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The worst time to watch the final season of "Mythbusters"

I only recently caught up with the last few episodes of Mythbusters, a show that everybody loved, yet constantly found ways to complain about.  It's one of those shows that became such an institution that people have taken it for granted - its conclusion seems to have been ignored somewhat.  Sorta like how you just assume that Abe Vigoda is still alive.

Adam Savage made the point a few times in the final season that there is an entire generation that grew up with Mythbusters, and it didn't really sink in until the finale that I'm part of the group he was talking about.  I'm on the older end, sure - the show came out when I was 19.  Still, kids from 18-24 are only adults in the legal sense, and anybody who's survived Bullshit Adulthood can tell you that you're still every bit as impressionable as a twelve year-old.

Mythbusters came out right around the same time that I discovered James Randi and Skeptic Magazine, so I was not only impressionable, but primed as well.  It was the exact show I wanted at the exact time I needed it.  A regular dose of scientific spirit, albeit not the most rigid parameters.  It was fun, it was approachable, and it always came back around to one simple point that ended up being its biggest contribution to our culture: you should look for data to back things up before you believe them.


The show ended last year right around the time it was starting to look more and more likely that Li'l Donny was going to secure the GOP nomination.  And I, like an idiot, decided to watch the finale in February 2017, a couple weeks after he was sworn into office.

What a mistake.

Leave aside whatever labels you might have for your political beliefs.  That's irrelevant.  The fundamental issue is that Trump's policies are inherently anti-science and anti-reason, and that's something that should terrify all of us.  Lately it feels like any discussion of government policy comes down to, "Well, it doesn't matter what science says, this is how I feel."

The problem, as Mythbusters repeatedly pointed out, is that how you feel doesn't change a goddamn thing.  You can want something to be true more than anything in the world, but if it isn't supported by data, then you're just plain wrong.  You can ask for it to be retested, you can ask for clarification, you can criticize as much as you want - and you should.  The great thing about science is that all those things are inherently built into the process.  At the end of the day, if something is valid, then it's going to hold up because of all the complaints you level at it.

So here we are in 2017, staring down the face of climate change denial, Intelligent Design, abstinence-only education, and other nonsense that we have been able to scientifically invalidate for decades, and we have a president who just shrugs and says that the science doesn't matter.  And at this time, when I'm feeling more alarmed about our future, more afraid for my daughters' well-being, and more frustrated than ever before, I decided to watch a show where I am saying goodbye to key figures who taught me the value of science.

It's like living in a world where Superman exists, and then watching him fly to some other planet just as World War II is starting.

If anybody out there is similarly-minded, I'll strongly advise you to keep that last season of Mythbusters on the back burner until 2019 or so.  There's some good stuff in there - the part where they test a vacuum's suction power on a car is particularly awesome - but right now it's just too raw.

I'm left with only a glimmer of hope.  Each generation aspires to teach their children the basic skills they'll need to not only survive, but thrive; everybody realizes on some level that some day they will have to step aside and let the kids take over.  Tellingly, Mythbusters came out when I was a child, but that's not who I am anymore.  I and my fellow Millennials are coming into our own now and trying to stand by ourselves.  We are only just beginning to step up.

If Mythbusters did its job for everyone else as well as it did for me, then we're in for good news in the years to come.  It'll be a long fight.  It'll be frustrating.  But their message lives on and I have hope that we'll see that influence peek through.

Until then, I think I'll have to get through the next few years checking out reruns.  Thanks for all that you did, Mythbusters.