Tag Archives: Michael Shermer

Paranormal Idiots Influence Children’s TV

This week, the Cartoon Network is broadcasting a children’s ghost-hunting show called The Othersiders. Following in the footsteps of those incredibly stupid paranormal shows on other channels, The Othersiders has children walking through creepy buildings at night with loads of high-tech equipment, with them pretending to interpret meaningless data or quibbling over non sequiturs. The $3000 microphone picked an unexplained farting sound; must be a ghost. The electromagnetic field detector indicated electrical activity near the toaster; must be the devil himself.

What’s doubly ridiculous about this show is that it has actually offended some of the professional, ghost hunters, but not for the reason it bothers reasonable people. They don’t like the idea of children handling the dangerous paranormal. Here’s a quote:

All it will take is one of these kids getting attacked and traumatized for life and all these underage shows will be removed overnight from the network. Until that happens, let’s protect them by not making the focus of Cartoon Networks new season an underage ghost hunting show. TV will not be there when stories surface of kids getting hurt while ghosthunting after watching this show. These shows are role models for this next generation of ghosthunters. . . . if we let them watch alone, we are responsible for what happens, especially if it is later determined to be dangerous.

The only danger I see in this farce is that children are being taught to act like fightened gullible sheep. Of course, there is the risk of someone tripping in the dark and falling down some stairs. But hopefully, what most of these kids will walk away with is a good laugh.

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Filed under Skepticism

Young Australians Revolt Against Gullibility

Young Australian Skeptics

When I was 7 years-old my favorite subjects of conversation were Bigfoot and UFO’s. I eagerly believed in both of these questionable phenomena based solely on “the evidence” provided by cheesy TV shows. Boy, was I a major drongo (Australian slang for a stupid person). Well, I would have been if was an Australian. I’m not. I’m an American, so technically I was a dumbass. But America and Australia share a common problem. Both countries are plagued with creationism and other pseudo-scientific, and anti-intellectual movements, COUGH religion COUGH. Rev. Ken Ham is an export of Australia, I’m sorry to say.

So, it’s only natural that an organization of young Australians would spring up to encourage others to be more discerning and skeptical. It’s called Young Australian Skeptics: A Sanctuary for Young Free Thinkers. Check it out, or you’ll go to hell. What, you doubt me? Do you want to take that chance? But what if you’re wrong?

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Filed under Atheism, Skepticism

More Lies Supporting Expelled: The Movie

Pseudo-Science

Pseudo-Science

Ben Stein is putting his smirk and whiny voice to ads for the DVD release of Expelled: The Movie, No Intelligence Allowed. Christmas is just around the corner and a rotten lump of pseudo-scientific coal makes such a great stocking stuffer for the kids. In the ads, Mr. Stein claims Expelled is the #1 documentary of 2008. I think not. Let’s check the stats. Expelled grossed about 7.7 million and opened in 1052 theaters, while Bill Mahr’s documentary Religulous grossed 10.6 million and only opened in 502 theaters. If Mr. Stein is alluding to the reviews of Expelled making it #1, then he is wrong on that point, too. Most reviews were resoundingly negative. For example, The New York TImes said,

Mixing physical apples and metaphysical oranges at every turn “Expelled” is an unprincipled propaganda piece that insults believers and nonbelievers alike. In its fudging, eliding and refusal to define terms, the movie proves that the only expulsion here is of reason itself.

Finally, if you go to the Expelled website you can crash their ironic poll asking, “Do you think Darwin’s theories are outdated?” If Darwin is over-the-hill, then creationism is fossilized. I made a funny.

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Filed under Intelligent Design

The Lone Skeptic

Watch the video and try to spot the skeptic.

America has decayed into a state of gullibility. Example, CNN’s Larry King now dedicates many of his shows to subjects like the paranormal and UFO’s. Recently, he interviewed half a dozen UFO “witnesses” and “experts”, and one lone skeptic, Dr. Seth Shostak, an astronomer from SETI. For most of the show, Larry King followed his standard format; he asked a softball question and then allowed the guests to ramble on, except the skeptic, who was kept in reserve most of the time. Also, the show was an hour long, but Dr. Seth Shostak was only on for the first thirty minutes. Of course, CNN has a history of stupidity.

I remember once when that Southern dumbell Nancy Grace (Headline News) sat in for Larry King. Her topic was ghosts and spirits. What particularlly disturbed me was when she grasped for the word “skeptic” but instead came out with the word “cynic”. Is anyone who withholds their approval or questions the validity of something being cynical? Sadly, Nancy Grace is not the only one to conflate the meaning of the two words. Overall this phenomena has the stench of religion behind it. In a nation slathered in syrupy Christianity, how can believers not project their hostility on to non-believers, be they atheists or skeptics.

Cable television is drowning in shows that require one to believe and not to think: Ghost Hunters (Sci Fi Channel), Paranormal State (A&E Television), Psychic Kids (A&E), A Haunting (Discovery Channel), MonsterQuest (The History Channel), etc. The History Channel, in particular, is a flagrant offender with shows covering everything from the Loch Ness Monster and Nostradamus to the psychology of Batman and the mythology of Star Wars. For many years, at Easter time, the History Channel actually aired the mini-series Jesus of Nazareth. It also aired Planet of the Apes as a Saturday night movie. How is any of this history or science?

I couldn’t help laughing at a recent MonsterQuest episode about Bigfoot. A member of an all female expedition actually said that Bigfoot prefers woman over men because of their softer more lyrical voices. I say Bigfoot prefers not to watch television.

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Richard Dawkins Brings Some Rational Thought

A clip from “Richard Dawkins: Break The Science Barrier”

Americans need a mega-dose of rational thought. Why? Here are several reasons. The fact that psychic Sylvia Brown is allowed on TV. Oprah Winfrey recently did a show on “The Secret” and the “Rule of Attraction”, the incredulous belief system that wishing for a good thing makes its happen. I wish I lived on Bora Bora Island. Larry King recently did a show on UFO’s. The panel consisted of several UFO “experts” and one skeptic, Michael Shermer.  A scary poll from Florida indicates that 50% of Floridians want only Biblical Creationism or Intelligent Design taught in schools. Americans are sinking in post-modernistic belief and religious credulity. Basically, we are a society of anti-intellectual saps. And that’s dangerous, being that we are the superpower of the world.

We all need a shower in rational thought. So, watch Richard Dawkins’ video. After growing up on the mind numbing American media, it’s like sliding into a warm bath. Ahhhhhh! That’s much better.

Check out the rest of “Break the Science Barrier” on YouTube or watch it in three parts at Google Video.

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Rational People Unite!

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Filed under Culture Warfare