I Heart Huckabees

I Heart Huckabees (2004)

Concept featured in clip: Science Ethics; Pseudoscience

Location of clip: DVD: 00:04:13 - 00:10:54


Play Flickclip Here

*Use caution when showing parts of this film due to vulgar language and an explicit sex scene. This clip is clean.

Summary of clip: In this scene, Albert Markovski (Jason Schwartzman) visits the office of a couple of "existential investigators" to find out what it means that he keeps running into "the African". Vivian (Lily Tomlin) discusses with Albert the way the investigators work, as a team, and tells him that they are going to follow and study him everywhere. Albert then meets the second investigator, Bernard (Dustin Hoffman), who introduces Albert to a procedure called, "the blanket".

Connection of flickclip to the concept: The existential investigators are an example of pseudoscience and therefore and example of unethical science practices. They claim that they will be able to solve Albert's problems in life. They are similar to those claiming that they can talk to our deceased relatives and to our animals to make us feel better. It's a scene that shows that a person will believe anything when he is in a bad place in his life. The blanket procedure is an untested and unethical way of discussing a person's problems.

Suggestions to teachers:

1. Suggested questions for students when viewing the clip:

a. For what reason is Albert attending this visit?

b. Are the investigators using science to help Albert solve his problems?

c. Why is Albert so willing to go along with the investigators' plans?

2. Discuss the characteristics of pseudoscience to the students:

a. Non-falsifiable hypothesis
b. Lack of controlled experiments or observations
c. Lack of proper experimental controls
d. Theories are static and never change
e. Extraordinary claims have insufficient verification
f. Argument that ignorance is proof
g. Use of technical jargon to impress the gullible

3. Have the students identify the characteristics that would be associated with this clip.

4. Start a discussion on the Nature of Science.