History Main / SkepticismFailure

23rd Aug '16 3:07:44 AM Sinister_Sandwich
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* Averting this trope is a key theme of ''Series/JonathanCreek.'' No matter how 'impossible' the event in question, Jonathan never entertains the possibility of a supernatural cause, and he is always right. Many of the perpetrators of the deliberate crimes/cons (as opposed to the accidental events) actually ''rely'' on SkepticismFailure to cover their tracks, but as Jonathan often points out, falling back on 'magic' is what most people do because they don't like to believe they can be so easily fooled by a trick (he's a designer of magic tricks, he would know better than most.) Additionally, unlike many procedurals/detective programs that tease at the supernatural, the show ''never'' suggested that it might be real at any point in its five season run.
18th Aug '16 5:18:58 PM Fireblood
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* Brian from ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' is a FlatEarthAtheist, and the show seems to agree with him... which would hold more water if Brian hadn't met God and Jesus personally, and that Peter has died and met Death several times. Of course, the God and Jesus he runs into bear little resemblance to the religious figures beyond outfit and name. Then again, they're still shown to have genuine miraculous powers, and Brian never states that they ''aren't'' who they appear to be. Actually, he never comments on them at all, one way or the other.

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* Brian from ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' is a FlatEarthAtheist, and the show seems to agree with him... which would hold more water if Brian hadn't met God and Jesus personally, and that Peter has hasn't died and met Death several times. Of course, the God and Jesus he runs into bear little resemblance to the religious figures beyond outfit and name. Then again, they're still shown to have genuine miraculous powers, and Brian never states that they ''aren't'' who they appear to be. Actually, he never comments on them at all, one way or the other.



** In one episode of the patient claims to have been abducted by aliens. It turns out to be a hallucination, just as House repeatedly insisted.

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** In one episode of the patient claims to have been abducted by aliens. It turns out to be a hallucination, just as House repeatedly insisted.



** Played straight in a later episode when Shawn, Gus, and another guy go to a psychic while following a dead man's last few hours. After the psychic somehow manages to guess the bizarre idea in [[{{Cloudcuckoolander}} Shawn's]] head they tell her that the man she talked to the previous day was dead causing her to freak out and [[OohMeAccentsSlipping drops the Romanian accent]]. However, before the guys leave she looks at Shawn and Gus's friend and draws the Death Tarot card. Said friend is dead by the next commercial break.

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** Played straight in a later episode when Shawn, Gus, and another guy go to a psychic while following a dead man's last few hours. After the psychic somehow manages to guess the bizarre idea in [[{{Cloudcuckoolander}} Shawn's]] head they tell her that the man she talked to the previous day was dead dead, causing her to freak out and [[OohMeAccentsSlipping drops drop the Romanian accent]]. However, before the guys leave she looks at Shawn and Gus's friend and draws the Death Tarot card. Said friend is dead by the next commercial break.
18th Aug '16 5:03:06 PM Fireblood
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* ''Series/ZeroHour'': Hank is not only a skeptic, he publishes ''Modern Skeptic'' magazine, and of course his doubt toward conspiracy theories quickly gets disproven when he encounters a real one in the show. This appears to be the only reason he begins as a professional skeptic, with a dramatic contrast.
2nd Jul '16 9:03:47 AM lavendermintrose
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* In {{anime}}, ghosts are a fact of life. Whoever doubts it will be proven wrong before the end of the episode. The only major exceptions are detective series, which are full of fake ghosts, and series where there's one type of supernatural creature as a premise of the show, and the "ghost" is one of those in disguise.
** Anime in general holds this trope up due to the underlying Shinto belief system, which has multiple gods and magic forces. In nearly all anime/manga/games, when an event can be attributed to the supernatural, it is rarely questioned due to this cultural system. However, there are exceptions...
30th Mar '16 7:36:24 AM Morgenthaler
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** Almost this [[RecycledScript exact same story]] appears in an episode of ''Series/NowAndAgain'', an ill-fated science fiction series from the late 90's about a man who was rebuilt out of spare body parts by the government.

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** * Almost this [[RecycledScript exact same story]] appears in an episode of ''Series/NowAndAgain'', an ill-fated science fiction series from the late 90's about a man who was rebuilt out of spare body parts by the government.



** It's because on Lost's island, there are many things that are crazier than the button. It's a case of [[IfJesusThenAliens If Jesus, Zombies, Bigfoot, Unicorns, Flying Pigs, Tap-Dancing Cutlery And Psychic Hamburgers, Then Aliens.]]



* Seen in an episode of ''Series/{{NUMB3RS}}'' where Charlie scoffs at a psychic who's brought in to work on a case; Charlie is treated as the unreasonable one, surprisingly for a show that focuses on math and logic in solving crimes.
** He returns in a later episode. And like the CSI example above, by the end of the episode, he's dead, and everyone wonders if he was the real deal.
* ''Series/TouchedByAnAngel'' [[strike:claims]] revolves around how God works in mysterious ways even when you don't believe it.
** In one episode, God (represented or channeled by the main character) is "put on trial," but the opposing counsel falls victim to fallacious reasoning, both committing fallacies in his own arguments and being (especially for a trained lawyer) overly credulous of the opposition's reasoning. This in effect sets up the prosecuting attorney as a [[TheWarOnStraw Strawman]] for the defendant.
* Played straight in virtually every episode of ''Series/TheXFiles'' -- in fact, it's the ''raison d'être'' for AgentScully, who remains skeptical of AgentMulder's explanations throughout the series, [[ArbitrarySkepticism despite the number of times Mulder is proved correct]]. However, after Mulder left the series, AgentScully then became increasingly written as the more eager believer, with the newcomer to doubt ''her''.

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* Seen in an episode of ''Series/{{NUMB3RS}}'' where Charlie scoffs at a psychic who's brought in to work on a case; Charlie is treated as the unreasonable one, surprisingly for a show that focuses on math and logic in solving crimes.
**
crimes. He returns in a later episode. And like the CSI example above, by the end of the episode, episode he's dead, dead and everyone wonders if he was the real deal.
* ''Series/TouchedByAnAngel'' [[strike:claims]] revolves around how God works in mysterious ways even when you don't believe it.
**
it. In one episode, God (represented or channeled by the main character) is "put on trial," but the opposing counsel falls victim to fallacious reasoning, both committing fallacies in his own arguments and being (especially for a trained lawyer) overly credulous of the opposition's reasoning. This in effect sets up the prosecuting attorney as a [[TheWarOnStraw Strawman]] for the defendant.
* ''Series/TheXFiles'':
**
Played straight in virtually every episode of ''Series/TheXFiles'' -- in fact, it's the ''raison d'être'' for AgentScully, who remains skeptical of AgentMulder's explanations throughout the series, [[ArbitrarySkepticism despite the number of times Mulder is proved correct]]. However, after Mulder left the series, AgentScully then became increasingly written as the more eager believer, with the newcomer to doubt ''her''.



** The Episode's title is ''Angel of Death.''



* ''Series/TheBill'' had an episode called "Haunted" in which police officers on a stake-out in an allegedly haunted building recounted spooky but just-about-plausible things that happened to them (a lost girl with uncanny similarities to a murder victim; a woman who dies at the around same time as her psychotic and jealous husband, who left a message on her machine saying "I need you with me"), before ending with DS Stanton (the AgentScully) quite definitely encountering a ghost.

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* ''Series/TheBill'' had ''Series/TheBill'':
** There's
an episode called "Haunted" in which police officers on a stake-out in an allegedly haunted building recounted spooky but just-about-plausible things that happened to them (a lost girl with uncanny similarities to a murder victim; a woman who dies at the around same time as her psychotic and jealous husband, who left a message on her machine saying "I need you with me"), before ending with DS Stanton (the AgentScully) quite definitely encountering a ghost.



* In the ''Series/QuantumLeap'' episode "A Portrait for Troian," Sam Beckett leaps into a paranormal investigator. Over the course of the episode, he plays the skeptic regarding the existence of ghosts, and Al plays the believer. By the end of the episode, [[spoiler: he has proven the primary haunting is a hoax, but then discovers that one of the secondary characters was a ghost all along. This is enforced with a shot of the ghost vanishing.]]

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* ''Series/QuantumLeap'':
**
In the ''Series/QuantumLeap'' episode "A Portrait for Troian," Sam Beckett leaps into a paranormal investigator. Over the course of the episode, he plays the skeptic regarding the existence of ghosts, and Al plays the believer. By the end of the episode, [[spoiler: he has proven the primary haunting is a hoax, but then discovers that one of the secondary characters was a ghost all along. This is enforced with a shot of the ghost vanishing.]]



* In the ''Series/{{Castle}}'' episode "He's Dead, She's Dead" a psychic is murdered, and supposedly leaves a letter about her own murder for the police. Beckett is skeptical while Castle believes it wholeheartedly. In the end of the episode, everything is wrapped up, except for one tiny point in the letter that Castle reminds Beckett of that seems to indicate the letter actually was from the psychic, proving her amazing PsychicPowers.

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* ''Series/{{Castle}}'':
**
In the ''Series/{{Castle}}'' episode "He's Dead, She's Dead" a psychic is murdered, and supposedly leaves a letter about her own murder for the police. Beckett is skeptical while Castle believes it wholeheartedly. In the end of the episode, everything is wrapped up, except for one tiny point in the letter that Castle reminds Beckett of that seems to indicate the letter actually was from the psychic, proving her amazing PsychicPowers.



*** [[spoiler: Some of the 'bad luck' was ''deliberately caused'' by Beckett, Esposito and Ryan to freak Castle out. It is also just plain bad luck combined with a bit of self fulfilling prophecy. At the end of the episode, after the curse had been supposedly lifted, he still manages to cut himself with a kitchen knife.]]



** That's definitely an instance of MaybeMagicMaybeMundane, though, as it could easily have been a coincidence. Water is a ''very'' recurring element for {{Phony Psychic}}s.



** However, it's entirely possible that your character could have been drugged during the fight as voodoo practitioners allegedly use drugs to convince people what they're seeing is real, etc, and your character had already been doped at least once earlier in the game.



* You wouldn't expect an exception in a series that's all about wizards, but ''Literature/HarryPotter'' nonetheless has Hermione Granger utterly unconvinced by any of Trelawney's predictions or the Lovegoods' beliefs in creatures that, even by ''Harry Potter'' standards, are bizarre. The only correct Trelawney predictions are the ones Hermione doesn't hear in the first place, and the Lovegoods are right about exactly one thing the heroes didn't already know about ([[spoiler:the Deathly Hallows]]).
** Harry Potter is an interesting case, because Hermione is technically right, the evidence for these theories is ridiculously slim. Heck, one is a children's fable, which nobody believes. At the same time, she is Muggle-born, so she must realize that according to most Muggles, the last 6 years of her life couldn't have happened, and they'd view her as hallucinating or lying if she told them.
*** Another example is when Harry reasons out his entire family tree, concluding that he's descended from a legendary trio of wizards. Hermione and Ron both think he's losing it. Granted, he was over-eager in his explanation, which was sort of hard to follow. But it was a sound argument nonetheless.

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* ''Literature/HarryPotter'':
**
You wouldn't expect an exception in a series that's all about wizards, but ''Literature/HarryPotter'' nonetheless has Hermione Granger is utterly unconvinced by any of Trelawney's predictions or the Lovegoods' beliefs in creatures that, even by ''Harry Potter'' standards, are bizarre. The only correct Trelawney predictions are the ones Hermione doesn't hear in the first place, and the Lovegoods are right about exactly one thing the heroes didn't already know about ([[spoiler:the Deathly Hallows]]).
** Harry Potter is an interesting case, because Hermione is technically right, the evidence for these theories is ridiculously slim. Heck, one is a children's fable, which nobody believes. At the same time, she is Muggle-born, so she must realize that according to most Muggles, the last 6 years of her life couldn't have happened, and they'd view her as hallucinating or lying if she told them.
*** Another example is when
Harry reasons out his entire family tree, concluding that he's descended from a legendary trio of wizards. Hermione and Ron both think he's losing it. Granted, he was over-eager in his explanation, which was sort of hard to follow. But it was a sound argument nonetheless.



* Subverted in an episode of ''Series/{{CSI}}'' where one investigator's firm belief in spontaneous human combustion -- as both a phenomenon and the solution to a case -- is debunked by a scientific experiment they conduct.

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* ''Series/{{CSI}}'':
**
Subverted in an episode of ''Series/{{CSI}}'' where one investigator's firm belief in spontaneous human combustion -- as both a phenomenon and the solution to a case -- is debunked by a scientific experiment they conduct.



* In one episode of ''Series/{{House}}'' the patient claims to have been abducted by aliens. It turns out to be a hallucination, just as House repeatedly insisted.
** ''House'' also had a patient who, ironically, was a Christian faith healer. House's adamant belief that the guy was a fraud (while the rest of the protagonists went from skepticism to doubt) turned out to be the key to identifying his disease.

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* ''Series/{{House}}'': It's something that recurs with some regularity; House finds a perfectly rational explanation, but it's a big enough coincidence that the believers aren't convinced that it's not the supernatural at work.
**
In one episode of ''Series/{{House}}'' the patient claims to have been abducted by aliens. It turns out to be a hallucination, just as House repeatedly insisted.
** ''House'' also had There was a patient who, ironically, was a Christian faith healer. House's adamant belief that the guy was a fraud (while the rest of the protagonists went from skepticism to doubt) turned out to be the key to identifying his disease.



** Really, that's something that recurs in ''House'' with some regularity; House finds a perfectly rational explanation, but it's a big enough coincidence that the believers aren't convinced that it's not the supernatural at work.
*** There is an exception here; one patient comes in with a hallucination of Jesus (very vivid) and a host of other symptoms. The solution is found by ignoring the hallucination as a symptom, leaving the patient (a priest who had lost his faith) to believe it was divine intervention.

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** Really, that's something that recurs in ''House'' with some regularity; House finds a perfectly rational explanation, but it's a big enough coincidence that the believers aren't convinced that it's not the supernatural at work.
***
There is an exception here; one patient comes in with a hallucination of Jesus (very vivid) and a host of other symptoms. The solution is found by ignoring the hallucination as a symptom, leaving the patient (a priest who had lost his faith) to believe it was divine intervention.



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16th Jan '16 1:57:25 AM Anddrix
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There is TruthInTelevision in that [[FauxSymbolism people do believe in "mystical" things without proof]]. It just depends on exactly which things and [[ViewersAreMorons who is being asked]] to believe.

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There is TruthInTelevision in that [[FauxSymbolism people do believe in "mystical" things without proof]]. It just depends on exactly which things and [[ViewersAreMorons who is being asked]] asked to believe.
1st Jan '16 1:37:09 AM fdsa1234567890
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*** [[spoiler: Some of the 'bad luck' was ''deliberately caused'' by Beckett, Esposito and Ryan to freak Castle out.]]

to:

*** [[spoiler: Some of the 'bad luck' was ''deliberately caused'' by Beckett, Esposito and Ryan to freak Castle out. It is also just plain bad luck combined with a bit of self fulfilling prophecy. At the end of the episode, after the curse had been supposedly lifted, he still manages to cut himself with a kitchen knife.]]
** Another even more striking example comes from the episode "Time Will Tell," involving TimeTravel. [[spoiler: In short, there is no way the actions of the killer make sense unless he is a time traveling assassin.
]]
21st Dec '15 6:36:26 AM MrNickelodeon
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[[folder: Theme Parks ]]
* In both versions of the former ''Theatre/GhostbustersSpooktacular'' show at [[Ride/UniversalStudios Universal Studios Florida]], there's a character who for a large part of the show makes it clear that they don't believe in ghosts, only to find themselves getting proved severely wrong by the events that follow.
[[/folder]]
7th Nov '15 10:22:49 PM jormis29
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* In different episodes of ''Psi Factor: Chronicles of the Paranormal'', this is either played straight or subverted. In one episode, one of the investigators is temporarily replaced by an alien clone with reversed fingerprints. The entire team simply refuses to believe him when he returns to Earth and assume that he was drunk or just playing around. Heck, one of them assumed that it was a Doppelganger, preferring a supernatural explanation over aliens. In another episode, a rich elderly widow complains about her house being haunted. After the team do their investigation, they find out that there are no ghosts and that her family have set up a sound system and countless projectors in the house so that they could drive her insane and get her money.

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* In different episodes of ''Psi Factor: ''Series/PsiFactor: Chronicles of the Paranormal'', this is either played straight or subverted. In one episode, one of the investigators is temporarily replaced by an alien clone with reversed fingerprints. The entire team simply refuses to believe him when he returns to Earth and assume that he was drunk or just playing around. Heck, one of them assumed that it was a Doppelganger, preferring a supernatural explanation over aliens. In another episode, a rich elderly widow complains about her house being haunted. After the team do their investigation, they find out that there are no ghosts and that her family have set up a sound system and countless projectors in the house so that they could drive her insane and get her money.
2nd Jul '15 8:59:36 PM nombretomado
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* The early run of the 2000s ''Series/{{Battlestar Galactica|Reimagined}}'' employed this trope in an ambiguous and unique way; several characters have had experiences that can be interpreted as prophetic or prescient, but whether they are in fact seeing the future or merely hallucinating was never explicitly revealed.

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* The early run of the 2000s ''Series/{{Battlestar Galactica|Reimagined}}'' Galactica|2003}}'' employed this trope in an ambiguous and unique way; several characters have had experiences that can be interpreted as prophetic or prescient, but whether they are in fact seeing the future or merely hallucinating was never explicitly revealed.
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