History Main / SkepticismFailure

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.

to:

* ''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.

to:

* ''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.

to:

* ''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.

to:

** 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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Added DiffLines:

[[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.

to:

* 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.
28th May '15 11:30:55 AM Morgenthaler
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* ''Leap of Faith'' (1992) shows fraud and skepticism versus "real miracles".

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* ''Leap of Faith'' ''Film/LeapOfFaith'' (1992) shows fraud and skepticism versus "real miracles".



* In ''TheReaping'', Hilary Swank's HollywoodAtheist character is a professional debunker of miracles, who's pretty much shown to be a fool for her lack of belief. One particularly bad example is her claiming that listeria is responsible for a variety of things including a river turning red and maggots instantly appearing on a barbecue grill, which no real life debunker would be quick to do.

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* In ''TheReaping'', ''Film/TheReaping'', Hilary Swank's HollywoodAtheist character is a professional debunker of miracles, who's pretty much shown to be a fool for her lack of belief. One particularly bad example is her claiming that listeria is responsible for a variety of things including a river turning red and maggots instantly appearing on a barbecue grill, which no real life debunker would be quick to do.



* ''MysteriousWays'' runs on this trope. Declan firmly believes in paranormal explanations for the phenomena he investigates, while his psychiatrist friend Peggy always insists on finding a rational explanation. Declan's other friend, Miranda, is a brilliant physics grad student who is usually pretty open to the idea of miracles, though she has her limits. Some episodes give a fully rational explanation and Peggy gets to be smug, but most leave at least the possibility that something miraculous and inexplicable happened.
* ''series/DowntonAbbey'' had one subplot where Ms. O'Brien bought a Ouija board during the spiritualism craze after World War I. Almost none of the characters believe that it works and several of them intentionally manipulate it to mess with other characters. In the last ten minutes of the episode, Anna and Daisy see it spell out, "may they be happy." They're confused by the message and accuse each other of pushing the tile. What the audience knows, but neither of them do, is that Matthew is proposing to Mary at that very moment.

to:

* ''MysteriousWays'' ''Series/MysteriousWays'' runs on this trope. Declan firmly believes in paranormal explanations for the phenomena he investigates, while his psychiatrist friend Peggy always insists on finding a rational explanation. Declan's other friend, Miranda, is a brilliant physics grad student who is usually pretty open to the idea of miracles, though she has her limits. Some episodes give a fully rational explanation and Peggy gets to be smug, but most leave at least the possibility that something miraculous and inexplicable happened.
* ''series/DowntonAbbey'' ''Series/DowntonAbbey'' had one subplot where Ms. O'Brien bought a Ouija board during the spiritualism craze after World War I. Almost none of the characters believe that it works and several of them intentionally manipulate it to mess with other characters. In the last ten minutes of the episode, Anna and Daisy see it spell out, "may they be happy." They're confused by the message and accuse each other of pushing the tile. What the audience knows, but neither of them do, is that Matthew is proposing to Mary at that very moment.
22nd May '15 4:43:23 AM readergirl304
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Added DiffLines:

*''series/DowntonAbbey'' had one subplot where Ms. O'Brien bought a Ouija board during the spiritualism craze after World War I. Almost none of the characters believe that it works and several of them intentionally manipulate it to mess with other characters. In the last ten minutes of the episode, Anna and Daisy see it spell out, "may they be happy." They're confused by the message and accuse each other of pushing the tile. What the audience knows, but neither of them do, is that Matthew is proposing to Mary at that very moment.
9th Apr '15 4:05:16 AM Morgenthaler
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* There was an episode of ''Diagnosis Murder'' where a series of people were murdered in methods that pointed to a vampire or something similar. It was all played as if the killer was mentally ill and only believed she was a vampire until she flew across the room at Dick Van Dyke. Very unusual for a show that was, as much as a TV show can be, very realistic.

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* There was an episode of ''Diagnosis Murder'' ''Series/DiagnosisMurder'' where a series of people were murdered in methods that pointed to a vampire or something similar. It was all played as if the killer was mentally ill and only believed she was a vampire until she flew across the room at Dick Van Dyke. Very unusual for a show that was, as much as a TV show can be, very realistic.



* On ''John Doe'', a woman believes she's having psychic visions of a serial killer, and reveals key details on his methods and location. It turns out that she'd nearly been murdered by the killer herself, and had escaped, but suffered so much blood loss in the process that her brain retained nothing but fleeting memories of her close call.

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* On ''John Doe'', ''Series/JohnDoe'', a woman believes she's having psychic visions of a serial killer, and reveals key details on his methods and location. It turns out that she'd nearly been murdered by the killer herself, and had escaped, but suffered so much blood loss in the process that her brain retained nothing but fleeting memories of her close call.
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