This forum is about wrong numbers in science, politics and the media. It respects good science and good English.
Once upon a time in the old BBC the Horizon programs (and much else such as Tomorrow's World with Raymond Baxter)were intelligent, thoughtful, educational and, yes, entertaining.
Then came the day the BBC dumbed down.
It assumed that most of its audience were goldfish and accordingly changed format to the "say it loud say it often and kiss (Keep it simple, stupid)".
First you strip out anything that requires some education in the audience.
Next you take a couple of points and repeat them often.
This is known as "power pointing".
It is nothing to do with the Microsoft program, but a trick from slick sales organisations where they have realised that
(a) most people make decisions based on emotion not logic, and
(b) this is controlled by the primitive brain stem, the fight or flight bit that pops up at intervals like a watchdog program.
To appeal to the emotion you don't necessarily need an emotional appeal, you simply need repetition of simple ideas.
Well, that's what Horizon started to become; a program where every five minutes or so they repeated what they had said before and instead of telling you the real science they started to use simple analogies.
Now it may be that it does help people retain information and to make them think they understand some thing complex because they understood something simple, but what it does most is make them accept something whether true or not. It is propaganda.
So, a single program becomes like a mini series where every few minutes they "remind you" of what went before.
Here we have the ultimate in dumbing down. They even broke that stupid paper thing down into two episodes and put a resume of the first in the second... now I've got goldfish who are insulted by that.
Why do it?
Well the underlying message wasn't about carbon capture, it was a "subliminal" that fossil fuel burning is causing excess CO2 and hence global warming.
Cleverly, they never actually said that. They had the host waffle about paper and sticking it and putting it in the cupboard, a distraction technique but an effective one. It allowed them to slip the real message in.
A the end of the two programs you might dismiss the program as simplistic but everyone will go away accepting, because the presenter did, the essential message of AGW.
Now it may be that the people who put this together are as dumb as the goldfish they are playing to and this is simple fancy or co-incidence, but the real worry is that this is a deliberate bit of propagandising knowingly and wilfully attempting to manipulate people ... can't be done? watch a couple of Darren Brown shows.... frightening how easy it is to manipulate peoples minds using nothing but trivia.
Sliding gently off-topic here, but I couldn't resist commenting on the use of the phrase "dumbing down". There is probably a grammatical term for a phrase that suffers from what it describes, but I don't know what it is.
"Dumb" is used in America, I believe, as meaning "stupid" as well as its original meaning of bereft of speech. Now it is quite clearly taken from the German "dumm", meaning, er, "stupid". (Did not the US fairly recently only narrowly decide against adopting German as the national language?). Given America's origination of Political Correctness it's hard to see how this slipped through unchallenged, as surely it could be taken as being insulting to the speechless.
Could we therefore all adopt the policy of using the phrase "dumming down"? It has the same number of letters, keeping the spiritual heirs of Randolph Hurst happy, and even British-educated children will be able to spell it (though probably with only one m).
You're a bit behind the times Jerry. It looks like you're assuming the phrase "deaf and dumb" is still being used, but in politically correct circles the phrase was dropped years ago because of the potential confusion over the word dumb being interpreted as meaning stupid.
Here is an example of a webpage admonishing people for using the phrase "deaf and dumb":
I believe most deaf people are deaf from birth and so don't attempt to speak because they have no idea what they sound like, so technically I think most deaf people are "deaf and dumb".
Dumbing down is the second of the three basic rules of journalism:
1. Never let facts get in the way of a good story.
2. Simplify, then exaggerate.
3. Never write against the story.
Scientists are not supposed to follow these rules.
P.S. the idea that the USA almost adopted German as its official language is an urban or rural legend. The USA does not have an official language.