Verdict? The Proximian, by Dennis Phillips

3 Aug

The jury’s hung.

In his explanation of his philosophy of science fiction, author Dennis Phillips criticizes scientific plot holes in contemporary fiction.  And while he comments that he does not personally believe in a race of beings born from daughters of man and the Brobdingnagian “Sons of God” referenced in passing in Genesis, Phillips’s use of the concept as an explanation for extraterrestrial life doesn’t meet his own standard for science fiction.

It’s not scientific.

While the technical details about the starship Ambassador and the planet Proximus are excellent, as a reader I couldn’t get over the disconnect between the aspects of supposed “hard” science fiction and the harkening back to the dubious science of Genesis.  Forgive me if I find it difficult to believe that an astrophysicist like Carl Sage could accept Creationism.

Reading time: At 450 pages, this is a book that needs two weeks at least.

Recommendation: Fans of C.S. Lewis’s Space Trilogy will find an appealing story in The Proximian.  I thought Phillips’s writing style was very readable–clear, smooth, and uncluttered.  But I took issue with some of the content of the novel: I found the explanation for the existence of extraterrestrial life unconvincing, and it seemed uncharacteristic coming from a standpoint of keeping the science first in science fiction.

The Proximian is available as an ebook on Amazon for $2.99

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3 Responses to “Verdict? The Proximian, by Dennis Phillips”

  1. Dennis Phillips August 4, 2010 at 10:29 am #

    Thank you, Isabela for taking time to review my work, and thank you for your kind comments. You mentioned in an email to me that you are an athiest. As such, I understand that you would be biased with regard to any blending of religion in science. You seem to believe there is some disconnect between faith and science. I do not. You seem to believe that if someone is true to science, that they cannot be religious, which is why you wrote “I find it difficult to believe that an astrophysicist like Carl Sage could accept Creationism.” Yet many like him have and do. I can no more prove the existence of God, than you can disprove it. In the end, a belief in God, like a belief in the theory of evolution, must be a matter of faith.

    Many thanks again and best wishes for a successful future,

    Dennis Phillips, author, The Proximian

    • thescattering August 4, 2010 at 10:55 am #

      Of course there are always biases, but objectivity is a weighing of the facts. Atheists don’t rely on faith–belief without observation or evidence–and so may be pretty well placed to be objective.

      I’d hate to get into a theological argument in a comment thread, but one thing you said in particular stuck out to me as rather off– “A belief in God, like a belief in the theory of evolution, must be a matter of faith.”

      Absolutely not!

      Tim Minchin said it best: “Science adjusts its views based on what’s been observed. Faith is denial of observation so that belief can be preserved.”

      In regard to the “absence of evidence” vs. “evidence of absence” argument, here’s briefly what I have to say:

      Observation and experimentation is the basis of science, and these pillars allow not only for dialogue but the opportunity for other scientists and researchers to disprove a hypothesis–and so get closer to the truth (knowing something is wrong is just as valuable as knowing which answer is right). The fact that one cannot, as you mentioned, disprove the existence of God only serves to highlight the very real disconnect between faith and science: that’s completely the opposite of the scientific ethos.

      Sam Harris’s short “Letter to a Christian Nation” would be a great resource for anyone wishing to better understand atheism.

      – Isabela Morales

  2. Dennis Phillips August 4, 2010 at 6:43 pm #

    I say that the theory of evolution must be embraced by faith because there is no absolute proof that anything has ever evolved. In the best labs since Darwin, no new species have been created. We breed house flies to have more or fewer hairs on its legs, and we can make some changes within strict limits through this breeding, but if they get too many or too few, the creature becomes sterile, unable to reproduce.

    One might drive by a raccoon on the side of the road, recently struck by a car and killed. It’s body is warm. It has a heart, lungs, a brain, organs, blood in its veins–everything it needs to live; perfectly evolved for life, some would say. The one thing that is missing, however, is life. Man has not been able to create life under the most ideal labratory conditions–not even a single cell organism–yet a “thinking person” is supposed to believe that everything we see around us today just came into being by pure accident? That takes faith.

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