Skeptical television
Posted: 05 July 2006 02:33 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I don’t know why I didn’t think to mention this before, but the National Geographic Channel has a nice series of programs called "Is it Real?", where they tackle paranormal claims.  Joe Nickel and Ben Radford are frequent contributors.  I’m not sure if they air on a particular night or time—but the NGC tends to run them in marathons on holidays (such as the Fourth of July, which is why I’m bringing this up now, too late to warn anybody as usual!).

We should try to encourage whoever produces this show to make more of them.

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Posted: 05 July 2006 02:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Skeptical television

I don’t know why I didn’t think to mention this before, but the National Geographic Channel has a nice series of programs called “Is it Real?”, where they tackle paranormal claims.  Joe Nickel and Ben Radford are frequent contributors.  I’m not sure if they air on a particular night or time—but the NGC tends to run them in marathons on holidays (such as the Fourth of July, which is why I’m bringing this up now, too late to warn anybody as usual!).

We should try to encourage whoever produces this show to make more of them.

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Posted: 09 August 2006 02:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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It looks like that episode of House that CanadianAntiTheist mentioned with the teenage faith healer is back in re-runs tonight.  I’ll try to remember to watch it.

I also see in my TV listings that the FX channel has a program called 30 Days, where an atheist gets to spend a month with a family of fundamentalists.  Should be mildly interesting.

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Posted: 11 August 2006 07:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Is 30 days kinda like wife swap?

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Posted: 14 August 2006 02:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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This was the first time I had seen it, but yes, it appears to be similar, except that they don’t “swap”.  The producers took one woman from an atheist family and had her live with a Christian family for a 30 days, not just a week.

As I predicted, it was a mildly interesting show (as you’ll know if you watched it).  There was nothing that we atheists haven’t already seen (I mean, I think we’ve all met the Christians who say they’re “appalled” at learning of discrimination against atheists, who claim to be “tolerant”, even “compassionate” towards people of other beliefs, and yet five minutes later, can say, “Gee, if you don’t want to live in a Christian nation, why don’t you move to another country?”

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Posted: 25 August 2006 02:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I see by my TV listings that tonight’s episode of “NUMB3RS” (how do you pronounce that, “numbthreers”?—I despise these cutsy names like this) is supposed to be about a psychic who helps the police solve crimes.  Since this series is supposed to be extolling the virtues of mathemathics, I guess we can hope that reason and logic will win out in the end…

But then, I haven’t watching this show since its pilot episode, where it became clear to me that mathematics was just a “gimmick”.  Is anybody here a fan?

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Posted: 29 August 2006 03:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Well, “Numbthreers” was disappointing.  The writers went with the “there are more things in heaven and earth…” direction.  One character apparently believed that the old remote viewing experiments the Pentagon conducted back in the 80s were totally successful.  He even suggested, with a straight face, that the human brain was still evolving, so “who’s to know” if some fortunate people were able to tune into a “quantum reality” which is outside Science!

The hero of the show (the mathematician) was totally skeptical, but he came off as unreasonably closed-minded.  What a shame, but I guess a network TV show has to pander to what it thinks the majority of its viewers WANTS to believe.

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Posted: 29 August 2006 04:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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[quote author=“advocatus”]  One character apparently believed that the old remote viewing experiments the Pentagon conducted back in the 80s were totally successful.  He even suggested, with a straight face, that the human brain was still evolving, so “who’s to know” if some fortunate people were able to tune into a “quantum reality” which is outside Science!

:shock:

That sounds pretty horrible ...

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Posted: 29 August 2006 09:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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How strange!

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Posted: 27 September 2006 02:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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The mere fact that this thread keeps slinking toward the bottom of the page is some sort of indication of how little “skeptical television” there is out there, isn’t it?

There was an episode of House last week which featured a little boy who insisted that aliens kept abductiing him, but they didn’t spend a lot of time on this angle—I think the writers of this show just like to use sensational hallucinations to hook the audience and draw them in.  Althought there was a juicy scene where they did a biopsy on a section of the boy’s heart which wasn’t pumping properly, and found out that the DNA in that tissue didn’t match the boy’s!  (“Alien DNA!” one of the doctors gasped.)

The kid turned out to be a chimera, and it was the cells of his twin, scattered in various places in his body, which were causing his medical problems.

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Posted: 27 September 2006 03:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Part of the problem, at least for me, is that I don’t really watch much TV except for documentaries ...

:?

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Posted: 09 October 2006 02:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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The Sci-fi channel is premiering a new program this Wednesday—“The Sci-fi Channel Investigates”.  Since it comes on right after a Ghosthunters marathon, I imagine the odds are 10 to 1 it will be just another “gosh, let’s try to prove the paranormal exists” kind of thing.

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Posted: 16 October 2006 02:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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“Sci-fi Investigates” was pretty entertaining, if what you wanted was a quick overview of Voodoo, but as an “investigation”, it was a JOKE!  Get this—the “team” consists of one guy who’s a Paranormal Investigator, another who’s an Archaeologist/Anthropologist, a girl who’s a Forensic Crime Scene Technician, and the final guy who’s (get this) a Skeptic!

Why does this one guy have to bill himself as a “Skeptic”?  The others have some pretense of scientific or investigative skills, but his only claim to fame (if you can call it that) is that he once appeared on “Survivor”!  And he wasn’t even that much of a “skeptic”!  By the time the “investigation” was over—did I mention they spent a whole weekend in New Orleans “investigating” Voodoo?—he was saying “I’ve seen things there’s no way I can explain!”  Yeah, because you’re not trying, jerk!

I think maybe we should get up a campaign to ask the Sci-fi Channel to change the name of the program, at least.

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Posted: 03 November 2006 03:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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You should have seen this past week’s episode of “Scifi Investigates”—The Afterlife.  It was hilarious!  These poor saps, for all their supposedly “scientific” approach, are so desperate to believe this stuff, they clutch at anything remotely resembling evidence (even the so-called “skeptic”!).

But there was one nice moment.  They had been stalking through the Belasco Theatre in New York City, waving their high-tech “ghost hunting” gadgets around.  The anthropologist was getting “freaked out” because his digital thermometer would suddenly drop to about 40 degrees, then shoot back up to 70.  A few minutes later, they were sitting at a table, and it started doing it again.  Only this time, sitting next to three other thermometers, it became obviously that they just had a broken thermometer on their hands!

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Posted: 03 November 2006 08:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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To switch to a different aspect of television.  Although I usually silence commercials, I’ve decided I shall never buy a Toyota product because their commercials often glorify greed and cruelty.

However, I’ve taken to buying Oreos because of the cute commercial of three little girls (triplets) who pour milk into three tall glasses.  They have only enough to fill each glass about 30%.  Then they try to dunk their Oreos and can’t reach the milk.  They look at each other, both the end girls pour their milk into the middle one’s glass filling it 90%.  Then they take turns dunking their cookies.  This was a very nice example of humanistic cooperation, so I’ll reward them.

Occam

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