How Cable TV Shows Like the History Channel Doctor What You Watch

Hat tip to Jason Colavito for the link.

I can identify with “A Skeptic’s Brief Conversation with a TV Producer” given my own 2003 experience with one of the History Channel’s production companies (it’s the reason I have twice turned down a request to be in Ancient Aliens).

These channels are not about finding the truth. They are about producing what draws an audience so they can sell advertising dollars, swag, and videos. True, you can still find good stuff on them (it’s getting harder all the time), but that’s the truth. Uninformed-but-titillating archeoporn, fear-mongering, and celebration of the non sequitur just sells.

More Unhinged Media and 2012

Came across this little nugget of nonsense today: “Asteroid 2012 DA14 and escalating headlines.” The brief post, courtesy of Doubtful News, concerns how the small chance (2300:1) of asteroid 2012 DA14 hitting *one* of our satellites in geosynchronous orbit is being hyped by various news outlets.  The piece concludes:

There are 401 satellites currently in geosynchronous orbit strung along a circle 265,000 kilometers in circumference. The two closest satellites are about 70 kilometers apart. There is no way it could hit two and the odds of it hitting one, even if it were to pass exactly through the ring of satellites, is about 1 out of 2300.

Yeah, sure, but you’re dismissing the Mayan prophecies, fella!  What about that! I don’t hear you talking now!

Right; only because you really can’t speak comprehensibly and yawn at the same time.

Nothing new to PaleoBabble readers.

Another Reason Why Biblical Studies and Archaeology Should Not Be Done Via the Mainstream Popular Media

Ah, the paleobabbling media now gives us proof that it is also clueless with respect to intellectual discourse. Mark Goodacre reports that Nicole Austin, the Associate Producer on The Resurrection Tomb Mystery documentary (The Jesus Discovery in Canada) has accused him of slander.

So, let me see if I understand the power of Ms. Austin’s contention correctly. Mark and other bloggers have expressed deep doubts and reservations about the claims made in this “documentary,” and have made those reservations public, along with their reasons. And … well … I guess that’s all.

How dare they!

Honestly, I didn’t realize that freedom of speech had been outlawed in Canada, or that expressing one’s opinion about an academic matter was slander. Disagreement means slander?  Really?  Hmmmm. Can we disagree with Ms. Austin about any matter and not be a slanderer?  Like her grasp of what academics do?  Maybe the cure (besides requiring those who disagree to just plug their pie-holes) is that Ms. Austin gets to say things to the public and those who disagree don’t. We can just talk amongst ourselves (with the telescreens off, of course). That will work (in a world where TV channels are all run by a ministry of propaganda anyway).

The fact that some journalists seem unaware that disagreement is a significant part of academic discourse is just another reason why they should not be the starting point for this sort of material. Granted, that would mean less publicity and cash for those initiating the process, or for Ms. Austin’s production company. It may result in fewer DVD sales down the road. What a shame. But things will pick up when this all happens again next Easter season.

Continued Media Fail on the Fake Metal Codices

My title is that of Mark Goodacre’s post. The most telling line in the short note is that Jim Davila, an OT and Second Temple Judaism scholar who is following the codices fiasco closely, notes that “there is no attempt to try to find experts to comment on the piece.”

The archaeo-pornistas masquerading as journalists are either too stupid to find experts (how hard is that with Google?) or just want to peddle twaddle. Take your pick.