Recently, I have cut the cord because the tack-on fees from Comcast were becoming ridiculous. I have never been happier. There is so much entertainment available without cable that I wish I could have have done it sooner, but when you’re not the only one in the household negotiations have to proceed first. Besides paid services like Amazon Prime and Netflix (which is really all you need these days), there are free TV apps. One of the more impressive ones is called Pluto TV.
Pluto TV has multiple channels they have created by essentially spinning out timely rebroadcasts such as NBC/MSNBC for news, CNBC and Bloomberg for financials, reformatted web-based videos and a host of other channels with content ranging from sports to classic TV to movies. If you have cut the cord and miss the flipping around of channels with the remote then this app is for you. And it works on Fire TV so it’s not restricted to your phone or tablet.
Unfortunately, for freethinkers we have to find fault with their Science TV channel. I tuned into the middle of a documentary called The Programming of Life. If you would like to watch it for yourself to evaluate it is online here. Because I came into the middle of it and honestly because I was not aware of this video (from 2012) it took me about ten minutes to start questioning it. It appeared to be reviewing the statistical probability of life which is fine, however, there were no references to experts or where they were pulling the mathematical formulas from; the emphasis seemed to be on the beautiful graphics and an intended awe of how impossible it would be for life to emerge from “undirected natural processes” (their code for evolution). Now I’m not a mathematical or statistics expert, I was clued in to the Intelligent Design aspect by the phrasing of the subject matter by the clean cut host of the narrative. I suppose that is one of the benefits of being raised as a creationist. The probability narrative comes down to the same old tired formula of: life is so incredible it could not happen by natural processes–there has to be a creator (even though the creator would be the most incredible being of all and therefore could not exist without a creator ad infinitum).
The Programming of Life does not belong on a science channel! The producers of this Intelligent Design “documentary” have been clever enough to somehow convince Pluto TV that it belongs there or Pluto TV programming duped themselves that this was actual science when they were looking for free content. Either way, you now have religion masking itself yet again as science–on a science channel! And what’s worse is it that it is mixed in with legitimate science type entertainment such as The Nerdist spots (which came after the documentary) thus broad stroking all the content as the same scientific stuff. For average Joe public this is confusing and for someone without any background or reading in science it’s feeding on the gullible.
Pluto TV is free to show The Programming of Life, but please move it to a religious channel or even a debate channel. If they insist on having it on their Science TV channel then run it with commentary by someone who knows what they’re talking about. Evolution is fact when it comes to science and science would be unable to function without using predictions based on the theory of evolution. And before some creationist says that “fact” and “theory” are a contradiction, do some reading on how science uses these words (and then also try to explain to us why the “theory” of gravity isn’t a “fact”).
I attempted to contact Pluto TV before writing this as they may not be aware of showing Intelligent Design videos on their science channel, but it went into ticket support oblivion so I hope someone from their programming department stumbles across this. They are doing a great job with their lineup, they just need to make sure their content is in the appropriate channel.
SIDENOTE: “There go those science fascists again! Can’t they let another opinion of how life began be shown so people can make up their own minds!” I can hear it now. The comparison that comes to mind which might explain my objection in this article is the recent media squabble with fake news. Imagine if CNN or Fox News ran a patently untrue story and once they realized it wasn’t real news they ran a retraction, removed any rebroadcasts and online videos, etc. But then viewer complaints come in that they should have left the fake story up and available so that people can make up their own minds on whether it was true or not.
The same thing goes for science. Science is not about whether you think it’s true or not. If we’re not going to object to Intelligent Design documentaries on Science TV then open the floodgates: Flat Earth Science, We Didn’t Land On The Moon Science, Anti-Vaxxers Science, Bigfoot Documentaries, UFO Sightings, Paranormal Science…Oh wait, that’s The Discovery Channel Networks. Well crap! See what happens when there isn’t enough protest? The result is an uneducated public.
Update: This “documentary” is on rotation. It ran again tonight. Here’s a screen capture for reference.