Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

5/29/2013 (10 months 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.

Article Highlights

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

5/29/2013 (10 months 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'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for April 2014
Ecology and Justice:
That governments may foster the protection of creation and the just distribution of natural resources.
Hope for the Sick: That the Risen Lord may fill with hope the hearts of those who are being tested by pain and sickness.



Comments


More TV

Stephen Colbert to succeed David Letterman as host of 'The Late Show' Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Longtime "Late Show" TV host David Letterman had announced that he would retire sometime in 2015. CBS wasted little time in announcing his replacement: Comedian Stephen Colbert has signed a five-year contract to host the late night variety show. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


'Wheel of Fortune' winner 'most amazing solve in my 30 [plus] years on the show' Pat Sajak declares Watch

Image of Vanna White, the studio audience and viewers at home were stunned.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

TV game show favorite "Wheel of Fortune" is very much like a showbiz version of "Hangman," where contestants must fill in phrases by correctly guessing letters. The letters. Contestant Emil De Leon correctly guess the phrase - "new baby buggy" with only TWO ... continue reading


Flight 370 story provides boon for cable TV news networks Watch

Image of Lack of new and relevant information about the missing Malaysian flight has drained much relevancy out of current TV reporting, some say.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The missing Malaysian jet flight, or Flight 370 continues to perplex and fascinate the world. However, without any recent developments and a lot of theories being proffered, some are arguing that there is no news to be found in this line of news, and ... continue reading


Cable television subscriptions take a major tumble Watch

Image of With all due respect, there may be another factor behind pay-TV's decline. Read the final paragraph.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

I recent statistics hold true, the era of the U.S. pay-television market is past its prime. The number of Americans who pay for TV through cable, satellite or fiber services fell by more than a quarter of a million in 2013. If this trend continues, 2012 may ... continue reading


'Comedian' Bill Maher blasphemes AGAIN: God in 'Noah' is a 'psychotic mass murderer' who 'drowns babies' Watch

Image of Bill Maher has been highly critical of religion and views it as highly destructive. However, he has been known to reject the

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While he rejects the label of "atheist," "comedian" Bill Maher is upfront with his disdain for all forms of religion. He managed to offend Christian, Jewish and Muslims with his line about God as depicted in the new movie, "Noah."  He told his HBO "Real ... continue reading


Sarah Palin takes to the airwaves again with 'Rogue TV' Watch

Image of In regards to Sarah Palin's forthcoming TV show one source says

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Former vice presidential candidate, Fox News contributor and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin will be launching her own digital video channel called "Rogue TV." Palin is no stranger to the airwaves, as Palin and her family starred in the 2010 TLC reality ... continue reading


First Lady Michelle Obama to appear on TV sitcom 'Parks and Recreation' Watch

Image of It won't be the first time Ms. Obama and Poehler have met. Both appeared at Mrs. Obama's campaign last month when she appeared at a Let's Move event in Miami.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Full of grace, poise and charm, U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama is scheduled to appear on cult television comedy "Parks and Recreation." The White House has confirmed Mrs. Obama will guest star in the NBC show's season six finale. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


With ratings in free-fall, Piers Morgan to quit show Watch

Image of Piers Morgan will be quitting his show after falling in ratings.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

British journalist, Piers Morgan is ending his prime-time talk show on CNN. The date of the final broadcast has not been set. The decision came after Morgan and CNN president Jeffery Zucker failed to reach a decision on the future of the show. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


Russell Johnson, who played professor on TV's 'Gilligan's Island' dies at 89 Watch

Image of As actor Russell Johnson would say frequently in later interviews, although the Professor on

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The TV series was an unmitigated flop - except with the TV-watching public, who eagerly watched the series in syndication. Seven extremely diverse people wash up on a desert island and have the expected personality clashes and pratfalls. Russell Johnson, who ... continue reading


Sexy Santa on TV's 'Glee' draws outrage from moms Watch

Image of A bisexual

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Santa Claus is supposed to determine who's been naughty or nice over the past year at Christmas time. For many mothers, the TV show "Glee" has been especially naughty. A recent episode featured a shirtless Santa Claus with a ripped physique - and mothers have ... 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, Acts 3:1-10
1 Once, when Peter and John were going up to the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 105:1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8-9
1 Alleluia! Give thanks to Yahweh, call on his name, ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 24:13-35
13 Now that very same day, two of them were on their ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 23rd, 2014 Image

St. George
April 23: Pictures of St. George usually show him killing a dragon to ... 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