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Thread: Hollywood movies hurt students' understanding of science

  1. #1 Hollywood movies hurt students' understanding of science 
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    One of the worst movies for science I thought was Honey I Shrunk the Kids. He says he shrinks the object by removing the empty space between atoms. Ok, but just how did removing that empty space make everything weigh less? Weight is not about size but mass and the mass was not changed. I don't care how small he made those kids they still could not climb a flower or ride a bee. Besides that I liked the movie.

    Contact: Zenaida Gonzalez Kotala
    zkotala@mail.ucf.edu
    407-823-6120
    University of Central Florida

    UCF physicist says Hollywood movies hurt students' understanding of science

    Movies such as Spiderman 2 and Speed generate excitement among audiences with their cool special effects. But they also defy the laws of physics, contributing to students’ ignorance about science.

    Two University of Central Florida professors show just how poorly Hollywood writers and directors understand science in an article published in the German journal “Praxis der Naturwissenschaften Physik.” Common sense may indicate that people should know the stunts in movies are just make believe, but the professors say that’s not necessarily true.

    Some people really do believe a bus traveling 70 mph can clear a 50-foot gap in a freeway, as depicted in the movie Speed. And, if that were realistic, a ramp would be needed to adjust the direction of motion to even try to make the leap, said UCF professor Costas J. Efthimiou, who co-authored the article.

    “Students come here, and they don’t have any basic understanding of science,” he said. “Sure, people say everyone knows the movies are not real, but my experience is many of the students believe what they see on the screen.”
    http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releas...-ups081507.php


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    In a way it does hurt science, but then I dont think I would have such an interest for science if it was for the inspiring(yet exaggerated) POWER OF SCIFI.

    Honey I shrunk the kids was not part of those inspirations though.


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    Forum Ph.D. GhostofMaxwell's Avatar
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    Thats not to say that yesterdays scifi cant become tomorrows science.


    One thing I find chilling is that a scifi film was made of man landing on the moon only ten years before Neil Armstrong and the others did it for real.
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    since when did hollywood and science have anything in common ? that's one of the reason why science fiction (the book variety) and sci-fi (the film variety) should not be confused

    in fact, once a decent portion of science enters a novel, hollywood will find ways to water it down so the concept can fit inside their narrow minds

    just a few examples : what happened to chaos theory in 'Jurassic Park' ? and why was the 'Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy' never filmed while Douglas Adams was still alive ?
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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    Yeah those are pretty poor but there is some quality . Things to come, 2001, Doom, to name a few.
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  7. #6 Re: Hollywood movies hurt students' understanding of science 
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    Quote Originally Posted by scpg02
    One of the worst movies for science I thought was Honey I Shrunk the Kids. He says he shrinks the object by removing the empty space between atoms. Ok, but just how did removing that empty space make everything weigh less? Weight is not about size but mass and the mass was not changed. I don't care how small he made those kids they still could not climb a flower or ride a bee. Besides that I liked the movie.

    Contact: Zenaida Gonzalez Kotala
    zkotala@mail.ucf.edu
    407-823-6120
    University of Central Florida

    UCF physicist says Hollywood movies hurt students' understanding of science

    Movies such as Spiderman 2 and Speed generate excitement among audiences with their cool special effects. But they also defy the laws of physics, contributing to students’ ignorance about science.

    Two University of Central Florida professors show just how poorly Hollywood writers and directors understand science in an article published in the German journal “Praxis der Naturwissenschaften Physik.” Common sense may indicate that people should know the stunts in movies are just make believe, but the professors say that’s not necessarily true.

    Some people really do believe a bus traveling 70 mph can clear a 50-foot gap in a freeway, as depicted in the movie Speed. And, if that were realistic, a ramp would be needed to adjust the direction of motion to even try to make the leap, said UCF professor Costas J. Efthimiou, who co-authored the article.

    “Students come here, and they don’t have any basic understanding of science,” he said. “Sure, people say everyone knows the movies are not real, but my experience is many of the students believe what they see on the screen.”
    http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releas...-ups081507.php

    Explain a good movie for science!
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  8. #7 Re: Hollywood movies hurt students' understanding of science 
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    Quote Originally Posted by maxHeadroom
    Explain a good movie for science!
    2001 space odyssey, contact, Alien, Jaws.
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    "Silent running" was pretty good too

    the best science fiction movies are the ones that don't attempt to copy a novel, or where the original author is involved in the making of the movie
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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    I think we should take Scifi for what it is, and keep in mind that it doesnt need to be bang on with science to be quality viewing.
    Does anyone like the old twilight zone? I find it really entertaining, although as scientifically reliable as a medieval alchemist.
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    so in a sense it doesn't really help students understand science at all - a bit like the guy who had to review Shakespeare's "Romeo & Juliet" and thought watching the movie with Leonardo di Caprio was a suitable substitute
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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    What kills me are movies that aren't necessarily Sci-Fi still getting it wrong for drama's sake. Take the movie Underworld: Evolution, near the end the lead vampire guy grabs a rope and proceeds to pull a helicopter from the sky. It reminds me of the bionic man lifting some heavy object with his bionic arm.
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    I think some are overlooking the word fiction in science-fiction. Just enjoy the ride.
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    Quote Originally Posted by GhostofMaxwell
    I think some are overlooking the word fiction in science-fiction. Just enjoy the ride.
    I don't over look the fiction part. I enjoy a lot of movies. Demolition Man is one of my favorites. Sometimes though, like with the helocopter, it's just so wrong you wonder how the writers even came up with the idea.
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    I should have said I think MR is overlooking the word fiction in science-fiction. Just enjoy the ride. But I didnt want to single anyone out.
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    Quote Originally Posted by GhostofMaxwell
    I should have said I think MR is overlooking the word fiction in science-fiction. Just enjoy the ride. But I didnt want to single anyone out.
    Ah I see.
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    Quote Originally Posted by GhostofMaxwell
    I should have said I think MR is overlooking the word fiction in science-fiction. Just enjoy the ride. But I didnt want to single anyone out.
    time to bring in the cavalry - here's what Asimov has to say about "just" science fiction, in his review of Close Encounters of the Third Kind :

    'Why do you criticize its lack of science, Dr Asimov ? It's just science fiction.'
    God, how that stings ! I've spent a lifetime loviing science fiction, and now I find that you must expect nothing of something that's just science fiction.
    It's just science fiction, so it's allowed to be silly, and childish, and stupid. It's just science fiction, so it doesn't have to make sense. It's just science fiction, so you must ask nothing more of it than loud noise and flashing lights.
    That's the harm of Close Encounters; that it convinces tens of millions that that's what just science fiction is.


    my thoughts exactly - i don't mind people writing fiction, but if you're going to call it science fiction, make sure it has at least a modicum of science in it
    i have not overlooked the word fiction in science fiction, but you seem to be willing to ignore the word science
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR
    but you seem to be willing to ignore the word science
    ............Yes I am . If it has good quality writing, direction and acting. if it moves me and excites me(oooer mrs ). If it inspires me. I dont care that its not entirely accurate . Though I must admit the helicopter shit pisses me off too.

    Im much more concerned about unscientific media bullshit than sci-fi(that at least admits its fiction).
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    you mean like docu-dramas where it's hard to distinguish where the fact ends and the fiction starts ?
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR
    you mean like docu-dramas where it's hard to distinguish where the fact ends and the fiction starts ?
    Ooooo, yucky.
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    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR
    you mean like docu-dramas where it's hard to distinguish where the fact ends and the fiction starts ?
    No more like the news and such, where they claim inconclusive science, like manmade global warming and food additive harm as proven(to name 2 that spring to mind(.
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    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    could that be because most correspondents don't understand science, and are just happy to copy any press release that comes their way ? on the other hand, when they do send someone to interview a real scientist, they often show how little they care about science : at one time the New York Times sent their golf correspondent to interview Michael Benton on the latest findings on the Permian extinction !
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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    Yeah! No news is good news.
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    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR
    Quote Originally Posted by GhostofMaxwell
    I should have said I think MR is overlooking the word fiction in science-fiction. Just enjoy the ride. But I didnt want to single anyone out.
    time to bring in the cavalry - here's what Asimov has to say about "just" science fiction, in his review of Close Encounters of the Third Kind :

    'Why do you criticize its lack of science, Dr Asimov ? It's just science fiction.'
    God, how that stings ! I've spent a lifetime loviing science fiction, and now I find that you must expect nothing of something that's just science fiction.
    It's just science fiction, so it's allowed to be silly, and childish, and stupid. It's just science fiction, so it doesn't have to make sense. It's just science fiction, so you must ask nothing more of it than loud noise and flashing lights.
    That's the harm of Close Encounters; that it convinces tens of millions that that's what just science fiction is.


    my thoughts exactly - i don't mind people writing fiction, but if you're going to call it science fiction, make sure it has at least a modicum of science in it
    i have not overlooked the word fiction in science fiction, but you seem to be willing to ignore the word science


    I respect Asimov as an author but that guy, like Bradbury, all too often preferred the sound of his own voice. It is interesting to hear a writer of his status piss all over Close Encounters for lacking hard scientific substance. Through out his Robot Series alone, one can find just as many moments where so called hard science is sacrificed for the sake of creative prowess, imagination or sensationalism. Why call Close Encounters of the Third Kind science fiction? Because it deals directly with the possible scenario of mankind’s relationship with the unknown both on a global scale and from an individual human perspective. No, the film did not go into scientific detail as to the exact nature of the space crafts or the beings that controlled them. Yet the films main protagonist (Richard Dreyfuss) though intelligent enough, is still just an every day layman not a scientist. It was Steven Spielberg’s intent to relate the film to a much wider audience by telling a story of such extraordinary premise through the eyes and interpretation of an average non specialist individual.

    Asimov was a great writer but much of his material was more prone to his own personal view of cosmic quandaries and in doing so he sometimes related more to his peers rather than the average reader. It's hard not to detect some hints of self righteousness in his comments. Asimov’s criticism of Close Encounters is a classic example of how elitist sophisticates are often unable to understand in the simplest of terms the need to tell such a profound universal story in the most humble empathetic fashion.

    It is ridiculous to think that movies are making people stupid. If there is in fact a lack of basic understanding as to the nature of science then perhaps we should hold responsible this countries not so shinning informational/educational system instead of blaming various outlets of arts and entertainment. Science should always be used to teach and inform people but science fiction at its very core is meant to inspire. This doesn't mean that a good Sci-Fi story cannot incorporate hard principles and disciplines of the scientific method. It just means that such elements are not always necessary. Consider how many engineers, astronauts, worldly explorers or any real student or professor of science, in any field, have both grown up and been inspired by watching films such as Forbidden Planet, Star Trek, Close Encounters of the Third Kind or even something like Raiders of the Lost Ark.

    As with most other things in life, this is all about self responsibility. If you are uneducated to a degree where you are unable to recognize the differences between science-and-fiction then you should educate yourself. If you are simply too unintelligent to question those differences...then you and all others like you should be taken out behind a barn to be euthanized....I kid because I care.
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    Quote Originally Posted by GhostofMaxwell
    Thats not to say that yesterdays scifi cant become tomorrows science.
    Yes and no. The physical properties of the universe are the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. So as long as there is no faster then light travel, ignoring gravity, ignoring the quantum, etc. then some fiction may become science.

    I doubt if science fiction has had or has much impact on science one way or the other. Researchers plod along doing the minutia in their labs or field experiments and so on. Science fiction, such as '1984' is more a commentary of current society and Close Encounters a rehash of tales in a thousand cultures, and Star Trek a western in space.

    My concern of the public perception of science as learned through SF isn't the details but the lack of any attention to science methodology or integrity. This bleeds over to acceptance of sensationalism or sound bites as being 'science'. I'll hear or read some sentence to do with geology or paleontology that stars out 'scientists say that' or 'research proves' and then it's followed by some claim that no one in the discipline would ever state. The sound bite often isn't about the research but some post-doc speculating off the top of his or her head what it might mean. Educated guestimates that are outside of the research. The reporter doesn't understand the distinction. When I read or hear 'bad reporting' in geology fields then I question the public info in sciences I don't have any knowledge in. Unfortunately the public often laps up the speculation.

    I 'used to' enjoy most SF at one time. Today I prefer toned down novels that stay within the realm of the near future and don't step outside of physics. Most SF readers, however, will still drink up wagon trains in space, laser guns that can't shoot straight when aiming at good guys, etc. None of this really matters when it comes to workings of nitty gritty science doing real 'stuff'.
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    i doubt whether '1984' was ever intended to be science-fiction
    it's more in the tradition of dystopian tales such as 'Brave New World'

    just because a story is set in the future doesn't necessarily make it science fiction
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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    Currently, the chances that a ordinary guy haves of meeting real science outside of school are close to null.

    Most SF films just are dishonest, as they're about FX, not SF. And the main reason to make SF films without a shred of science fiction is ignorance and laziness. ignroance to not knwo what is a reaosnalbe stretch and what is a slap on common sense, laziness to not check, to not worry, and to not shift thigns even if you've been advised they're horribly unreal.

    For an instance, what would had happen if Matrix had had a good excuse for the survival of mankind after being defeated by the machines? Would it had been any worse? Actually, let's figure the machines had a MORAL reason to take care of mankind, dropping energy and resources on them... wouldn't that had given the films a whole new philosophical reach? Or at least wouldn't had bothered the aware watchers with a silly and 250 years-outdated "brain energy" excuse.

    As that's another interestign thign; most "SF" films breach scientific facts which have been determined for centuries and *should* be common klnowledge... and on occasion they plain breach common sense. And instead crwods swallow it with a "yummy" smile instead of booing scripters for being so incompetent and lazy.

    Today's scripters don't rely on "suspension of disbelief"; they (rightly) rely upon "absolute lack of crytical spirit and infinite gullibility of brainless crowds". It just haves to trigger the right reptilian buttons without bothering anything mammal or human in the spectator's brain; the ideal test watcher should be a lizard (if lizards where able to watch films); if the lizard gets carried, bingo, you did it! Any hint that the lizard is being disturbed by, huh, thoughts, would mean the flick is going to break the rule and you should better "showdumbalyze" it...

    I wonder what happens to a market whose dealers assume that their customers are endlessly stupid and are right to do so... 8)
    “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” -Charles Darwin
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucifer
    Currently, the chances that a ordinary guy haves of meeting real science outside of school are close to null.

    Most SF films just are dishonest, as they're about FX, not SF. And the main reason to make SF films without a shred of science fiction is ignorance and laziness. ignroance to not knwo what is a reaosnalbe stretch and what is a slap on common sense, laziness to not check, to not worry, and to not shift thigns even if you've been advised they're horribly unreal.

    For an instance, what would had happen if Matrix had had a good excuse for the survival of mankind after being defeated by the machines? Would it had been any worse? Actually, let's figure the machines had a MORAL reason to take care of mankind, dropping energy and resources on them... wouldn't that had given the films a whole new philosophical reach? Or at least wouldn't had bothered the aware watchers with a silly and 250 years-outdated "brain energy" excuse.

    As that's another interestign thign; most "SF" films breach scientific facts which have been determined for centuries and *should* be common klnowledge... and on occasion they plain breach common sense. And instead crwods swallow it with a "yummy" smile instead of booing scripters for being so incompetent and lazy.

    Today's scripters don't rely on "suspension of disbelief"; they (rightly) rely upon "absolute lack of crytical spirit and infinite gullibility of brainless crowds". It just haves to trigger the right reptilian buttons without bothering anything mammal or human in the spectator's brain; the ideal test watcher should be a lizard (if lizards where able to watch films); if the lizard gets carried, bingo, you did it! Any hint that the lizard is being disturbed by, huh, thoughts, would mean the flick is going to break the rule and you should better "showdumbalyze" it...

    I wonder what happens to a market whose dealers assume that their customers are endlessly stupid and are right to do so... 8)

    ........and where should we be heading?
    if ever there was a time for opportunity, it is when opportunity has yet to define THIS "time"
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  29. #28  
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    Really??

    Hollywood hurts students' understanding of science? No way! Since when are we watching movies to learn about science? Since when are movies required to be scientifically sound (and when have they ever been)? The good thing about fantasy is that it is *not* limited by anything but the artist's and viewer's imagination.

    Aren't we badly confusing something, here? It's not movies that hurt students' understanding of science; it's lack of quality in their education. Who is seriously suggesting movies should compensate for that?

    Movies should be entertaining to watch. Documentaries should be informative. Combinations of the above are possible and pleasant, but certainly not expected, and even that would pose no replacement for a bad education system.

    To blame the movie for the gullibility of a movie viewer is like a rat biting it's own tail. Don't mistake the symptom for the cause. An educated student will not be dumber after watching "Honey, I shrunk the kids".
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  30. #29 Hollywood hurts students 
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    Hollywood hurts students this is quetion os you to know about the spederman movie this movie proved a lot of relationship value of love and life if you want more info about this Hollywood Movies visit below website http://www.altiusdirectory.com/Entertainment/



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    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR
    at one time the New York Times sent their golf correspondent to interview Michael Benton on the latest findings on the Permian extinction !
    Well at least they had a vague idea that paleontology is about holes in the ground; what more could you reasonably expect.
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    i dont know but i think Star Trek was an awesome Sci-fi movie.
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