"Dawkins... [is] on a crusade to stamp out irrationality wherever he might find it. He has stated that any irrationality is a threat, even if it’s a lightly held belief or a half-hearted curiosity about things he believes could never, ever be true.
And he’s wrong. Utterly. We need our mythos. We need our irrationality. We are built to need it. Cultures before ours managed to integrate both into the same world-view quite easily; it’s not an either/or situation. If you’re interested in magic, it doesn’t mean you think Einstein is a charlatan. (On the fringes, some may, but we’re talking about ‘real’ people here). The more people are unable to find irrationality in the culture around them, the more they will be driven to seek it out through their imagination.
In other words, every time Richard Dawkins kicks a quivering new ager, a hard-pressed science fiction writer loses another sale."
I was thinking about this recently while looking through a few anthologies of SF on religious themes, all from the '70s and '80s. Where is today's mystical SF? Where are the 21st century Silverbergs and Zelaznys and Dicks? We have Robert J. Sawyer, admittedly (and thank goodness), but mystical and mythological SF was an irresistable tide in the '70s—until it got crushed by pessimistic cyberpunk and nuts-and-bolts hard SF.
(Or should that be "Zelaznies"?)
Hat tip: SF Signal.