The Mass Media and the Futile Search for Extraterrestrial Life Essay

The Mass Media and the Futile Search for Extraterrestrial Life Essay

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Sure we've all seen movies and read books about extraterrestrial beings landing on the Earth and conquering the human race. And millions of us have viewed TV shows like "The X-files" and "Third Rock From the Sun." These forms of popular culture share a common thread -- extraterrestrial life. Yet the underlying question is, does the mass media take extraterrestrialism seriously? Or do they mock it? Or do they simply exaggerate its credibility? In the majority of these cases, the mass media not only takes on the third mode of exaggeration, it shifts focus from more important and serious issues such as extraterrestrial life at the cellular level. The media loves to play with the minds of viewers, making them believe in something which realistically is probably untrue.

The early history of extraterrestrial life traces back to the 1940s and 1950s. Stories of alien abduction sprang up everywhere becoming a general trend. At the time, alien abduction was defined as the forced removal of a person from his /her physical location to another place. It may include an altered state of awareness for the purpose of physical, surgical or psychological procedures performed by non-humans. After the abduction, the person is returned to his or her physical location and frequently has little or no recollection of the experience.

Where did this all begin?

It began in 1898 when H.G. Welles published his book The War of The Worlds. The time period was one of huge tension and military armament. This was a marker that World War I was going to break out. Welles novel addressed that very dread. The aliens were from the future and were perceived as an evil threat to mankind. But books like these and TV shows like "The X-Files" are always a projection...

... middle of paper ...

...Visitors?" Frank McConnell,Commonweal Volume 123 #20 Nov.22, 1996


Sagan, Carl. Cosmos; Contact.
Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space.
Kieffer, H.H. Mars University of Arizona Press 1992
Sagan, Carl. "The Search for Extraterrestrial Life." Scientific American. October 1994
"The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence: Scientific Quest of Hopeful Folly?"
"Titan: A Laboratory for Prebiological Organic Chemistry." Accounts of Chemical Research. July 1992
"A Search for Life on Earth from the Galileo Spacecraft." Nature. October 21, 1993.
McKay, David. "Evaluating the Evidence for Past Life on Mars."
Web Sites:
SETI Institute Web Site:
http:// page/abduction.htm

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