James is an aerospace engineer specialising in design and analysis of commercial, military and unmanned aircraft. He is an unashamed aeronerd, sci-fi buff and commentator on the Big Questions.
Description: Recent science fiction films and television shows such as Interstellar and The Expanse have offered vivid, scientifically informed depictions of future space exploration activities set in plausible locations within our solar system and beyond. Whilst these forms of entertainment often grapple with existential questions, frequently some sort of philosophical naturalism is the default canvas upon which the picture is painted.
In my presentation I submit that our rapidly developing ability to vividly depict new worlds and frontiers opens up tremendous prospects for dialogue about the very real existential dilemmas posed by competing worldviews. I propose we should take the opportunity to gently probe how one’s overall worldview – theism or naturalism – impacts our experiences of meaning, beauty and destiny when it comes to space exploration. Is our worldview a prism that helps us appreciate the beauty from even more angles? Or does the prism serve to dull or blunt the light that shines forth?