Is Captain Kirk A Skeptic?

William Shatner is hosting a new documentary-style show called “William Shatner’s Weird or What?” (great name!). It’s in premiering in Canada tonight on History Television (10pm ET/PT). In promotion of the show Shatner has been interviewed by the Canadian media including the Ottawa Citizen.

According to the Ottawa Citizen:

Each week, the show will look at three cases per episode and try to offer a scientific or logical explanation for said “weird” events — often by conducting experiments and interviewing various experts. Shatner says the program tries to “explain the unexplainable.”

Cool! If the show does what it says it will, this could be that mainstream skeptical TV series that we’ve been clamouring for. While Phil Plait’s Bad Universe is awesome, even Phil admits that it’s not quite a skepticism show.

Captain Kirk is AWESOME

Captain Kirk may be awesome, but William Shatner may be a skeptic!

But beyond the excitement of having a cool new skeptical show, it’s also great to read in the Citizen that Canada’s favourite star ship captain is a skeptic (at least when it comes to UFOs):

“There is no doubt that there is life out there; the mathematics of it lead you to that absolute conclusion,” Shatner says [...] “In my mind, there is no doubt that the universe teems — teems! — with life in all its forms. But why they would come visit here and not let themselves be known to everybody is beyond my sense of logic.
“Why would you fly the years or millenniums (it would take) to (get here)? Why wouldn’t they just land and say, ‘Here we are, we’re tired, got any ice cream?’”
The show premieres tonight, so I haven’t seen it yet, but let’s hope it lives up to its promises and promotes the rational and critical examination of weird things.
Note: For our American readers, the show is supposedly shown on the Discovery Channel, consult your local listings.

8 Responses to “Is Captain Kirk A Skeptic?”

  1. Dwight says:

    I’ll have to give Shatner’s show a try, but Im disappointed with discovery for not showing Bad Universe in Canada, I guess we have to wait for it up here.

  2. rtp says:

    In an interview in 1968, William Shatner says on the question whether he believes in an afterlife:

    “No. I don’t. Emotionally I would like to believe there is a life after death. Intellectually . . . . I cannot accept the idea. . . . as for myself, I have finally come to the conclusion that life is here and now . . . and nothing more.”[1]

    Right now, it seems he’s a believer in a very ambiguous god, possibly one could define him as a deist or such:

    “I learned a lot about the art of compromise making that film,” says Shatner, who says he believes in “the mystery of God” but adds “whose God, which God?”[2]

    1. http://www.centerforinquiry.net/blogs/entry/captain_kirk_is_godless/
    2. http://www.thejewishweek.com/features/captain_industry

  3. gmcevoy says:

    Koik did tell John Edward that “it’s all woo” after asking him if he’s ever wondered if he’s not psychic, but psycho…

  4. Parrot says:

    I saw a show a couple of weeks ago called “Is It True?” with Chuck Nice, and one of the topics investigated was the famous railroad crossing where ghost children are said to push your car over the tracks.

    They did a good debunking of that, but I can’t find any really good videos of it online or even much of a mention of it. This kind of a show should have some of our support behind it I think.

  5. gmcevoy says:

    Shatner may be a skeptic, but that show is definitely square on the fence

    is it real or is it memorex? you decide…

  6. Cameron says:

    I’ve been watching the show on Discovery (it’s been in Canada for over a year on Discovery) and it’s ok. It starts off with a serious consideration of the possibility of something supernatural but in the last few minutes pretty much debunks the supernatural aspect of it. None of this is surprising. Although us skeptics would probably drool over a tv show dedicated to debunking urban legends and what not, most people would just fall asleep (this does not include Mythbusters – they have explosions to keep up the ratings). This show has to appeal to the lowest common denominator just to get people interested, but luckily, and surreptitiously, it does the right thing and brings some common sense to the issue under investigation.
    If you’re looking for a really bad tv show that pretends to be investigative yet can’t seem to derive a logical conclusion of their evidence is “Destination Truth”. Four seasons of traveling around the world collecting sound tidbits and blurry heat signatures, and scaring themselves with “did you hear that?!” only to consistently conclude that they can’t rule out whatever it is they were looking for.

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  • Jonathan Abrams

    Jonathan Abrams is the latest founder and president of the Ottawa Skeptics. He organizes local events, makes media appearances as the token skeptic, and is one of the website maintainers. He is the host of the skepticism podcast The Reality Check. When he’s not thinking about science and skepticism, he’s working as a computer engineer, playing pinball, or doing the dishes.