But by rhetoric and emotion

Science deniers don’t like the new Cosmos series, Chris Mooney reports in Mother Jones.

Well of course they don’t. That’s because it doesn’t go

God made this.

Then God made this.

Then God made this.

[Repeat until it’s time for the commercials]

Mooney gives somewhat thicker detail, such as the reaction to the second episode’s account of natural selection.

Over at the pro-“intelligent design” Discovery Institute, they’re not happy. Senior fellow David Klinghoffer writes that the latest Cosmos episode “[extrapolated] shamelessly, promiscuously from artificial selection (dogs from wolves) to minor stuff like the color of a polar bear’s fur to the development of the human eye.” In a much more elaborate attempted takedown, meanwhile, the institute’s Casey Luskin accuses Tyson and Cosmos of engaging in “attempts to persuade people of both evolutionary scientific views and larger materialistic evolutionary beliefs, not just by the force of the evidence, but by rhetoric and emotion, and especially by leaving out important contrary arguments and evidence.”

Like the ones that carried the day at the Kitzmiller trial??

Oh wait…

Thus far, Cosmos has referred to climate change in each of its two opening episodes, but has not gone into any depth on the matter. Perhaps that’s for a later episode. But in the meantime, it seems some conservatives are already bashing Tyson as a global warming proponent. Writing at the Media Research Center’s Newsbusters blog, Jeffrey Meyer critiques a recent Tyson appearance on Late Night With Seth Myers. “Meyers and deGrasse Tyson chose to take a cheap shot at religious people and claim they don’t believe in science i.e. liberal causes like global warming,” writes Meyer.

Yes, global warming is a liberal cause – we’re all out there with our heat lamps and torches, trying to warm the damn thing up. In our Birkenstocks.


  1. Blanche Quizno says

    Wait – you mean pitchforks don’t raise the temperature? Here I’ve been doin it rong this whole time! Talk about giving an angry mob a bad name…

  2. Shatterface says

    Only seen the first part here in the UK but thought it was a great start.

    Its less of an event here though as successful science docs aimed at the general audience are pretty common.

    Still, hard to imagine David Cameron introducing Brian Cox’s Wonders of the Universe

  3. theoreticalgrrrl says

    I knew it. Knew this would happen before the first episode aired. I must be psychic or something.

  4. fwtbc says

    The original Cosmos spent a decent amount of time on global warming. What Sagan said sounded exactly like the same things that are said today. It’s sad that so much time has passed and we’re still totally fucked.

    Hopefully the new series won’t shy away from it.

  5. Francisco Bacopa says

    Gotta say I am not too pleased with the new Cosmos. Seems low-budget compared to the original and far less multi-cultural. Sagan’s series took him around the world several times and had lots of crowd shots of all types of different cultures. It really got across the point that the study of The Cosmos was a universal endeavor that all human cultures had taken part in.

    And also, Neil is not really being being the Neil I love from watching his Youtube videos. Two episodes and he has never said his “Now don’t get me started” tagline. Neil is cool. He should just be the guy who hassled James Cameron over the stars in Titanic and not be forced into being a new Carl.

  6. Dan Robinson says

    @Francisco Bacopa #5

    I only just watched episode 1 today. I liked it very much. Where is it now, episode 3 tonight? It seems a little early in the series to complain about things not covered.

    I wouldn’t expect Tyson to be the same in a scripted program as he is in less formal situations. I’m not sure where in such a series as Cosmos it would make sense for him to say something like, “Don’t get me started”.

    Side note: I rarely watch TV and watched Cosmos on Fox on demand. You can’t skip the commercials. Holy crap what a bunch of stupid empty headed shows they have on there. And the promo for Hannity, O’Reilly etc was absolutely hilarious.

  7. iknklast says

    Give Tyson a break. The dynamics of TV being determined by commercial value, he can’t really be what he wants to. That’s why I rarely get my science from TV. Until people are willing to watch good science on TV, networks won’t program it. Letting Tyson be Tyson would be my ideal, too, but I’m too much of a realist (I write a bit for stage myself, and am fighting against a similar trend). As long as money is the driving power behind art (and science), art and science will take a backseat to commercially popular shows like ghost hunting and big foot.


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