Archive for June, 1996

CSICOP: THE X-FILES MEETS THE SKEPTICS

Jun-21-1996
THE X-FILES MEETS THE SKEPTICS
Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP), World Skeptics Congress
Kendrick Frazier, Chris Carter

[Transcript from the event; Original article here]

**THE X-FILES ** MEETS THE SKEPTICS

–When Chris Carter, creator of the popular Fox TV drama The X-Files
spoke at the CSICOP Twentieth Anniversary Conference, the result wasn’t
quite what anyone expected–

Chris Carter, creator and executive producer of ‘The X-Files,’ was the
invited luncheon banquet speaker for the first day of the World Skeptics
Congress and CSICOP Twentieth Anniversary Conference in Amherst, NY.
The banquet, in the atrium of the State University of NY at Buffalo Center
for the Arts, was packed.  Tables were jammed together.  Other people
listened from second floor walkways or while standing against the walls.
We present here essentially the transcript, only slightly edited for
brevity, of that fascinating event, which consisted of informal
introductory remarks by Carter followed by an extensive question-and-
answer session.   Not all of the audience’s questions were recorded, but
Carter summarized many of them before answering.  Carter was
introduced by reporter Eugene Emery of the Providence Journal-Bulletin,
who, even though he had written several somewhat critical pieces about
‘The X-Files,’ enthusiastically supported that Carter be invited to speak
and served as his host.  We begin with Emery’s remarks.

— Kendrick Frazier, Editor

****************************

I’m Gene Emery, science writer, computer columnist, and occasional
contributor of Media Watch columns for the ‘Skeptical Inquirer.’

I’ve written about a lot of things in my 25 year career, but few topics
have produced more angry mail than my criticism of ‘The X-Files.’

Since the show’s debut on the Fox Network on September 10, 1993, the
adventures of two FBI agents thrown into cases with supernatural twists
have gathered a growing legion of fans.

Originally based on ‘The Night Stalker,’ a Darren McGavin series with an
occult theme, ‘The X-Files’ premiered with the words: ‘The following is
inspired by actual documented event’ and proceeded to depict an alien
abduction.  Stories of monsters, psychokinesis, and the face on Mars
followed.

Dana Scully, the FBI agent who is supposedly the skeptic of the pair, was
depicted as close-minded, ill-informed about the supernatural, and
unwilling to recognize extraordinary phenomena that were clearly
occurring on the show.

In short, the program–although fiction–seemed to be a nightmare for
people interested in encouraging the public to take a rational look at the
supernatural.

But ‘The X-Files’ evolved into something far more interesting, something
even hard-core skeptics can appreciate.

The ‘actual documented events’ line was dropped after the first show.

These days when FBI agent Fox Mulder gets involved in a case because it
seems to have supernatural overtones, he sometimes discovers a more
down-to-earth explanation.

When the FBI agents come across something that appears supernatural,
instead of ooohing and aaahing over the phenomenon from afar, they pursue
it, they dissect it, they try to get to the bottom of it, and they’re not
afraid to report a prosaic explanation if they find it–unlike the
promoters of the supernatural with whom we’re all familiar.

Although the show posits that extraterrestrials *really did* crash at
Roswell, the show has been downright nasty to the Gulf Breeze UFO
photographs and the Fox network’s own ‘Alien Autopsy’ specials.

Even as actor Peter Boyle played an insurance salesman who could
correctly predict the date and nature of anyone’s death, the show
skewered the so-called police psychics who are always predicting that
you’ll find the missing person’s body ‘near water.’ In the fictional world
of ‘The X-Files,’ world governments *really are* violently covering up
past contacts with extraterrestrials, monsters *do* lurk in the shadows,
and people with psychic powers *do* exist.

Yet, ironically, this fictional show that promotes the paranormal on one
level sometimes demonstrates more skepticism and more critical thinking
than the so-called reality-based television shows that feature paranormal
topics, where the producers ignore the research showing less sensational
explanations for strange phenomena, and the skeptics, if they’re lucky, get
a ten-second sound bite that gives the illusion of balance.

Open for debate is whether ‘The X-Files’ could do a better job of
educating viewers about the general public’s superstitions and folklore,
while maintaining the show’s dramatic tension and impressive ratings.

Mr. Carter and his show have received many honors, including the 1995
Golden Glove Award for Outstanding Drama Series, even Emmy nominations
this past year, and the outstanding television series award from the
Academy of Television Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror.

Last year, Mr. Carter was nominated for an Emmy Award for ‘Outstanding
Writing in a Dramatic Series.’ He was also nominated for the Edgar Allen
Poe Award by the Mystery Writers of America.

Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome Chris Carter.

********************

Hi! I’m Chris Carter, heretic.  I agreed to speak to this group a long time
ago, and I didn’t realize that I was going to be eating lunch here.  When
they told me I was going to be ‘had for lunch,’ I got kind of worried.

I’m anticipating some very touch questions here today, but I feel that I
should face my accusers and try to best explain why I do what I do and
how I think I serve the purpose of what it is you do.

I’d like to read to you a letter that was sent to me just recently from a
person who is a high school teacher.  I think that this is what I anticipate
will be the kind of questions and certainly the sentiment that I’ll be
addressing here today.  It says:

‘Dear Mr. Carter: (This is a man named Tucker Hiatt from the University
High School in San Francisco.)

‘In just a few days you will be speaking before the World Skeptics
Congress.  Your audience there in Amherst will not consist of your adoring
fans.  Rather you will be–politely and with good humor, I hope–criticized
as a key purveyor of antiskeptical, antiscientific, and generally irrational
thinking among the television viewing public.  They may argue that ‘The X-
Files’ is actually hurting people.

‘I am sending you the attached copy of Carl Sagan’s ‘The Demon Haunted
World’ for two reasons: first, so that you may know your enemy and
thereby be prepared for the skeptical onslaught at Amherst, and so you
might even come to adopt these skeptics’ point of view and therefore be
willing to make the modest occasional and purely evolutionary change in
‘The X-Files’ described in the paragraph below.

‘I am a high school physics and philosophy teacher.  I cannot easily afford
to send twenty-six-dollar books to strangers.  Nevertheless I’m persuaded
that you have the power to do something wonderful for the television
watching world.

‘If you will peruse pages 373 through 477 of this book–‘The X-Files’ is
discussed on page 374–you will find Mr. Sagan bemoaning the current
poverty of prime time television’s depiction of science.  ‘Where in all
these programs are the joy of science, the delight in discovering how the
universe is put together, the exhilaration of knowing a deep thing well?’
I’m afraid that ‘The X-Files’ in particular is helping to make this the most
entertained and least scientifically informed–no, the least rational–
nation in the industrialized world.

‘I believe that in this instance you are hurting people.   Our children and
my students, at least, deserve better.  To that end I ask you to consider
‘The Y-Files.’ Just once every month why not run an ‘X-Files’ episode that
is shorter than the requisite forty-eight minutes?  As the episode ends
you could air a brief epilogue called ‘The Y-Files’ that would finish the
hour.  ‘The Y-Files’ might involve any of the seven themes that Mr. Sagan
identifies on page 377 of his book, in particular, the presentation of real
scientific investigations into the preceding episode’s paranormal hook.  It
could be both thrilling and enlightening.  It needn’t be expensive, either.  (I
don’t know how he would know, by the way.) That week’s ‘X-Files’ set
could be used.  Dozens of scientists there at the World Skeptics Congress
would love to set up quick and entertaining experiments for free.

‘Mr. Carter, please give this book a read.  Please also consider why ‘The Y-
Files’ is a good idea.  Generations of scientifically literate citizens,
better able to exercise their healthy skepticism because of a few minutes
of ‘X-Files’ time, may be deeply indebted.’

I have to say, I couldn’t agree more.  I believe on of the things television
should do is educate, and I believe it doesn’t do it enough.  But I’m here to
tell you that I am a dramatist, I create entertainment, and I am
unapologetic for that.  I think that what I do is actually a great service to
science.  I’m willing to defend what I do in that way.  I believe it draws
people to science.

I have a brother who’s a Ph.D.  He got his degree in physics from Berkeley.
He’s now a research scientist at the National Institute of Standards and
Technology in Washington, D.C.  I ask him, ‘Can I mention your name, Craig,
the these great skeptics, here at this convention?’   He said, ‘Why?’ He
was a little nervous that he would all of a sudden happen to be allied with
me, the purveyor of antiskeptical material.

Anyway, I asked him because my brother was a great lover of science
fiction as a kid.  He read everything, all the science fiction canon.  It is, he
says, what drew him to science, what made him want to be a scientist.
Even though he’s not a big science fiction fan now, that is what, in fact,
made him want to be what he is.

I believe in the same way ‘The X-Files,’ even though it may not give some
people as balanced an approach as you may like, does the same thing.  It is
smart, intelligent, it doesn’t write down, it is in fact built on a
foundation of real and good science, as good as we can make it.  We’re
very, very rigorous about the kind of research that we do on the show.  I
talk with scientists regularly.  I have many friends who are scientists,
who are contributors to the show in research.  I think I can safely say that
as far as any entertainment show on network television, that my show is,
I believe, the most responsible to hard science.
On top of that, we deal with the paranormal, which I know you are all
interested in–or disinterested in.  We do that in a way–that’s the way
we tell our stories, and even though we come to no conclusion at the end
of the show, we, in fact, do say or suggest that these possibilities may
exist; but they are always leavened by Agent Scully’s scientific point of
view, she being the great big anchor of science, toning down the wonder of
Agent Mulder’s need to believe.

If you’ve seen the show, if you’re a fan of the show, you’ll know that from
the very beginning, in the pilot episode, that Agent Mulder, who plays the
believer on the show, had a poster on his wall that said: ‘I want to
believe.’ It didn’t say, ‘I do believe,’ or it didn’t say, ‘This is real, this is
all true.’ He had a desire to believe; he wanted to find the truth that was
out there.
I believe there is something that is very human, that we all want a
religious experience.  Even if we don’t believe in God, I believe we’re all
looking for something beyond our own rather temporal lives here that is
going to shake our foundations of belief.  That’s a personal feeling of
mine, and it has sort of infused the whole show.

I don’t have a lot more to say, or to defend for that matter.  I’m going to
open up the floor for questions, because I am sure there are many.

I surely have been reading the book that was sent to me, and I turned to a
page and maybe this is a good place to begin our discussion because, while
I’m very impressed with this book and I’ve been a reader of Mr. Sagan’s for
quite a long time–I read ‘Broca’s Brain’ as a young man, and I read ‘The
Dragons of Eden,’ also as a young man, and got a lot out of them.  I should
also mention that I am a skeptic; I’m not a believer or a purveyor, in the
schlocky sense of the word, of this kind of pseudoscience, but I do use it
for what I do, which is storytelling.

I want to read you a paragraph that kind of stuck out to me and it’s this.
Mr. Sagan is saying, ‘An extraterrestrial being newly arrived on Earth
scrutinizing what we mainly present to our children in television, radio,
movies, newspapers and magazines, the comics, and many books, might
easily conclude that we are intent of teaching them murder, rape, cruelty,
superstition, credulity and consumerism.  We keep at it, and through
constant repetition many of them finally get it.  What kind of society
could we create if instead we drummed into them science and a sense of
hope?’

I’m confused, and maybe you guys can answer this question for me: how
science creates hope in the world.  I’ll just throw that question out to you
because I was thinking about what kind of hope it represents to me: the
hope that a giant meteor is going to hit the earth and we all die, that my
cell phone gives me a brain tumor–I just want to know what that means
to you, what kind of hope you think science can give in our lives today. So
that’s my question to you.  [Pause.] No answers.

[Inaudible question from audience]

I agree with you.   Medical science gives hope that we may live long,
fruitful lives, but it actually does just that.  In fact it creates a long life
here and it doesn’t answer anything about our emotional lives or our need
to . . . .

[Inaudible question.]

It does.  Quality of life, I agree.  But I’m trying to make a point, and I’m
being a little provocative about it; I think people’s need to believe in these
superstitions–paranormal and the like–has to do with their emotional
lives, which is what I deal with as a dramatist, and I think that
sometimes gets confused.  I believe that if mysticism or ghosts or magic
were taken out of all literature or drama, we would actually lose a lot of
great drama, including Dickens, Shakespeare, Gabriel Garcia Marquez.  So
this is something that is used in a lot of drama to treat and limn human
experience and existence. . .

I’m trying to make a point–this is what I do as a dramatist, this is the
subject matter, how I use it.  I’m not trying to be a purveyor of
pseudoscience.  It is merely a dramatic tool for me.

[Inaudible question]

The question is: Do I think a desire to believe is different from the search
for truth?  I believe that they are different, but they are not inseparable. I
think that scientists search for the truth and they do it in a very noble
way.  I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea–I’m here because I
respect what you all do as scientists and I think that it’s a noble pursuit
and calling.  I believe though, that–I’ll tell you an interesting story in a
second–that there is indeed, beyond the truth, beyond the facts, there is a
need to have a spiritual life that for me is a need to believe, a need to
believe in an afterlife or God, for that matter.

One of the reasons I’m here is because I had an interesting meeting with
two people who I know have been associated with this group, the
magicians Penn and Teller.  They came into my office, and I had a very
interesting meeting with these guys.  They’re very, very smart guys and
very, very certain that there is nothing beyond the pale, that there is in
fact nothing that science cannot explain.
I asked them if they believed in God, and they said no.  And I asked: Do any
scientists believe in God? And they said: ‘None of the important ones.’
[Laughter.] I just found that somehow, I don’t know, very disturbing.  I
think that need to believe is, in fact, even with the most hardened atheist.
I think that there must be at some point in their lives a need to at least
search for some kind of personal answers for existence itself, and I think
that’s a feeling that infuses the show and certainly informs it in the
stories that we tell.

[Inaudible question]

The question is: Agent Scully represents a skeptical point of view, but she
was abducted herself; and, now, how can she maintain a skeptical point of
view?  If you’re a regular watcher of the show, you’ll know that Agent
Scully was in fact not abducted by aliens; it hasn’t explained who she was
abducted by, and the whole question of alien life has never been answered
in the three years of the show.  We’ve suggested it strongly, but last year,
people who know the mythology of the show know that we took away that
very thing.  We actually explained it away, which is, I believe, what I’ve
been trying to do–I’ve been trying to offer a sort of balanced approach,
saying that this could be just the depredations of a government who wants
to keep the truth from us, which I believe is absolutely true.

[Inaudible question]

The question is, to summarize, why is it that even if we present things
from a skeptical point of view, the paranormal always seems to outweigh
the skepticism?  My intention, when I first set out to do the show, was to
do a more balanced kind of storytelling.  I wanted to expose hoaxes.  I
wanted Agent Scully to be right as much as Agent Mulder.  Lo and behold,
these stories were really boring.  The suggestion that there was a rather
plausible and rational and ultimately mundane answer for these things
turned out to be a disappointing kind of storytelling, to be honest.  And I
think that’s maybe where people have the most problems with my show,
certainly this group, I believe.  But it’s just the kind of storytelling we do,
and because we have to entertain and because I set out in this show when I
created it–all I wanted to do, and still really all I want to do in a very
smart way is to scare the pants off of people every Friday night.  That’s
really the job they pay me for, and that’s the thing I’m supposed to do.

[Inaudible question.]

Thank you very much.  I’ll tell everyone I resisted the label of science
fiction in the beginning because I never liked science fiction as a kid.  I
never read it.  I honestly admit to you I’ve never watched a single episode
of ‘Star Trek.’ I resisted the label, but I realized then that the label
actually brought a certain audience to me and that what we are doing is
science fiction, because it is fiction and it is speculative science.  So I’ll
accept the label because I think it’s fitting.

[Inaudible question]

I think it’s a good question.  Am I a mongerer for the paranormal; am I in
fact by telling these stories leading people to believe they have been
abducted by aliens and/or any of these other paranormal thing?  I think
it’s a question that really is not dissimilar to the one about violence on
television: Is violence on television promoting violence in society?  I
think it’s a bogus argument, to be honest.  I don’t believe people are empty
vessels waiting to be filled up with kooky ideas and going out and acting
on them.  I believe that mostly people are smart and reasonable, and the
people who are going to be influenced by these things will be influenced by
them.  I can’t be responsible for them; that is not my responsibility.  I try
to present a fair, intelligent, reasoned, and entertaining–to be honest–
approach to these things.  I think that there’s a great debate right now
about arts and artists’ responsibilities.  There’s an interesting article in
‘Vanity Fair,’ a conversation between Oliver Stone and John Grisham
about the artist’s responsibilities.  Several people have actually killed
others and themselves after watching the movie ‘Natural Born Killers.’
The question John Grisham had is actually more than a question.  He’s
placing some blame on Oliver Stone for creating a product which promotes
a certain type of behavior.  I think it that it’s a very dangerous suggestion.
I think it certainly says a lot about the freedoms in this country.  If, in
fact, I’ve led people to believe that they’ve been abducted by aliens, I’m
truly sorry–unless of course they have been abducted by aliens.

[Inaudible question from audience member Steve Allen.]

The question from Mr. Allen is: Is there a disclaimer on the back of my
show, or should there be a disclaimer, saying that this is not real or
shouldn’t be perceived as real?  It’s a valid question.  I really don’t know
how to answer it.  I can tell you that when you create entertainment and
you don’t put it forth as the truth, that it is not our responsibility at the
end of the show to do anything other than to say, ‘This does not represent
actual events and/or individuals.’ I don’t know that it’s my responsibility
to say that I’ve just created a fiction that is a fiction.  I think what I do is
not astrology, it is drama; and those are two different kinds of things.
It’s a valid question, though, but I just don’t see the need for it myself.

[Long inaudible question from audience.]

The question or statement was about my question about hope.  This
gentleman says, what greater hope is there than the one provided by self-
knowledge, knowing the universe and knowing ourselves?  My feeling is
that you’re right.  That is, in fact, all we can do.  But beyond that, people
have great needs to believe that there is an afterlife.  This is my belief;
it’s not necessarily my personal quest.  But I know about the emotional
needs of people, and I think that’s what drama and fiction deal with.

[Long comment from audience; applause.]

I’m in violent agreement with you.  Preaching false hope.  Nor do I preach
or promote quackery of the like.  I offer up these stories, parables in some
way, in order to possibly take a better look at ourselves and to entertain;
once again to scare us with what is, in fact, I think frightening, which is
our fear of violent death, et cetera.  But I agree with you.  We shouldn’t
promote things that are, in fact, antithetical to a good, real approach to
science and medicine.

[Inaudible question]

I thought this was supposed to be hostile.

[Member of audience (Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist): One of the
goals of good writing is to anticipate the reaction of the reader so that
one can communicate more effectively.  For you to humbly admit that your
show is fiction, while a significant portion of ‘The X-Files’ audience
thinks the content is fact, means that you have misled them–
inadvertently or intentionally.  Occasionally, after your show, I get a
phone call from a friend of mine who asks me, ‘Was what I saw on ‘The X-
Files’ really true?’ or ‘Could that really have happened?’ Not everybody
has an astrophysicist as a friend whom they can call to sort out fact from
fiction on television.  For this reason, I believe you are setting back the
nation’s attempts to combat science literacy.  Do you believe your show is
harmful to viewers who may have difficulty sorting the fact from the
fiction?  Note that television shows such as ‘The Twilight Zone’ and ‘The
Outer Limits’ did not confuse their audience about whether they were fact
or fiction, yet they were nonetheless successful.]

Do you believe it’s harmful? …. I believe anyone who takes this at face
value and this doesn’t force them to ask themselves questions is a person
who is gullible anyway, and you have to do your job as a scientist. [Boos
from audience, followed by long comment from audience, laughter.] I think
this is why there are fiction and nonfiction sections in bookstores.  I think
that people who take this as the truth are perhaps not looking at it
carefully enough.  It never purported to be the truth.  It is a fictional
show, it is drama, it is entertainment; and it never tries to say that this
is the truth, you should believe this.  In fact, we are never conclusive
about anything.  There is a dramatic story told, and so I think that if these
people are believing it, they have a willingness and a want to believe that
is uninformed.  I’m going to turn to this side of the room; this is a very
hostile side of the room. [Laughter.]

[Member of audience: Hi.  I’m interested in the sexual reversal that I see in
your show.  I believe that women are more gullible than men {shouts of NO!
from the audience}.  I’m interested to know whether you were conscious of
this and made a conscious decision, or whether it just turned out that
way.]

It’s a good question.  There is in my show the woman as scientist, as a
skeptic, and the man as believer.  It’s a role reversal of the gender
stereotypes.  It was a very conscious thing on my part to do that.
[Smattering of applause from audience.] I see I’m winning points back by
the minute.

[Inaudible question.]

To be honest I try very hard to stay away from those classic science
fiction conventions because my feeling is the show is only as scary as it
appears to be believable.  Now, I know that probably doesn’t sit well with
this group, but I must stay away from things like time travel and science
fiction conventions because it gets away from the groundedness of the
show, and Agent Scully would no longer have a valid point of view.

[Member of audience: If you could create a show as effective as Orson
Welles’ ‘War of the Worlds,’ would you put it on, and where would you
draw the line?]

I never thought of it.  We did an episode this year called ‘War of the
Coprophages,’ and it was about cockroaches from outer space, believe it
or not, and it was a kind of war-of-the-worlds idea.  It didn’t get people
around the country thinking that their towns were being invaded by alien
cockroaches, but it was a kind of play on that.  I don’t believe that in this
era of media saturation we could probably ever do that again.  I think that
it would be impossible.  Would I do something that irresponsible?
Certainly not.  Anyway, I don’t think it was irresponsible.  Would I do
something with that intention?  It was never Orson Welles’ intention to
have the kind of reaction he got.

[Member of audience: You mentioned that there are literary devices in
Shakespeare and in literature where ghosts and soothsayers are part of
the plot.  Let’s face it: they’re usually right.  You always know if you see
someone predicting something, it’s going to happen in that particular
episode.  I’m wondering if you are saying to us that basically there are no
dramatic devices to make the revealing of a hoax as interesting as always
leaving it unknown and a mystery.  Is that what you’ve run into?  Does
being a dramatist meant that you can’t always have them revealed as a
hoax?]]

I’m not sure how to answer the question.  I use those devices because I
think it’s a way to reflect back on ourselves.  I feel that I should hold up a
mirror to existence and the human drama.  As far as hoaxes go, all I can
say to you is that the idea of dramatizing a hoax is a very downbeat idea.
I believe there are places to do that; there probably is a show in which you
could do that and it probably is a very good idea to explore doing that.  It
just doesn’t work well on the kind of things that I do.

[Female member of audience: I just felt that one thing that was left out is
that Scully is one of the finest role models for women that we have.]

Her comment was that Agent Scully, who is a scientist and medical
doctor, is a great female role model.  I’m very proud of that because I
think there aren’t a lot of good female role models on TV.  I was very
selective in casting her role, because I wanted someone who actually
wasn’t a sex-kittenish, TV-bimbo type.  I was really up against it because
the people who hire me and pay me money were very concerned about
Gillian Anderson, the woman who plays Agent Scully–they were
concerned about how she might look in a bathing suit.  It was very hard to
convince them, in fact, that she wasn’t going to be in a bathing suit.  So,
thank you for the comment.

[Member of audience: My question concerns the demographics of your
audience.  What percentage of your audience Is children under the age of,
say, twelve, and how do you think they’re taking the show?]

My key demographic–I feel like a scientist now–is nineteen- to forty-
nine-year-old adults, and the smallest segment of our audience is two-to,
I think eleven-year-olds.  They’re watching the sitcoms on Friday nights.
So my feeling is that this show is probably too scary for some younger
kids, but once again I think that what it does is the same thing science
fiction did for my brother; it will draw people toward science rather than
away from it, and make them possibly smarter and more rational and more
skeptical actually.

[Member of audience: I think all of us here feel that we have pretty good
critical thinking skills and that the basis of our groups is in imparting
critical thinking skills to everyone.  I enjoy your show.  I do employ my
critical thinking skills, and I believe that’s what the big concern with the
show is, that we are worried about people watching it who just go ‘OOH’
and don’t even think about it, don’t try to evaluate the evidence.  But I also
think that’s our job.  We are to go home and help impart critical thinking
skills to everyone we come in contact with, and you keep on making good
shows.]

Thank you.

[Member of audience: Do you think that a SKEPTICAL INQUIRER-type
program could survive on commercial TV?]

I think that if It was done right and it stars Pamela Anderson Lee, yes.
[Laughter.] I don’t know, really.

[Member of audience: Tell us more about the conspiracy.  Lots of your
episodes seem to be running around conspiracy.  Tell us more about it.]

Yes, my show does deal with conspiracies.  I was a child of the Watergate
era.  I distrust authority.  I believe that the government does lie to us
regularly and people are working against our best interests on an ongoing
basis.  So the conspiracy ideas in the show come as a result of my great
belief that we’re being suckered.  That’s the last question I’m going to
take.  I have to all up my actors here. . .

*********************************

–Scully, Science and Skepticism–

Chris Carter concluded his appearance at the CSICOP conference asking
two volunteers from the audience to read a portion of an early script of
‘The X-Files.’

Carter: I have to call my actors up here because I’m going to actually prove
something, a great big experiment with Mulder and Scully.  This is a scene
from the pilot episode for ‘The X-Files.’ It’s a scene in which Agent
Scully meets Agent Mulder for the first time.  It’s a little lengthy but
there’s a point that’s very important.  Listen to the words, and I think
you’re going to understand how I approached the show from the beginning
and where we came from, if you don’t know the show.

SCULLY: Agent Mulder, Hi!  I’m Dana Scully.  I’ve been assigned to work
with you. . . .

{Note: I’m not gonna type the whole conversation out, that’s for sure! I’m
sure y’all know this conversation by heart.}

. . . MULDER: And that’s why they put the ‘I’ in the FBI.  See you bright and
early then, Scully.  We leave for Oregon at 8 AM.

[Applause.]

Carter: Thank you very much.  That was the original scene and it really set
up Dana Scully’s skepticism in the show.  I think that it’s clear that we
came at it from a very skeptical point of view with her.  And I’ve always
thought that Scully’s point of view is the point of view of the show.  I’d
also like to use this as an example: I know that there are a lot of
magicians here involved with this group, and I think that most of them
like to dispel the idea that there is actually magic; nd I would like to use
it as proof positive that in fact what I do on Friday nights at nine is
magic; and that these fine folks here were kind enough to show us a little
bit of that.

Thank you very much. [Applause.]

END