Monday, March 10, 2014


Tonight the pilot episode of the remake of "Cosmos" has aired and was very well made for the most part. The series is a continuation of the 1980s version hosted by famous scientist Carl Sagan.  In this new version, Neil Degrasse Tyson is the host.  He is known for his zeal and charismatic tone in regards to science.

Neil Degrasse Tyson was born on October 5, 1958.  He is often invited to speak on science programs.  Tyson is the director of the Hayden Planetarium at the Rose Center for Earth and Space and also works at the department of astrophysics at the American Museum of Natural History.

He was born in Manhattan and raised in the Bronx from a family of scientists.  His mother was a gerontologist and father a sociologist.  While in the Bronx, Tyson attended the public school system. He went to PS 36, PS 81, MS 141 and the Bronx High School of Science.  As a child, he loved the stars.  Astronomy was his fixation.

This dream eventually brought him to meet Carl Sagan who tried to get Tyson to Cornell University but Tyson opted to go to Harvard instead.  Tyson holds a Bachelor of Arts in physics, Master of Arts in astronomy, Master of Philosophy in astrophysics and a Doctor of Philosophy in astrophysics.

Tyson has been in some debates with religious folks in regard to intelligent design which he
disagrees with claiming that the universe is "out to kill us" and that this can't be reconciled with a 'loving God-creator.'  I recently countered his claims here:

Nevertheless, he does not identify with atheism, but agnosticism. When I heard that they were going to remake Cosmos I was ecstatic.  Moreover, when I heard Neil Degrasse Tyson was going to be at the helm, this added to the excitement.  He is one of my favorite scientists and a fellow Bronxite.  As a student of science myself who has studied physics, biology and psychology, I endorse this program.  I hope many people tune in to Cosmos to learn more about science.  Science is not perfect, but it can help us understand the wonders of God's creation.  It will never replace religion and philosophy, but will clear it from superstition and sophistry.  While I disagree with Tyson's views on religion and how it relates to science, I still have great respect for him.  He is an example for young people today, especially in the Bronx and other communities where the youth feel pressure to find a "career" in crime instead of in science and academia.

I am not sure how many tuned in to watch tonight, but I am assuming the ratings were high.  The time slot is a bit risky though with AMC airing "The Walking Dead" at the same time. Nevertheless, #Cosmos was trending on Twitter and Facebook.

My Review:

The show is well done in regards to scientific facts.  However, it did present inaccurate accounts regarding history and religion.  The story of Giordano Bruno was misconstrued.  It tried to present Bruno as a hero and martyr for science.  This is not true.  Bruno was a religious philosopher, not a scientist.  Ironically, the show pointed out that Bruno had no scientific evidence or basis for his ideas.

Giordano Bruno is often cited by atheists in an attempt to make the Catholic Church as this institution out to silence science.  However, Bruno was executed not for his scientific views, but his theological ones.

Many in the Catholic Church already held and taught the idea that the universe is vast and that the sun was just a star among many with Earth revolving around it before Bruno.  What the Church had issue with was Bruno's heretical views on dogmas.  History shows that the Catholic Church created science as we know it today.  She has funded it since the beginning and has always supported scientific research.  

Nevertheless, the show is pretty good despite its inaccurate representation of science, the Church and Giordano Bruno.  It is interesting to note that Bruno was presented in a "crucified" form speculating that this may be a jab at Christianity.  Hopefully future episodes will be more careful when going into the historical/religious realm.

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