“Science of the Bible,” “Angels: Good or Evil?”, “History of the Bible,” “Science of the Soul,” are a few of the titles presented by The History Channel, History International, The Learning Channel, and the Discovery Channel. The Discovery Channel is going one step further, teaming up with the Vatican to create an exorcism reality show.
Last night out of curiosity I forced myself to watch “Science of the Soul.” The primary interviewee was the religion editor of a national magazine who clearly was a religionist or “spiritual person” - whatever that means. She traced the origins of the concept of soul to pre-Xtian Greeks, then to it’s perception in Christian doctrine. She then descended into speculative quasi-scientific horse hockey. So much for history or science.
The only “science” presented was referencing a doctor who, in the early 1900’s, measured the weight of five people as they lay dying. Upon their death four of the five showed no change in weight. The fourth showed a weight loss of 21 grams, which the good doctor presumed to be evidence of the “soul” leaving the body. Naturally, the four with no change were dismissed.
That was in 1910 and it was the only “scientific” (if you could even call it that, I can’t) study of the soul concept. Yet this woman kept referring to science’s never ending quest to find the soul. No such scientists’ names or work were presented; at least not in the 30 minutes I could bare to watch this idiocy. And how could there be, since no self respecting accredited scientist is going to waste his time or grant money chasing ghosts, ghouls, gods, or souls.
On another show they parked a fan powered air boat on shore and position it so as to blow its high speed fan into a pond to demonstrate how the wind “could indeed” have parted the Red Sea per Exodus. A recent episode proffered that a giant asteroid or meteor shower could have been the cause of destruction for Sodom, Gomorrah and surrounding villages. What ... aliens shooting death rays isn't plausible? Please.
What’s next: the “science” of how gamma rays and electrical current mixed with the injection of alien DNA could have resurrected a three day dead corpse? Or perhaps an archeological dig at the official Garden of Eden; tracing the blood line of Satan; or reconstructing the talking donkey’s genealogy (Numbers 22)?
The only explanation I can come up with to explain the pimping of superstition by these otherwise credible programs is ratings. If they can’t attract an audience with real science, real history, genuine educational programming, they will prostitute their good name and appeal to the lowest common denominator: half witted, gullible biblical literalists who will gobble it up and say “See its true, scientists say so, I saw it on the History Channel!!”
And we wonder why American students rank 17th in the world in math and science; why 90% of high school students don’t know about the Spanish American War; or who John Adams was, or that Jefferson coined the phrase “Wall of Separation.” Here’s just one more reason.