Sunday, February 25, 2018 |
Department: Blip —
Topic: Scientism —
Clearing Up Cosmos
A Review of The Unofficial Guide to Cosmos: Fact and Fiction in Neil deGrasse Tyson's Landmark Series
by Terrell Clemmons
Douglas Ell became an atheist as a youth because of misinformation handed down to him in the name of science. It took him thirty years "to climb out of the atheist hole." Sadly, Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, the 2014 series brought to you by Neil deGrasse Tyson, Family Guy's Seth MacFarlane, and a host of like-minded celebrity atheists, served up thirteen dazzling episodes containing similar misinformation. The series mixed, quoting Jay W. Richards, "one part illuminating discussion of scientific discoveries, one part fanciful, highly speculative narrative, and one part rigid ideology disguised as the assured results of scientific research."
If you like science—science done well, that is—you'll find invaluable help making sense out of Cosmos with The Unofficial Guide to Cosmos: Fact and Fiction in Neil deGrasse Tyson's Landmark Science Series, an easily readable volume co-authored by Ell, Richards, David Klinghoffer, and Casey Luskin. The Unofficial Guide to Cosmos sorts out, episode by episode, the legitimate science from the liberal doses of materialist philosophy, revised history, and brazen ideology the makers of the series have carelessly (or intentionally?) stirred into the mix. Here's a sampling:
Materialist Philosophy. Without acknowledging it, Cosmos presupposes a priori the materialist worldview. This should come no surprise. But the makers deceive themselves if they think they've dispensed with the religious. Scientific thought, according to Tyson, is the "light" that has "set us free." And discovering our "long lost cousins" (organisms with similar DNA sequences) can be a "spiritual experience."
Science History. With respect to history, there are errors of commission, a deceptive retelling of the Giordano Bruno affair, for example, clearly designed to paint Christianity as a mortal enemy of science. And there are errors of omission, such as the utter desacralization of many revered fathers of science (Newton, Faraday, Maxwell, and more), who were men of open Christian piety.
Ideology. In later episodes, Tyson lectures viewers about a dire need to save the planet, and he casts climate dissenters, who are "in the grip of denial," as either ignorant or evil—this against a backdrop of cheering Nazis, to round out the propaganda package.
An especially insidious error of omission involves the makers' failure to even hint that a vigorous debate rages today among scientists. "Cosmos has done a wonderful job of recalling how old mistaken ideas were overturned—ideas about geocentrism, stellar composition, continental drift . . . and more," writes Luskin. "However, these are all tales from the annals of scientific history. Cosmos presents current scientific thinking as if it were all correct, with everything figured out. . . . Tyson never discusses evidence that challenges the prevailing evolutionary view." This is inexcusable.
Even scientists sympathetic to the makers' agenda have pointed out serious flaws. "Cosmos is a fantastic artifact of scientific myth making," wrote science historian Joseph Martin of Michigan State University. Yet, he defends the series, including the myth making. Why? Luskin parses Martin's defense: because Martin thinks it's permissible to lie if the lie helps "promote greater public trust in science." Martin calls this kind of useful lie a "taradiddle."
Luskin furthermore puts his finger on the million-dollar question the thinking public should be asking: If the science academy is condoning telling us 'taradiddles' to curry our trust in science, why should we blindly trust them when they claim that only their "science" can explain the origin of life and the cosmos? •
Terrell Clemmons is a freelance writer and blogger on apologetics and matters of faith.
More on Scientism from the Salvo online archives.
Column: Deprogram — Salvo 41
Tuning Out the Universe
How Naturalism & Post-Fact Science Ignore the Evidence We See by Denyse O'Leary
Feature — Salvo 36
ETI In the Sky
What the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligent Life Means for Us by Hugh Ross
Column: Operation ID — Salvo 42
Does Cancer Really Innovate? by Jonathan Wells
YOU SHOULD SUBSCRIBE!
Salvo subscribers have full access to the online archives!
Salvo magazine unblushingly offers an honest, rational, and respectful perspective to hard questions about SCIENCE, SEX, and SOCIETY.
Full access to the Salvo online archives. Only $15.99.
Get 4 issues + full access to the online archives. Only $25.99.
Consider ordering a bulk subscription for a reading group or a small group!
Visit the blog of Salvo author Robin Phillips
The Current Issue—Winter 2017
A Salvo Fake Ad
Salvo 42—Fall 2017
Engendered Confusion: The Chaos of Postmodern Sexuality by Laurie Higgins
Zombie Killer: The "Icons of Evolution" Have Joined the Ranks of the Undead by Denyse O'Leary
Mutant Destruction: Does Cancer Really Innovate? by Jonathan Wells
The Darwin Tales: It's Time to Remit Darwinian Storytelling to the Annals of History by Terrell Clemmons
Eye Openers: Eight Common Factors for Atheists Changing Their Minds About God by Matt Nelson
Tuning Out the Universe: How Naturalism & Post-Fact Science Ignore the Evidence We See by Denyse O'Leary
Improbably So: Fine-Tuning Is Unlikely, but Unlikely Things Happen All the Time by Tim Barnett
Deep-Seated Rights: What They Are & Why You Have Them by Steve Jones
The Long Red Shadow: Mike Shotwell Has a Message for Millennial America by Terrell Clemmons
Taking Polls Apart: Human Complexity Foils Electoral Predictions by Denyse O'Leary
Champ Change: Darwinism's Rumble in the Jungle by Regis Nicoll
Morality as Story: The False Charity of Modern Journalism by Rebekah Curtis
4 issues of Salvo PLUS full access to the online archives!
• Give a Gift Sub
• Manage Sub Account
• About Salvo
• The Fake Ads
• Login for Full Access
• Touchstone Magazine
• The Fellowship of St. James
All material Ⓒ 2017. Salvo is published by The Fellowship of St. James.