Saturday, February 14, 2009

MONSTEQUEST: Cattle Mutilations

History Channel - Original Air Date: 2/11/09

This show recaps the usual myths about animal mutilations: strange forces, UFOs, radioactivity, etc. Early on, they do bring in a forensics expert, Dr. Nation, who says that he's never seen a "mutilation" that didn't have a rational explanation.  Ranchers, whose experience is touted by the show, disagree.  They seem to think this is unnatural. And, looking for ways to prove this unnatural phenomena, naturally they find strange things.  (There's a word or phrase in science for "finding what you're looking for," though at the moment I don't recall what it is.  Avoiding these pre-supposed conclusions is why science sets up theories and then tests them.)  And, of course, there are connections to things that look like crop circles, and dead vegetation that the show suggests are caused by 'craft."  (People who go looking for strange things always find strange things; the world is full of things that don't meet our expectations.)  The show promises to try and recreate the mutilation with surgery and lasers and perform a test on a cow body of their own.  Not surprisingly, the plastic surgeon has trouble recreating the wounds on the "mutilated" animals.  Too bad he doesn't have the same advantage millions of years of evolution have given predators -- but Dr. Nation gives a convincing demonstration of how well adapted predators are to damage carcases.  There's one wound that Dr. Nation seems to think is odd, but the show has no other explantion, except that it's strange.  And people who go looking for strange things, generally find them -- as the female researcher proves time and again during this show.  And in this experiment, the dead cow left out doesn't get scavenged quickly enough for the show.  Really, it must be something strange.  Really.

For a more rational discussion of this subject, see the Is it Real? Chupacabras show, reviewed earlier.  Naturally, since this is MonsterQuest, no actual monsters are found, and their conclusion that these things are beyond the scope of current science is just absurd.

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