I have just now realized that the science fiction I loved as a youngster was all modernist propaganda.
Sourced in the 1950s and 1960s, the work of one of my childhood heroes, Arthur C Clarke, and others (including the original Star Trek), described a near-future world where Reason and Technology had solved most of our problems. And they promoted the assumption therefore that the key to the human problem was Education and Science. This is modernist propaganda, and it has happily been blown apart by later writers of SF and fantasy, both comic and serious.
Crazy evil gets in the way. As has been pointed out, a good education and a fine grounding in science can enable, rather than prevent, crazy evil. You need a good education and a fine grounding in science to create gas chambers (for example). And however we try to solve human problems, some human bias against the good and right, a bias we all have, gets us tangled in our shoelaces. Reasoning beings, we aren’t always ruled by reason; and science increases our capacities, rather than our moral sense. Malnutrition declines; obesity becomes a leading cause of death. Childhood illnesses are cured, thanks to medical advances; but one in four late-teen females in the UK report mental health problems. A society awash in reason and technology is a place of ill-health in new ways.
Our happy ending will never arrive by reason and technology alone. There’s too much crazy evil –in us, in society– for that. Yet the desire for a happy ending is so deep in us. Surely it can only be finally attained by crazy good, by grace, by the unearned. ‘I am creating a new heavens and a new earth’ says the book of Isaiah1. ‘If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come 2.’ It has to come from outside ourselves.
This helpful book got me thinking about this stuff (though I found a cheaper version):
And this wonderful book by Mary Doria Russell, about a Jesuit mission to alpha centauri, brilliantly shows as inadequate the modernist worldview in SF. (Russell won the Arthur C Clarke award with it, a tribute to both writers I think.) A pity the author, having written a classic, moved away to other genres.