Science Fiction Challenge
Science Fiction Challenge is a learning project for exploring the nature and boundaries of science through science fiction writing. What does it mean to say that the subject of scientific study is "nature" and what does it mean to talk of the "supernatural"?
Project background 
Do some "age old ideas" rest upon a hidden foundation of science? Ideas about "supernatural" phenomena have long been popular in fiction, but science fiction generally avoids topics such as the "supernatural". Arthur Clarke suggested that "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic," so how do we know that science can not reveal explanations for "supernatural" phenomena? Can fiction writing play a useful role in stimulating scientists to "think outside the box" and provide us with "missing explanations" for supernatural phenomena?
The "Science Fiction Challenge" originated from discussion at Science and the nonphysical where it was suggested that scientists are unlikely to discover explanations for supernatural phenomena because they assume that such things as "nonphysical spirit" only exist in the imagination. An alternative possibility is that scientists have low levels of interest in supernatural phenomena because past experience has shown that it is hard to make scientific progress on studies of supernatural phenomena. The "Science Fiction Challenge" calls for the creation of fictional accounts of how scientific studies might some day bring seemingly supernatural phenomena within the boundary of what can be studied and understood scientifically.
Oriental religions and philosophy do not all seem to have the boundaries of the Western mind-body problem. Some of them, those based on the qi concept talk about an energy that pervades all of physical reality (energy and matter) and is a type of spiritual energy. That spiritual energy is similar to the Western concept of spirit, something that Western Science has not been able to understand or experiment with. Using those concepts and handling that qi energy, some people try to cure ailments and perform martial arts. Science fiction can explore topics commonly seen in Oriental philosophies from the perspective of a future society where there have been scientific advances unknown to us and where there are new ways of merging science and spirituality.
Writing projects 
- Mnemtronium - set in an imagined future after dark matter is fully understood. It is discovered that dark matter provides a way to account for some forms of Extra-sensory perception.
- The nanoepitaxy of Susanne Marie - explores the idea that there might be evidence for extraterrestrial life that can be found right on Earth....if we knew where to look and what to look for. Could extra-terrestrials with advanced technology have built seemingly supernatural abilities into Earth's life forms?
- No Working Title
- The search for Kalid (external link): a futuristic story which explores the boundaries of mind and machines with respect to telepathy and matter hiding devices.
- Admiring Odin
Literature review 
What existing science fiction stories provide accounts of how science might be able to incorporate elements of the supernatural into a scientific world view?
- Ringworld by Larry Niven. Does Niven's idea of "breeding humans for luck" provide a valid scientific explanation for the mysterious phenomenon of "good luck"?.
- The Calcutta Chromosome by Amitav Ghosh - mix of hard science fiction with supernatural elements. Do brain diseases and neuro-active drugs provide ways for materialistic science to reveal the mind's power to control supernatural forces?
- The Number of the Beast by Robert Heinlein postulates that the multiverse of quantum mechanics is waiting to be filled by thought particles from other universes. In an infinite series of infinities anything that can be thought becomes reality somewhere via these thought particles accumulating to previously empty universes.
- Science Fiction Writers : Critical Studies of the Major Authors from the Early Nineteenth Century to the Present Day E.F. Bleiler, Ed. Charles Scriber's Sons, New York 1982.
- Postcolonial Science Fiction: Amitav Ghosh’s the Calcutta Chromosome by Claire Chambers in The Journal of Commonwealth Literature (2003) Volume 38, pages 58-72.
See also 
- Fiction writing support group
- Science and the nonphysical
- Digital Storytelling
- Portal:Writing Center
Additional resources 
- Is truth stranger than fiction?