Sunday, March 28, 2010

It SHOULD be called ghost lab, only for the immaterial presence of science

It seems that the Discovery Channel as fallen into the "trend" of bathing in the murky waters of pseudo-science with this show called Ghost Lab.

The show (and here I really thought it would be otherwise) looks tastes and smells like any other ghost-busting, ghost-chasing, EVP, speculation-filled glob of misdirection.

After seeing a few shows and being swamped with gems like: "I just felt something on my neck...like hand. It could have been a bug...but I don't see a bug! (this said in a dark room only illuminated by a hand held flash light and a "nightvision camera spot")" All of this drowned in a "scientific" veneer because they use (i.e. drown you in their overabundance of) "sophisticated instruments"* like tape recorders, heat sensors and many other baffling pieces of technology!

The majority of the problem, in this instance, is WHERE we find this generic paranormal dry cracker; we would expect something of the kind when channel surfing to A&E, TLC or (and this breaks my academic heart to say) the History channel but to find this kind of show on a channel that usually prides itself on conveying scientific facts and well detailed research, it leaves you with an after taste of bad programing or even maybe a quest for the $ at the expense of the quality that should and has been offered to their viewers.

This is not to say that everything that comes to the screen of Discovery is 100% incensed in the scientific method, far from it. The wild cards or odd ducks are, more often then not, found in the one shot specials or mini series and still keep some facts in there soup of far out speculations and somewhat misleading assumptions. Ghostlab is an ongoing show, a constant series of episodes filled with misinformation and empty techno-babel that hooks the young and reinforce the preset pasterns of the amateur paranormal enthusiast tethering on the fence.

If Discovery wants to "reach out" to people interested in paranormal phenomenons and exhaustive theories, they would be the perfect vessel to promote shows like The Skeptologists or something akin to the National Geographic Channel's Is it Real.

These show structures don't stop at the "we may never know" line. Instead ,they lay down the facts and more probable explanations to help the viewer establish a clearer picture of the evidence which hits the pallet much more akin to a Discovery-esque vintage.

In the end, there are more pressing matters in the world then the winter-spring line up of a cable channel but when you stop and realize the power of the medium television his, will be and has been since its inception, making sure it spreads a bit more critical thinking then Factless speculation-fueled nonsense.

27 comments:

The Shield of Glass said...

And as a nice supplement to this I recommend you check out the more recent InFAct video(which by sheer coincidence) sums up well my point:

http://www.youtube.com/user/volleybrian

EKormean said...

I'm done with 'Discovery Channel' after watching one show. Discovery is empty flat bad FX television with no scientific value if they present pseudoscience nonsense as a fact. You might as well pay a visit to the creationist museum by the 'Discovery Institute' to 'learn' something. I won't allow my kids watching this crap. Find scientific channels on Youtube, there are plenty. Thunderf00t, FFreeThinker, Potholer54debunks and Geochron for instance. There are many others. Videos that debunks pseudoscience are a good way to start.

UC Berkeley has great lectures online too. I would recommend 'physics for future presidents' and 'science letters'. It goes deep, it is academic, it is fun and these lectures are not that hard to understand. For those who like physics, search for Walter Lewin.

jenana said...

I don't know, seems to me ANYTHING on television ought be viewed with a skeptical eye to begin with. To even suggest that the Discovery Channel could be anything BUT popularized pseudo-science seems absurd and naive (maybe I'm being absurd and naive to think people don't realize this anyway).

If you're looking for hard-core science, then go take a science class in a university, don't go looking for it on an entertainment medium, you're sure to be disappointed.

The Shield of Glass said...

Actually I think that wanting more science on TV is doable and demanding ONLY that is impossible.

The point here is not to linger on the where it come from per se, just that if some show makes scientific claims they should be backed up. If a show goes around swamping people with misdirection and misinformation and then as the gumption to claim it's scientific for the sheer fact that they have a piece of technology that, most of the time they don't even use properly, is dishonest and shouldn't appear on ANY channel.

Discovery WAS mentioned because on the whole of it all they have a great batting average at laying down the facts and therefor sets a positive bias for any show that follows in their line up.

Further more I do get that I can enjoys shows with great research and/or critical thinking like NUMB3RS or The Mentalist on CBS and on the same night have shows like MEDIUM and GHOST WHISPERER on and that's fiction and it's panders to all types. Where the beef lies is that shows like Ghostlab or its clones and siblings is that they push the reality angle.

All of that said TV WILL always be TV, we just need to be sure not ALL of it sinks to a level of boobtoobery and instead keeps to being a learning tools as well as an entertainment medium.

偉軍 said...

志不立,天下無可成之事。.............................................

CyrusD_Ar淑福 said...

辛苦了!祝你愈來愈好!.............................................

子凌 said...

好的開始並不代表會成功,壞的開始並不代表是失敗...............................................................

慧玲 said...

you two make a lovely couple!............................................................

佩GailBohanan1蓉 said...

文章不求沽名釣譽,率性就是真的............................................................

josema said...

感覺很好的blog,祝你開心喔........................................

瓊文瓊文 said...

Many a little makes a mickle...................................................................

姵潔 said...

Keep in contact. Good Luck..................................................

韋志韋志 said...

成熟,就是有能力適應生活中的模糊。.................................................................

胤綸胤綸 said...

希望能常常看到你的更新.......................................................

香昱信張君林 said...

沈舟側畔千帆過,病樹前頭萬木春............................................................

PearleY建佑 said...

我來湊熱鬧的~~^^ 要平安快樂哦..................................................................

幸雨幸雨 said...

好喜歡你的部落格唷,剛下班,要去睡了!!!掰~~..................................................................

倫惟倫惟 said...

Seeing is believing.百聞不如一見............................................................

琬安琬安 said...

馬丁路德:「即使知道明天世界即將毀滅,我仍願在今天種下一棵小樹。」............................................................

楊容茂楊容茂 said...

不論做什麼事,相信自己,別讓別人的一句話,把你擊倒。..................................................

琳楊楊義 said...

不要去想沒拿到的東西,多想想自己手裡所擁有的..................................................

孫邦柔 said...

Lets cross the bridge when we come to it............................................................

偉曹琬 said...

放棄者不會勝利,勝利者永不放棄。............................................................

v惠王王王娟 said...

路過留言支持~~~..................................................

冠霖林冠霖林冠霖林 said...

時間就是塑造生命的材料。..................................................... ............

江仁趙雲虹昆 said...

永遠支持你呀!!HO!!HO!!HO!!HO!!~~............................................................

至馬馬馬馬玄馬馬馬馬 said...

很棒的分享~留言支持!............................................................