Like it? Share it!

Sign up for news and updates!






Enter word seen below
Visually impaired? Click here to have an audio challenge played.  You will then need to enter the code that is spelled out.
Change image

CAPTCHA image
Please leave this field empty

Login Form



Make Way for the Anti-Ghost-Whisperers PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jennifer Ouelette   

oulette tamyspeaker At a symposium last November to launch the National Academy of Sciences' new program, the Science and Entertainment Exchange, host Seth McFarlane (The Family Guy) - perhaps Hollywood's most powerful atheist -bemoaned the dominance of "comic book spiritualism" in film and television in recent years.

"I grew up watching Star Trek and I remember we used to be so excited about NASA and what they were doing," he told a rapt audience of prominent scientists and leaders in the entertainment industry. "Now we have The Ghost Whisperer. I don't know why I chose to crap on that show specifically, but the point is that the realism is gone, and the believability is gone. We need to get people excited about science again."

McFarlane makes a valid point. But there are signs that the TV times, they are a-changin' - science and rational thinking are making a comeback on the airwaves, if a quick survey of the top TV shows of the last few years is any indication.

For instance, in the new hit CBS series, The Mentalist, Aussie actor Simon Baker stars as Patrick Jane (a.k.a., "McSleuthy"), a former stage psychic turned police detective. The pilot makes no bones about the fact that Jane's past "career" of "speaking to the dead" was a scam. He was very adept at reading people via their mannerisms, personal photographs and so forth, and was able to leverage this skill into a convincing act. Then he offended a serial killer during a TV appearance; the killer took revenge by murdering Jane's wife and daughter. Jane quit the psychic gig and became a detective, and now he's the anti-Ghost Whisperer.

"There's no such thing as psychics," he coolly tells a gullible young policewoman who asks how he reacts when he meets "real" psychics. She persists, arguing that her own sister has "the gift" and has been "right" about things she couldn't possibly have known. He counters by pointing out the combined phenomenon of selective memory and wishful thinking: people tend to remember the "right" guesses and forget the wrong ones, thereby shoring up their propensity to believe in psychic phenomena.

Cognitive psychologists call this confirmation bias. It's a very real, well-documented phenomenon, but you're certainly not going to hear about it on The Ghost Whisperer.

That makes The Mentalist a refreshing departure from what used to be the usual prime time fare. And it isn't the only show on network and cable television that unapologetically espouses a pro-science rationalist worldview.

That is good news for champions of science-based thinking. Networks aren't altruistic; they're out to make money by appealing broadly to their viewers. The fact that so many successful science-themed shows are resonating with those viewers is an encouraging sign. There is a significant fraction of folks out there who are at least willing to listen to a rationalist viewpoint, provided it's presented in an appealing way. That means there is a greater demand for series with scientific content. The NAS launched the Science and Entertainment Exchange to help film and television professionals better incorporate these kinds of elements into their characters and storylines. We want this trend to continue!

Patrick Jane exists in part because Gregory House - the main protagonist on House M.D. - proved such a popular character, despite being an unhappy, embittered atheist who likes to manipulate people and pops way too much Vicodin. House, in turn, exists because of the huge success of the C.S.I. franchise, which immortalized the phrase "Follow the evidence," and emphasizes fact-based scientific thinking in practically every episode. Another network newcomer, Lie To Me, memorably debunked lie detection equipment in its second episode

One of my favorite House episodes is "You Don't Want to Know," when a magician ends up under House's curmudgeonly care. The magician performs a trick and refuses to explain how he did it, claiming that the fun is not knowing. For House, of course, the fun is in knowing. He demonstrates this by making a series of astute observations about the patient's diet, dental care, and sleep habits, then explains how he deduced these facts. "That was way cooler before you explained it," says the magician. "It was meaningless until I explained it," House retorts.

"People come to my shows because they want a sense of wonder. They want to experience something that they can't explain," the magician argues. But House still isn't buying it: "If the wonder's gone when the truth is known, there never was any wonder...." That exchange cuts to the heart of the Great Divide between scientific thinking and those who desperately want the world to be magic. And millions of people witnessed it.

There is undoubtedly a great deal of silliness and superstition to be found on TV, but there are other voices as well - and those voices are getting louder. Audiences are being exposed, week after week, to the rationalist point of view in snappy memorable sound bites delivered by beloved characters. House and The Mentalist alone account for millions of viewers each week. Add in regular viewers of the C.S.I. franchise and you've got some serious numbers. The Ghost Whisperer's ratings don't even come close.

Now if we can only find a way to get the equivalent of Gregory House onto American Idol. Twenty-seven million viewers would hear the mantra, "Trust me - it's way cooler to know" - no doubt set to a killer groove with scorching vocals.

Jennifer Ouellette is a science writer, blogger, and director of the National Academy of Sciences' Science and Entertainment Exchange, designed to foster creative collaborations between scientists and the entertainment industry. She is the author of The Physics of the Buffyverse and Black Bodies and Quantum Cats: Tales from the Annals of Physics, and is currently writing her third book, Dangerous Curves: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Calculus.

Trackback(0)
Comments (38)Add Comment
...
written by kenhamer, June 10, 2009
I agree about the "knowing" part of it. With apologies to Mr. Randi, knowing how a magic trick is done doesn't make it any less interesting or enjoyable. In fact, for me at least, knowing how it's done not only allows me to appreciate the 'magic' part of it, but also to appreciate the cleverness, skill, and showmanship required to pull it off. I think science is a lot like that.

I recall a time many years ago when a then woo-woo friend (since reformed) had nothing but guffaws for a report on the causes of a plane crash. His attitude was they must be making it up because there's no way they could know the things in the report. But after seeing a documentary on how those investigations were carried out, and how they came to their conclusions, he was fascinated, and has ever since been interested in science.

I recall an elementary school field trip to a university lab where a tub of blue liquid had all sorts of transient "streaks" running through it. Some of the kids thought it was "ghosts" and thought that was pretty cool. But once the lab technician explained that it was muons (I think -- it was a long, long time ago) that were streaking through the universe and effortlessly passing thought mountains, planets and even human beings, but occaisionally interacted with other components in the liquid, the "ghost" theory seemed positively boring to everyone in the class.

I think the effect of this new breed of TV shows is the same thing, writ large.
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +11
...
written by Otara, June 10, 2009
I see it as more 'its fun to figure it out' rather than 'its fun not to know'.

Magicians dont claim to actually be magic after all, so the interesting bit is them doing it in a way where it needs creative thought to figure out how it was done using normal phenomena rather than simply claiming it was magic pixies or whatever.

report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +5
...
written by The Diluted Fool, June 10, 2009
"I grew up watching Star Trek and I remember we used to be so excited about NASA and what they were doing," he told a rapt audience of prominent scientists and leaders in the entertainment industry. "Now we have The Ghost Whisperer. I don't know why I chose to crap on that show specifically, but the point is that the realism is gone, and the believability is gone.
Hmm, yes, he's right. Realism... Believability.. Maybe if we modulate the phase of our credulity shield and polarize the tachyon particles, that might just solve it!
And even aside from the mostly nonsensicle technobabble, it's not as if Star Trek is deprived of the paranormal; there's the Vulcan mindmeld, Betazoid empathy and telepathy, the Q's near omnipotent power to rearrange the universe to their will, etc.
Maybe there's a bit of confirmation bias going on in McFarlane's memories, but I for one don't see that bygone era of realism and believability. There's not much science fiction that doesn't need a hefty dose of suspension of disbelief and that doesn't merely dress up what amounts to magic as science without further explanation.
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +6
...
written by MadScientist, June 11, 2009
I'm with Otara; I think it's great fun trying to figure out how a trick is done. Even if I desperately wanted to know how a particular trick was done, I'd want an opportunity to find out for myself. Simply asking people to divulge secrets which may have taken years of practice to perfect is just rude and lazy. Gimme, gimme, gimme! Figure it out on your own and you can say "I know your secret".

I can't help being overcome by a feeling of deja vu when people say that perhaps TV today isn't as bad as we think. I say "It can only be worse". Even the shows which are claimed to champion sensibility often don't most of the time. So although some shows may have as their 'gimmick' a skeptical character (or pseudo-skeptical character), I can't see the swing towards sensibility that some people seem to pine for.
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +1
The Mentalist
written by SionH, June 11, 2009
Frankly, I think The Mentalist could come on a little stronger. I like it a lot, but think that they don't make enough of his fraudulent psychic past or debunk psychics strongly enough. But I could be in a minority. I guess they're feeling their way still.
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +2
...
written by bosshog, June 11, 2009
Hooray for Hollywood
That screwy ballyhooey Hollywood!
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +0
...
written by redwench, June 11, 2009
All the science-based dramas have some unbelievable ideas in them, mostly for the sake of story continuity. DNA results in minutes, lab techs that are experts in every field of testing, no random or extraneous data. I don't expect true reality from a fictional TV show, although I was extremely disappointed in Numb3rs shows where they gave way too much credence to a "psychic". Fortunately, he died smilies/grin.gif
But like many others, I am encouraged that the science stuff is doing much better than the paranormal junk. Now if only Simon Baker would do a bit more debunking....
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +1
The Mentalist
written by dionysius, June 11, 2009
The Mentalist does tend to be very light, and, while entertaining, it's a bit disappointing in that respect. There are some frustrating inconsistencies in Jane's character, as he sometimes is so acutely of the smallest details in one episode, then misses the biggest clue when it suits the plot. Still I love the show, but it gets by largely on the cast ("It's Cho time!") and their interactions rather that on science and critical thinking, which comes in second.

The real problem is that Jane's skill (and that of others) is still presented in unbelievable ways. Psychics may be fake, but hypnosis is very real and ridiculously easy (given the right subject), and Jane tries to use it every chance he gets. In one episode a CBI agent nearly kills his friends because of a hypnotist's subtle suggestion, and the 'trance' is only broken by his love for a colleague. smilies/tongue.gif

There's also the problem of the psychic who made Jane cry by bringing a message from his deceased wife. It was vague enough that he could have just been overcome with emotion and unable or unwilling to respond, but that same vagueness left it open that she was the real thing. They seemed to be setting her up for future appearances, as a foil for Jane.

The big fear from the start has been that Jane would be proved wrong at some point, especially if the show needed a ratings boost. Thankfully it's been a success, so there should be no need to follow the path to wooville.
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +1
...
written by LovleAnjel, June 11, 2009
When I was little I was huge into "Hollywood magic" (special effects), and it only made it cooler for me to know how they made the movie. I feel the same way about magic, and even stuff like how amusement parks operate-- the details going on behind the scenes are really cool, and there is a rush when you finally 'get' the trick. I think that's part of what the attraction to shows like CSI is about-- you learn the tricks to the trade.
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +1
...
written by mama1974, June 11, 2009
It's fantasy. I no more believe in the GhostWhisper than I do in the fact that soap stars wake up from comas with perfect hair and make-up or that Jason Statham can fall out of a helicopter and, not only live but, hasn't broken a single bone. I still like watching. I don't believe in real-life psychics or that saving the cheerleader saves the world. The only real issue is that James Van Praag (much like Bernie Madoff) has become rich by scamming people. He's already been shown to be a fraud and (sadly) was very well known before GW came about. Doesn't mean we can't enjoy being entertained by the fantasy and seeing Jason Statham shirtless.
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +2
@SionH
written by CasaRojo, June 11, 2009
"Frankly, I think The Mentalist could come on a little stronger. I like it a lot, but think that they don't make enough of his fraudulent psychic past or debunk psychics strongly enough. But I could be in a minority."

I stopped watching it for that very reason. In one of the eps it was left up in the air as to one psychic's abilities and it shouldn't have been IMHO. Jane was almost sympathetic I thought. I was disappointed.
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +2
@The Diluted Fool
written by CasaRojo, June 11, 2009
"There's not much science fiction that doesn't need a hefty dose of suspension of disbelief and that doesn't merely dress up what amounts to magic as science without further explanation."

That's why it's called science *fiction*.
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +0
@ the diluted fool, Lowly rated comment [Show]
GalaxyQuest
written by Kuroyume, June 11, 2009
@truth64: They could put you in drag and it would be much worse... smilies/grin.gif

Stories. TV shows, movies, plays, books; these are stories. Not many of them are claiming to be 'based on true stories' (though we've encounted a few of those like "The Amityville Horror" scam). It is one thing to suspend belief and enjoy a story even if it's inplausible or easily busted (I'm going somewhere with this). It is another to have documentaries or other forms of media wherein the content is 'supposedly' reality based. For instance "MonsterQuest" and "GhostHunters". These are the credulous leading the credulous in a masterwork of self-reinforcing delusion trying to lend credence to ideas that have no evidential or scientific basis. On the other hand, we have the "Mythbusters" whom I never miss. In that spectrum of 'TV land', I think we are sorely in trouble with all of the junk. I tend to watch Science and History channels more often and am selective about the shows (they're not about the all-powerful dollar either). Wheat and chaff (I imagine that truth64 understands that one).

No comment on the diversion to evolution again. Dinosaurs. Explain them. But do it somewhere else like on your own website and give a link so we can comment...
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +2
@kuroyume, Lowly rated comment [Show]
@TheDilutedFool
written by poobah103, June 11, 2009
One of my favorite episodes of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" is when the Enterprise comes to help a planet when suddenly The Devil appears to call in a debt that, according to legend, the planet's residents agreed to years before. She demonstrates strange powers that can't (at first) be explained, but Picard isn't convinced. With some help from the crew, Picard exposes her as, essentially, a stage-magician... but not before having a little fun with her first.

"Star Trek" may not be a strictly scientific show, but I think it promoted science and rational thinking in its own way. After all, one of Data's role-models is Sherlock Holmes, who's the template for characters like House and Patrick Jane.
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +6
...
written by redwench, June 11, 2009
from dinosaurs to humans???? Someone doesn't seem to understand evolutionary theory very well.

report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +10
@redwench, Lowly rated comment [Show]
I agree
written by Culmidon, June 11, 2009
I have to agree with kenhamer (also with apologies to Mr. Randi.) Do a search of YouTube for "Cups and balls" and watch the Penn and Teller one. Not only do they do the trick the way it is usually performed, with opaque cups, they also explain exactly how they do it, and then they do it with CLEAR cups. It doesn't get any less amazing, particularly since even as you watch them do it with clear cups and already know what they're going to do -- you STILL can't catch them at it, and are amazed!
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +1
...
written by Mr. Science, June 11, 2009
On the downside, CSI Miami has given us the 'talents' od David Caruso. smilies/tongue.gif :

In real life scenarios, I'd agree with the crotchety Dr. House about "If the wonder is gone by learning the truth, there never was any wonder." But stage magic is just there for entertainment, like Star Trek. I think that a couple guys who aren't really fans of woo-woo (to put it mildly) - Penn & Teller - would agree. Their books repeatedly say how tricks that look stankin cool on stage look simple and stupid when you know how they're done, and that maybe you don't want to know the how. Or maybe you do - just don't expect it to be as fun as seeing them yank Letterman's watch out of a fish.
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +0
Kenhamer: Not muons but neutrinos
written by BillyJoe, June 11, 2009
it was muons (I think -- it was a long, long time ago) that were streaking through the universe and effortlessly passing thought mountains, planets and even human beings
Sorry if somone has already answered this.

Because of Special Relativity , muons often reach the Earth's surface (and, if it weren't for Special Relativity, they couldn't) and they even have enough energy to penetrate 20-30 meters into solid rock, but they do not pass through planets.

That feat is achieved by Neutrinos. They can pass strainght throught the Earth without colliding with a single molecule.

BJ
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +2
@CasaRojo
written by The Diluted Fool, June 11, 2009
That's why it's called science *fiction*.
I think you may have missed the part where that was my entire point. I was not criticizing fiction for a lack of realism and believability, I was criticizing McFarlane for (seemingly) remembering it that way.
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +0
...
written by HiEv, June 11, 2009
Bah! You forgot to mention the TV show Psych, which shows how a guy can use strong powers of observation, memory, probability, and logic to solve mysteries. He then uses the results of those abilities to trick people into believing it's all due to "psychic powers" or "ghosts" or whatever wacky thing he thinks he can convince people of as an explanation. The whole show practically debunks psychics by showing that there are sometimes natural explanations for apparently extraordinary insights, even if you don't know what they are.
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +2
@ truth
written by BillyJoe, June 11, 2009
You are correct- I dont understand evolutionary theory very well. Neither do I understand dianetics.
I'm not convinced that you know anything at all about evolution.
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +7
...
written by kenhamer, June 11, 2009
On the other hand, we have the "Mythbusters" whom I never miss.

Is it just me, or has Mythbusters lately become kind of goofy using pretty lame excuses just to blow things up?

I still like the show, and watch it regularly. But so many of the episodes now are about things that I don't think anyone really cares about. Can you cut down a tree with a machine gun? Who cares? Can a lead balloon really float? Does it matter?

Seems to me there was a time when they were doing things that were actually useful. Does driving with the windows up and AC on save gas or waste it. I'd like to know for sure. (But that episode wasn't particularly convincing, give the lack of robust controls.) Can "bug bombs" really cause a house to blow up? Good to know if you trying to get rid of roaches. Even when they weren't doing directly useful episodes, they were actually busting "myths", at least providing a form of useful education and enlightenment.

I like an explosion as much as the next person. But the show seems to be going the way of so many big budget effects driven movies, where plot, character, and everything else takes a back seat to blowing stuff up.

"This is Big Jim McBob (and Billy Sol Huroc) sayin' 'May the good Lord take a likin' to ya and blow ya up real soon.'"
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +1
...
written by LuigiNovi, June 11, 2009
Seth McFarlane: "I grew up watching Star Trek and I remember we used to be so excited about NASA and what they were doing," he told a rapt audience of prominent scientists and leaders in the entertainment industry. "Now we have The Ghost Whisperer. I don't know why I chose to crap on that show specifically, but the point is that the realism is gone, and the believability is gone.
Luigi Novi: Again with complaining about TV shows.

I just don't get this.

Why does McFarlane--or anyone else--care about fictional portrayals of fantasy? It's entertainment. It has NOTHING to do with the real life perception by the public of pseudoscience as empirically valid. We had Star Trek, and now, with shows like Ghost Whisperer, realism is gone? What the fuck is this guy talking about???? First of all, there was nothing "realistic" about Star Trek. That show, despite what people, say, played fast and loose with science as any other science fiction or fantasy work. What's "realistic" about countless humanoid alien races? Or members of those races interbreeding? Or the "parallel development" used to justify races patterned after ancient Greece or Rome? Or ion propulsion being more sophisticated than the faster-than-light travel of warp drive, as one episode indicated? Star Trek, and every other space opera like it, is, just like talking-to-the-dead works like Ghost Whisperer, The Sixth Sense, etc., is designed to be entertainment. It is not designed as a science tutorial, and is not "realistic". Where McFarlane gets the lamebrained idea that TV and movies were "realistic" back in the 60s, but less so today, I have no idea, but his carping about it makes about as much sense as complaining about the realism in Family Guy.
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +2
...
written by BillyJoe, June 12, 2009
Go Luigi! smilies/grin.gif
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +0
...
written by bosshog, June 12, 2009
Being massaged and sweet-talked into "accepting" reality is not enlightenment but only so much more manipulation. Hollywood is the world's Vesuvius of bullshit. If it takes a make-believe pill-poppin' intellectual loose cannon to make reality "cool" for you you have a problem.
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +0
@kenhamer
written by Kuroyume, June 12, 2009
Totally agree that their exhuberance with respect to explosions is getting out of hand. On the other hand, there are still some 'myths' being tests. For instance, in the last show they were testing the myth that you can curve a bullet's path of flight just by being a specially skilled person and whipping the gun in just the right way at the correct time. This test was doomed from the get go in the first place: once the bullet leaves the barrel, it's horizonal trajectory is fixed as a straight line (ignoring deflections or some large external forces - like a big explosion (shouldn't have said that)). smilies/wink.gif It's vertical trajectory is a curve modified by gravity over time and distance as the bullet loses momentum. They were, of course, testing the horizontal trajectory. But it was a good way to show that it can't be done. It would have been more informational if they had explained why even though many of their viewers probably already know. They did note that to destabilize the bullet they used an unrifled barrel. Rifling, as we all know, adds stability to the bullet by causing it to spin around the axis in which it's traveling. The bullets were further destabilized by changing their center of gravity (which made some of them tumble end to end and such). My only thought would be a comparison of destabilizing bullets against, say, a baseball pitcher's curve ball. Then it might be possible to incur that horizontal curvature with the proper spin applied as the bullet exits the barrel (which may require even more force than Grant's 'robot' could inpart).

Sorry about the diversion from topic and, somewhat, the response. These guys are rather responsive to user input and are friends of this organization (as has been shown by their participation at several TAMs). Drop them a message about the direction of the show.
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +0
Numb3rs
written by DKrap, June 12, 2009
I can't stand to watch The Ghost Whisperer and will avoid it at all costs. However, right after this insipid show is the show NUMB3RS, which supposedly has real math behind each of the theories put forward by the professor. Although the reality is stretched considerably, at least there is some reality under the surface.
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +0
I like Ghost Whisperer
written by superfreddy, June 12, 2009
I like that show for 2 big reasons... smilies/smiley.gif
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +1
@T64
written by CasaRojo, June 12, 2009
"The History Channel did say that "Ida" would change everything though."

I didn't see that but I wouldn't give to much credence to the History channel. It's part of A&E and A$E has some of the most ridiculous "reality" shows on the 'sideshow' networks. "Launched on January 1, 1995, the [History] channel is owned by A&E joint venture (Hearst, Disney, NBC)[1]"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_Channel
AND
"LOS ANGELES [June 4,2009] (Reuters) - The Walt Disney Co, Hearst Corp and NBC Universal are in talks to create a new corporate entity comprising the 10 cable channels the three companies own jointly, including A&E, Lifetime and History."
http://www.reuters.com/article...inmentNews
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +1
@The Diluted Fool
written by CasaRojo, June 12, 2009
"I think you may have missed the part where that was my entire point. I was not criticizing fiction for a lack of realism and believability, I was criticizing McFarlane for (seemingly) remembering it that way."

My apologies. McFarlane was born in '73 so that would make him 14 when Star Trek TNG premiered in '87. He prolly watched reruns of the original prior to that. I can see that, as a kid growing up, one might find it realistic, believable as well as inspirational. Especially considering that we're talking 20-30 years ago. Perhaps he wasn't referring to the more unbelievable portions that you mentioned but maybe more towards the tech side and/or the social aspects. Certainly the paranormal religious biased crap tv we've got today is far less believable, in general, than Star Trek.



report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +0
...
written by latsot, June 15, 2009
"the point is that the realism is gone, and the believability is gone. We need to get people excited about science again."

I think some people are over-stressing the "believability" part of the quote. For one thing, McFarlane was *speaking* in front of an audience. I give quite a lot of talks and I often phrase things in a way I later regret slightly. It's easy to do. I wouldn't take a written quote of a spoken speech as too representative of what someone meant, except in the points that are obviously emphasised. In this case, the point seems to be the excellent one that we need to get people excited in science again.

Second, it's not clear from the above that this quote was continuous and verbatim. For all I know, McFarlane made the star trek point, then said a bunch of other stuff about reality, then said the above. Perhaps Jennifer missed out some middle stuff because it wasn't relevant to her point, which was to contrast shows that inspire us towards reality and those that inspire us to nonsense.

The point is a good one: TV can inspire insterest in science or it can pander to lazy beliefs. For all its nonsense, I for one put Star Trek in the former category.
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +1
@latsot
written by CasaRojo, June 16, 2009
"The point is a good one: TV can inspire insterest in science or it can pander to lazy beliefs. For all its nonsense, I for one put Star Trek in the former category."

Yes.
Cheers!
:-)
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +0
psychics
written by James B, June 19, 2009
"There's no such thing as psychics" - Well try telling them that! smilies/grin.gif
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +0
...
written by Steel Rat, July 09, 2009
"Now we have The Ghost Whisperer. I don't know why I chose to crap on that show specifically, but the point is that the realism is gone, and the believability is gone. We need to get people excited about science again."


Won't happen. Even shows like CSI and Bones are fast and loose with reality. Bones in particular is pretty far-fetched, especially with their "on-demand" CG animations of what they think happened. Apparently this one person in the show does all the animations, and can, with just a few pokes of a stylus, can totally change the animation from an off-the-cuff "what if" from one of the other people on the show. Being generous, it would take weeks by a TEAM of animators to create the animations, and days, at least, to make radical changes to them. But that's just one small point. What these shows really do is give the laymen a false impression of what forensic science can really do in this day and age.
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +0
...support from a little mouse (my avatar on the forums)
written by BillyJoe, July 09, 2009
I'm with the rat.

I cannot watch these shows (including House) because of these two facts. They are totally unrealistic and they give the public a totally unrealistic expectation of what science can actually do. Science is not about miracles but hard slog work.

I think we are in a minority though.

BJ
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +0

Write comment
This content has been locked. You can no longer post any comment.
You must be logged in to post a comment. Please register if you do not have an account yet.

busy