A Funny Thing I Noticed About “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey” UPDATED


Have you been watching the show? Perhaps I should rephrase that to, “Did you watch the second episode?” I haven’t seen much written about the second episode, so I figure only Artur Rosman and I may have actually sat through it. Doing so, it became pretty clear to me that scientism, and not science, is what is on display in Seth MacFarlane’s show. That and the creativity of his cartoons.

Seriously, I don’t remember the original show being as dumbed down, or as blatantly hostile to religion, as the current version. I read Sagan’s book as a kid, and it didn’t strike me as being openly hostile to people of faith, etc.

For critical looks at the show, check out Artur’s posts at Cosmos The In Lost, where he shares some thoughts of Walker Percy’s on Sagan’s Cosmos, from Percy’s nonfiction essays in Lost in the Cosmos. Read Tom McDonald’s take down of the first episode, too. Also, have a look at Fr. Robert Barron’s post in The Catholic World Report. Go read those guys.

Reading the articles above, and watching the first two episodes, will help you understand how woefully weak the show is when it comes to the history of science. To me, even the actual science is dumbed down to the level of blanket statements devoid of any nuance, while pretending like we’ve got this whole scientific methodology to explain stuff figured out.

The funny thing I noticed that I think bears out the weakness of the show on the history of science? It’s right here in the credits.

Kind of light in the PhD department for historians

Seth MacFarlane couldn’t find even one PhD specializing in the history of science to consult on the show? Not one? Weird.

Especially considering how many attorneys he has on the show’s payroll.

5 science Ph.Ds, and 5 attorneys. Only in America!

Oh, and that cartoon from the first episode? Guess who starred in that?

I wonder who played Bruno? Or maybe Seth played the evil St. Charles Borromeo!

Seth’s gotta eat too, man. Oh, and Seth? Let me introduce you to the Monsignor who first suggested the “Big Bang” idea.

The origin of the cosmic inflator? Guess who I think that is?

Oh, before you go, here’s a neat book with teeth on the history of science, and another by a Benedictine theologian on the Vast Universe, extraterrestrials, and other things potentially made of star stuff. Happy reading!


Discover Magazine: Did “Cosmos” Pick the Wrong Hero?

Scientific American (paywall): The Case against Copernicus.

Outside the Asylum: Three cosmic historical errors.

Science League of America: Why Did Cosmos Focus on Giordano Bruno?

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