How did I miss “that story about Bigfoot stealing the Shroud of Turin that appeared in this week’s supermarket tabloid?”
It’s an example from a Psychology Today article by Hank Davis, a Professor of Psychology at the University of Guelph in Canada, about why some people are intrigued with Big Foot and other stories of “awe.” I think he made it up:
Admittedly, scientists don’t do a good job of communicating their work. Science is not well publicized. It isn’t "sexy." I don’t mean just the scientists, themselves, aren’t sexy. It’s how they do their jobs and what they find. Much of the science news I read is boring and, remember, I’m a scientist. Incredible opportunities to make science interesting are lost. Too many science reporters (or medical reporters) are not specially trained. They may be staff writers who pissed off their editors and got stuck with this assignment. But neither their hearts nor their heads seem to be in it. No wonder most readers or viewers yawn through such coverage. They’re waiting for Bigfoot to make the front page. And while they’re waiting, that story about Bigfoot stealing the Shroud of Turin that appeared in this week’s supermarket tabloid will have to do.
Is there an optimistic way to end this piece? Let’s try this. We haven’t hit rock bottom yet. Someday you’ll meet somebody who not only believes in Bigfoot (because of evidence he saw on a hard lemonade-sponsored documentary), but also believes the government has kidnapped a living specimen and is holding him prisoner in a special facility in Roswell, New Mexico.
Neither I nor anyone should ever deflect you from your search for awe. But neither should anyone, whether merchant or hoaxster, send you on a contrived journey to the supernatural to find it. There’s enough awe for anyone who wants it, and it lives within reach in the natural world around us.
And this is a good example of science reporting?