Open Letter to Discovery Channel

Dear good folks at the Discovery Channel,

Over the years I’ve enjoyed many programs on your channel. (now Daily Planet), Mythbusters, and occasional documentaries on such topics as astronomy, archaeology, history, nature, and paleontology.

Recently I have noticed a significant decline in the quality of your programming. Once a bastion of popular science, Discovery channel has become a breeding ground for mainstream pseudoscientific nonsense – assuming the show is at all scientific. Most shows now on Discovery are things like Dirty Jobs, Deadliest Catch, Storm Chasers, Future Weapons, and other such high-octane non-scientific programming. I no longer see as many thought-provoking and educational documentaries as I once did. Many documentaries are CGI speculations of what might have happened with this or that dinosaur or they are absolute drivel.

“Mystery of the Crystal Skulls”, for example, was a documentary that I had a slight interest in because of the recent Indiana Jones movie, as you were no doubt counting on for most of your audience that evening. I thought it might be interesting to see what the real-life thoughts were from archaeologists on that topic so I tuned in. It took only 30 seconds for my hopes to be dashed. Within that time, the show managed to reference the 2012 end-of-the-world “prediction” of the Mayans – utter and total nonsense. Following that was an interview with Richard Hoagland of all people. A man so thoroughly debunked, he is a laughingstock even within the pseudoscientific community. The show had the audacity to say that he “gained credibility” through his discovery of the face on Mars. Once again, a topic so thoroughly debunked it’s absolutely incredible that in 2008, I still have to hear about it.

The only saving grace for the channel is Mythbusters and even that gets sketchy at times — going after explosions and not taking the 2 seconds it would take to explain that they did, say, 100 trials rather than the one they happened to air for the show.

I simply can’t take it anymore. So, I’m sad to say that I’ll be leaving you, Discovery Channel, and I won’t be back until you shape up.

An extremely disappointed scientist.


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