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Re: Origins of Man

Robert Wright
30 Rockefeller Plaza
New York NY 10019

Dear Mr. Wright;

I did not see the entire broadcast of "The Mysterious Origins of Man", but
have since read many detailed descriptions of the programme that bear out my
worst fears when watching the portion I did see.

With great respect, I submit that this program did a signal disservice to
science, the viewing public and to your network by presenting, as though
they were accepted facts, fringe viewpoints on human origins that are not
held by any legitimate scientists.  The result would be equivalent to
presenting a documentary claiming that the world was flat without ever
including the evidence to the contrary.

I am not suggesting that NBC censor anyone's ideas, and I am aware that many
with strong religious objections to the current scientific views on the
subject embrace the views outlined on your program.  Had the program been
presented in a way that allowed scientists to explain many of the so-called
"phenomena" shown I would have no problem at all.

However: I cannot condone the presentation of such things as "human"
footprints with dinosaurs or so-called "plesiosaur" carcasses as even
"unexplained" events when they have been explained over and over again,
repeatedly and in detail, and the explanations are readily available to
anyone (see, for instance, Richard Ellis' popular book "Monsters of the
Deep" on the so-called "plesiosaur", which is (as has been proven by
analysis of portions of it) to be the decomposed remaing of a shark,
probably a Basking Shark).  I understand that Mr. Baugh, whom you featured
on the "footprints", has been disavowed even by many creationists.  The same
objection holds to the presentation of far-fetched "explanations" for such
well-understood things as the presence of fossil mammoths in Siberia or the
Antarctic ice cap (Almost all legitimate archaeologists accept today, for
example, that if the Atlantis story - which, remember, no one other than
Plato ever even mentioned in classical times - has a basis in reality it
refers to the destruction of the island of Santorini by a massive volcanic
eruption, and the attendant collapse of the Minoan civilization, in the 15th
century BC).

The general public has in many cases a very imperfect idea of the way
science, and scientists, operate.  As so much of our lives depends on
science, this is a dangerous failing, and one that NBC should be working to
cure.  I am afraid that your program has had the opposite effect, especially
with its claims that scientists "cover up" anomalous information - a claim
that will be recognized as utterly false by anyone in the field.  The
"information" in your program has not been covered up - it has been
carefully, and thoroughly, disproved.

I strongly urge NBC to counter this damage by preparing a counter-program on
the same subject in which scientists can present the real facts.  The public
deserves nothing less.

Sincerely -
Ronald I. Orenstein                           Phone: (905) 820-7886 (home)
International Wildlife Coalition              Fax/Modem: (905) 569-0116 (home)
Home: 1825 Shady Creek Court                  Messages: (416) 368-4661
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada L5L 3W2          Internet: ornstn@inforamp.net
Office: 130 Adelaide Street W., Suite 1940
Toronto, Ontario Canada M5H 3P5