You may have noticed, if you watch the TV machine, that there is an incredible -- literally -- glut of credulous antiscientific woowoo garbage infesting the airwaves. UFO hunters, ghost hunters, psychics, speakers to the dead, and the like. You can look for a long, long time and never see any shows that actually lend a critical eye to such nonsense.
Well, that may be about to end soon.
Next week, I am flying to Los Angeles to film the pilot for a new TV show called "Skeptologists". It's the brainchild of Brian Dunning, the brain behind the popular Skeptoid podcast, and Ryan Johnson from New Rule Productions, an LA production company. Here's a quick summary:
The Skeptologists will be a reality-based TV series that assembles a group of highly educated and skilled experts to research, verify and de-mystify claims of the paranormal, pop-culture phenomenon, and other radical claims of interest to the skeptical community. The project will assume a skeptical viewpoint and will endeavor to use critical thinking, science, experimentation and the scientific method to produce valid and conclusive results in a fun and entertaining format.
The cast is actually pretty impressive, if I may so so myself, and I just did. Skeptics Guide to the Universe has more details, but here's the quick version: The Skeptologists are:
- Michael Shermer (top banana at The Skeptic Society),
- Yau-Man Chan (Chief Technology Officer at UC Berkeley's College of Chemistry and contestant on "Survivor: Fiji"),
- Kirsten Sanford (neurophysiologist and host of This Week in Science),
- Mark Edward (mentalist), and
- Steven Novella (medical doctor, host of The Skeptic's Guide to the Universe, and professional Rebecca-reigner-inner).
We'll be tackling claims that edge toward or wholly plunge over the cliff of antiscience. I can't go into details here (it's all hush-hush and sooper seekrit) but we'll be revealing more as time goes on. It's a reality show, but we won't be locked into a house or forced to date each other or have to eat bugs. I hope. I'll let Shermer eat the bugs if that comes up.
Mind you, this is a pilot we're filming next week, and we're going to shop it around to various networks. In other words, it has not been picked up and there is no guarantee it will. If any loyal BABloggees work at a network or have relatives at Discovery Channel, then by all means tell them how wonderful it would be to have a fun show about skepticism hosted by an incredible cast that should be showered with millions of dollars. Say.
pray for us wish us luck send good thoughts let's hope that some network out there is smart enough to realize that people want to be amazed, but that there is a deep need as well to see the world for what it is, and not how bamboozlers want us to see it.