Please help with episode of Through the Wormhole With Morgan Freeman

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I saw this episode of Through the Wormhole With Morgan Freeman on Discovery Science recently and it was about how to increase human intelligence but the episode was almost finished by the time I tuned in to the channel and the only thing I saw was the end of the explanation of a scientist who was researching ways to increase human intelligence. I need somebody here to help me determine the method for increasing intelligence that this scientist described by posting links to documentation about the study and perhaps a link to the episode of the series itself. To give a hint on who this scientist is, he is a thin old man with eyeglasses, a backwards cap, a blue button down shirt and black pants. Please help me to find out about this area of research, thank you.
 

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  • #2
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I got to say that watching "through the wormhole" actually decreases science knowledge instead of increasing it.

Sorry for the hijack. I hope somebody else can answer it.
 
  • #4
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Wiki tells me there were three seasons, and a list of the episodes does not seem to contain one specifically devoted to human intelligence:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Through_the_wormhole

That segment must have been part of an episode that was mostly about something else.
 
  • #5
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I got to say that watching "through the wormhole" actually decreases science knowledge instead of increasing it.
I'm always ready to hate any popular science episode/series that comes on the science channel, PBS, Nova, or whatnot, but I actually kind of like through the wormhole. I also kind of like Brian Cox's series' but he always seems too stoned to convey much science, it's more of a "Wonder ride" with him, but still fun.

That reminds me, I've meant to start a funny thread around these popular shows. Look for something relating to Michio Kaku.
 
  • #6
phinds
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I got to say that watching "through the wormhole" actually decreases science knowledge instead of increasing it.
And a big +1 on that.

I DO watch that show 'cause they have pretty pictures and I'm a sucker for pretty pictures, and it has Morgan Freeman and I'm a sucker for Morgan Freeman, but some of the absolute crap they have him say just leaves me astonished. It seems that they either do not HAVE a science editor, or he is an idiot.
 
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  • #7
Ben Niehoff
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The problem with having Morgan Freeman narrate a show about science is that Morgan Freeman doesn't know the first thing about science. Morgan Freeman is an actor with a nice voice. Half the time he can't even pronounce things right, and it's clear he hasn't the slightest clue what he's saying.

Carl Sagan's show was full of cheese, but at least Carl Sagan knew what he was talking about. I really think it is important for the host of a science show to have some real working knowledge.

It seems like the producers of the show wanted to do a modern, updated version of Carl Sagan's show, and just thought "Hey, let's use Morgan Freeman, he's got a nice voice," rather than actually thinking things through.
 
  • #8
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I really think it is important for the host of a science show to have some real working knowledge.
I disagree. Sometimes science needs an avatar to reach the layman, and I think Morgan is a great one. The voice and the smooth presentation withstanding, he is great at putting the layman at ease, recounting simple anecdotes of his childhood to set the context for the topic, I think are effective. As everyone knows he's not a physicist, there is no pretense that he is doing anything else than serving as an avatar of science.

Remember the Brain and Mind PBS series in the 80's, where they had George Page as the "reporter" as they called him. George had no idea of how the brain worked, but did an effective job. I mean, did the fact that Walter Cronkite wasn't an aerospace engineer detract from from the captivity of his communicating the Moon landings?
 
  • #9
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There must be more to it than that. His voice wouldn't prevent them from giving him a better script.
 
  • #10
phinds
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The problem with having Morgan Freeman narrate a show about science is that Morgan Freeman doesn't know the first thing about science. Morgan Freeman is an actor with a nice voice. Half the time he can't even pronounce things right, and it's clear he hasn't the slightest clue what he's saying.
Yep.
It seems like the producers of the show wanted to do a modern, updated version of Carl Sagan's show, and just thought "Hey, let's use Morgan Freeman, he's got a nice voice," rather than actually thinking things through.
Nope ... I think they thought it through quite thoroughly, it's just that their way of thinging is something like this: we don't give a rat's rear end about physics, we just want to make money so let's figure out how to draw the most viewers. 99% of them aren't going to know squat about science anyway, so no need to spend money on an actual science editor, let's put it all into hiring a known entertainer and pay some science hack to write the scripts.
 
  • #11
Ben Niehoff
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Nope ... I think they thought it through quite thoroughly, it's just that their way of thinging is something like this: we don't give a rat's rear end about physics, we just want to make money so let's figure out how to draw the most viewers. 99% of them aren't going to know squat about science anyway, so no need to spend money on an actual science editor, let's put it all into hiring a known entertainer and pay some science hack to write the scripts.
I agree.

At any rate, at some point between my childhood and today, TV programming shifted from shows that make actual science sound amazing and inspiring, to just trying to sound amazing and inspiring and to hell with what any actual scientists might think.
 
  • #13
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Did anyone see, Earth From Space, on Nova last Wed.? I found the segment about the antarctic quite interesting. It certainly answers the question as to why the antarctic is not warming.

How about an underwater waterfall? In a manner of speaking it does exist.

http://video.pbs.org/video/2334144059
 
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  • #14
dlgoff
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Did anyone see, Earth From Space, on Nova last Wed.? I found the segment about the antarctic quite interesting. It certainly answers the question as to why the antarctic is not warming.

How about an underwater waterfall? In a manner of speaking it does exist.

http://video.pbs.org/video/2334144059
Yea. I watched this last night....er early this morning. I was amazed that the ocean's bottom could be mapped by reflecting microwaves off it's surface from a satellite with a resolution of about one inch (or was that two inches?).
 
  • #15
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I have narrowed my search down to 4 episodes related to neuroscience. They are probably the ones most likely to contain the segment about intelligence enhancement. Has anyone on this forum ever watched these episodes? The episodes are listed below:

Season 2

1 "Is There Life After Death?" 8 June 2011
In the premiere episode of the second season, Morgan Freeman dives deep into this provocative question that has mystified humans since the beginning of time. Modern physics and neuroscience are venturing into this once hallowed ground, and radically changing our ideas of life after death. Freeman serves as host to this polarized debate, where scientists and spiritualist attempt to define "what is consciousness", while cutting edge quantum mechanics could provide the answer to what happens when we die.

5 "Is There a Sixth Sense?" 6 July 2011
Can we perceive objects and events beyond the world detected by our five senses? The true limits of our human brain remain a scientific mystery. New studies in neuroscience are showing that our minds can really detect events and objects that our conscious selves know nothing about. Can we predict events in the future? Is there such a thing as a global consciousness? Could physical laws on the cusp of being discovered be at the root of all this?

Season 3

4 "What Makes Us Who We Are?" 20 June 2012

What is it that makes you, you? Is it the things we know, the people and places we've experienced? Or is there something deeper, less tangible that captures our essence? Scientists are searching for the core of who we are-some would call it the soul, others, our personal identity. To do so, they are probing the last great frontier of human understanding: the brain. How do we become who we are?

8 "Mysteries of the Subconscious" 25 July 2012
Are there secret powers locked away inside your mind, waiting to be unleashed? Is it possible that the subconscious mind knows more than you ever will, and that your conscious mind is holding you back? Do thoughts control actions, or the other way around? New research shows that breaking down the walls of the subconscious may make people healthier and more creative. There are also dangers lurking in the dark recesses of the mind.

Note: I do not simply believe whatever is shown in these science documentaries without evidence. When I happened to see such a documentary, I just use the information about the science presented in the documentary such as the titles of the scientific works to easily locate the scientific document online and read it and other related documents to verify whether the claims made about such research are true or not.
 
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  • #16
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They have to earn extra money somehow. I would suggest Curtis James Jackson III instead of Morgan Freeman to be the next host.:confused:
 
  • #17
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I have finally found out what the method used for increasing intelligence is called: transcranial direct current stimulation (TDCS). The researcher with the backwards cap is Dr. Allan Snyder. Here are links to reports about the research:

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/Wellne...thinking-brain/story?id=12823323#.T8Evr0VfEpm

http://www.cell.com/current-biology/retrieve/pii/S0960982210012340

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TDCS

Can the consultants of this forum post links to peer reviewed documents on this thread so that the validity of this claim can be verified?
 
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  • #18
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Can the consultants of this forum post links to peer reviewed documents on this thread so that the validity of this claim can be verified?
The answer to your question is NO, because the claim cannot, and most likely never will, be verified. I don't follow this line of research which looks suspiciously like TMS, transcranial magnetic stimulation. I first heard of this back at a conference I attended back in 2006 or so. These guys were making these same kind of stupid claims. IMO its a charlatan snake oil act.

I mean, it does do what they say. It excites a local pool (limited by a radial volume conduction proportional to the signal strength) just superficial to the pial surface of the cortex, but to say that it does anything other than that is, at best, conjecture. I mean, it really is not so different that electo-convulsive therapy they used to use on the Schitzos in the 50's before they lobotomized them, except that was a general blast of fun while these new techniques are more focused.

Wilder Penfield in the 1940's used to stimulate the naked cortex in patients undergoing surgery for epilepsy. These patients saw all sorts of crazy things and it was a lot of fun. This new non-invasive stuff is basically doing the same thing. It's alot of fun but at best its a parlor trick, its not going to increase your intelligence or anything else like that.
 
  • #19
Evo
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And this thread has ventured too far away from mainstream science, and must be put down.

Thank you for the response Dirac.
 

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