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A novel written in english, in which one of the sideplots was a group of mad scientist sociologists who'd concluded that theocracy would the best political system, if its tendency of inevitably being taken over by power-hungry corruption instead of true believers could be avoided and this could be accomplished by making actual consequences for lack of faith. Specifically, by building self-replicating mechanical monsters which were programmed so that they could be warded off by specific ritualized rules and prayer necessitating the existence of a priestly caste in society to perform said rituals and prayer and on a randomized period measured in centuries, the rules of said rituals and prayers would randomly change to shake things up for the priestly caste.

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  • "Gather, Darkness!" by Leiber? Jan 18, 2021 at 0:22
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    @ClaraDiazSanchez My memory of "Gather, Darkness!" is that the theocracy was thoroughly corrupt, and that any monsters were illusions created by the resistance movement.
    – user888379
    Jan 18, 2021 at 1:56
  • @user888379 Yes, I had my doubts about how well the answer fitted, which is why I put it in a comment rather than an answer. It's also not really a "sideplot" - it's pretty much the whole plot! Jan 18, 2021 at 9:51
  • Hmm. Scott Spencer's "Last Night at the Brain Thieves' Ball" had a crowd of mad scientists including sociologists, with a variety of strange ideas for manipulating people and society.
    – Andrew
    Feb 21, 2022 at 22:15

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