Re: poly: Egan's Diaspora

From: Robin Hanson <>
Date: Thu Mar 19 1998 - 11:29:24 PST

Curt Adams writes:
>>In general, what's good and bad about Egan is what's good and bad
>>about hard science fiction. Wonderfully thought-out speculation
>>on hard science bundled with laughable assumptions about social
>In fairness to SF writers, the scientific literature on these
>topics ranges from mediocre (resource constraints) to absent
>(memetic selection). When you start looking at hypothetical
>far-future scenarios, it's all essentially absent. These are
>hard problems, and it's no surprise SF writers can't afford to
>spend much time on them. After all, even if they did, they
>might have nothing useful - such is science.

The physics literature has very little regarding far-future scenarios
either. SF authors draw on the usual literature to inform their own
far-future scenarios. They should similarly draw on our vast
understanding of social systems to make their future scenarios.
Social scientists really do understand a lot of things about societies.

My guess is that the key problem is that most SF authors are like you,
being so convinced that almost nothing is known that they might as
well ignore all the literature and just make stuff up.

Robin Hanson
RWJF Health Policy Scholar, Sch. of Public Health 510-643-1884
140 Warren Hall, UC Berkeley, CA 94720-7360 FAX: 510-643-8614
Received on Thu Mar 19 19:32:34 1998

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Tue Mar 07 2006 - 14:45:30 PST