Tuesday, January 1, 2008

A Neat Lesson on the News

News reporting is never unbiased and very often of dubious quality. How do you get this across to your kids? Why, visit the Friendly Atheist of course! Here's a video Hermant posted:

The CNN visits a gas station where a blue blob has been spotted on a security tape and concludes after no-doubt rigorous research that gosh, the blue blob must be a ghost!

Then someone with a few more brain cells to rub together produces another video:

How embarrassing for the CNN reporter.

How I covered this with the kids was just let them watch the news report and then asked them what they thought. Harry didn't really care enough to bother butting forth an answer but Catherine's immediate thought was that it was a light being shone on the camera NOT that it was a ghost.

That's my girl!

We then watched the second video which carefully and methodically lays out a very good theory of what the blue phantom actually was. It's an excellent demonstration of the scientific method and Catherine had a great time watching it.

If I get enough gumption I might suggest that we do our own news report and ghost video today or see if Catherine can come up with another situation where a very ordinary event can be miscontrued as some as being supernatural.


Heather said...

Look at the freethinkers you're raising! What a neat video. Consider all the ufo videos that were later found to be fake. Apparently, it's pretty easy to fool people, even in the media.

Not June Cleaver said...

That's a neat example. Hope you get "enough gumption" to do your own.

Anonymous said...

Cheers for Catherine :)

And, what a great topic of study - with endless examples to probe, sadly.

(Have you seen this one?)

Dawn said...

Oh yes, I've seen the Jesus-as-dog's-ass before! :D

We had an incident a few years back where an image of the Virgin Mary (faint penguin shaped blob) was projected on the wall of a donut shop. Thankfully the news reporter spoke to some people who were sceptical and reported that the image disappeared after the manager had a staff member give the bulb a cleaning.

I sort of think this kind of thing is interesting in one respect as I'm prone to seeing images. I once saw a beautiful cloud shaped exactly like a woman holding an infant to her breast and it was backlit perfectly by a pink sunset. If I'd had a camera it would have done me no good as people would have claimed I'd photoshopped it. I generally assume it's probably related to my ability to pick out patterns and such though, nothing religious.