“Cosmos” Mini-Series Challenges Biblical View of Creation
I’d like to credit astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, the telegenic, congenial, intellectually gifted host of the updated “Cosmos” program for opening up the universe to TV viewers. As an amateur astronomer, I’ve been watching and listening to him for years. The late Carl Sagan, who hosted the original “Cosmos,” would be very proud and pleased with what Tyson has offered up. Sagan’s wife, Ann Druyan, is a consultant to the new version, which runs on Fox Sunday nights.
I’m very interested in what astronomy can teach us about the physical universe, and I’m also a practicing Roman Catholic who believes the resurrection of Jesus Christ is a real event in human history. Just a few quick observations here as a conversation starter: I’m convinced there is at least is some scientific evidence for a benevolent creator, which will be the subject of a future post. At the same time, Tyson is quite right to point out that the Bible should not be viewed as a scientific text. Instead, it communicates timeless truths that cut across human history. That’s not to say, there is no overlap. In many respects, the “Big Bang” is indicative of a definitive beginning to the universe that intersects with the creation story in “Genesis.”
“Let their be light.”
But some perspective is in order, as I don’t take the entire account literally. We can move toward truth with both religion and science.
“Cosmos will make you feel small,” one the television advertisements says. Yes, it does; and its challenge to get your mind around how the Earth and humanity fit within the Milky Way, “The Local Group,” of nearby galaxies and the expanding universe. I don’t happen to believe “The Cosmos is all there ever ways, or ever will be” as I’m inclined toward the view that there is something beyond the physical universe; standing behind the curtain if you will.
But I’m for learning about our place in the Solar System, and the many other Solar Systems that have been discovered. God didn’t give us a brain stem so we wouldn’t learn about the astronomical universe,, he gave it to use so we could. Galileo said something like that. And I think Galileo was a religious fellow, am I right?
Below is good write up on what Tyson has had to say so far about science and religion within the context of the new program. I applaud him and others for this effort. A lot more to say on this. Here’s one report that gives a descent overview of the content:
The host of Seth MacFarlane’s new series Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, argues that while religion and science can be compatible, religious scriptures like the Bible should not be confused with scientific textbooks, something he says “enlightened religious people” understand.
Cosmos—which features an introduction by President Obama—has already stirred controversy with a lengthy segment in the first episode which deliberately pits religion against science, providing an animated story about the Catholic Church’s persecution of the 16th-century monk and astronomer Giordano Bruno, which TIME argues provides a clear message to viewers: “there is a right side and a wrong side of intellectual history, and Cosmos is not afraid to say that science is on the right one.”
In a recent interview with WNYC host Brian Lehrer, Tyson added to the controversy, addressing people of faith who confuse religious texts with scientific works: