Impressions From an Amateur Writer

My blog will make a lot more sense if I give some background information on myself first. I’m a Creative Writing major, and I am not part of the Honors Program. I am taking this class because I was interested in the subject matter, and I’m considering a job in screenwriting.

With that established, I have to say that I thought the article “The Impact of Science Fiction Film on Student Understanding of Science” was a little shaky on the point they were trying to make. I found myself agreeing with the film critics more so than the scientist writing the article. Film critics were quoted as saying “the point of fictional visual media is not to devise ‘accurate/educational’ communications about science, but to produce images of science that are entertaining.” From someone currently studying fiction under a microscope (bad pun), I know fiction’s main purpose is to entertain, not educate. Yes, Science Fiction films use real science then use it as a jumping off point to make up whatever they want. Is that morally wrong? I don’t think so. To be a good writer you need to establish the story in reality, whether it’s the “reality” we live in or the “reality” of the world of the movie/T.V. show. From there the audience is supposed to suspend their disbelief, being able to enjoy the entertainment while not taking everything they see at face value. The Core is not a scientific documentary, it shouldn’t be held to the same standards as one either.

They way the scientists used the film in their study made their findings very predictable to me. There is a big difference between watching a movie in your spare time and having a teacher incorporate it into the actual lesson plan. It was like these scientists were setting these kids up to answer the way they did. If a teacher has me watch a movie for a class, and we don’t critically critique it, and it was blended in with similar classroom studies, and I was an eighth grader, I would have used deductive reasoning to assume my teacher wanted me to watch this because it held some validity for the unit. I wouldn’t understand why my SCIENCE teacher would want me to watch a movie if it was inaccurate, especially combining it with a correlating unit.

Aside from that, two of the arguments they make really didn’t seem sound to me. The first one was that Science Fiction movies portray scientists as stereotypes. Whoa! It’s not like every other occupation in the world is stereotyped. Hello, cop movies. And they all seem puzzled as to why the students seemed more attracted by the movie than their labs in class. Actors are trained entertainers, so they’re job is to be memorable.

However, I do agree that teachers should know what Science Fiction movies are saying so they can teach younger kids about the truths of science. I also think it’s a good idea for teachers to critique Science Fiction movies with their class, because it’s an effective learning tool.

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2 Responses to Impressions From an Amateur Writer

  1. carlie22592 says:

    I agree with the point you made in the end regarding the critiquing of Science Fiction movies. As long as members of the audience are aware that not everything they see is necessarily true, and are willing to think critically about what they are viewing, it is an excellent method of education.

  2. wbeaurowe says:

    Faith! I thought the same exact thing (so I decided not to repost it once I saw that you had already written about it). I agree entirely. For example, since I do not have a Ph.D. in Anatomy if my A&PII teacher told me that a male’s bones heal slower than female’s bones I would have every right to believe her. There is nothing there that points to her telling a lie. Not only does she clearly know more about the subject than I do, but she also has some credibility behind what she says. By adding a few believable facts in there (like women have smaller bones making them easier to repair due to the lower amounts of calcium being used) I wouldn’t think twice about her lying about it. Much less if you’re some 8th grader who is being shown a movie by your teacher.

    That document, while somewhat proving a point at the same time is off base. Tricking 8th graders into believing something that few college students understand is like taking candy from a baby.

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