From: UFO UpDates - Toronto <firstname.lastname@example.org> Date: Thu, 18 Jun 1998 04:46:17 -0400 Fwd Date: Thu, 18 Jun 1998 04:46:17 -0400 Subject: Re: CSICOP condemns X-Files Movie From: http://www.csicop.org/articles/x-files-movie/ Movie Release Could Usher in Turn-of-the-Millennium Era of the Paranormal Contact Matt Nisbet at 716-636-1425 x219 In the late 1970's, Close Encounters of the Third Kind ignited imaginations across the world, and helped spur popular fascination with alien visitation and abduction. Now The X-Files: Fight the Future film is scheduled to be released June 19, and if the movie is well-received by critics and viewers on opening weekend, it will likely draw hordes of moviegoers beyond its 25 million television following. Tapping into themes of government conspiracy and the paranormal, The X-Files: Fight the Future has the potential to catapult interest and belief in a range of paranormal phenomena above already historic levels. Many prominent scientists, skeptics and academics are concerned with the portrayal of science in the series. In every episode of The X-Files, science fails. FBI agent Dana Scully, the series' symbol of rational skepticism, is incapable of positing satisfactory scientific explanations for extraordinary plot developments. It is always Fox Mulder's mystical speculation that is on to something. "In the entertainment media, just short of sex and violence, conspiracy- mongering and paranormal fantasy sells" says Paul Kurtz, member of the coordinating committee for the Council for Media Integrity and Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the State University of New York at Buffalo. "The X-Files taps into the fascination market, feeding on viewer gullibility. Science is portrayed as weak and critical thinking is pushed aside." Magical thinking became a national pastime last summer during the mythological 50th anniversary of the crash of an alien spacecraft at Roswell, New Mexico. According to a Gallup poll, 31% of Americans believed an *actual* alien craft had crashed in 1947. In a previous poll, 71% of Americans indicated a belief in some kind of U.S. government cover-up of UFOs. Many defend the series as mere fiction. In response to that assertion, Oxford University's Richard Dawkins in the March/April issue of Skeptical Inquirer magazine asks us to imagine for a minute that The X-Files' weekly choice between rational theory and paranormal theory were turned into a crime series. In each case one suspect is white and the other black, and at the conclusion of every episode, like science in The X-Files, the black suspect is found to be guilty. Could Hollywood defend that kind of myth-making as "only fiction?" In 1996, X-Files creator Chris Carter appeared before a "World Congress" of skeptics at the State University of New York at Buffalo, fielding hard-hitting questions from noted standard- bearers of no-nonsense reality that included author/entertainer Steve Allen, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, and philosopher Paul Kurtz. A transcript of that question and answer session is available by calling 1-800-634-1610 or 716-636-1425 outside the U.S. About the Council for Media Integrity The Council for Media Integrity is a network of distinguished international scientists and academics concerned with the balanced portrayal of science in the media. Members of the Council include E.O. Wilson, Stephen Jay Gould, Martin Gardner, and Sir John Maddox. Co-chairs of the Council are Nobel laureate Glenn T. Seaborg and entertainer Steve Allen.
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