To: Subject: Re: NBC's +quot;Mysterious Origins+quot; Date

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From: James Randi --- Wizard To: Subject: Re: NBC's "Mysterious Origins" Date: Thu, 6 Jun 1996 00:51:43 -0400 I must thank Jere H. Lipps of UC Berkeley for an excellent e-mail notice on the upcoming repeat of that ridiculous NBC program, "Mysterious Origins," starring noted scientist, biologist, philosopher, anthropologist, right-winger, Bible-thumper, intellectual giant, and dumb-is-better advocate, Charlton Heston. Jere calls for objections to the program, and rightly so. He even asks NBC to get ethical and make an insert to this re-broadcast. But bear two things in mind: first, NBC cannot now insert anything into the program as planned for Saturday; the tapes are already distributed weeks ago to the hundreds of stations, and the uplink is "cast in stone" for many reasons. Second, NBC does not want to take the edge off a program that sold -- and will sell -- lots of merchandise. Don't think that NBC is unaware of the errors made in the show. They just don't care, because the sponsors love it. That's their bottom line. Ethics, integrity, truth, and responsibility are far from the reality they deal with. Educating the producers is unnecessary. They're already aware. All they need is ethics. Only major scientists and science organizations publishing official denunciations of the program and the producers will make any difference at all. The "Objections to Astrology" statement that came out years ago was an attempt at this, but it missed because it pompously declared that astrology could not work, not that it did not work. The public doesn't give a damn about scientific theories because it doesn't understand science. But when it is shown, definitively, (a) that a thing doesn't work, and (b) why it appears to work, anyway, the public can be influenced. No number of scientists mumbling "Bah! Humbug! That's not real science!" will be effective. One scientist telling us and showing us why and how it doesn't work, can be effective. A dissection of the "mysterious Origins" farce should be prepared and published. Or broadcasted. More when I return from Amsterdam... 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. Randi also has a web page - check it out at


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