Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

5/29/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Hoax draws in record viewers on Animal Planet, goes viral.

A show about mermaids has taken the top spot on Animal Planet as the channel's most viewed program. Sunday's show garnered 3.6 million viewers, a record for the channel.

The government insists mermaids are not real. Promise.

The government insists mermaids are not real. Promise.

Highlights

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

5/29/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in TV


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The documentary "Mermaids: The New Evidence" drew 3.6 million viewers on Sunday, who were eager to be served a watery hoax because some people have a deep-seated need to believe.

The reality of course, is that the show was a hoax. Scientists were played by actors, as demonstrated by the credits, and the program suggested that mermaids exist, but the evidence is being suppressed by the government. This makes it difficult to explain why the best evidence, ever, is being aired on Sunday prime time.

The closing credits of the program also disclose the program is a work of "science fiction." Scenes in the film are obviously CGI sequences.

Despite these subtle disclaimers, and more obvious realities, millions have already been taken in by the hoax, Orson Welles-style. Twitter is alight with the topic as people share their thoughts on the program.

Perhaps the most ironic thing about the program isn't that so many people have been fooled. What's most ironic is that Animal Planet, a channel devoted to science and nature documentaries about real animals, would have its best day ever, running a show about fake humanoid creatures.

To be clear, no evidence of the existence of mermaids has ever been found, ever. All claims to date, including claims highlighted in the current show, have been hoaxes, or the product of illusions.

Still, people like to believe irrational things because they have a need to believe. Culture, social reinforcement, the seeking of purpose and meaning, the natural tendency to see patterns where none exist, the hunger for wonderment, all conspire to make people believe in that which is not.

It is perhaps a byproduct of our society, now very much grounded in reason and science, that people turn towards the paranormal and mythical to satiate their natural desire for wonderment and amazement. It's boring to think we have unlocked all the mysteries, that we know for a fact creatures and UFOs don't exist. Even very intelligent and rational people enjoy believing in these things despite an absolute lack of evidence.

We enjoy being fooled, and sometimes, we believe the lies. Simply put, it's more fun to believe in mermaids than not to, especially when everybody else is doing it too.

Unfortunately, the sad reality is that the world and universe is still filled with wonder. Although science has provided the answers to most of the basic questions about our world, many new questions and mysteries have arisen. To appreciate those mysteries however, requires some education and thinking. Sometimes that's more work than we are ready to do, given the hectic nature of our lives.

Sometimes, it's just easier to flip on the television and wonder in amazement without thinking too much on a Sunday.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2015
Universal:
Scientists: That those involved in scientific research may serve the well-being of the whole human person.
Evangelization: Contribution of women: That the unique contribution of women to the life of the Church may be recognized always.



Comments


More TV

'Finding Jesus: Faith, Fact, Forgery' CNN's newest investigative series looks deep into the history of Jesus Watch

Image of CNN's Finding Jesus series premiers Sunday, March 1 at 9 p.m. Eastern Time.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

CNN presents a new investigative show called "Finding Jesus: Faith, Fact, Forgery" that aims to debunk and authenticate different artifacts, both physical and textual, about Jesus Christ and those in his life. Over a series of six episodes, the show plans on providing ... continue reading


Master of social commentary and satire, Jon Stewart, exiting Daily Show Watch

Image of Hailing Jon Stewart

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

"In my heart I know it is time for someone else to have that opportunity," Jon Stewart of the satirical "The Daily Show" told his in-studio audience this week. People gasped and members of the audience yelled, "We love you, Jon." A specific date for his ... continue reading


'Apocalypse Now,' 'Batman & Robin' will be AXED by Netflix instant streaming in February Watch

Image of No less than three installments in the

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

If you want to enjoy some old film favorites on Netflix instant streaming - do so this week. Netflix is going to chop approximately 40 older films from its streaming services to make way for many new titles in February. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Some ... continue reading


Binge-viewing sweeps across America: TV consumes the lives of 50 percent of all adult Americans Watch

Image of Binge-viewing enables viewers to watch many episodes of a TV show in one sitting.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Watching a whole season of a television series in a day sounds ridiculous. However, binge-viewing has become more popular than the traditional way of watching TV, seeing a single episode of a series once a week. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - With newer TV outlets ... continue reading


Make way for Stephen Colbert! David Letterman's last show May 20 Watch

Image of

By Troy Dredge, Catholic Online

All good things must come to an end. Late night TV talk show host David Letterman had announced his resignation in April, but now his fans have a specific date. David Letterman's final show will air this coming May 20. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - CBS ... continue reading


'Black folk don't need lectures,' Obama, PBS host Tavis Smiley declares Watch

Image of PBS host Tavis Smiley offered up his opinion

By Troy Dredge, Catholic Online

PBS host Tavis Smiley offered up his opinion "respectfully," but that didn't stop his pointed criticism of U.S. President Barack Obama. Smiley declared that "black folk don't need lectures." Smiley joked with Steven Colbert in a larger discussion on race in ... continue reading


The internet does what the anaconda doesn't -- Paul Rosolie EATEN ALIVE by internet after chickening out on prime-time pledge Watch

Image of Paul Rosolie told the world he would allow himself to be eaten alive by an anaconda, but all he did was get his head swallowed after a lengthy wrestling match with the snake.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

If you promise the world that you'll allow yourself to be devoured alive by a starving anaconda, then you had better follow through with the stunt or else the internet will be very, very angry with you, and it will tweet some very amusing things at your expense. LOS ... continue reading


Taking precautions: HBO hires 160 lawyers before mounting TV movie on Scientology Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

"Going Clear" is the name of a new documentary that HBO intends to make concerning the late L. Ron Hubbard's Church of Scientology. While many Hollywood heavyweights such as actors John Travolta and Tom Cruise are avid members of the church, Scientology remains ... continue reading


HBO announces Standalone Streaming Media SHOCKER! Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

With countless Internet Web sites offering streaming services, of virtually all movies and TV content ever created, many are heralding the "death of cable TV." That proclamation came a little bit truer with longtime cable TV stalwart HBO announcing the ... continue reading


Cable TV records broken with 'Walking Dead' season opener Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The fifth series opener the horror series "The Walking Dead" has been watched by 17.3 million people, breaking all previous cable viewing records. The opener marked the biggest cable audience for a non-sports program in U.S. history, according to television ... continue reading


All TV News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Psalms 79:8, 9, 11, 13
8 Do not count against us the guilt of former ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 79:8, 9, 11, 13
13 And we, your people, the flock that you pasture, ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 6:36-38
36 'Be compassionate just as your Father is ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for March 2nd, 2015 Image

Bl. Charles the Good
March 2: In 1086, St. Canute, King of Denmark and father of Blessed ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter