To: Subject: A+E's +quot;Biography+quot; Date: Wed, 3 Jan

Master Index Current Directory Index Go to SkepticTank Go to Human Rights activist Keith Henson Go to Scientology cult

Skeptic Tank!

From: James Randi --- Wizard To: Subject: A&E's "Biography" Date: Wed, 3 Jan 1996 20:41:38 -0500 ORGANIZED, PURPOSEFUL LIES -- on the "Arts & Entertainment Network. Tonight the A&E TV Network showed a repeat of their program, "Nostradamus: Prophet of Doom." I'd not seen it in its initial showing, being out of the country at that time. I was interviewed in connection with the preparation of that show, and I'd naively hoped that my input might be fairly and correctly presented. I spent an afternoon being filmed and responding to questions. Of course, I expressed my doubts about the powers of the French seer, and quoted from my book, "The Mask of Nostradamus." Indeed, the title of my book was shown beneath my picture at every segment where I appeared. And, in spite of everything I told the interviewer, NOT ONE WORD OF CRITICISM OR OF SKEPTICISM WAS USED, by myself or by anyone else, though I could not have expected any of the others to express anything but gushing acceptance of the wonders suggested, since they were all authors and "experts" on the subject who lied, invented and hyperbolized wildly to create the impression that Nostradamus was a genuine prophet. I was purposely misused in that show. Nothing but my recitation of historical facts was used, and the other persons who were featured came up with whoppers like the claim that Nostradamus (as a teenager!) discovered and preached the Copernican revolution 25 years before it occurred to Copernicus, that he had discovered vitamin C as a cure-all (a curious non-discovery that non-works), and that he was aware of hygiene and the inadvisability of blood-letting long before medical science came upon these truths. Erika Cheetham, the English author of endless books on Nostradamus and several times a millionaire as a result, was featured. This was one author that I refused to discuss in my own book, since she is not even aware of the difference between the letters "f" and "s" in early type-styles, and interchanges them to suit the required interpretation of the verses. This farcical program had Catherine de Medici with seven children rather than nine, had Nostradamus predicting all sorts of things for her that he never even thought of, and gave details of the prophet's life that have no basis whatsoever in recorded history. It was a pack of lies from start to finish. I now know what validity I will assign to anything the "Biography" program presents to me in the future, and I hope that my readers will, too. The lack of respect for truth and for the education of the viewers that was demonstrated by the show's producers, Craig Haffner, Donna Lusitana, and Scott Paddor, will not in the least trouble them; the money is already in the bank, and they just don't care. I wonder if the sponsors who paid to have the program shown are concerned that the producers turned out such an irresponsible stream of drivel? FedEx, Alamo Car Rentals, Dristan, Orudis, Master Card, America-On-Line, FiberCon and others might be concerned about their images.... But I doubt it. The rule today seems to be, "lies and fantasy sold as truth will sell products; facts have no place in advertising." James Randi. ************************************************** ** PROVIDED FOR YOUR REFERENCE BY THE MODERATOR ** ************************************************** Requests to be added to or deleted from the randi-hotline mailing list, must be sent to the service address: Internet: PLEASE BE PATIENT. All requests are processed before each new mailing to the list and these can be widely spaced. You *will* be added if your request was sent to the correct address. Mail to James Randi can be sent to: Internet: The Amazing One reads all mail and will generally respond eventually. This can change with growing volume, of course... Thanks to Anson Kennedy, back issues of the randi-hotline are now available on the World Wide Web: Back issues of the randi-hotline are also available via anonymous FTP to: USA: directory: /pub/an/anson/Mailing_Lists/geller-hotline directory: /Randi Please try first, since is very busy. EUROPE: directory: /pub/Randi Our gratitude goes to Anson Kennedy and Massimo Macucci for providing the ftp sites at netcom and, respectively.


E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank