META: Psuedo Science

Rick Knight (
Mon, 08 Sep 97 10:19:12 CST

Mark Grant wrote:

Then Sagan is probably spinning in his grave... I haven't seen
'Contact' yet, but from what I've heard it sounds like a very poor
adaption of the book. I last read the book years ago, but the whole
point of the ending seemed to be that like a good scientist she
*found* the empirical proof to convince the world rather than
expecting them to believe on faith (in the real world millions of
people would have believed her story just as they do with UFOs today;
hell, she'd be a millionaire overnight).

Rick Knight responds:

It is a given in the film industry that the film adaption of a
previously published work is open to the interpretation of the
director's vision. Take "The Lost World" for example. Spielberg
wanted a T-Rex wreaking havoc on San Diego and so he incorporated it.

Books always have a different and more personal dimension because it
is up to the reader to provide the imagination behind the author's
words. In a film, that is done for you. You are left to interpret
the images and messages however implicit or blatant they are.

The beauty of a film like "Contact" is that it showed the dichotomy
between the scientific/skeptical mind set and the
metaphysical/spiritual/faith mind set and gave both validity in our
culture. It wasn't exclusively about the inviobility of the laws of
physics, odds and probabilities and proof. It also showed, when
someone's "faith" is skewed and fear-based, the level of violence and
destruction that can result.

Very often, what is classified as psuedo science is so haughtily
branded as crap as to shut down discussion, which is nothing less than
oppressive: humiliate someone into shutting up. I think the more
intriguing notions are what press some people to *want* to believe and
why the myths, both historical and modern, dance so elusively through
our culture, even causing the types of upsets that they do in this
board. Next to the "Goo" thread which wins hands down, this one is
pretty popular right now, with most of the responses coming forward to
debunk with fervor rather than explore the sociological and
psychological impact. But that's not really what this discussion
digest is about so I guess I shouldn't press it.