Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Friday, May 11, 2007

PZ Myers smacks Ben Bova over Breeders

I'm not generally a fan of PZ Myers, one of the of more abrasively strident voices of atheism in the ScienceBlogs circle, but he's dead on in an article in which he smacks around Ben Bova for writing an editorial claiming that the world is in danger of being swamped by a mob of genetically idiotic, fast breeding non-science fiction readers. (HT: John Farrell)

Ironically (or, if one wanted to push the issue, typically), Bova manages to get his science wrong, despite patting himself on the back with this:

"Me, I write science fiction, stories that attempt to show how we can change the world — for the better or for the worse. Most people don’t read science fiction because (I suspect) they’re afraid they’d have to do some thinking."

Uh, yeah...

Which reminds me: Despite having read a fairly large amount of SF in my time (and being enough in the in-crowd to call it "SF" rather than "sci-fi") I don't recall Ben Bova ever writing anything good. Indeed, I'd always assumed him to be a member of the oft mentioned 90%.


Jeff Miller said...

I always love of mention of Sturgeon's Law. I once had an opportunity to talk to Frederick Pohl and he had mentioned it to me.

Funny though I don't remember having "to do some thinking" reading Ben Bova novels of which I thought were okay, but nothing great.

Rick Lugari said...

I'm not into SF, but I can smell a mutant space rat with a micro-taser and an interplanetary time machine a light-year away. I'd lay odds that fearless thinker, Bova, has never delved into the NF world of timeless reality - Truth. Truth and reality are much harder to get a grasp on than anything someone can imagine. It's an endless pit of thinking, reasoning and understanding. Such difficult thinking is required that even when God gives us a great mind like Aquinas to do much of the thinking and predigest it for us - it still requires heavy thought.

The Opinionated Homeschooler said...

I read a lot of sf. When I was ten, and read all my brother's Asimov and Clarke out of boredom. Then I outgrew it, became a mindless non-sf reading breeder, and now waste my time reading--let's see, what was it this week?--Graham Greene and Austen.

Maybe most people don't read sf because, *pace* Sturgeon's Law, 90% of it is juvenile.

Anonymous said...

Me, I read SF when I need some mind candy. Not because I'm smart.

I read a couple Bova books a few years back. They weren't good. As with so many other areas of life and literature, the folks who are really good at it are not the same folks who are griping about everyone else.

John Farrell said...

I came close to picking up one or two of Bova's books--but always put them back on the shelf when I sampled a few pages.

On the other hand, he did write a great little guide in the Writer's Digest series on writing SF. (File under 'Those Who Can't Do, Teach' Dept.)


Anonymous said...

No, Mr. Myer did not "smack" Ben Bova around. Have a look at the follow on discussion over at Gene Expression, where Mr. Myer's comments are completely discredited.