Ghostbusters and the Discovery Institute


You have probably seen the movie Ghostbusters, about a small group of weirdos who had lost their respectable jobs due to an unorthodox belief that they could investigate, detect, and combat ghosts with unique methods they had developed using their paranormal theories. They opened for business in a dingy location, and after a long struggle, they eventually achieved success and praise when their abilities were recognized.

For some reason — perhaps it’s because yesterday was Halloween — that movie reminds us of the Discovery Institute. Like the Ghostbusters, the Discoveroids also claim that they can detect unobservable phenomena. They say they can find evidence of a transcendent intelligent designer — blessed be he! — who created the universe, life, and the unique human species.

Like the Ghostbusters, the Discoveroids have developed their own technology. They have a Design Filter (see The Discoveroids and Their Magic Filter) which can detect the designer’s work. It provides them with evidence of specified complexity and irreducible complexity — which no one else understands — see The Discoveroids and Their Magic Inference).

Unlike the Ghostbusters, the Discoveroids have not yet been successful. But that’s because their saga has only begun. There are many similarities, however.

Like the Ghostbusters at the start of the movie, the Discoveroids inhabit dingy offices. They’re located above a gymnasium in a seedy section of Seattle. They have no scientific respect, yet they fervently believe that their investigations into the supernatural realm, using their paranormal methods, will ultimately result in universal acceptance that their transcendent designer exists. Then, at last, they will be recognized as the brilliant scientific pioneers they are, bringing them well-deserved fame.

And so, dear reader, it’s far too early to dismiss the Discoveroids as a pack of deluded kooks. They’re certain that they’re on the right track. They know things that no one else knows, and they’re confident that they will be vindicated and praised as the Darwin Busters. So let’s sit back and enjoy the show. Maybe the best is yet to come.

Copyright © 2015. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

add to del.icio.usAdd to Blinkslistadd to furlDigg itadd to ma.gnoliaStumble It!add to simpyseed the vineTailRankpost to facebook

. AddThis Social Bookmark Button . Permalink for this article

14 responses to “Ghostbusters and the Discovery Institute

  1. There’s one important difference.

    In the original movie, the Ghostbusters’ belief that they could find and capture ghosts didn’t have the backing of millions of ordinary Americans and plenty of influential politicians. Unfortunately, belief in biblical creation is widespread, even among influential politicians.

  2. Only an idiot would look in the realm of the natural for evidence of the supernatural. Plus they go out of their way to explain this lack of evidence on the transcendent, ineffable nature of their supernatural being. This is along the lines of having dragon repellent and proof of its efficacy is, well, do you see any dragons?

  3. Derek Freyberg

    Ah yes, but the Ghostbusters have Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Harold Ramis (and Sigourney Weaver and Rick Moranis). All the Discobusters have is ditzes.

  4. When I was a kid – although I didn’t believe in ghosts, as a matter of their possibility, someone pointed out to me that as supernational entities, how was it possible for them to act on natural entities. How was it that they could pass through walls, yet not fall through floors, or how was it that you couldn’t physically harm them, but they could harm you?
    That thought occurred to me when watching Ghostbusters. How was it that the material machines that they had could have any effect on the ghosts? One would expect the team to have to use spiritual means. (I have to confess that I had trouble with really enjoying a lot of good movies as a kid. Don’t ask me about the cowboy good guys justifying bad means for good ends.)
    I mention this because I still wonder how supernatual agents can possibly explain natural phenomena.

  5. One imagines an enormous Marshmallow Man wandering the streets of Seattle and the Discoveroids scientifically determining that he is unquestionably an Intelligently Designed manifestation of the demon Gozer. Then they cross the streams and save the world from Gozer and Darwinism in one fell swoop.

  6. If you’re real deranged
    But your sabre’s dull;
    Who ya gonna call?

    If your brain is weird
    and don’t fill your skull;
    Who ya gonna call?

    (I ain’t aware of no facts
    I ain’t aware of no facts)

    If you’re seeing things
    No one sane can see;
    Who can ya join?

    An invisible God
    Is your Magic Pixie;
    Who ya gonna call?

    Who ya gonna call?

    &c &c &c.

  7. But SC, you missed one item that the Ghostbusters had, and the Discoveroids also now have. When ever they travel, it is via a very luxurious, and updated, black hearse. On the sides of the car is emblazoned the official logo of the Dishonesty Institute.

  8. Beautiful comparison.

  9. We’ve been slimed.

  10. “Drop everything, Venkman. We got one.”.OMG Its Casey………..

  11. @TomS: That’s why Ghostbusters has to cheat a little. The “supernatural” isn’t really supernatural at all—it’s more like paranormal, but it’s still subject to the physical laws behind the gang’s technological gizmos.

  12. Ceteris Paribus

    I dunno. Make a Venn diagram. Take the subset of humans whose fatal flaw is merely holding on to the religion of Creationism; and take the subset of humans whose religion is the irrational belief that population and real wealth can increase exponentially forever to the end of time.

    Map both subsets against the set of total human population, and I would say that either way, as humans, we’re pretty much hosed when it comes to finding a majority which is in touch with reality.

  13. Paul D, it’s not really “cheating” if you believe it. Dan Akroyd and his wacko father had a lot of input into the script. Both men honestly and sincerely believe(d) that ghosts and spectres are absolutely real, and are manifested as electromagnetic fields that can be affected by specialized equipment and detected with the “proper” sensors.

    A lot of the terms you hear the characters spout, like “class three repeater,” come from the Akroyd’s “work” on the paranormal.

  14. Derek Freyberg

    Thanks, I could not have dreamed up those lyrics – I could only do one more-or-less rhyming line.
    But, par les Discobusters, “who ain’t afraid of no Discoveroids?”