08 January 2009

Mythbusters and social responsibility

I love the Mythbusters. 

But I've noticed an interesting trend. 

When it comes to myths that have illegal or socially irresponsible aspects to them, the Mythbusters consistently reach the same types of conclusions. 

For example, in their initial season, Adam and Jamie tested different methods for beating a Breathalyzer test. None of the several methods attempted even remotely fooled the Breathalyzer. 

In their second season, they tested ways to beat a radar detector. Again, none of the several methods tried worked at all. 

And in 2007, they tested methods to avoid detection by a speed camera. And again, every one of these methods failed. 

After seeing other examples similar to these, I started to wonder: do the Mythbusters feel they need to "bust" certain myths that would encourage illegal or immoral activity if they were confirmed? 

Last night I watched "NASA Moon Landing."  The same kinds of issues came to mind. It was clear that every one of the Mythbuster myth busters was fully convinced the moon landing was real and that the conspiracy theorists were nuts. While I tend to agree with them, you need to have a more impartial state of mind when trying to prove or disprove something like this. 

Besides, if the Mythbusters add fuel to the "we didn't actually land on the moon" fire, how ticked off is NASA? How mad are the millions who do believe in the moon landings? 

I just wonder if they're truly willing to follow the science where it leads them. 


Anonymous said...

Well, it IS a television show and as such they don't have to do any experiment they don't want to. If they actually thought there was a chance of disproving the lunar landing, etc., they probably just wouldn't accept that for an episode. A lot of their suggestions come from viewers themselves who would want to know if it's possible to beat the breathilizer. If it's not (because seriously, those suggestions were stupid), then why not have an episode on it?

Why do they care if they make NASA angry? It's all about the ratings, isn't it?

Brandon said...

You make a good point re: ratings. However, it seems the Mythbusters, Adam especially, have a good working relationship with NASA that they'd hate to ruin.

MooKoo Joe said...

Well, here's what I think. They don't try their darndest. People e-mail in myths, and they'll pick a really common one, and then a few that they know, most likely won't work. At least that's how I think they do it, therefore you get good ratings, in essence you are busting myths, and everyone's happy.