Shark Week, Pseudo-Science, And the Willingness of Some Biblical Scholars to Jump the Shark for the Sake of TV Face Time
Read this report from NPR and substitute biblical scholars for shark biologists and you’ll understand how infuriating it is to watch people who profess to love biblical studies appear on Discovery, which cares NOTHING for the truth and only for ratings. After describing a guy who researches sharks and his excitement about being a part of the series, Shark Week, NPR continues-
You can guess what happened next. To his horror, Davis found himself featured on a “documentary” that had little to do with his research. Voodoo Shark strongly suggested that Davis believed in the Rooken.
“There’s no way I could’ve known they were going to portray it like that,” he says.
Voodoo Shark shows Davis and his team doing real research, pulling sharks out of the water and tagging them on the deck. Davis says he did not see any unusual sharks. What was unusual was a producer’s reaction when they hooked a big one.
“One of the guys was like, “Oh, maybe you should just let it bite you, that would be so exciting.’ And I was just thinking to myself, ‘Are you kidding me? You really think I wanna let the shark bite me just for ratings? Are you serious?’ ”
Ellen Prager, a marine scientist who has taught at the University of Miami and writes books for children about sharks, says she and her colleagues have a list of things that drive them crazy about Shark Week, such as the emphasis on sharks attacking people and feeding frenzies.
And yet biblical scholars will continue to jump the shark and appear on whatever garbage Discovery airs. When they do, they deserve, richly, to be associated for the rest of their careers with the dissemination of absolute stupidity.
Scientists know that Discovery twists the truth. Why don’t biblical scholars? And if they do (and they have to), then what is it about them that makes them willing to turn their backs on the facts and become part of something insidious and dishonest?
And you won’t believe whose name is on it!!!!
Antonio ‘The Leper‘ Lombatti writes
Ne parla in modo giustamente spietato Marco Bella sul Fatto Quotidiano. Pseudoscienza e pseudostoria: che triste realtà. Leggete anche voi. Trovate anche un resoconto del convegno scritto da Sylvie Coyaud. E non dimenticatevi l’articolo di Stefano Milani.
The New York Times writes
… the earth may have yielded new secrets about these disputed antiquities. A Jerusalem-based geologist believes he has established a common bond between them that strengthens the case for their authenticity and importance….
For the last seven years, Dr. Shimron has been studying the chemistry of samples from chalk crust scraped from the underside of the Talpiot ossuaries and, more recently, from the James ossuary. He has also studied samples of soil and rubble from inside the ossuaries. In addition, for comparative purposes he has examined samples from ossuaries from about 15 other tombs. Mr. Jacobovici, who has been documenting the research for another movie, said “the production” financed the lab work.
In the words of Frozen- let it go. Let it go. Funding the geology of the ossuary by Simcha is like funding the safety of tobacco safety research by Marlboro.
Antonio Lombatti writes
Alcuni giornalisti hanno scelto questo titolo: Jesus’ House? 1st-Century Structure May Be Where He Grew Up. Dove è addirittura cresciuto! Un titolo che tira. Sicuramente. Ma che non ha nulla da spartire con la ricerca storica. Il giornalista, infatti, parla di un’abitazione del tempo di Gesù a Nazareth, è vero. La datazione della struttura, tuttavia, risale al 2006 ed è opera di Ken Dark dell’Università di Reading. Roba già nota, insomma. Ma con la Pasqua che si avvicina, basta fare un titolo così per avere qualche lettore in più.
I’ll not be watching, since I am taking the year off from the absurd genre of religion/bible tv docu-mockeries. I only mention it because CNN has this little gem of ick in its ‘money’ section… which, whether they know it or not, is exactly the central concern of all these idiotic specials with their idiotic claims and poor scholarship.
Note too the little sentences at the bottom. I’ll go ahead and answer them for you – who cares, and nothing.
TV specials around Easter and Christmas are always the most sensationalistic and ridiculous. This is, no doubt, just the first of many this year.
NB- No, I haven’t seen it. Yes, I am within my rights to criticize it because I’ve seen enough of these things to know what’s going to happen. There will be an outlandish claim followed by a talking head from the fringe of scholarship or of the anti-theistic sort followed by a fundamentalist’s opinion followed by another ridiculous claim… etc. At the end of the day balanced scholarship will be absent. It’s always absent. So, yes, I am within my rights to mock not only the individual special but the entire genre.