Paging Dana Scully

Fred Clark does a wonderful job of reviewing Tim Stafford’s book Miracles (which I also recently reviewed) by relating it to the classic science fiction show The X-Files. Here is one of my favorite quotes from the piece, which is very helpful and insightful:

Reading Miracles, I kept feeling like AD Walter Skinner on The X-Files, listening to another astonishing report from Agent Fox Mulder. I kept wanting to ask the question Skinner always asked, “What does Agent Scully think about this?”

Click through to read the rest.

  • Robert

    I enjoyed the review (and always liked Scully’s role on the X-Files). I get his point that there is no one cross-examining these witnesses. However, I do take issue with a mantra that is repeated throughout the review: extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence (which I believe I also caught in your book on The Burial of Jesus, Dr. McGrath). Isn’t Clark’s real point that Stafford is not even rising to the level of normal journalistic standards in presenting the other side? Why not just say “claims require truly solid evidence”? The “extraordinary claims”.dictum is used to raise the bar on unconventional claims so high that even extremely rigorous evidence that goes far beyond the normally accepted bar of .05 must be ruled out as not extraordinary enough. I recently wrote a humorous post about this in regards to parapsychological research, which you might want to read if you’re interested: http://monkeywah.typepad.com/paranormalia/2012/07/moving-the-goal-post-a-parable-of-psi-by-robert-perry.html

  • Woodridgegoodman

    With her open-eyed, dispassionate but observant look – and a name that recalls the “skull” – my first guess has always tentatively been that Scully – like Mr. Spock and Dr. Spock – essentially stands for Rationality. And/or, Empiricism: the ability of a biologist to describe what clearly is 1) observable with the eyes, first. And 2) then to seek the rational explanation.


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