Scientists in Power in Science and Techno‑Utopias (“Flight of the Earth” and “The Transhumanist Wager”)
pdf (Русский)
html (Русский)

Abstract views: 101
Galleys Downloads: 431 Galleys Downloads: 23


Political Agency of Science
Science Utopia
Scientists’ Governance
Science and Society
Francis Carsak
Zoltan Istvan

How to Cite

Shibarshina, S. (2022). Scientists in Power in Science and Techno‑Utopias (“Flight of the Earth” and “The Transhumanist Wager”). Galactica Media: Journal of Media Studies, 4(4), 309-326.


The article considers the social-political power of scientists and engineers in science fiction illustrated by F. Carsak’s “Flight of the Earth” and Z. Istvan’s “The Transhumanist Wager”. These novels depict scientists and engineers as full-fledged political agents possessing or sharing with others the supreme power and describe situations of conflicts between them and other social groups. The article focuses on how such utopias deal with scientists’ social responsibility and interactions between scientists and non-scientists. In F. Carsak’s novel, scientists form the social-political group of technas along with technicians and engineers. They behave in a noble, highly moral, hyper-responsible and self-sacrificing way. As for Z. Istvan, he empowers transhumanists who have taken over the world and founded a global technological society; yet, he says nothing about their social and ethical responsibility. Another most important component of the plot is the confrontation between scientists and “ordinary citizens”. The author finalizes her article with the following conclusions. First, both novels ignore the complex nature of scientists and engineers as social groups and of the intersection of interests between scientists and non-scientists. F. Carsak portrays the technas as a close-knit community, a collective consciousness endowed with organic solidarity and collective identity. Secondly, both novels are marked with a certain schematicity of the patterns, such as science vs religion, scientists as carriers of progress, etc. Third, both novels appear belletristic manifestos: “The Flight of the Earth” is full of philosophical optimism, while “The Transhumanist Wager” seems a manifesto of techno-scientific rationalism, ethical individualism and rational egoism.
pdf (Русский)
html (Русский)


Abramov, R. (2013). Popularization of Science in the USSR as an Element of Cultural Policy. In Time, forward! Cultural Policy in the USSR (pp. 80–88). Higher School of Economics Publishing House. (In Russian).

Abramov, R. N., & Kozhanov, A. A. (2015). Conceptualization of the Popular Science phenomenon: Models of interaction between science, society, and media. Sociology of Science and Technology, 6(2), 45–59. (In Russian).

Bacon, F. (2010). The New Atlantis. Watchmaker Publishing.

Bucchi, M. (2008). Of deficits, deviations and dialogues: Theories of public communication of science. In M. Bucchi & B. Trench (Eds.), Handbook of Public Communication of Science and Technology (pp. 57–76). Routledge.

Chertkova, E. L. (2010). Science in the Context of Utopia: Lessons from History. Philosophy of Science and Technology, 15(1), 263–276. (In Russian).

Cole-Turner, R. (2011). Transhumanism and transcendence: Christian hope in an age of technological enhancement. Georgetown University Press.

Dmitriev, I. S. (2015). The Lame One Overtaking the Runner (Bacon's Instauratio Magna Scientiarum as a Project for the Creation of Effective Institutionalized Science).. Sociology of Science and Technology, 6(4), 9–33. (In Russian).

Filippov, S. I. (2021). Being God: The Social Aspect of One Late Soviet Utopia. In Revolution and Evolution: Models of Development in Science, Culture, and Society: Proceedings of the Third All-Russian Scientific Conference (pp. 495–498). Russian Society for the History and Philosophy of Science. (In Russian).

Hauskeller, M. (2016). Mythologies of Transhumanism. Springer International Publishing.

Haynes, R. (2003). From Alchemy to Artificial Intelligence: Stereotypes of the Scientist in Western Literature. Public Understanding of Science, 12(3), 243–253.

Hobsbawm, E. J. (1994). The age of extremes: A history of the world, 1914-1991 (First American edition). Pantheon Books.

Hughes, J. J. (2012). The Politics of Transhumanism and the Techno-Millennial Imagination, 1626-2030. Zygon®, 47(4), 757–776.

Istvan, Z. (2013). The transhumanist wager. Futurity Imagine Media LLC.

John, S. (2018). Epistemic trust and the ethics of science communication: Against transparency, openness, sincerity and honesty. Social Epistemology, 32(2), 75–87.

Karsak, F. (1972). The Escape of the Earth. In Lions of El Dorado. The Escape of the Earth (pp. 196–327). Molodaja gvardija. (In Russian).

Kasavin, I. T. (2020). Science as a Political Agent. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya, 7, 3–14. (In Russian).

Keohane, R. O., Lane, M., & Oppenheimer, M. (2014). The ethics of scientific communication under uncertainty. Politics, Philosophy & Economics, 13(4), 343–368.

Kitcher, P. (2011). Science in a democratic society. Prometheus Books.

Mercer, C. R., & Trothen, T. J. (Eds.). (2015). Religion and transhumanism: The unknown future of human enhancement. Praeger, an imprint of ABC-CLIO, LLC.

More, M. (2013). The Philosophy of Transhumanism. In M. More & N. Vita-More, The Transhumanist Reader: Classical and Contemporary Essays on the Science, Technology, and Philosophy of the Human Future (pp. 3–17). John Wiley & Sons.

O’Neill, O. (2002). Autonomy and trust in bioethics. Cambridge University Press.

Porus, V. N., & Bazhanov, V. A. (2021). Post-Normal Science: Passing the Scylla of Uncertainty and the Charybdis of the Politicization of Knowledge. Philosophy. Journal of the Higher School of Economics, 5(4), 15–33. (In Russian).

Schirrmacher, A. (2013). Introduction: Communicating Science: National Approaches in Twentieth-Century Europe. Science in Context, 26(3), 393–404.

Schwartz, D. (2014). Why Bacon’s Utopia is not a Dystopia: Technological and Ethical Progress in The New Atlantis. Utopia in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, University of North Georgia. Utopia in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, University of North Georgia.

Shibarshina, S. V. (2021). “Transhumanist wager” as an offer that cannot be refused. Digital Scientist: The Philosopher's Lab, 4(4), 69–82. (In Russian).

Whitney, D. (2018, June 7). Salvation Through Science? Bacon’s New Atlantis and Transhumanism. VoegelinView.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.