Tuesday, December 15, 2009
CotD: More Ugly
In last week's post on Clash of the Dinosaurs, I discussed the pros and cons from a viewers perspective. To sum up, I thought it was decent but flawed, with too much repetitive CGI and science made palatable by the presence of real experts like Matt Wedel.
Matt has chimed in with his own post about the special, which points out some really, really troubling behind-the-scenes behavior on the part of the producers, and proves once and for all that Dangerous Ltd., a production company for venues like the Discovery Channel, are not interested in science. Well maybe initially, but when it comes time to air, snazzy gee-whiz-wow anti-facts are all that matters to them. From Matt's blog post:
"I said something like, 'There was this old idea that the sacral expansion functioned as a second brain to control the hindlimbs and tail. But in fact, it almost certainly contained a glycogen body, like the sacral expansions of birds. Trouble is, nobody knows exactly what the glycogen bodies of birds do.'"
"Somebody in the editing room neatly sidestepped the mystery of the glycogen body by cutting that bit down, so what I am shown saying in the program is this, 'The sacral expansion functioned as a second brain to control the hindlimbs and tail.'"
Matt is rightly extremely pissed about this and I'm right there with him. A show supposedly about science edited the words of a sauropod expert to espouse the idea, in a national TV program airing in the year 2009 (note: not year 1939!) that sauropods had a second brain in the tail.
Let that sink in for a moment.
Ok? Good. This is like the paleo equivalent of a documentary about Darwin, featuring Darwin on film, then editing Darwin's words to make it sound like he was a creationist. Did I just call Matt Wedel the Darwin of sauropodology? You decide.
To sum up, the only thing worse than science reporting in the news, are science "documentaries" on TV. I'd have no problem if Discovery Channel had called this a science fiction special, but they did not, and that's flat-out lying.