PBS ‘History Detectives’ Goes Paranormal
I still happen to think it’s deplorable and even morally wrong for the entertainment industry to pander to unfounded fears and superstitions of undereducated people who, for lack of better grounding in history and the sciences, actually believe in ghosts, monsters, and extraterrestial aliens infiltrating Earth.
This stuff is coming to PBS, but it’s straight out of the History Channel mindset:
As early as the 1870s, Edison and other scientific minds explored psychic phenomena like mediums. They believed every living being was made of atoms that could “remember” past lives.
Did Edison make a machine to unlock the secrets of the dead? The wax cylinders could hold the answer. History Detectives travels to the Thomas Edison Center at Menlo Park in New Jersey to find out.
The key concept here is the framing of the question “Did Edison make a machine to unlock the secrets of the dead?”
It’s a matter of historical fact that Edison and many of his contemporaries were involved in “paranormal” research. A Google search on ‘Thomas Edison paranormal’ is instructive if you want to take a quick look.
But when a supposedly reputable 21st-century broadcaster asks the carney barker’s question “did Edison raise the dead?”, intelligent people don’t have to click the link and watch the video to find out, because we know a priori he couldn’t have, and therefore didn’t. The real question becomes: if the question isn’t aimed at the intelligent, who is it aimed at? Continue reading
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