A big BOO to Discovery Channel and their increasingly sensational attempts to grab ratings, their latest attempt was a pseudoscience mockumentary about mermaids and a government conspiracy to hide the existence of these mythical creatures. They’ve previously had a ghost hunter show as well where they mix computer generated graphics and fake scientific equipment that purportedly prove the existence of supernatural beings.
This just in: Mermaids are NOT real, US agency says.
NOAA’s National Ocean Service came out against the reality of mermaids after a documentary-style science fiction programme on the Discovery Channel’s Animal Planet suggested in May that the body of a mermaid had been found on a beach.
The Discovery site suggested NOAA responded because Discovery’s documentary-style show, “Mermaids: The Body Found,” had painted a convincing picture of the existence of mermaids.
“The show was an ‘X-Files’ type fanciful mix of state-of-the-art computer generated animation, historical fact, conspiracy theory and real and faked footage sprinkled with enough bits of scientific speculation and real science to make it seem plausible,” the Discovery site said.
Watch videos from Mermaids: The Body Found, a story that blends real-life events and phenomena with first-hand accounts from a team of scientists.
This is the story of the first-hand account of a team of government scientists who testify they found the remains of a never-before-identified sea creature with ties to human origins – a mermaid. Stunning computer animation, eyewitness video and photographic evidence shows what the creature looks like, and questions are raised about whether a massive government cover-up is hiding proof of their existence.
I understand that they need to make money, but they are either a reputable documentary channel or they are not. Students watching HBO understand that a Spiderman movie is not real, but when I asked an MYP 1 (Grade 7) class of mine about the Ghost Hunter show at least half of them were unsure if it was a documentary or not, partly because Discovery channel is an authority and partly because they appeared to be using ‘scientific equipment’.
The need for creating impressive pseudo-scientific shows is a false need, real science is incredible enough. I wish they would make up their minds, Science or Fiction, don’t mix the two please! And in the meantime I will just have to work on my students critical thinking skills a little more.