and inquiry into the reality of our current beliefs, and to open their minds to possibilities they would otherwise never know. Not only does this freedom lift us out of the quagmire of today’s hackneyed and nonsensical theoretical cosmology, but it allows us to be original in a way that eludes many of our peers and colleagues. Who wouldn’t want to be able to introduce readers to a valid theory of reality that is also new to them and full of potential?
Science-fiction writers don’t have the “duty” to do anything but entertain and open people’s minds to possibilities, but what more could we ask of our lives than for such entertainment to be closer to reality than mainstream science itself? What better way to exemplify the ability of the human thirst for knowledge to overcome difficulties, than by leading by example? What better way to show that no letter is law, and that it’s our spirit and curiosity, and our sense for practicality that make us such wonderful creatures?