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Paranormality in fiction
Posted: 05 August 2011 06:59 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I am a skeptic in real life but I am hooked on the paranormal in fiction, including books, movies, and television. How about you all? Do you enjoy escaping into T.V. shows like The X-Files and Fringe, for example? Or do you consider such diversions to be merely fanning the flames of irrationality?

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Posted: 05 August 2011 07:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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FreeInKy - 05 August 2011 06:59 AM

Or do you consider such diversions to be merely fanning the flames of irrationality?

Some people do. Dawkins and Kurtz, for example, see Harry Potter rather negatively. I don’t. Fiction and fantasy can be lot of fun.

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Posted: 05 August 2011 07:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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FreeInKy - 05 August 2011 06:59 AM

I am a skeptic in real life but I am hooked on the paranormal in fiction, including books, movies, and television. How about you all? Do you enjoy escaping into T.V. shows like The X-Files and Fringe, for example? Or do you consider such diversions to be merely fanning the flames of irrationality?

Paranormal in fiction is completely justified; it’s fiction. What I really am getting sick of is the “reality” shows where people hunt for ghosts or discuss paranormal events in their lives. What a waste of production energy.

I love Dr. Who, Torchwood (which has come to America and is why we subscribe to STARZ), Fringe, and the like. Hell, if I’m bored I’ll even watch Warehouse 13. I thought Firefly was awesome.

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Posted: 05 August 2011 09:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Agreed, traveler. The thing that really gets me is that so many of those paranormal type “reality” shows are showing up on channels that used to be devoted to real learning like Discovery and TLC. These days, there’s not much on Discovery worth watching outside of Myth Busters. I think a lot of people see shows like Ghost Hunters etc. on these “learning” channels and it gives the subject matter legitimacy.

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Posted: 05 August 2011 10:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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FreeInKy - 05 August 2011 06:59 AM

I am a skeptic in real life but I am hooked on the paranormal in fiction, including books, movies, and television. How about you all? Do you enjoy escaping into T.V. shows like The X-Files and Fringe, for example? Or do you consider such diversions to be merely fanning the flames of irrationality?

I don’t mind it at all (when I was a kid I loved fantasy, and do still like some of it), though it does sometimes annoy me how readily so many SF writers still take ESP seriously, and clearly unscientific notions of the soul and afterlife. But that’s more along the lines of a pet peeve than anything intrinsically wrong with it.

As others have pointed out, it’s fiction. So to an extent it’s overtly something that’s untruthful. Though people do tend to take fiction more seriously than they should—I’ve even heard people say things such as that fiction is truer than reality. And this leads to problems of the kind Plato noticed. People look at fictional stories as evidence for beliefs about the world, and IIRC in one informal survey of students, some of those who believed in paranormal events cited fictional TV shows like the X-Files for making them believers.

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Posted: 05 August 2011 08:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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It does seem to fan the flames of irrationality for those who are already irrational ;  I don’t consider it to be harmful or irresponsible in the way that Dawkins and Tom Flynn do however.  A little fantasy is probably a good thing.  It’s when people can’t, or don’t want to tell the difference, or when someone thinks their fantasy should be imposed on everyone else, then it has to stop.  You’re so right about those annoying shows on Discovery, and the History channel! shock

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Posted: 07 August 2011 12:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Has anyone ever heard an angel sing? If not, why do we say “she sings like an angel”?

Oops that belongs to paranormality in art.

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Posted: 07 August 2011 01:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Maybe it’s because angels are extremely fat.  (After all, haven’t you heard of music of the spheres?)  LOL

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Posted: 07 August 2011 01:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Occam. - 07 August 2011 01:41 PM

Maybe it’s because angels are extremely fat.  (After all, haven’t you heard of music of the spheres?)  LOL

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So the human drama on earth wil not end until the “fat angel sings”?

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Posted: 08 August 2011 10:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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I enjoy shows like “Dr. Who”, and I loved the Harry Potter books.  Fantasy is fine as long as you can remember that it’s fantasy and not real.  What I don’t like is fictional programs like “The X-files” which incorrectly portray skeptics as idiots or just in denial about the “Truth”.  I can do without that.

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Posted: 09 August 2011 06:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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advocatus - 08 August 2011 10:38 AM

I enjoy shows like “Dr. Who”, and I loved the Harry Potter books.  Fantasy is fine as long as you can remember that it’s fantasy and not real.  What I don’t like is fictional programs like “The X-files” which incorrectly portray skeptics as idiots or just in denial about the “Truth”.  I can do without that.

You know, that’s a really good point. Scully appears as first to be a real skeptic, but very soon you see that is is far from it. Still, she is smokin’ hot…

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Posted: 09 August 2011 06:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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advocatus - 08 August 2011 10:38 AM

I enjoy shows like “Dr. Who”, and I loved the Harry Potter books.  Fantasy is fine as long as you can remember that it’s fantasy and not real.  What I don’t like is fictional programs like “The X-files” which incorrectly portray skeptics as idiots or just in denial about the “Truth”.  I can do without that.

Agreed with FIK, that is an excellent point. It illustrates how fiction can be detrimental, by implicitly supporting or denigrating the wrong things. People may understand that the X-Files is fiction without really understanding that its basic premise is, in fact, at odds with the truth.

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Posted: 09 August 2011 09:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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I enjoy a good deal of fantasy, most of my favourite is Urban Fantasy, like the Dresden Files, or fantastic satire, like Terry Pratchett.

For me,  fantasy sort of greases the gears after reading a large amount of non-fiction work. it helps me thin a bit.

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Posted: 09 August 2011 10:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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I think that the ghost stories from Hollywood and elsewhere are good clean fun.  I used to have a blast watching those. 

Although, now-a-days, I have trouble watching them, they lost their mystique once I became skeptical.  But you enjoy.  smile

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Posted: 09 August 2011 10:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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All this brings up another thought, probably best put in another discussion but I just want to throw this out.

I heard a program on the radio this weekend about the groundbreaking aspects of I Love Lucy from the early 1950’s. Television was so new that many naïve viewers got confused and forgot that they were watching fiction. They wrote letters to Lucy, Ricky and the gang and made comments about events from the show as if they were really part of the actors’ lives.

We can smile bemusedly at that now, but with “reality TV” blurring the lines between fact and fantasy, it seems that people seem less able to differentiate between the two. I mean, it’s like one can simply make up facts nowadays in the political or social world, and hardly get called on it. It’s almost as if just putting an idea “out there” somehow validates it.

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Posted: 09 August 2011 11:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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FreeInKy - 09 August 2011 10:50 AM

All this brings up another thought, probably best put in another discussion but I just want to throw this out.

I heard a program on the radio this weekend about the groundbreaking aspects of I Love Lucy from the early 1950’s. Television was so new that many naïve viewers got confused and forgot that they were watching fiction. They wrote letters to Lucy, Ricky and the gang and made comments about events from the show as if they were really part of the actors’ lives.

We can smile bemusedly at that now, but with “reality TV” blurring the lines between fact and fantasy, it seems that people seem less able to differentiate between the two. I mean, it’s like one can simply make up facts nowadays in the political or social world, and hardly get called on it. It’s almost as if just putting an idea “out there” somehow validates it.

Not enough critical thinking skills being taught in school. This lack of skill also often propagates from parents to children. Our very impressive technical accomplishments provide an excellent range of media that are being almost entirely wasted.

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