Mohammedanism and Science Fiction

Brother Paul writes and asks:

Wonderful talk – Christendom is a great place. You didn’t mention the influence of Islam. I’ve always been struck by the fascination of many sci-fi authors with Islamic culture, e.g. Dune, Riddick, Star Wars, etc. I’m sure with your encyclopedic knowledge you can think of more. I notice you mention but do not delve into it in the history of Count to a Trillion.

My pet theory as to why these writers are perfectly comfortable with the continuance of Islam (or its analog) into their sci-fi worlds is the “alien”. Allah is totally “other” and can’t be reduced to *any* human constructs, including reason. Pretty much the definition of alien. This philosophy provides a fertile ground not only for really cool aliens, but also for demolishing human ways of thinking (meaning rational Western ways). Existing human constructs, even if willed by Allah, are willed arbitrarily and are thus changeable, unbounded by a natural law knowable by reason. This justifies all sorts of things contrary to the natural law, from the hedonistic to the murderous to the experimental or “alternative”.

All of this relates well to Pope Benedict’s underappreciated Regensburg address. Left unaddressed by many of these authors is the stillbirth of science in Islamic cultures (a theory first proposed by Fr. Stanley Jaki, the great historian of science). In a nutshell, if Allah is not bound by reason, neither is the universe, thus no scientific enterprise as seen in the Christian West.

So, my question is: how do these Islam-“ish” cultures exist in these sci-fi futures? They have not (our history shows) advanced science, nor can they (my pet theory speculates). The answer, I suppose, is found by exploring how they continue to grow in today’s modern scientific age, as Herbert did in Dune. Nevertheless, my point about sci-fi: I don’t think many authors enamored of Islamic culture in their writings have thought through its consequences.

My comment:

I cannot answer the question because I do not accept the axiom on which it is based. DUNE arguably has a Mohammedan flavor to it, since it parallels the war between the Byzantines and the Mohammedans in the Seventh Century. Of course, Paul Muad-Dib is a false prophet, produced by eugenic witches who deceive the people with the ‘Missionaria Protectiva’.

And please note that Frank Herbert treats the Islam-flavored Fremen culture in the same role as history treats Islam during the Seventh Century: barbarian conquerors trampling an older, larger, corrupt ergo weaker culture. The Byzantine intrigues of Byzantium are even more Byzantine when portrayed as the intrigues of the Witches, the Padishah-Emperor and the Great Houses of the Landsraad, and so on.

However, there is nothing remotely Mohammedan in STAR WARS; the Force is not Allah, it is a vaguely Zen-flavored life energy as might have been imagined by Theosophists or Shavians.

And in Riddick there is one character, the Imam, who serves the same role as a preacherman in a Western. If his name had been changed, there would have been nothing Mohammedan about him.

The role of Islam in COUNT TO A TRILLION is mentioned more than once both in the text and in the Small Scale Timeline in the Appendix. The Jihad ignites a suitcase nuke in New York City, which is mentioned in the text as ‘The Burning of New York the Beautiful.’The Plague mentioned several times in the childhood of Menelaus Montrose, and the reason why he uses the names of diseases as swearwords, is because of a biological agent released by the Jihad in an attempt to wipe out the Jews. The Great Apes were infected by a mutation the disease, and went extinct: the statue of the final Great Ape is mentioned in the text. Islam ceases to be a player in history in the 22nd Century, when India becomes the world’s dominant superpower, and reacts to the Jihadist atrocities by atomic carpet-bombing of vast swathes of the Middle East in an event called The Kali Yugi, the Age of the Destroyer.

My assumption is that once Jihadists provokes a warlike culture that is not hindered by a Leftwing self-loathing, or chained by Christian notions of chivalry and charity, they will be hunted down and obliterated. The tactic of hiding behind your own children is serviceable only against a foe, like us, who cares more about your children than you do.


In all fairness, I have the Catholic Church swept off the world stage in 40th Century by the Simon Families, vulgarly called Witches, whose women have the secret of longevity: on the other hand, since most of the psychohistorians ruling history at this point are Spanish Catholics, I assume one of them attempts to maintain the continuity of the institution, perhaps with divine help, across the abyss of years.

The Sacerdotal Order of later aeons claims, at least, to be one and the same with the Uniate (Catholic and Eastern Churches recombined) Church, but theologians might debate the legality of the claim.

I selected India rather than China as the seat of the next great world power in history because China was selected by other science fiction writers, including David Wingrove, Cordwainer Smith, and Philip Francis Nowlan.

However, to return to the question, while I doubt the axiom of the question, I agree with the conclusion: an Islamic Civilization could exist built on the backs of a conquered Christian civilization, as existed in Northern Africa, the Middle East, and Asia Minor, that is, on the backs of the Byzantine Empire. It cannot exist without a host to feed off of. The scientific world view cannot exist outside the orbit of Christendom and never has — what happens in pagan cultures which study and practice science, is that the science become politicized, controlled by the pagan ideology: look at the sudden lack of contributions to science after the Thirteenth Century from the Middle East, look at Lysenko in Russia, look at the so-called Race sciences in Nazi Germany, look at the role of Junk Science, Global Warming and so on, in modern America. None of these examples halted the progress of real science, but we can imagine the result if they were the majority and the dominant paradigm.

This is because the central idea of a rational universe is impossible without a rational creator. The postmodernists do not believe in reason, or any narratives, and the Muslims do not believe the creator is rational, as this would impose an unendurable restriction on the majesty of their lonely non-trinitarian god.